Networks, learning and embeddedness amongst SME's in the Aberdeen Oil complex.

Daniel F MacKinnon, Keith Chapman, A. Cumbers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    107 Citations (Scopus)


    Over the last decade or so, networking has become a 'vogue concept' in small business research, connecting with wider debates on learning and regional development. Participation in interfirm networks is seen to provide small firms with access to a broader pool of resources and knowledge, helping them to overcome size-related disadvantages. In particular, the role of such networks as channels for innovation and learning within regions and localities has been emphasized in the context of an apparent shift towards a knowledge-driven economy. In this paper, we provide an empirically-grounded analysis of networking, trust and embeddedness amongst small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Aberdeen oil complex. Drawing upon survey and interview data, it is argued that connections to extra-local networks play a crucial role in providing access to wider sources of information and knowledge. At the same time, an Aberdeen location still matters to oil-related firms because of the access it offers to crucial forms of industry-specific information and expertise. In concurring with recent calls for more empirically-grounded research which seeks to 'test' theoretical propositions against relevant data, we suggest in conclusion that a combination of firm surveys and face-to-face interviews provides an appropriate way forward.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)87-106
    Number of pages19
    JournalEntrepreneurship and Regional Development
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


    • networks
    • embeddedness
    • trust
    • learning
    • SMEs
    • oil industry
    • collective learning-processes
    • local economic-development
    • regional-development
    • knowledge
    • globalization
    • organization
    • innovation
    • culture
    • UK


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