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Exploring the role of professional associations in collective learning in London and New York's advertising and law professional service firm clusters.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Environment and Planning A
Issue number4
Volume39
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)965-984
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The value of regional economies for collective learning has been reported by numerous scholars. However often work has been criticised for lacking analytical clarity and failing to explore the architectures of collective learning and the role of the knowledge produced in making firms in a cluster economy successful. This paper engages with these problematics and investigates how collective learning is facilitated in the advertising and law professional service firm clusters in London and New York. It explores the role of professional associations and investigates how they mediate a collective learning process in each city. It argues that professional associations seed urban communities of practice that emerge outside of the formal activities of professional associations. In these communities individual with shared interests in advertising and law learn from one-another and are therefore able to adapt and evolve one-another approaches to common industry challenges. The paper suggests this is another form of the variation Marshall highlighted in relation to cluster-based collective learning. The paper also shows how the collective learning process is affected by the presence, absence and strength of an institutional thickness. It is therefore argued that a richer understanding of institutional affects is needed in relation to CL.