Hooked up to the international artistic community: external linkages, absorptive capacity and exporting by small creative firms
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionFitjar, R.D., Jøsendal, K. (2016) Hooked up to the international artistic community: external linkages, absorptive capacity and exporting by small creative firms. Creative Industries Journal (CIJ), 9 (1), 29-46. 10.1080/17510694.2016.1154654
The contemporary economy is marked both by the growth in international trade and the increasing importance of the creative industries. However, these activities are dominated by big firms and big cities, spurring a large body of research into creative cities in the last decade. Going against this trend, this paper examines how small creative firms in small cities can successfully export their products. Drawing on survey data from 464 small firms in the creative industries in the county of Rogaland, Norway, it examines how cooperation with partners and active strategies for identifying and absorbing knowledge from these partners affect the firms' ability to sell their products abroad. Firms with extensive collegial linkages, especially those that cooperate with partners in the international artistic community, are particularly successful at exporting. However, cooperation within the national artistic community may have a negative effect on exporting. Furthermore, having strategies for absorbing knowledge from external partners has an independent effect on the ability to export. These findings highlight the need for firms in small cities to develop linkages to the international artistic community, rather than trying to replicate global creative cities at a small scale through relying only or mainly on local cooperation.