Title: Size does matter: collaboration and competitive advantage within a manufacturing and engineering cluster

Authors: Julia Connell, Ranjit Voola

Addresses: Faculty of Business, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. ' Discipline of Marketing, University of Sydney, North Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Abstract: This study examined how members of an Australian-based manufacturing and engineering cluster (referred to as the cluster) share knowledge through networking as a means to improving competitive advantage. In 2004, and again in 2008, surveys and interviews were conducted amongst the cluster|s member firms which comprise small-medium sized businesses. The method of investigation involved using a framework model referred to as a |relationship marketing orientation|. While the 2004 and 2008 results were similar, the mean scores for several of the items (such as trust amongst members and competitive advantage) were lower in the 2008 survey than had been found in 2004. Given the number of cluster|s member firms grew to just over double in size, from 64 in 2004 to 130 in 2008, it is concluded that this increase over the four-year period led to the difference in member satisfaction as explained in the findings.

Keywords: industry clusters; collaboration; trust; competitive advantage; small business; Australia; engineering clusters; manufacturing clusters; knowledge sharing; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; relationship marketing; firm size.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGSB.2010.035331

International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, 2010 Vol.4 No.1, pp.61 - 72

Published online: 21 Sep 2010 *

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