Development of Cooperation in Cluster Organizations: Results of Empirical Research

This chapter will present the theoretical concept of the trajectory of development of cooperative relationships in cluster organizations (COs), formulated on the basis of quantitative research. The root of the concept in question rests in six core categories derived therefrom. The highest category pertains to the identified levels of cooperation (category 1), which shows the dynamics of the development of cooperative relationships in COs. Within this category, two additional categories were established, which define each of the featured levels of cooperation - general objectives, which point to the trajectory of development of COs (category 2), and cooperation markers, which reflect the degree of advancement of cooperation within COs (category 3). The further categories pertain to the general roles performed by COs (category 4), as well as specific objectives (reflecting specific roles assigned to COs) (category 5). The last category under discussion pertains to commitment in actions undertaken within COs (category 6).

The above categories are presented in order, in accordance with their level of abstraction (beginning with categories with the highest degree of generality) and their hierarchical interrelations - the form and degree of commitment in activities undertaken within COs contribute to attaining specific goals (corresponding to the roles assigned to COs), as well as indirectly contribute to attaining main goals, which - along with cooperation markers - have become the basis of distinguishing levels of cooperation in COs.

The first three sub-chapters discuss the results of the empirical research, drawing upon quotations from surveys.1 The quotations confirm specific elements of the discussed concept.2 All content included in this part is the result of the analysis of empirical data, enriched with the researchers’ own interpretations. The fourth sub-chapter will present the generated concept of the trajectory of development of cooperative relationships in COs. It will be presented in the form of a running theoretical discussion, which allowed us to focus on the most important elements and their interrelations.3 In the course of discussing the empirical research results and presenting the theoretical concept, the researchers drew upon the same derived conceptual categories (and their relationships).

Levels of Cooperation in COs

Description of the results of empirical research should start with the first derived conceptual category - levels of cooperation in COs (category 1) - as the subsequent core categories will be described in the context of the distinguished levels. Following the analysis and interpretation of empirical data, four main levels of cluster cooperation were identified, for which specific general developmental objectives were assigned (category 2). The levels were then arranged by drawing upon another category - cooperation markers - which reflect the degree of advancement of cooperation within COs (category 3). Tab. 5.1 presents all of the properties which the researchers managed to identify for each of the three above- mentioned categories and the relationships among them.

The points below will discuss the specific nature of each of the derived levels of cooperation (drawing upon the results of empirical data).

Table 5.1 Characteristics of the core categories (1-3) and their relationships

Cat. 1. Levels of cooperation

Cat. 2. General objectives

Cat. 3. Cooperation markers

Level I “Integration at the unit level”

Creating a base network of relationships among cluster partners

  • 1 Activities of institutional members: individual
  • 2 Goals of institutional members: individual
  • 3 Interests of institutional members: individual

Level II “Allocation and integration at the process level”

Facilitating access to the increased pool of resources, including information

  • 1 Activities of institutional members: collective
  • 2 Goals of institutional members: individual
  • 3 Interests of institutional members: individual

Level III “Impact on the environment”

Gaining impact on the external environment of the organization

  • 1 Activities of institutional members: collective
  • 2 Goals of institutional members: collective
  • 3 Interests of institutional members: individual

Level IV “Creation and integration at the organizational level”

Setting up conditions to create common added value by pooling resources

  • 1 Activities of institutional members: collective
  • 2 Goals of institutional members: collective
  • 3 Interests of institutional members: collective

Source: Authors’ own elaboration

Relationships among the categories (1-3) have formed the basic framework of describing specific levels of cluster cooperation.

 
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