Eriksen, E., Isaksen, A., & Rypestøl, J.O.
Titled: The role of human agency and culture in regional industrial development: Insights from changing industrial culture in a small Norwegian region.
The article is under consideration for publication by European Planning Studies. Major revisions.
The article contributes to the literature on regional industrial restructuring by centrestaging the concept of regional industrial culture and its relation to agency and firm structure. We distinguish analytically between two main types of regional industrial culture based on either self-interest rationality or community rationality. Both types of industrial culture influence and are influenced by agency on the firm and the regional innovation system level. While culture may influence to what extent firms collaborate, i.e. the firm structure, this article argues that changes in firm structure in a region may also lead to modifications of the regional industrial culture. An empirical study of industrial culture among member firms in a cluster project in a small Norwegian region indicates a change from a culture largely characterised by competition and self-interest rationality at the start of the 2000s to a higher presence of community rationality around 2020. The study indicates that a change in the region's firm structure alters the dominating industrial culture and vice versa. Furthermore, we observe that the change of industrial culture and firm structure occur both through system-level agency, particularly by the cluster organisation, and firm-level agency.
Keywords: regional industrial culture, agency, firm structure, industrial restructuring