Implementing cluster policies : organizational dilemmas, pathologies and evaluation. The case of a French policy-driven cluster

Abstract : As “cluster” became a new buzzword, governments around the world increasingly implement cluster policies. However, a relevance gap is growing between cluster research and practice. Scholars build theories about the roles of clusters as powerful entities fostering innovation and competitiveness. Meanwhile, governments and policy-driven cluster organizations struggle to manage these highly entangled objects. This thesis addresses such a relevance gap. A systematic literature review (SLR) is conducted on cluster policy research, which demonstrates that governments and policy-driven cluster managers constantly face a multitude of organizational dilemmas, i.e. a set of decisions and choices for which there is no “one best choice”, in matters such as how to implement cluster policy (political dilemmas), how to manage policy-driven cluster members (managerial dilemmas) and how to adapt the policy-driven cluster to the local reality (structural dilemmas). Answering these dilemmas is constitutive of the management of policy-driven clusters, but it generates side-effect pathologies that need to be monitored and evaluated. In this thesis, we conduct a qualitative empirical investigation of a French policy-driven cluster located in the Paris Region: we analyse in detail the organisational dilemmas and their related side-effect pathologies. Four different pathologies are identified: inefficiency (driven by leadership dilemmas), distrust (driven by subsidies dilemmas), non-conformity (driven by structural dilemmas), and pragmatism (driven by managing innovation and collaboration dilemmas). The deeper knowledge of these pathologies contributes to improve cluster policy implementation and cluster evaluations. Finally, this thesis argues that academics need to shift from studying the “anatomy of clusters” to studying the “pathology of clusters”.
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Anna Glaser. Implementing cluster policies : organizational dilemmas, pathologies and evaluation. The case of a French policy-driven cluster. Business administration. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014ENMP0063⟩. ⟨tel-01144071⟩

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