The impact of actors, networks and institutions in the cluster’s evolution: The case of the Brazilian ceramic tile industry

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Scur G.
Garcia R.
Competitiveness Review
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SCUR, GABRIELA; GARCIA, Renato. The impact of actors, networks and institutions in the cluster?s evolution: the case of the Brazilian ceramic tile industry. Competitiveness Review, v. 29, n. 3, p. 00-00, 2019.
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© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: This paper aims to analyze the impact of the capabilities and strategies of the actors (micro-dynamics), learning process and networks (meso-dynamics) and institutions (macro-dynamics) in the evolution of the Brazilian ceramic clusters. Based on these experiences, managerial and policy implications are suggested. Design/methodology/approach: Main data were gathered through 22 in-depth face-to-face interviews with managers and industry experts. The data were complemented by documentary analysis, including brand documents, descriptions of internal processes and Brazilian and international ceramics magazines and journals. In addition, the authors also use information from the previous experience of the authors who have been studying the sector for more than 15 years. Findings: The paper provides empirical insights about the main characteristics of the evolution of two main Brazilian ceramic tiles clusters, as well as how there are different patterns of evolution among them. The results of this paper show that Brazilian ceramic tile clusters do not necessarily follow the life cycle model of their dominant industry, by proving evidence that different clusters in the same industry can follow different evolutionary paths. Research limitations/implications: This paper shed light on a multi-level approach (micro, meso and macro) of dynamics of the clusters and how it impacts the cluster’s life cycle. The micro-dynamics dimension was analyzed by the capabilities and strategies of local ceramic tile manufacturers. The meso-dynamics are being considered the localized learning processes, especially from those that arise from interactions, collaboration and networks carried by local and foreign suppliers. The macro-dynamics were considered by the role of local demand, factors conditions, institutions, historical legacy in the clusters’ emergence along with path dependence mechanisms. Practical implications: The paper includes implications for both clusters to promote innovation, particularly to keep and create market and technological leadership through the establishment of partnership between firms and clients, regulators and research centers and universities are crucial for innovation. Originality/value: This paper fulfils an identified lack of attention regarding the under-appreciation of the context-specific issues such as the capabilities of the actors, networks and institutions that may influence the long-term development of clusters.