This thesis deals with upgrading: a process of learning and knowledge sourcing in order to generate value added. We analyse how upgrading takes place across various organisational configurations: formal collaboration, clusters, projects, and events. Moreover, we investigate the process of upgrading within, as well as between, different spatial scales, and analyse the role of different actors, upgrading mechanisms, and the symbolic and synthetic knowledge bases. We study the upgrading process in a number of empirical case studies of the Chinese automotive industry.

We find that in addition to upgrading in formal collaboration – through joint-ventures in particular – upgrading also takes place in other organisational configurations. We unveil that clusters and events are of particular importance for upgrading via ‘monitoring’ and ‘buzz’. Hereby, we stress the critical role of event organisers as ‘temporary cluster managers’, acting as a bridge between the global and Chinese automotive industry. We also show the importance of the project configuration which crosses over other organisational configurations, and upgrading in projects takes place via nearly all upgrading mechanisms. In addition, we provide new empirical evidence for the importance of physical co-presence of different specialists in the automotive industry on the (temporary) local scale to enable non-verbal communication, while on the other hand, we demonstrate that upgrading of the synthetic and symbolic knowledge bases has a global dimension as well.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Upgrading, automotive industry, China, Shanghai, clusters, formal collaboration, projects, events, knowledge bases
Promotor L. van den Berg (Leo)
Publisher Erasmus Research Institute of Management
Sponsor Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Prof.dr. M.P. van Dijk, Prof.dr. R.J.M. van Tulder, Prof.dr. J. van der Borg
ISBN 978-90-5892-405-6
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/1765/78224
Series ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management
van Tuijl, E. (2015, June 4). Upgrading across Organisational and Geographical Configurations (No. EPS-2015-349-S&E). ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/78224