New Silicon Valleys or a New Species? Commoditization of Knowledge Work and the Rise of Knowledge Services Clusters
University of Massachusetts at Boston - College of Management
February 28, 2013
Research Policy, Vol. 42, pp. 379-390, 2013
This paper explores knowledge services clusters (KSCs) as a distinct and increasingly important form of geographic cluster, in particular in emerging economies: KSCs are defined as geographic concentrations of lower-cost skills serving global demand for increasingly commoditized knowledge services. Based on prior research on clusters and services offshoring, and data from the Offshoring Research Network (ORN), major properties and contingencies of KSC growth are discussed and compared with both high-tech clusters and low-cost manufacturing clusters. Special emphasis is put on the ambivalent effect of commoditization of knowledge work on KSC growth: It is proposed that KSCs attract most projects if service commoditization is medium, whereas higher or lower commoditization either increases global competitive pressure or lowers demand and economies of scale and scope. KSC attractiveness is further related to the perceived availability of skills at relatively low costs, and cluster connectedness with client economies through corporate networks and professional communities. Findings not only advance current debates on clusters, global services sourcing, and the geography of knowledge production, but also have important policy implications.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Keywords: Knowledge Services, Geographic Clusters, Co-evolution, Outsourcing, Global Value Chains, Global Race for Talent, Global Service Delivery Model, Brain Circulation, Globalization of Innovation and R&D
JEL Classification: J23, J24, J44, J31, M51, M53, M54, L14, L21, L22, L24, L62, L84, O14, R11, P45, P48, F59, F21, F22Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 2, 2011 ; Last revised: March 3, 2013
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