Anna M. Lis, Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdańsk University of Technology, Poland

The concept of proximity, whilst attractive cognitively, is still a poorly explored area in management sciences. The earliest publications on proximity were published at the end of the twentieth century and the development of this concept was strongly influenced by The French School of Proximity (Kirat & Lung, 1999; Rallet & Torre, 1999; Torre & Gilly, 2000; Carrincazeaux et al., 2001; Torre & Rallet, 2005). However, the most influential publications are by Boschma, who distinguished five basic dimensions of proximity: geographical, social, cognitive, organizational and institutional (Boschma 2004, 2005; Boschma & Frenken, 2010; Boschma et al., 2014; Balland et al., 2015). Proximity is particularly important for the development of cooperation between business entities embedded in a specific territory – the idea of proximity is related to all concepts of regional development based on knowledge and innovation (Martin, 2003). This also applies to the cluster concept (Porter, 1998; 2000; 2001; 2003) in which references to all dimensions of proximity can be found. Applying the proximity category to the cluster concept can be treated as an attempt to understand and explain factors of a non-economic nature that may affect (positively or negatively) the development of innovation in clusters.

On the one hand, proximity is recognized in the literature as a factor facilitating access to knowledge and fostering the development of innovation (Tremblay et al., 2003; Boschma, 2005; Paci et al., 2014). The superior role of geographical proximity in achieving external economies has already been indicated by the classics – Marshall (1925) and Hearn (1864). The importance of geographical proximity to create a competitive advantage through innovation is also emphasized in all theories of regional development originating from the Marshall district (Aydalot, 1986; Camagni, 1991; Cooke et al., 1997; Braczyk et al., 1998). The similarity of knowledge systems (cognitive proximity), relationships based on trust (social proximity) and organizational links between cooperating organizations (organizational proximity) enable and facilitate the creation and exchange of knowledge, stimulating innovation activity (Uzzi, 1997; Boschma, 2005).

On the other hand, being too close can also have a negative impact on the development of innovation in clusters. Maximizing proximity may lead to isolation and closure, and the related lack of new information and ideas inhibits the innovative activity of cluster entities (Grabher, 1993; Uzzi, 1997; Oerlemans & Meeus, 2005; Boschma, 2005; Balland et al., 2015). Therefore, in order to develop innovation in clusters, an optimal level of proximity should be sought, although in the literature there is no agreement on what scale of proximity would be most beneficial for innovative processes.

We cordially invite authors to present original papers that deal with proximity in clusters, especially in the context of the impact of proximity on the development of innovation in clusters. We are interested in the problem of both excessive and insufficient proximity in all five distinguished dimensions: geographical, social, cognitive, organizational and institutional. All methodological approaches are welcome, including qualitative and quantitative.

Paper submission:

Papers should be submitted before the end of September 30, 2019 to JEMI at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the Guest Editor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The papers will undergo a double-blind review. They must be in sufficient detail for the referees to judge their meaning and value. Submissions must be in English and should follow the requirements posted on the JEMI website at Publication is planned for 2020.


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