Regional knowledge base and firms´ exploration and exploitation: a multilevel approach
How and why do firms interact with and benefit from regionally based sources of knowledge? Although firms increasingly search and source knowledge worldwide and many are inserted in global production and knowledge networks, there is a refreshed interest in the economic geography literature on the interplay between firms´ innovative efforts and regional specific assets. Combining insights from management studies and economic geography, the article presents and explores a theoretical framework linking regionally based knowledge assets with exploration and exploitation efforts of firms, which are increasingly achieved through collaborative networks. The paper argues that the potential of firms to benefit from those localized assets is dependent on the interplay between two moderator effects: firm absorptive capacity, at the firm level, and institutional and organizational infrastructure, at the regional level.