45th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Land Use and Water Management in a Sustainable Network Society", 23-27 August 2005, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The paper discusseses the spatial dimensions of innovation in Polish manufacturing companies. The conceptual framework of the paper is an understanding of social networks as a potential resource of the company, whether they are internal or external. Whether the company benefits from the potential resources attached to the network depends on the capabilities characterising the firm in terms of qualifications, organisational characteristics and attitude towards employees and towards other firms. This again is not only determined by personal characteristics of the management and staff, but also by the common perceptions, and the institutional infrastructure prevailing in the (local) society. In Poland the latter is closely connected with the process of transition since 1990. The paper reports from a study among Polish manufacturing companies. It categorises the types of innovation prevailing in the companies and detects the role of networks in the innovation process of the companies. To what extend do the companies draw on external networks, on what points of the innovation process are the networks involved, what kind of networks are involved, and not least, what are the spatial characteristics of the networks (local, national international). Finally how can the network strategy of the companies be explained? What factors seem to determine an active involvement of networks and what other factors seem to explain a self-sufficient strategy of innovation? What is the spatial extension of the networks, and are there systematic differences in the spatial extension of the networks? Does the transitional situation of the Polish society seem to favour certain strategies of innovation?