Remote Industrial Clusters


George Tesar and Jan Bodin call for cases for the case book Marketing Management in Geographically Remote Industrial Clusters: Implications for Business-to-Consumer Marketing

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Dear Colleagues:

This is a call for teaching cases to be included in a new case book:


The case book will be edited by George Tesar, Professor Emeritus, Umeå University and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; and Jan Bodin, Assistant Professor, Umeå School of Business, Umeå University. World Scientific Press (Imperial College Press) will publish the book.

What kind of teaching cases?

We are looking for teaching cases that focus on marketing management issues among smaller manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) based in geographically remote industrial clusters (GRICs) that market business-to-consumer products or services. We are especially interested in teaching cases that address entrepreneurial activities, research and development issues, start-ups, and domestic and international operations all within the context of business to consumer marketing. More specifically, we are soliciting teaching cases that, in some ways, relate to marketing management in single or multiple SMEs operating, and cooperating, in GRICs with emphasis on marketing of consumer products and services in domestic and foreign markets. Marketing management perspectives of financial management, manufacturing operations, or technology transfer will be considered. We welcome examples from any part of the world where GRICs exist.

For the purpose of this publication, we tentatively define GRICs as groups of SMEs with similar market objectives, frequently sharing local or regional resources, knowledge, or productive capabilities and typically located 150 miles (240 kilometers) or more from metropolitan areas, state capitals, or administrative centers.

The concept of GRICs is not necessarily a new phenomenon in economic geography, economic development, or even university spinoffs; however, with the new emphasis on local entrepreneurship, local value creation, regional development, and export development, many regional and local governments are placing greater emphasis on establishing local incubators and industrial parks to stimulate industrial development, create jobs, and sustainable economic growth. Much of this effort in the future is expected to come from new or established SMEs of similar size and industrial focus within specialized GRICs.

Numerous examples can already be found in geographically remote areas in northern Europe—places such as northern Sweden, Finland, and Norway; in North America in places such as Alaska, Idaho, and Wisconsin; western Canadian provinces; Western Australia; and in South America especially in Argentina, Brazil, and in the Chilean Andes. Most GRICs have several common characteristics: they share the need for appropriate modes of transportation, communication options including the Internet, specialized local labor, and a set of unique resources, among others. Many academic researchers, management consultants, and even government officials view GRICs as a new phenomenon in local or regional industrial development which will have a significant impact on future marketing management and how it is practiced.

What role will the teaching cases play?

Students in advanced courses of marketing management, students in entrepreneurial programs, and students interested in regional issues need to be exposed to this rapidly growing area of marketing management. The intent of these teaching cases is to help students explore business-to-consumer marketing and management issues from the perspective of smaller manufacturing enterprises based in GRICs in areas such as: (1) identification and formation of markets, (2) assessment of primary and secondary demand for business-to-consumer products and services, (3) new product and service development options and processes, (4) physical movement of goods and logistical support systems, (5) communication and promotional efforts for products and services, (6) remote monitoring and telecommunication support for marketing activities, and (7) marketing control and management practices.

Additional concerns of enterprises operating in GRICs are direct or Internet sales, technical support services, research and development issues within value chains, and manufacturing options related to aspects of marketing and management. These issues are increasingly more demanding and challenging for the smaller manufacturing enterprises in GRICs interested in export or international operations and provide excellent platforms for students interested in international marketing or management.

Additional background

Several recent developments underscore the importance of GRICs in industrial development. The number of GRICs is increasing internationally. Largely due to improved communication and the Internet, their marketing activities are growing. At the same time, population centers in geographically remote areas are experiencing inflows due to improved environmental conditions and social infrastructures. Governments are providing incentives to make it attractive for industrial enterprises of all kinds to locate in GRICs. In addition, larger international enterprises are seeking geographic areas away from large metropolitan centers in which to conduct research and test new products and equipment under extreme environmental conditions. For example, automotive development and testing, telecommunication service providers, forestry and mining related industries are already managing many successful operations in northern Sweden and Finland.

Marketing management practices within GRICs in northern Europe may not necessarily be identical to those in North America. Marketing management practices in the remote parts of South and Central America and South East Asia also tend to differ significantly however, they are still based on theoretical and conceptual fundamentals of marketing management—and marketing managers face similar problems. In most instances, the behavior of GRICs as a configuration of SMEs may be unique in specific parts of the world. The marketing and managerial dynamics within the clusters may be substantially different and may require different managerial skills and approaches to decision making. For example, due to the cold climate of northern Sweden, several regions are routinely used by the global automobile industry to test new technologies and major innovations. The local and regional infrastructure that caters to the needs of the automotive industry is substantially underdeveloped from marketing and management perspectives and is highly dominated by local family entrepreneurs who lack advanced marketing and management knowhow.


We are looking for original teaching cases. They should be based on primary or secondary research, consulting experiences, or real situations in operations today. All submitted teaching cases will be refereed. Before final publication the author(s) will need to provide a release letter stating that the submitted teaching case may, in fact, be published. Appropriate acknowledgement will be given to each author(s) of each case.

Each teaching case should be sixteen to eighteen pages long, single spaced, using Times New Roman 18 point fonts. No more than fifteen key terms used in the body of the case should be provided for indexing. A two page teaching note should be provided with each case.

Deadline for submission: June 1, 2011

Expected publication: January 2012

Reference material

Cortright, Joseph, Making Sense of Clusters: Regional Competitiveness and Economic Development, The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program: A discussion paper, March 2006.

Enright, Michael J. and Brian H. Roberts, “Regional Clustering in Australia,” Australian Journal of Management, 26 (August, 2001), 65-86.

Porter, Michael E., “Clusters and the New Economics of Competition,” Harvard Business Review (November-December, 1998), 77-90.

For more information please contact:

George Tesar or Jan Bodin

March 1, 2011