Why do business service firms cluster? Small consultancies, clustering and decentralization in London and southern England

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Notwithstanding their remarkable recent growth, surprisingly little research has hitherto been conducted on the evolving geography of professional and business services in Britain. This paper analyses the results of a detailed survey of 300 small and medium-sized management and engineering consultancies, in investigating the forces underpinning both the striking clustering of such firms in central London and their growth in decentralized locations of East Anglia and South West England. Particular attention is paid to the notion of clustering, the role of demand-side influences, localized ‘collective learning’ processes, and increasing globalization in clustering, and to so-called ‘enterprising behaviour theory’ in explaining decentralization.

Keywords: London; SMEs collective learning; business services; clustering; globalization

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-5661.00042

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Business Research and Department of Geography, University of Cambridge dek1@cus.cam.ac.uk 2: Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge l.nachum@cbr.cam.ac.uk

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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