The Baltic Region

2014 Issue №4(22)

Back to the list Download the article

The concept of “network” in the system of basic concepts of regional economic geography



The concept of “network” is traditionally used in sociological and economic sciences and serves as an in important object of research on the organisational forms of different phenomena and processes. This article examines the use of the “network” concept in socioeconomic geography through identifying the place of this concept in the system of traditional concepts of this branch of geography: spatial system, territorial production complex, and cluster. The interaction between networks on a certain territory at a certain stage of its development comprises the framework of a region as a complex socioeconomic territorial system. The author examines economic networks as organic systems characterised by resistance to external effects and comprised of interconnected economic agents from one or several related industries. A concentration of strong connections within such network constitutes its core or a cluster. Based on a retrospective analysis of studies into the spatial organisation of economy, it is concluded that there is a need to examine network forms from the perspective of regional socioeconomic geography in the context of managerial decision-making. The regional economic geographical approach to studying network forms of spatial organisation makes it possible to take into account not only the organisational features of the network itself, but also their connections to the related contextual conditions. It is an integrated approach, thus, it makes it possible to forecast the development of a certain network form in case of a change in the conditions or factors affecting it.


1. Alaev, E. B. 1983, Social'no-jekonomicheskaja geografija: ponjatijno-terminologicheskij slovar' [Socio-economic geography: conceptual and terminological dictionary], Moscow, 350 p.
2. Baklanov, P. Ya. 2009, Territorial'naja struktura hozjajstva i jekonomicheskoe rajonirovanie [The territorial structure of the economy and economic zoning]. In: Shkirina, А. I., Shuvalov, V. Е. (eds.), Social'no-jekonomicheskaja geografija: tradicii i sovremennost' [Socio-economic geography: tradition and modernity], Moscow — Smolensk, 347 p.
3. Bolychev, О. N. 2009, Differenciacija Baltijskogo regiona po urovnju i tempam razvitija roznichnoj torgovli [Differentiation of the Baltic region in the level and pace of development of retail trade], Region sotrudnichestva [Region cooperation], no.1 (53), p. 16—25.
4. Bolychev, O., Mikhailov, A. 2014, Network Transformations in Economy, Balt. Reg., no. 3 (21). DOI: 10.5922/2079-8555-2014-3-3.
5. Bolychev, О. N. 2013, Territorial'naja differenciacija razvitija roznichnoj torgovli i torgovyh setej v Rossii [Territorial differentiation of retailers and retail chains in Russia], Region sotrudnichestva [Region cooperation], no. 3 (59).
6. Bolychev, О. N. 2009, Torgovaja set': formirovanie i strategicheskoe upravlenie na raznyh jetapah razvitija [Trading Network: formation and strategic management at different stages of development], Kaliningrad, 87 p.
7. Bolychev O., Fidrya E. 2013, Issledovanija mezhorganizacionnyh setej v zapadnoj jekonomicheskoj sociologii: analiz teoreticheskih podhodov [Inter-organizational networks as seen by western economic sociology: An analysis of theoretical approaches], Vestnik Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, no. 12, p. 128—138.
8. Bolychev, О. N. 2009, Jetapy formirovanija i razvitija setevyh predprinimatel'skih struktur [Stages of formation and development of network business structures], Izvestija Tul'skogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Jekonomicheskie nauki [Proceedings of the Tula State University. Economics], no. 1, p. 270—279.
9. Gareev, T. 2012, Clusters in the institutional perspective: on the theory and methodology of local socioeconomic development, Balt. Reg., no. 3 (13), p. 4—24. DOI: 10.5922/2079-8555-2012-3-1.
10. Klastery v regional'noj jekonomike [Clusters in the regional economy], 2010, Samara, State Autonomous Institution of Samara Region "Centre of innovative development and cluster initiatives", available at: pdf (accessed 03.11.2014)
11. Kolosovsky, N. N. 1947, Proizvodstvenno-territorial'noe sochetanie (kompleks) v sovetskoj jekonomicheskoj [Production and territorial combination (complex) in Soviet economic geography], Voprosy geografii [Questions of geography], no. 6, p. 133—168.
12. Kuznetsov, О. P. 2014, Modeli processov rasprostranenija aktivnosti v setevyh strukturah [Model of the propagation of activity in network structures]. In: XII Vserossijskoe soveshhanie po problemam upravlenija [XII All-Russian Conference on Control Problems], Moscow, 2014, 16—19 June, p. 3897—3907, available at: (дата обращения: 03.11.2014).
13. Pylypenko, I. V. 2004, Principial'nye razlichija v koncepcii promyshlennyh klasterov i territorial'no-proizvodstvennyh kompleksov [Fundamental differences in the concept of industrial clusters and clustering], Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta. Serija 5. Geografija [Bulletin of Moscow University. Series 5. Geography], no. 5, p. 3—9.
