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Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1279; doi:10.3390/su8121279

Beyond Apprenticeship: Knowledge Brokers and Sustainability of Apprentice-Based Clusters

1
School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, 19 Xinjiekouwai Street, Beijing 100875, China
2
Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 550 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
3
School of Culture and Communication & Cultural Economics Research Institute, Central University of Finance and Economics, 39 South College Road, Beijing 100081, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Hongbo Liu, Sizhong Sun and Iain Gordon
Received: 17 September 2016 / Revised: 29 November 2016 / Accepted: 3 December 2016 / Published: 7 December 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [997 KB, uploaded 7 December 2016]   |  

Abstract

Knowledge learning and diffusion have long been discussed in the literature on the dynamics of industrial clusters, but recent literature provides little evidence for how different actors serve as knowledge brokers in the upgrading process of apprentice-based clusters, and does not dynamically consider how to preserve the sustainability of these clusters. This paper uses empirical evidence from an antique furniture manufacturing cluster in Xianyou, Fujian Province, in southeastern China, to examine the growth trajectory of the knowledge learning system of an antique furniture manufacturing cluster. It appears that the apprentice-based learning system is crucial during early stages of the cluster evolution, but later becomes complemented and relatively substituted by the role of both local governments and focal outsiders. This finding addresses the context of economic transformation and provides empirical insights into knowledge acquisition in apprentice-based clusters to question the rationality based on European and North American cases, and to provide a broader perspective for policy makers to trigger and sustain the development of apprentice-based clusters. View Full-Text
Keywords: local learning; knowledge brokers; apprentice-based clusters; antique furniture manufacturing; China local learning; knowledge brokers; apprentice-based clusters; antique furniture manufacturing; China
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Zhu, H.; Chen, K.W.; Dai, J. Beyond Apprenticeship: Knowledge Brokers and Sustainability of Apprentice-Based Clusters. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1279.

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