Methodology Adopted

From the methodological perspective, this volume integrates both the richness of the context and the depth of explanation. It seeks to combine the interpretative sense-making in a natural experiment setting (Welch, Piek- kari, Plakoyianuaki & Paavilainen-Mantymaki. 2011). By framing the discussion in hybrid form of a grounded theory method (GTM—combining the Glasers’ ‘spontaneous grounding in empirics’ with Strauss and Corbins’ ‘rigorous systemising’), this volume develops the conceptual model embedded in real-life data and further fills it by drawing on the real case sntdy (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, 2011; Corbin & Strauss, 1990, 2008; Charmaz, 2009; Eisenliardt, 1989, 1991). In contrast to the rigorous and systematic, adopted here, the narrative literature review (Gancarczyk & Bohatkiewicz, 2018) allows us to identify the pluralities of a studied phenomenon.

Semi-structured, in-depth, expert interviews are the primary source of empirical data (Kiel, Voigt & Muller, 2018). The qualitative approach allows scholars to learn aboirt complex phenomena, which are specific to the setting (Karafyllia & Zucchella, 2017; Dominguez & Mayrhofer, 2017; Vanninen, Kuivalainen & Ciravegna, 2017; Eisenliardt, 1989,1991; Zaefar- ian, Eng & Tasavori, 2016; Eisenliardt & Graebner, 2007; Yin, 2009). The case study with phenomenon-driven selection offers valuable contextual data, insight and knowledge, which could not have been gained otherwise (Flyvbjerg, 2006; Martineau & Pastoriza, 2016; Kasabov, 2015; Fletcher, Zhao, Plakoyiarmaki & Buck, 2018; Fletcher & Plakoyianuaki, 2011; Patton, 2015; Schurink & Auriacombe, 2010).

Interviews in the HAv cluster, in Spring 2019, were held with representatives from the HAv office, Hamburg City (Ministry of Economy), research institutions, scholars from Helmut Schmidt and Christian Albrecht Universities in Kiel, as well as managers or CEOs of various companies. These are mainly small and medium-sized, often start-ups, active in consulting, training, productions and design. This study certainly benefited from consultations with IfW experts and the insight acquired during the 55th Hamburg Aviation Forum. The interviewers were anonymised and classified as cluster representatives (CRs), or cluster HAv experts (CEs), cluster companies (CCs), cluster officials (COs), cluster scholars (CSs), respectively. The sample of companies which took part in this study is pretty heterogeneous and comprises start-ups, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), subsidiaries of large multinational companies, as well as representing different tiers of the supply chain.

This study used manual coding, without the assistance of any software, to preserve the narrative integr ity of the transcripts and assure the interpretation of text sections within the context of the rest of the conversation (8; Cao, Navare & Jin, 2018; McHenry & Welch, 2018). Constantly rotating between the necessary analysis and collection of data makes the whole process recursive rather than linear (Spietli & Meissner Nee Schuchert, 2018) and enabled identification of first-order codes, establishing second-order constructs and finally, the aggregate dimensions (Tzeng, 2018; Cao, Navare & Jin, 2018; Gioia, Corley & Hamilton, 2013).

Summing itp, this study adopts the qualitative abductive ‘ in vivo ’ approach, which builds upon the pre-existing categories and aims at seeing ‘the general in particular' (McHenry & Welch, 2018). It extends from classic inductive theory building towards the contextualised explanation (Welch, Piekkari, Plakoyiaimaki & Paavilainen-Mantymaki, 2011). It strives to address the principles of relational research design, which generate abstract and transferable findings, whereas acknowledging contingent conditions of a given setting (Bathelt & Gliickler, 2018). As a conceptual tool, the relational approach helps to overcome the separation between different disciplinary perspectives and facilitates cross-disciplinary engagement.

Contribution to Current Research

This volume explores in a natural context (‘in vivo’—a case study), the (changing?) nature of clusters in the 14.0 era and the local/geographic dimension of 14.0. It indirectly addresses the unresolved, classic dilemma of specialisation versus diversification and fits into the debate on striking a balance between the local and global aspects of clusters (i.e. how to reconcile local embeddedness with global openness). It enriches our knowledge on cluster attractiveness in the age of digital transformation and advances our understanding of a cluster’s characteristics, likely to determine the adoption of 14.0.

This book can offer some guidelines for policymakers, cluster managers and all those involved in shaping the regional aspects of digital transformation and responsible for regional technology and innovation policies. It tackles the issue of cluster dynamics, though not explicitly, as it incorporates the ongoing fourth industrial revolution and accounts for the 14.0 impact on cluster conceptualisation. Recent research on the cluster demonstrated that a static approach to clusters suffers many shortcomings, and a dynamic evolutionary perspective is necessary (Belussi & Hervas-Oliver, 2016). The discussed problems address the issues raised as emergent lines in current cluster research, such as internationalisation, sustainability or relatedness and variety (Lazzeretti, Capone. Caloffi & Sedita, 2019).

The value-added of the volume consists of integrating the space with technology; of combining clusters and 14.0 so far, although often covered in scholarly papers, and much discussed by policymakers as sources of competitiveness and innovativeness, treated separately (Spaini et al, 2019). Whereas, clusters are with us for some decades; explored and studied at various levels, and from different perspectives, using multiple methods; the fourth industrial revolution is something of a new topic (Schwab, 2017, Hannover Messe 2011, or 2016 Davos World Economic Forum; Visvizi & Lytras, 2019). Nevertheless, the research on this topic is mushrooming and growing, exponentially. That being said, the technological and engineering aspects seem to dominate the ongoing discussion. The business or managerial aspects have taken off only recently, whereas other dimensions, such as spatial or geographical aspects of 14.0, seem to remain an uncharted area. This volume touches upon this somewhat neglected topic so far—the cluster-14.0 interplay.

 
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