14. Porter, М. 2006, Konkurencija [Competition], Moscow, 261 p.
15. Saushkin, Yu. G. 1973, Jekonomicheskaja geografija: istorija, teorija, metody,  praktika [Economic Geography: History, Theory, methods, practices], Moscow.
16. Sidorov, V. P., Shamaeva, N. P. 2011, Klastery i territorial'no-proizvodstvennye kompleksy [Clusters and territorial production complex], Vestnik Udmurtskogo universiteta [Bulletin of Udmurt University], no. 4, p. 140—144.
17. Horev, B. S. 1981, Territorial'naja organizacija obshhestva [Territorial organization of society], Moscow.
18. Sharygin, М. D. 2003, Territorial'nye obshhestvennye sistemy (regional'nyj i lokal'nyj urovni organizacii i upravlenija) [Local social systems (regional and local levels of the organization and management)], Perm’.
19. Schumpeter, J. 1982, Teorija jekonomicheskogo razvitija [Theory of Economic Development], Moscow, 174 p.
20. Amin, A., Cohendet, P. 1999, Learning and adaptation in decentralised business networks, Environment and Planning: Society and Space, no. 17 (1), p. 87—104.
21. Bathelt, H. 2002, The re-emergence of a media industry cluster in Leipzig, European Planning Studies, no. 10, p. 583—611.
22. Clark, G. L., Tracey, P. 2004, Global Competitiveness and Innovation: An Agent-Centered Perspective. Houndsmill, New York.
23. Cook, K. S., Emerson, R. M., Gillmore, M. R., Yamagishi, T. 1983 The Distribution of Power in Exchange Networks: Theory and Experimental Results, The American Journal of Sociology, no. 89 (2), p. 275—305.
24. Cooke, P. 2001, Regional innovation systems, clusters and the knowledge economy, Industrial and corporate change, no. 10 (4), p. 945—974.
25. Czamanski, S., Czamanski, D. 1977, Industrial complexes: their typology, structure and relation to regional development, Papers of the regional science association, no. 38, p. 93—111.
26. Delgado, М., Porter, М. Е., Stern, S. 2014, Defining Clusters of Related Industries, NBER Working Paper, no. 20375, August 2014, available at: http://www.nber. org/papers/w20375 (accessed 02.11.2014)
27. Delgado, М., Porter, М. Е., Stern, S. 2014, Defining Clusters of Related Industries, Cluster by Cluster Definitions (Traded), June 2014, available at: pdf (accessed 30.10.2014)
28. Delgado, М., Porter, М. Е., Stern, S. 2013, Defining Clusters of Related Industries, Paper presented at the Industry studies association annual conference, Kansas City, 2013, May 28—31, available at: http://www.industrystudies. pitt. edu/kansascity13/documents/Papers/2.4 %20-%20Delgado%20-%20Presentation.pdf (accessed 30.10.2014)
29. Emerson, R. M., Berger, J., Zelditch, M., Anderson, B. 1972, Exchange Theory, Part II: Exchange Relations and Networks, Sociological Theories in Progress, Vol. 2, p. 58—87.
30. Enright, M. J. 1993, The geographic scope of competitive advantage. In: Driven, E., Groenewegen, J., van Hoof, S. (eds.), Stuck in the Region? Changing scales for regional identity, Utrecht, p. 87—102.
31. Gertler, M. S. 2003, Tacit knowledge and the economic geography of context, or The undefinable tacitness of being (there), Journal of Economic Geography, no. 3, p. 75—99.
32. Isard, W. 1960, Methods of regional analysis: an introduction to regional science, Cambridge, MA.
33. Koestler, A. 1967, The Ghost in the Machine, London. 34. Malecki, E. J., Oinas, P. (eds.), 1999, Making Connections. Technological Learning and Regional Economic Change, Aldershot, Ashgate.
35. Malmberg, A., Power, D. 2003, (How) Do Firms in Clusters Create Knowledge? Paper presented at the DRUID Summer Conference 2003 on ‘Creating, Sharing and Transferring Knowledge: The Role of Geography, Institutions and Organizations’, 2003, June 12—14, Copenhagen.
36. Ketels, Ch. Protsiv, S. (eds.), 2014, Methodology and Findings Report for a Cluster Mapping of Related Sectors. In: European Cluster Observatory REPORT, available at: pdf (accessed: 01.11.2014).
37. Perroux, F. 1955, A Note on the Notion of Growth Pole, Applied Economy, no. 1(2), p. 307—320.
38. Porter, M. E. 2000, Location, Competition, and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy, Economic Development Quarterly, no. 14, p. 15—34.
39. Porter, M. E. 1990, The Competitive Advantage of Nations, Harvard Business Review, March-April, 73—93.
40. Prochnik, V. 1998, Industrial complexes revisited, Paper presented at the international Joseph Schumpeter conference, Vienna, Austria, 1998, June.
41. Saxenian, A. L. 1990, The origins and dynamics of production networks in Silicon Valley, University of California at Berkley, Institute of urban and regional development, Working paper no.516.
42. Saxenian, A. L. 1989, Regional production networks and the resurgence of Silicon Valley. University of California at Berkley, Institute of urban and regional development, Working paper no.508.
43. What are Industrial Clusters? San Diego Association of governments, available at: http://www.sandag. org/rta/transfer/industrial_clusters. pdf (accessed: 28.10.2014).