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Paper info: Business Cluster as a Network of Relationships: An Empirical Study of Russian Industrial Sector


Business Cluster as a Network of Relationships: An Empirical Study of Russian Industrial Sector


Marina Sheresheva and Olga Tretyak

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.



The purpose of the paper is to present a work-in-progress research on inter-organizational interactions within Russian business clusters. The paper is organized around the following topics. Firstly, we focus on the literature on the subject, including methods by which a business cluster can be identified, the concept of inter-organizational networks in Germany andthe IMP network approach as a solid ground to observe networks in which business firms are involved. Secondly, we give a brief overview of the recent developments in the Russian economy which lead to changes in the forms of inter-organizational cooperation in the Russian industrial markets. In particular, there is an evident shift in the attitude towards the cluster concept which has already attracted attention from many governments and businesses since it was first proposed in 1990 by M.Porter. The Russian government and industry organizations have now turned to this concept as a means to improve the competitiveness of one or several specific business sectors and to stimulate regional economic growth. Still, business cluster as a network of relationships has not been yet an object of a serious study in Russia. In order to highlight the structure and sustainability of relationships within cluster and to emphasize the importance of long-term network interactions, an initial case study was carried out by means of in-depth interviews. The results of this pilot study contribute to understanding the formal and informal connections of cluster members and can be useful as a first step leading to further research of Russian business clusters which is now is being planned and will be conducted in 2008-2009.