Exploring the Critical Success Factors of Industrial Clustering; SMIL as an Illustrative case study

“Industrial cluster” is one type of agglomeration and the concept has been increasingly used and recognized as an essential part of regional development strategies and thinking in recent years. However, there has not been an explicit collection-work devoted to exploring the Critical Success Factors (CSFs). So, this thesis aims to explore such CSFs based on literature review as well as illustrative case study.

The major finding of this thesis is exploration of 18 (possible) CSFs based on extensive literature review and grouping them into 5 success categories (see Table 3 for the full list of them).

The contribution of each explored CSFs to the success of a typical cluster has been checked, in order to assure that each explored CSF is really functioning as a CSF. Then, SMIL as a real-life cluster with 25 years old in Linköping region of Sweden is used as an illustrative case study, in order to observe the literature-based explored CSFs in reality.

In addition, based on both literature review and illustrative case, a number of relations between CSFs have been identified. In particular, such relations can be described as; some CSFs may lead to creation of some other CSFs.

Illustrative case study shows that some of the literature-based explored CSFs are not observable in a real-life cluster, i.e. SMIL. The main reasons for such lack of the validity of some CSFs in SMIL cluster are mostly deal with the SMIL (association) as the node organizer of SMIL cluster. Such main reasons are; weak linkage between SMIL association and some of its actors, and/or being out of the scope of SMIL’s agenda and focus.

The other finding of this thesis is that; in terms of resource, network-based clusters with network activities (such as SMIL cluster) are richer in soft resources (such as pre and post existence of knowledge in the region) than hard ones (like infrastructural resources).

At the end, there are some recommendations for SMIL in order to improve its overall performance, by considering some possible CSFs.
Source: Linköping University
Author: Tavassoli, Mohammad hosein

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