Keeping up with the neighbors : The role of cluster identity in internationalization
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of World Business, 2020, 55 (5), 101125 10.1016/j.jwb.2020.101125
This paper explores the implications of the collective identity of a regional cluster on firms’ internationalization. Prior research has established the value of cluster “insidership” through access to knowledge and resources. Through a longitudinal study, we find that cluster identity, through distinct identity claims, provides imperatives and shapes the motivation of firms to internationalize. These imperatives, we argue, stem from cluster identity seen as defined features of regional collectives, extending reference theory to encompass the role of social cues from similar firms located geographically close. The imperatives are particularly salient in the early stages of firms’ internationalization, adding the role of cluster identity to explain the differences between inexperienced and experienced firms in internationalization. Keywords: Cluster identity; Internationalization; Multinational enterprise; Longitudinal study.