Commitment at Cooperation Level III

At cooperation level III, the authors identified three main forms of commitment: participation in meetings with entities from outside the

CO, creating more favorable legal and administrative conditions for running a business, and adjusting the educational profile in the region to the needs of the cluster members.

Participation in Meetings with Entities from Outside the Cluster Organization

To fully fulfill the first two objectives set for cooperation level III (that is, facilitating the exchange of information and providing access to information from outside of the CO), commitment on part of all of the cluster members of the studies CO was not necessary. As the study has shown, the degree of fulfillment of the aforementioned objectives was primarily decided upon by the level of activity among the coordinators and select cluster members performing the role of “structural holes”, through which information from the environment flew into the CO. The above activity mostly consisted of developing contacts with key actors from the environment (made during meetings and events organized with their participation). COs were represented in external assemblies at a regional, national, and international level by delegated selected cluster members (see Tab. 5.14, quotations 1-2). The coordinators also used other channels to obtain key information on the environment. They monitored messages published on the websites of various institutions and purchased access to the results of market research (e.g. reports on the situation on the labor market, on the trajectories of technological development etc.). Nevertheless, the biggest benefits were seen by those cluster members who participated in meetings organized with key partners from outside COs and engaged in the search for information. Before the information was distributed among the other members of a given cluster, it was pre-selected by those who obtained it. In other words, the largest compensation for such commitment on the part of individuals was a priority, with respect to obtaining information on crucial areas of social and economic life. The remaining cluster members (with a passive attitude in this regard) also received specific benefits, thanks to their membership in the CO. Thanks to the information given to them in the public forum of the CO (which usually happened with the use of the information flow and communication system implemented in the CO), they gained better market awareness, which helped them identify market opportunities.

In the case of the cooperation of COs with the education sector and the R&D sector, the best information exchange platform also happened to be personal meetings (usually in the form of cyclical assemblies). Another good opportunity was available thanks to various forms of activities undertaken in the field of academics (such as conferences, seminars, educational trips). These points of contact were conductive to strengthening mutual bonds and allowed the free flow of information. In

Specific objectives(specifc roles)

Commitment

Selected quotations

Providing access to relevant information from outside the CO

Facilitating the exchange of information with key actor from outside the CO

Participation in meetings with entities from outside the CO (creating more favorable legal and administrative conditions for running a business, adjusting the educational profile in the region to the needs of companies)

1 “Ongoing monitoring of the Internet plus contacts and meetings with interesting institutions. We maintain contact and attend meetings. Sometimes the Ministry will contact us, another time - the National Contact Point for Financial Instruments of the European Union Programs, or some institute will learn of our existence and send us some information”. (C4)

2 “The cluster arranges meetings between companies and schools. Once a year, a general meeting is held. We can meet each other and discuss things together. We can share our problems, find business partners, or ask for help”. (BIO)

Participation in the development of the region and the industry

Cooperation with other companies with a view to creating more favorable legal and administrative conditions for running a business (collective goals, individual goals)

3 “Also, the fact that we managed to achieve things for the benefit of the cluster when creating the strategy for the voivodeship and the so- called key industries with a view to obtaining the new EU funds - thanks to us, the metal sector is included as one of the key industries. It is included as a smart specialization”. (B2)

4 “The most engaged participants genuinely participate in shaping cluster policies, for instance the creation of smart specializations, key projects [...] If we have an smart specialization and we have to choose horizontal projects, or those which have additional points, it is not the cluster which receives the projects, but particular companies. The company says which project will be horizontal for the cluster, which means that the company raises its own chances for realizing its own business strategy. When it’s in this core, it has bigger clout”. (Dl)

(Continued)

Specific objectives(specific roles)

Commitment

Selected quotations

Cooperation with other companies with a view to adjusting the educational profile in the region to the needs of

companies (collective goals, individual goals)

5 “The State Higher School of Vocational Education existed, but it didn’t offer technical majors. Thanks to our efforts, the efforts of the cluster and the companies, the school was supported - it opened a library and a new major: “Mechanical Engineering and Machine Design”. It is constantly holding vocational training and the cooperation is still developing. It is going fine from the very beginning”. (B3)

6 “The cluster members significantly contribute to the development of the local vocational school, because they have an interest in doing so. Now, the situation is reversed. Once, we were looking for employment opportunities for the boys, and now the companies come to us, looking for such and such people”. (B9)

Source: Authors’ own elaboration

COs, educational entities gained direct access to information on market requirements, especially since - thanks to the regular character of the meetings - they were able to build long-time bonds with business representatives, which considerably facilitated dialogue on both sides.

Achieving the third objective identified at the level of development under consideration (that is, participation in the development of the region and the industry) required far-reaching commitment on the part of the coordinators and members alike. Within the above objective, two main forms of activities were identified: cooperation (with some of the remaining cluster members) with a view to creating more favorable legal and administrative conditions for running a business and cooperation (with some of the remaining cluster members) with a view to adjusting the educational profile in the region (at different levels of education) to the needs of the labor market.

 
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