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Why networking matters to peripheral small firms

On May 30th 2013 Nordregio's Research Fellow Alexandre Dubois will publicly defend his PhD-thesis from the Department of Human Geography at Stockholm University. The thesis is entitled Managing Distance and brings new insights on the importance of business networks for small firm development in peripheral regions.

Alexandre DuboisAs a red thread, Alexandre advocates that the contemporary processes of globalization have profoundly changed the contours and landscape of the economy worldwide. He further argues that a geographically peripheral region and its economic agents can no longer be considered as marginalized from global patterns of economic exchanges and interactions. However, their inclusion in such processes is increasingly dependent on the ability of individual firms to channel and coordinate the external resources necessary for sustaining their competitiveness. Another important condition is that the collective institutional capacity at the regional level promotes entrepreneurial and outward-looking attitudes to trade and exchanges.

Managing Distance is a conceptual and explorative analysis of how globalization is performed by small firms located at the geographical margins. Focusing on the peripheral region of Upper Norrland, Sweden, the study investigates the capacity of small peripheral firms to combine the advantages of locally embedded relations with the necessity for them to reach out to trade and collaborative partners located well outside of the regional boundaries. This contribution also engages a discussion on the potential role that public organizations and stakeholders may play in supporting small firms in achieving their network strategies.

During his time at Nordregio, Alexandre has worked extensively on issues related to regional development in Europe's sparsely populated areas and its relation to European spatial planning.

Alexandre's PhD-thesis will be publically defended on Thursday the 30th of May at the University of Stockholm. The cover essay is already available on the DIVA-portal.