Research Article

Collaboration in cluster-based firms as a source of competitive advantage: evidence from a footwear cluster

Cláudia Fabiana Gohr; Iris Stéfani Viana de Oliveira

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Abstract: Paper aims: To analyze the potential to generate relational rents in cluster-based firms located in the Northeast region of Brazil.

Originality: We developed a conceptual framework based on the primary sources of relational rents considering the characteristics of clusters.

Research method: An explorative case study. Data were collected mainly by semi-structured interviews.

Main findings: We developed propositions, demonstrating that geographic proximity has a strong influence in diverse sources of rents. Business trust and reputation have an impact on the development of relational rents. Absorptive capacity is a preservation mechanism since it allows firms to understand and absorb knowledge and information.

Implications for theory and practice: Significant contributions are the research propositions developed through empirical evidence that can be testable in large scale. Cluster-based firms could share different types of resources bringing competitive benefits. Decision makers should make sure that when sharing internal resources it provides an additional advantage.


Industrial cluster, Relational rent, Absorptive capacity, Geographic proximity


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