Inderscience Publishers

Inter-firm collaboration and competitive pressures: SME footwear clusters in Nigeria

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This paper examines the dynamics of inter-firm collaboration of two Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) footwear clusters in Southeastern Nigeria in response to local and global competition. The two clusters specialise in footwear production but are structurally distinct. We argue in this paper that their different structural attributes and internal technological capabilities will lead to differential responses to external pressures. The study found that collaboration among enterprises has grown over time induced largely by competitive forces. However, these are in the main informal but stable ties. We found that collaboration and capability proxies correlate with performance measures such as net profit and production output.

Keywords: small and medium enterprises, SMEs, footwear clusters, competition, inter-firm collaboration, knowledge, learning, Nigeria, developing countries, globalisation, technological capabilities, performance measures, organisational change, evolutionary innovation, clustering, evolutionary economics

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