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Network learning in a high-tech SME: expanding entrepreneurial capabilities

Macpherson, Allan and Jones, Oswald and Zhang, Michael (2002) Network learning in a high-tech SME: expanding entrepreneurial capabilities. UNSPECIFIED. Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This paper examines the process of learning, both technological and organizational, which has taken place in this small-sized firm located in a relatively remote area of northwest England. With relations to supply chain management and innovation network theory, it is argued that it is the relational elements of inter-firm transactions and interactions that provide organisations with opportunities to expand their capability. The importance of supply chain management, therefore, is that it provides a process in which closer relations are both desirable and can potentially create opportunities to grow organisational capability. The paper is focused on the following aspects of learning: the first is the evolutionary nature of the accumulation of technological capability; the second is the firm-specific absorptive capability developed through its close relationship with BNFL and other firms within the supply chain. The case study organisation is instrumental in building a network of suppliers and customers, which has enhanced the learning opportunities and capabilities of both. In doing so, it has created virtual clusters of innovation through the supply network that reach well beyond the traditional regional institutional support mechanisms.

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