The impact of cluster networking on business performance of Croatian wood cluster members

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Abstract

This paper investigates the link between cluster membership and performance of clustered companies. The object of the study is the Croatian Wood Cluster (CWC). The paper presents the results of a survey of 34 members of the Croatian Wood Cluster operating in wood and furniture industries. The survey was conducted in order to identify and analyse perceptions and attitudes of CWC members towards CWC objectives, activities and performance; the cooperation strength among cluster members and that with the players outside the cluster; the effects of clustering on the operational performance of the clustered SMEs; business and economic setting in Croatia, barriers for the work of the CWC and the relevancy of government policy measures. The empirical results indicate that the economic performance of the clustered companies is significantly predicted by the cooperation with public institutions, financial institutions and professional associations (such as the Agency for Investments and Competitiveness) provided by the CWC and by the access to cluster resources such as horizontal cooperation, fairs, exhibitions etc. Additionally, an access to credit, customers and competitors shows a significant positive effect on finance-based performance of the clustered companies. On the other hand, cooperation among cluster members and cooperation with scientific, high education and research institutions show no significant relationship with the company performance.

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