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Title: Can location within a cluster improve the growth of software production? : an investigation into the management support software sub-sector of the software industry
Author: Viehoever, Joachim
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 8476
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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The interest in the phenomenon of industrial agglomeration dates back to the late 19th century (particularly, the work of Alfred Marshall). The late 20th century saw a renaissance in this interest, for example, in the ‘new geographical economics’ (e.g. Krugman) and Porter’s framework of competitive forces. Subsequently, clustering has come to be seen as a feature of high technology industries, despite the difficulty to gather empirical evidence to underpin this assertion and to corroborate underlying cluster-related mechanisms that would result in benefits for firms in clustered environments.This thesis extends the discourse on rationales of clustering into the field of the management software industry sector. Its objective is to use the example of the cluster around the German software giant SAP in South-western Germany as a model to explore the strengths and characteristics of clustering in this industry context. A survey-based research design was selected and interview responses were collected from 206 management software firms located throughout Germany. The empirical analysis was based on two complementary statistical approaches. The SAP cluster was compared to two control groups, one consisting of firms from non-clustered regions, the other of firms from other clustered locations. Diversities between environments were analysed using bivariate statistical techniques. The findings of this descriptive analysis substantiate disparities between the SAP cluster and the non-clustered control group. Beneficial effects available to SAP cluster firms can be observed in respect to nearly all factors analysed, i.e. access to specialised human resources, access to investment capital, demand proximity, knowledge spillover externalities, spin-off activity and the accumulation of social capital.This in-depth comparative perspective is complemented through a holistic evaluation employing structural equation modelling. Among the key findings of this analysis are the significant links between location in the SAP cluster and superior growth performance, in which long term professional networks and social capital derived from major software vendors (particularly SAP) act as mediators. Structural equation modelling also highlights a positive effect of being located in the SAP cluster on knowledge spillover externalities, which is mediated by the cultural environment in the SAP cluster. Finally, the SAP cluster environment stimulates spin-off activity, which functions as an important mediator in the accumulation and retention of social capital held with players in the industry. In sum, the empirical analysis suggests that a wide-ranging network of factors exists, in which social capital functions as a catalyst in the mechanisms resulting in benefits available to SAP cluster firms.
Supervisor: Oakey, Raymond Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Industrial agglomeration ; Economic geography ; SAP ; Industrial clustering ; Clusters ; Enterprise software industry ; German SAP market ; SAP ecosystem