Clusters V Networks
A cluster may contain numerous layers of networks. In cluster theory, the actors in the network represent various organisations or even people (individual entrepreneurs or inventors, firms – suppliers or buyers, universities research institutes, public organisations, etc.). In turn, while the relation, or linkage, represents a type of relationship (formal or informal, buyer or seller linkage, information or knowledge sharing, etc.) between the different actors.
Clusters can be regarded as being more collaborative, susceptible to change and foster the development of interconnected firms which can demonstrate their true value.
Network theory can be regarded as an area of interest within the body of cluster literature. A network can be defined as, “a set of connections among a multiplicity of separate entities sharing a common characteristic”. Networks can be described as alliances between firms, which work together towards an economic goal. They can be established between firms within clusters, but also exist outside clusters.