Hub firm transformation and industry cluster upgrading: innovation network perspective

Di Ye*, Yenchun Jim Wu*, Mark Goh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This research paper examines how hub firm transformation and restructuring of network partnerships shape the development of industrial clusters in China. Design/methodology/approach: Questionnaire data were collected from 210 managers (response rate 70.9 percent) from the manufacturing industrial clusters in Eastern China. Findings: The results inform that a cluster’s hub firm transformation influences the evolution of the cluster. Though the hub firm may possess transformation capabilities, the cluster is likely to be weakened if network partnerships and resource synergy are not formed amongst the cluster members. Research limitations/implications: This paper, in examining the individual- and firm-level attributes of orchestration capability and their interactions, sheds light on the firm level and inter-firm level relationships between resources and innovation in an industrial cluster. Practical implications: To facilitate learning and the upgrading of firms within an industry cluster and promote a cluster’s innovation network, policymakers can initiate preferential policy measures to cultivate support to strategically transform a cluster’s hub firm, thus fostering cluster network growth. Originality/value: The paper studies the evolution of clusters by investigating the hub firm transformation and member firm interaction. Focusing on the inter-firm network interactions lends a richer understanding of the nuances of the evolution of industrial clusters in Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1425-1448
Number of pages24
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept 4


  • China
  • Hub firm
  • Innovation networks
  • Partnership restructuring
  • Survey
  • Transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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