Comparison of Training Programmes and Activities for Cluster Managers in Europe with Respect to Their Focus on Skills Development

Martin Horák 1  and Jana Matošková 1
  • 1 Faculty of Management and Economics of Tomas Bata University in Zlín,, Zlín, Czech Republic

Abstract

The role of cluster manager and his/her development is an essential element in order to gain a competitive advantage and to ensure sustainability of cluster organisation. Nevertheless, research on cluster management has hardly studied the scope of offered trainings with areas of developed skills for this position. Hence, the main objective of the paper is to analyze and evaluate content of current training programmes for cluster managers in Europe with respect to their focus on the development of hard and soft skills. Analyzed training programmes were chosen based on the consultations with members from National Cluster Association operating in the Czech Republic. Regarding the defined criterion, hard skills included terms related to specific cluster knowledge (tools/methods for cluster setting/development; cluster policy), knowledge in management area. Meanwhile, we understood soft skills as terms related to intrapersonal skills (one’s ability to manage oneself) and interpersonal skills (how one handles one’s interactions with others). The article was processed via desktop research involving collection of relevant information from secondary sources. The paper explores ten international programmes done across Europe. Based on the gathered data, we claim that analyzed programmes are overwhelmingly focused on developing hard skills (mainly specific knowledge and abilities required for success in the cluster manager position - such as knowledge about identifying cluster, tools and methods for development of clusters). However, based on the literature, it is clear that soft skills (intrapersonal and interpersonal skills) are crucial for sustainable development of organisation. Considering implications for the practice, our findings provide valuable point for organisations/initiatives offering training programmes for cluster managers.

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