Roles and Specific Objectives at Cooperation Level II

At cooperation level II - “Allocation and integration at the process level” - the researchers identified three specific objectives: providing access to resources, facilitating the exchange of resources, and integration (at the

General roles

Specific objectives

Selected quotations

Direct resource supplier

Providing access to information

1 “One of the most important roles within a cluster is that of the coordinator or animator. An individual who may collect information in order to ascertain which projects or program will be beneficial. And if he or she determines that a given project will benefit a given company, the coordinator will share the information among the cluster members”. (D3)

2 “In our cluster, we maintain a monthly online newsletter for all cluster members. On news from our industry, on meetings, on interesting pieces of information - reports, magazines, the nearest courses. Companies want such news. In addition, each few days, we send out e- mails to members, reminding them of conferences, courses, that we are initiating a certain program and looking for interested parties etc.”. (B2)


Facilitating the exchange of information

3 “Companies attend business club sessions, cluster meetings, in order to exchange general information, to familiarize themselves with the plans of others”. (A7)

4 “The way I see it, conferences, discussions, meetings, during which we exchange our views, are very beneficial. We must ensure information flow within the cluster. Even gossip makes us take action or points us to the trajectories we should take, areas in which we could work together”. (BIO)


Social integration within the CO

5 “The cluster organizes meetings, mostly meetings, which result in establishing relationships among the members”. (D5)

6 “Without integration, without meetings, we won’t get to know one another and won’t be able to go further”. (A6)

level of processes). The research indicates that at this level, the most crucial roles assigned to COs were those which corresponded with the general objective of cluster cooperation at level II, that is, facilitating the access of cluster members to a broadened resource pool. Level II cooperation primarily consisted of the shifting of different kinds of resources among the cluster members (with a view to replenishing missing resources). If the CO itself was the owner and holder of the resources, the CO held the role of the Direct resource supplier. When the cluster members exchanged information among one another, the CO held the role of a Broker, facilitating such exchange.

The first of the two roles - Direct resource supplier (at this level - a Donor) - consisted of providing the cluster members with access to various resources, both material and immaterial (see Tab. 5.8, quotations 1-2). When the COs performed the role of a Broker (or, strictly speaking, a Resource exchange platform) (see Tab. 5.8, quotations 3-4), relations between the cluster members that focused on sharing resources (with mutual benefit) were based on:

  • • Sale and purchase transactions, where parties executed a specific exchange by converting financial resources into resources of another kind.
  • • Lending-for-use contracts, where one of the parties had certain resources, which it could not fully use, and in exchange for specific benefits in the form of other resources agreed to their use (without the resources changing ownership) by another party.
  • • Exchange, wherein parties exchanged specific resources within agreed-upon conditions.

The fundamental resources obtained at level II of cooperation in COs were - as was the case at level I - information and relational resources.4 However, in comparison to the previous level, the obtained information was more selective and tailored to the requirements of a specific group of cluster members. In principle, information shared among the members of the studied CO was also meant to facilitate the identification sources of missing resources. At cooperation level II, apart from information and relational resources, the members of the COs in question have also been given access to material, financial, and human resources, as well as intellectual (e.g. databases), organizational (e.g. management systems, communication systems), and market resources.5

Taking on the third role - that of a process instigator - by taking action, COs have worked toward greater integration among their members, particularly with respect to supply chains (see Tab. 5.8, quotations 5-6). As the experiences of the studied COs demonstrate, integration at the process level usually pertained to procurement (joint orders, group purchases), sales (shared distribution channels), quality

General roles

Specific objectives

Selected quotations

Direct resource supplier

Providing access to resources

1 “A machine park in a cluster - a hard undertaking indeed. We did not manage, though we

discussed it. I know that such initiatives sprout up and are possible to implement”. (A5) 2 “Within the cluster, we held specialist training sessions for a select group of companies, with hard knowledge. They are successful”. (B2)


Facilitating the exchange of resources

3 “We offered each other services. For instance, I don’t own a plasma cutter, but my colleagues from [name of company] do, because they need one for production purposes. But they use their capacity for 1.5 of a shift and offer services in the remaining time. It’s not cost-efficient for me to purchase my own machine, because 1 own a service company, so I subcontract plasma cutting. We, in turn, have advanced assembly capabilities, so colleagues from other companies will often contract us for the production of details, parts, components, that they’re interested in”. (Bl)

4 “The exchange of resources - is very, very much present within human capital. We have a foundation which is tasked with personnel training, where this phenomenon is present to a large degree. Mutual teaching about project management, mutual teaching of programming languages [...] training sessions, mutual workshops, we had numerous such sessions where people would teach one another”. (D1)


Integration at the process level

5 “Such examples exist, of course. For instance, we managed to gather companies which compete with one another in terms of products and services, albeit which managed to organize group purchases. We manage such initiatives and whenever we find an element of synergy, we develop it”. (D3)

6 “Within a cluster, it would be easier to set certain standards and implement them in similar companies. A common initiative, which would bring benefits to all parties involved. After all, higher quality translates to more orders for the company”. (B4)

Source: Authors’ own elaboration

(developing shared quality standards), and promotion (shared system of visual identification, various promotional activities, shared trade fair and exhibition activities).

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