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On-line version ISSN 1679-3951

Abstract

CUNHA, Julio Araujo Carneiro da; PASSADOR, João Luiz  and  PASSADOR, Cláudia Souza. The presence of intermediate agents in the establishment of interorganizational networks: an analysis grounded on a temporal perspective. Cad. EBAPE.BR [online]. 2012, vol.10, n.1, pp. 108-128. ISSN 1679-3951.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-39512012000100008.

There are academic efforts to understand the formation of networks in the interorganizational research agenda, a subject that attracts the interest of policy makers since they seek through associative initiatives promoted by the State or through private agents, substance to promote local development. Based on this, the objective of this study is to verify, through the formation of the shoe cluster in Birigüi, São Paulo State, whether the presence of these agents is essential for cluster formation. The theoretical foundations are the temporal evolution of networks, the Institutional Theory applied to interorganizational networks, social capital embedded in relational ties and the presence of intermediate agents as coordinators in network governance. The research strategy adopted was based on interviews with 32% of the managers of an enterprise that formally joined the cluster and with a manager from the intermediate agent, in addition to the researcher's observation and analysis of previous studies of Birigüi's industry. The results verified the existence of a regional legacy that supports a local know-how knowledge base for shoe manufacturing. However, it was perceived that the interests of participants in the cluster were mainly focused on commercial issues, without the development of an adequate level of social capital and institutionalization to legitimately create an association as a result of the organizations' own will. Without this strong institutional environment in the region, a clear rational explanation for associative initiatives could not be found. The perception was that gains from network participation are expected for the future. It was concluded that the coordination done by an intermediate agent has limited articulated power in the formation of an interorganizational network when there is no previous institutional formation that involves, mainly, social capital values and norms. Without these pre-requirements, the intermediate agent may end up with governance functions for the network's accessory actions.

Keywords : Intermediate agents; Interorganizational networks; Cluster; Network governance.

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