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Economic Geography and Business Networks: Exploring co-location

Deadline for submission: May 1, 2015

Advancing a dialogue between disciplines

Industrial Marketing (IM) researchers have historically sought inspiration from other fields of enquiry in order to inform their fundamental goal of understanding business interaction in industrial networks. This special edition has two aims:

  • To examine the co-location in industrial interaction including notions of the firm-territory nexus, regional strategic networks, proximity and relational space.
  • In the above endevour, to explore how synthesis of concepts drawn from the disciplines of Economic Geography and Industrial Marketing can advance our understanding of industrial interaction between co-located entities.

Economic Geography (EG) is in itself an interdisciplinary endeavour with on-going debates within it as to the degree and nature of the integration between economists and geographers (Duranton & Rodríguez-Pose, 2005; Rodríguez-Pose, 2011). Other conceptually proximate and overlapping disciplines such as International Business (Beugelsdijk, McCann, & Mudambi, 2010) have identified the value of synthesis with EG. This synthesis is evident in the level of cross-citation between IB scholars and Economic Geographers, in the level of co-authorships between them, and other dimensions of collaboration such as the attendance of leading EG scholars, Ron Boschma, Michael Storper and Mark Lorenzen at the 2013 AIB Conference in Istanbul. The proposers of this special edition feel that it is the right time to explore the synergies between IM and EG.

At a macro level IM scholars share an interest with Economic Geographers and IB scholars, in that all three disciplines are interested in global and regional bloc dynamics. However, two historical ‘turns’ in EG have set the discipline on a course that should be of interest to IM scholars. The ‘new’ economic geography includes a notion of a ‘firm territory nexus’ (Dicken & Malmberg, 2001) and the ‘relational turn’ (Boggs & Rantisi, 2003) brings into EG scholarship an enhanced interest in space as a ‘relational’ rather than simply defined in sterile terms of geographic space. The questioning of ubiquity in EG scholarship seems to match interest in heterogeneity by IM scholars. IM scholars have also contemporaneously begun to develop an interest in regional strategic networks (Eklinder-Frick, Eriksson, & Hallén, 2011; 2012, 2014), knowledge transfers between co-located actors (Corsaro, Cantù, & Tunisini, 2012), how regions affect innovativeness (Cantù, 2010), how local geography constrains and enables competiveness (Nicholson, Tsagdis, & Brennan, 2013) and interaction in industrial clusters (Felzensztein et al., 2013, 2014; Frisillo, 2007). Conceptual convergence of EG scholarship with these aforementioned works in IM is evidenced by increasing references to EG articles by these IM scholars. There would seem to be much to be gained from further synthesis of concepts drawn from EG to enhance IM scholarship. There would also seem to be much that the mature but more micro-level focus already possessed by IM scholars could contribute to the understanding of relational space as currently understood by EG scholars. For instance there would seem to much to gain from synthesis with advanced bodies of IM research where only limited cross citation has yet to take place; such as those exploring coopetition (Bengtsson & Solvell, 2004; Bouncken & Kraus, 2013) complex solutions networks (Ferreira et al., 2013; Frankenberger, Weiblen, & Gassmann, 2013; Jaakkola & Hakanen, 2013; Storbacka, 2011; Storbacka et al., 2013)  co-creation (Leroy, Cova, & Salle, 2013; Mele, 2011) and open business models (Frankenberger, Weiblen, & Gassmann, 2013, 2014; Wirtz & Ehret, 2013) – each mark conceptual areas where exploration of co-location would seem highly pertinent.

A purpose of this special edition is provide significant momentum to a limited but increasing dialogue between IM and EG and provide new open doors for publication of high quality research dealing with the intersection between the industrial networks and interaction approach, and economic geography.

Suggested topics include: (indicative articles from IM and EG scholars are provided)

  • We would particularly welcome conceptual and empirical papers exploring the potential for synergy between IM and EG, papers drawing on EG concepts; paper’s authored by EG scholars and those demonstrating co-authorship between the disciplines.  
  • We would further welcome papers developing concepts surrounding regional strategic networks and localised knowledge transfers.

Possible areas of joint interest include but are not limited to:-

  • How interaction occurs in local networks to develop linkages between diverse sets of skills and ideas (Corsaro, Cantù, & Tunisini, 2012; Neffke, 2013; Neffke & Henning, 2011).
  • The influence of social and relational proximity (Eklinder-Frick, Eriksson, & Hallén, 2011), over embeddedness (Molina-Morales & Martínez-Fernández, 2009) and  proximity paradoxes (Boschma, 2005; Nicholson, Tsagdis, & Brennan, 2013; Noteboom, 2004).
  • How business-to-business relationships help in the development, maintenance of competitiveness in industrial clusters (Cantù, 2010; Felzensztein & Deans, 2013; Felzensztein et al., 2013; Mudambi, 2008).
  • How industrial marketing can inform and be informed by the relational turn in Economic Geography (Bathelt & Glückler, 2003; Boggs & Rantisi, 2003; Sunley, 2008).
  • How does IM affect the interplay between regional buzz and global pipelines (Storper & Venables, 2004; Trippl, Todtling, & Lengauer, 2009). The interplay between the local and the global in industrial interaction.
  • The contribution of industrial marketing in affecting development in peripheral regions (Felzensztein, Gimmon, & Aqueveque, 2012) and catch-up economies (Lorenzen & Mudambi, 2013).
  • The dynamics of spillovers, knowledge transfer and unintentional leakage in clusters and in interactions between co-located actors (Ibrahim, Fallah, & Reilly, 2009; Jiang et al., 2013; Perri & Andersson, 2014).
  • Economic geography and innovation in business networks (Rampersad, Quester, & Troshani, 2010).
  • The impact of agency and structure on local networks (Nicholson, Tsagdis, & Brennan, 2013).
  • How value is co-created between co-located firms. How are open business models affected by co-location (Mele, 2011).
  • The impact of relational proximity in complex solution networks and service contexts (Ferreira et al., 2013).

Manuscript submission will be through the IMM website:

Guest Editors:

Christian Felzensztein, PhD
School of Business, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Chile
[email protected]

Eli Gimmon, PhD
Tel-Hai College, Haifa, Israel
[email protected]

John Nicholson, PhD
Hull University Business School, England, UK
[email protected]   


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Bengtsson, M., & Solvell, O. (2004). Climate of competition, clusters and innovative performance. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 20(3), 225-244.

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Frankenberger, K., Weiblen, T., & Gassmann, O. (2013). Network configuration, customer centricity, and performance of open business models: a solution provider perspective. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(5), 671-682.

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Ibrahim, S. E., Fallah, M. H., & Reilly, R. R. (2009). Localized sources of knowledge and the effect of knowledge spillovers: an empirical study of inventors in the telecommunications industry. Journal of Economic Geography, 9(3), 405-431.

Jaakkola, E., & Hakanen, T. (2013). Value co-creation in solution networks. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(1), 47-58.

Jiang, X., Li, M., Gao, S., Bao, Y., & Jiang, F. (2013). Managing knowledge leakage in strategic alliances: the effects of trust and formal contracts. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(6), 983-991.

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