Abstract: Historical Perspectives on the Dynamics of Industrial Clustering in England

Andrew Popp and John F. Wilson


The paper integrates two important areas of literature, the Chandler model of corporate hierarchy and the discrete alternative models of small-firm flexible specialization, in order to explore long-run processes of structural and strategic change. To achieve synthesis, resource-based view (RBV) and resource dependency theories are combined to explain the evolution of different industry structures. A typology is developed delimited by the opposite cases of classic industrial districts and managerial hierarchies and hybrid alternatives to each. Empirical cases are offered, showing historical examples of conditions favoring each and also illustrating the forces shaping transition from one mode to another. The paper has implications for conventional interpretations and for the main areas of theory hitherto considered separately.