Research on industrial clusters mostly focuses on the effects of the competitive advantage they generate. This study takes a different approach, conducting empirical research on three types of Taiwanese parks (export processing zones, industrial zones, and science parks), in which economic development is particularly prominent, and which have industry cluster characteristics. The study explores the effects of special resources and relationships among cluster firms on innovation performance, and focuses on knowledge management as the mediator for investigation. A survey, regression analysis, and correlation analysis probe into the effects of the special resources and relationships among industrial clusters on corporate knowledge management and innovation performance. Knowledge management emerges as the mediator of industry clusters in terms of corporate innovation performance, thus providing support for the research hypotheses. The findings of this study are valuable for further research and strategic thinking on the sustainability of corporate operations.
Over the last few decades, scholars are dedicating an increasing amount of their research efforts to the relation between industrial cluster knowledge management and innovation (Arikan, 2009; Bell, 2005; Casanueva, Castro, & Galán, 2013; Connell & Voola, 2013; Gnyawali & Srivastava, 2013; Lissoni, 2001; Phelps, 2010; Tallman, Jenkins, Henry, & Pinch, 2004). The knowledge necessary for corporate innovation activities is, however, more complex, and even large-scale firms face shortages of knowledge. Given their scarce resources, firms attempt to cooperate with other firms to acquire knowledge and resources, and engage in cross-organizational learning to enhance innovation performance (Casanueva et al., 2013; Yli-Renko, Autio, & Sapienza, 2001). The industrial cluster is a new organizational form that aims to enhance regional development. By forming a cluster, firms can lower their investment costs and facilitate the acquisition of professional labor, knowledge, and techniques to access common suppliers, cultivate professional labor, create spillover effects of techniques and knowledge, and enhance competitiveness (Amin & Thrift, 1995; Bell, Tracey, Jan, & Heide, 2009; Casanueva et al., 2013; Connell & Voola, 2013; Gertler, 2003; Tallman et al., 2004).