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2016/2017  BA-BSOCV1009U  Silicon Valley, Hollywood and Dutch Tulips: Clusters as Innovative Spaces in Global Competitive Environments - NOT OFFERED

English Title
Silicon Valley, Hollywood and Dutch Tulips: Clusters as Innovative Spaces in Global Competitive Environments - NOT OFFERED

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Business Administration and Sociology
Course coordinator
  • Valeria Giacomin - MPP
Faculty: Valeria Giacomin and Max Schellmann
Main academic disciplines
  • Organization
  • Sociology
  • Strategy
Last updated on 31-01-2017
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • To describe and compare relevant theories on clusters
  • To show how the cluster organizational form can be beneficial to firms´ competitiveness and strategy
  • To account for the institutional structure, purpose, and functions of clusters
  • To apply the theories on clusters to empirical issues related to globalization such as trade, finance, economic development
  • To draw out and critically discuss relevant strategic implications of cluster development
Course prerequisites
No special requirements. The course is an introduction to cluster theory. Theory, methodology and case studies are slowly introduced. No prior knowledge is required.
Silicon Valley, Hollywood and Dutch Tulips: Clusters as Innovative Spaces in Global Competitive Environments:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Essay
Duration 7 days to prepare
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The course concludes with an essay written on an individual basis. The essay is based on questions that relate to the course literature and cases and must be submitted at the end of a 1 week intensive work period. In the exam the students will be required to use the content learnt in the course to study and analyze a cluster from the real world. This will eventually help them to understand the research process in the view of their bachelor projects.

Course content and structure

This course examines the cluster organizational form and how it can help increasing firms’ competitiveness in the global markets.

Through the assessment of a large variety of cases on clusters, from the famous Silicon Valley, Hollywood and wine production in California, to the less-known cases of flowers in Netherlands and aquaculture in Chile, the course gives participants a thorough understanding of the dynamics behind clusters diversity, structure and formation.


This course will help students develop skills applicable to their further academic and professional careers.

-Firstly, thanks to the workshops before the exam and to the exam itself students will get familiar to topics and debates as well as research and analysis tools required to develop their final projects. because of the freedom that the students will be granted in developing their final exam, the exam topic might subsequently be turned into a bachelor thesis.

- Secondly, class discussions and sustained exposure to practical business dilemma via HBS cases will equip students with a elaborate set of skills, highly expendable during their job search and interviews process with companies and consulting firms included in cluster environments.


On the one hand, particular attention will be given to the strategies which cluster companies implement to compete in the global markets, and how the inclusion in the cluster helps fostering innovation within their organization.

On the other, practical cases will move the level of analysis to the actions of individual business players. The case-based teaching aims at triggering discussions, in order to critically evaluate the strategic choices of firms within cluster and to understand how spatial and relational proximity can benefit/hinder their competitiveness.


Therefore the course helps students to develop their knowledge of how economic agglomeration forms in theory and how it works in practice, what are the main challenges and opportunities of increasingly globalized markets and what are the competencies to be developed by companies and individual managers in order to build competitive advantage

Teaching methods
Mix of Lectures, case based-teaching (HBS method) and class room discussion.
Student workload
Teaching 18 hours
Preparation 92 hours
Exam 84 hours
Class Discussion 12 hours
Expected literature
  • Session one: What is a cluster? Different Perspectives

    Marshall, A., (1920). Principles of Economics. Palgrave Macmillan (8th ed.)

    Porter, M.E., (1998a). Clusters and the New Economics of Competition. Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec.

    Maskell, P. and Kebir, L., ”What qualifies as a Cluster Theory”, DRUID Working Paper 05-09.

    Krugman, p., (1998). What’s new about new economic geography? Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 14(2): 7-17.


  • Session two: Clusters and Location Advantages

    Porter, M.E., (2000). Location, Competition and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy. Economic Development Quarterly, Feb.

    Porter, M.E., and Bond, G.C., (1999). “The California Wine Cluster.” Harvard Business School Case 799-124. (Revised February 2013.)


  • Session three: Industrial Districts and Flexible Specialization

    Piore, M., and Sabel, C., (1984). Second Industrial divide: possibilities for prosperity. Basic Books;3-18.

    Tappi, D., (2005), Clusters adaptation and extroversion: a cognitive and entrepreneurial analysis of the Marche Music Cluster" European Urban and Regional Studies, 12(3), 289-307.


  • Session four: (Tacit) Knowledge in cluster development

    Bathelt, H., Malmberg, A., and Maskell, P., (2004). “Clusters and Knowledge: local buzz, global pipelines and the process of knowledge creation”, Progress in Human Geography, 28(1):31-56

    Perez-Aleman, P., (2005). “Cluster formation, Institutions and Learning: the emergence of clusters and development in Chile”. Industrial and Corporate Change, 14(4):651-677.


  • Session five: Cluster and Development I - Success

    Schmitz, H. and Nadvi, K., (1999). “Clustering and Industrialization: Introduction”, World Development, 27(9):1503-1514.

    Burger, K., Kameo, D. and Sandee, H., (2001). “Clustering of Small Agro-Processing Firms in Indonesia”, International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 2(3/4):289-299.


  • Session six: Clusters and Development II - Failure

    Porter, M. E., and Solvell, O., (2002). “Finland and Nokia: Creating the World's Most Competitive Economy.” Harvard Business School Case 702-427. (Revised March 2011.)

    Barham, J. and Coomes, O., (1994). Wild Rubber: Industrial Organization and the microeconomics of Extraction during the Amazon Rubber Boom (1860-1920), Journal of Latin American Studies, 26(1):37-72. or Intro: Hochschild, A.,(1998). King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Pan Macmillan


  • Session seven: Clusters and Globalization

    Scholte, J.A., (2008), “Defining Globalization”. The World Economy, 31(11): 1471–1502.

    Porter, M. E., Ramirez-Vallejo, J. and van Eenennaam, F., (2011). “The Dutch Flower Cluster.” Harvard Business School Case 711-507. (Revised November 2013.)


  • Session eight: Clusters and Global Cities

    Sassen, S., (2005). “The Global City: introducing a concept”, Brown Journal of World Affairs, 10(2):27-43.

    Porter, M. E., Boon, S. N., and Ketels, C. H.M. (2010). “Remaking Singapore.”, Harvard Business School Case 710-483. (Revised August 2013.)


  • Session nine: Other approach to cities

    Austin, R., O'Donnell, S., & Friis, S.K., (2006). “e-Types A/S”. Harvard Business School Press, Harvard. Case Study, no. N9-606-118.

  • Lehman, S., "the (Re)emergence of Berlin as a Creative City"


  • Session ten: Clusters and Global Supply Chains

    Humphrey J. & Schmitz H., (2002). How does insertion in global value chains affect upgrading in industrial clusters? Regional Studies, 36(9): 1017-1027.

  • Dolan C. and Humphrey, J., (2000). Governance and Trade in Fresh Vegetables: The impact of UK Supermarkets on the African Horticulture Industry,  Journal of Development Studies, 37:2, 147-176.


  • Session eleven: Clusters and Entrepreneurship

  • Porter M.E, Delgado, M.,and Stern,S., (2010), Clusters and Entrepreneurship, Journal of Economic Geography,10:495–518.

  • Zucker,L.G.,. Darby M.R., and Brewer, M.B., (1998),  Intellectual Human Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises, The American Economic Review, 88(1): 290-306.

  • Beyes, T., Organizing the Entrepreneurial City, Handbook of Organizational Entrepreneurship


Session 12: Perspectives and conclusions


Last updated on 31-01-2017