Social Learning in Cluster Organizations and Accumulation of Technological Capability
Keywords:Cluster organizations, Communities of practice, Organizational inertia, Social learning, Technological capability
The purpose of the paper is to present how members of cluster organizations perceive their role in the accumulation of technological capability through social learning. The paper presents the results of a qualitative study of four cluster organizations. The theoretical foundation of the study are the communities of practice and the organizational inertia theories. The study indicates that the dynamics of technological capability of cluster organizations’ companies varies regarding three identified communities of practice, namely Participants, Cooperators and Locomotives. The so-called Dead souls (not included in any of the identified communities of practice) did not accumulate technological capability, while the companies classified as Participants increased their technological capability through social learning in cluster organizations provided that the cluster organizations offered comparatively high benefits. Those members of cluster organizations, identified as Cooperators and Locomotives, exhibited relatively high initial technological capability and increased it when the benefits received through social learning in cluster organizations were aligned with their technological trajectories. The study adds to the underdeveloped knowledge of cluster organizations by examining their role in enabling social learning that helps cluster firms accumulate technological capability.