The port of Rotterdam is the largest seaport in Europe and a huge industrial complex. This seaport has been the focal point of several studies that merely view the port as a transport node. This neglects the fact that it is also a collection of thousands of related businesses that together form the Rotterdam seaport cluster. This PhD thesis deals with the companies in the Rotterdam seaport cluster and their value for the competitiveness of the port. Companies active in many sectors, such as stevedoring, transport, logistics, off-shore and shipbuilding. The competitiveness of the port of Rotterdam is dependent on the behavior of the firms located in the port cluster. Some firms create substantially more positive effects than others and are called ‘leader firms’. The Characteristics and the behavior of these leader firms are analyzed in this study. The Rotterdam port cluster is defined and the business structure is researched to select the leader firms. Nine forms of leader firm behavior are identified in the fields of innovation, internationalization and cluster governance. With the use of a qualitative comparative analysis it is researched which firm characteristics foster leader firm behavior. Conclusions are drawn about the role of leader firms in clusters and the stimulus and obstacles for leader firm behavior. Recommendations are formulated for the business community, government and the leader firms.

Additional Metadata
Keywords QCA, buyer-supplier relations, clusters, firms, innovation, leadership, networks, rotterdam, seaport
JEL Multinational Firms; International Business (jel F23), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Corporate Culture; Social Responsibility (jel M14)
Promotor R.J.M. van Tulder (Rob)
Publisher Erasmus University Rotterdam , Erasmus Research Institute of Management
Sponsor Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)Prof.dr. S.L. van de VeldeProf.dr. P.W. de LangenProf.dr. L. van den Berg
ISBN 978-90-5892-256-4
Persistent URL
Series ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management
Nijdam, M.H. (2010, November 18). Leader Firms: The value of companies for the competitiveness of the Rotterdam seaport cluster (No. EPS-2010-216-ORG). ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from