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The emergency of dynamic SMEs in cluster context

Crone, M. (2008) The emergency of dynamic SMEs in cluster context. In: Danish Research Unit for Industrial Dynamics (DRUID) 25th Celebration Conference, 2008-06-17 - 2008-06-20. (Unpublished)

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The paper draws attention to the significant overlap but relative disconnect between the research themes in two distinct but related literatures: research primarily conducted within the field of business and management studies on 'dynamic small and medium-sized firms'(including new technology based firms, high-growth start-ups, venture capital-funded firms, spin-offs and spin-outs, and 'born globals') and research conducted in the spatially-focused disciplines (economic geography, regional science, etc.) on 'clusters' of industrial activity. The paper reviews some of the existing literature in these two 'camps' and argues that the potential synergies and complementarities between them have been under-exploited. It also presents detailed empirical evidence from a study of a cohort of born global, VC-funded software firms in the Republic of Ireland. In doing so, the paper highlights a variety of ways in which the cluster context of such dynamic SMEs is an important influence on both their origins and antecedents, and on their subsequent early growth and firm-building activities. Four specific areas of focus are: entry modes, founder background, recruitment of directors and 'habitat effects' on firm-building. The concluding discussion argues for a closer engagement between academic researchers from the two traditions for mutual benefit. It proposes an avenue for possible theoretical development by linking the resource-based view of the firm and various clustering theories.