A resource-based view on collaboration between firms and local partners in a non-urban Swedish context

Lotten Svensson

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Is it feasible to stimulate informal collaboration among non-urban firms and local public- and other private-sector actors, whereby they jointly strengthen the competitiveness of these firms? To answer this question, firms’ collaboration with local partner’s actors were examined. Most of the studied firms in this thesis are embedded in a regional “ecosystem” of a country (Sweden), with the usual set of public- and third-sector (not-for-profit) actors. Firms that “exploit” all their local external actors do create additional resources for themselves. This thesis argues that such fuller use is feasible and perhaps necessary in a non-urban Swedish context. The Resource-Based Theory (RBT) considers mainly internal firm resources to achieve superior performance. In order to extend this theory in the context of a non-urban area, collaborative excellence is advocated through informal public-private collaboration that can help firms to flourish economically. The collaboration between the public and the private sectors can also enhance a common spirit or identity of a place. Action Design Research (ADR) Methodology is invoked in this thesis, together with other supporting methods, such as interviews and observations as well as archival data analysis. The intervention was held as a set of workshops and has been used as a key research method at the same time. The results capture, amongst others, views from municipal management, private companies, and community (not-for-profit) associations. The essential aim of this research was to enhance the quality of the interactions among the key individuals from these organizations in their efforts to strengthen productive cooperation between the public and the private sectors. Informal public-private collaboration is important. Thus, more understanding of how such collaboration can be used effectively is paramount. This thesis shows that it is feasible to develop collaboration in a specific Swedish non-urban context when successful private firms and a municipality work well together with relevant, not-for-profit organizations that are also located in, and concerned with, the same region. Therefore, when addressing the competitive potential of a location, the quality of the informal public-private collaboration, should be considered. The abductive research approach of this study aims to offer an understanding of how informal collaboration between firms and local, non-commercial partners may take place, aiming for firms to flourish.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Wilderom, Celeste P.M., Supervisor
  • Andersen, J., Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date16 Dec 2016
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4175-6
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2016


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