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Local business co-operation and training and enterprise councils: the development of inter-firm networks

Huggins, Robert ORCID: 1998. Local business co-operation and training and enterprise councils: the development of inter-firm networks. Regional Studies 32 (9) , pp. 813-826.

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This paper investigates awareness among Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) and firms in the UK of inter-firm networking, and the effectiveness of the instruments used by TECs to generate networking. It evaluates the consequential outputs of and barriers to networking, the level of involvement encountered, and existing regional disparities. The study sought to obtain the opinions and views of as wide a range of the 81 TECs in England and Wales as possible, therefore a postal survey approach was adopted which yielded 63 replies, a response rate of 77·8%. The paper finds evidence that, despite TECs being committed towards the development of inter-firm networking, this commitment does not equate with the perceived success of those networks which have been facilitated. The analysis suggests that the performance of TECs as network generators has been low by their own expectancy criteria. The most common and important output of networks was their role in aiding collaborative learning among businesses, and process developments involving the dissemination of best practice and benchmarking through programmes such as manufacturing and management development initiatives. A number of doubts are raised concerning the efficacy that has been attached to the local delivery message associated with TEC programmes and initiatives. The paper concludes with some remarks concerning the emergence of three network types within the TEC scenario: (1) learning networks; (2) commercial networks; and (3) innovation networks.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
ISSN: 0034-3404
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 08:42

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