The Role of Social Relations in the Prosperity of Clusters: The impact of the content, the structure and external factors
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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how the formation of social relations affects the success of clusters. Thus, our main research question is: What role do social relations play in the prosperity in clusters . To answer our research question we conducted an exploratory case study with research subjects from two structured clusters. These are part of the Norwegian Centers of Expertise (NCE) program; one is located in Trondheim, the other in Horten. The studies were conducted by applying the activation framework proposed by Adler and Kwon (2002).We see that there has been put too much emphasis on facilitating network structure not the content. This is because we found that lasting and prosperous relations depend on the content of relations, not only the structure. In addition we found that external factors impact the formation and outcome of social relations. Our findings imply that the external factors time, shared goals and market were especially influencing.Our findings suggested that there is a need or multilevel involvement within the cluster. To achieve this, we imply that the firms have to dedicate more time and resources; hence we call for more action. Further, the implications we suggest for the NCE administration is to focus less on geographical proximity and be aware of the market situations when creating cluster programs. The implications for further research are that we see a need for more research on social relations in clusters, and especially recommend a long-term study.