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The role of powerful incumbent firms: shaping regional industrial path development through change and maintenance agency

Simon Baumgartinger-Seiringer

PEGIS from Institute for Economic Geography and GIScience, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Abstract: This article seeks to advance perspectives on powerful incumbent firms in (new) regional industrial path development. Drawing on recent insights from Transition Studies, it is argued that this – hitherto often neglected – actor group plays a crucial role in shaping the pace and direction of regional path development through agency oriented towards both change and maintenance. Building on systemic perspectives at the intersection of evolutionary economic geography and innovation studies, particular emphasis is placed on incumbent firms’ interventions to reconfigure or stabilize their surrounding regional innovation system to support their intentions. To this end, this article examines how incumbents exert their influence through various forms of power as means by which they promote or hinder regional industrial change. Empirically, the role of incumbent firms in a traditional automotive industry in Austria is investigated. It is shown how they leverage their power to propel the industry’s digitalization and suppress its decarbonization.

Keywords: regional restructuring; path development; incumbents; agency; automotive industry; power (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O33 R11 R58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 25 pages
Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-sbm and nep-ure
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:wiw:wiwpeg:geo-disc-2021_07

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