Purpose: This paper aims to explore the role of business support organisations (BSO) in overcoming barriers to the adoption of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies, especially in disseminating knowledge on such technologies among cluster firms. Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on in-depth interviews conducted in 2021 with representatives of BSO in three manufacturing clusters (furniture, metal and automotive) in the Wielkopolska region in Poland. Findings: Companies in clusters face important barriers impeding the adoption of I4.0 technologies, in particular, the unawareness of the characteristics and potential of those technologies. BSO might be particularly helpful in overcoming this barrier by supporting knowledge dissemination among companies. This study’s analyses suggest they can do so in three roles: as knowledge gatekeepers, as brokers of purposeful knowledge transfer and as facilitators of spontaneous knowledge diffusion. Evidence suggests that different types of organisations are more likely to be associated with each of these three roles, despite such a combination of the three often being in one place: public agencies are gatekeeping, selecting and passing on certain knowledge on I4.0; research-oriented organisations (such as technology parks) play a knowledge transfer brokerage role; industry associations and cluster initiatives are actively facilitating spontaneous knowledge diffusion. Originality/value: This paper is a contribution to the emerging literature on digital transformations of clusters by investigating the difficulties preventing firms from adopting I4.0 technologies and the roles BSO can take on to support overcoming them.

On the road to Industry 4.0 in manufacturing clusters: the role of business support organisations

De Marchi V.
2022

Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to explore the role of business support organisations (BSO) in overcoming barriers to the adoption of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies, especially in disseminating knowledge on such technologies among cluster firms. Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on in-depth interviews conducted in 2021 with representatives of BSO in three manufacturing clusters (furniture, metal and automotive) in the Wielkopolska region in Poland. Findings: Companies in clusters face important barriers impeding the adoption of I4.0 technologies, in particular, the unawareness of the characteristics and potential of those technologies. BSO might be particularly helpful in overcoming this barrier by supporting knowledge dissemination among companies. This study’s analyses suggest they can do so in three roles: as knowledge gatekeepers, as brokers of purposeful knowledge transfer and as facilitators of spontaneous knowledge diffusion. Evidence suggests that different types of organisations are more likely to be associated with each of these three roles, despite such a combination of the three often being in one place: public agencies are gatekeeping, selecting and passing on certain knowledge on I4.0; research-oriented organisations (such as technology parks) play a knowledge transfer brokerage role; industry associations and cluster initiatives are actively facilitating spontaneous knowledge diffusion. Originality/value: This paper is a contribution to the emerging literature on digital transformations of clusters by investigating the difficulties preventing firms from adopting I4.0 technologies and the roles BSO can take on to support overcoming them.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3455866
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