Keep your friends close and at a distance : studying the structural network properties of a regional cluster and it’s broader ecosystem through social network analysis
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- Master Thesis 
Regional clusters and ecosystems are increasingly becoming an important part of many organizations’ and countries’ strategies for innovation and economic growth. In the context of the Norwegian fintech industry, this thesis aims to investigate the structural characteristics of the networks of interfirm relations that make up a regional cluster and the broader ecosystems which it is embedded. This was accomplished by collecting data through an electronic survey on the relations of both members and non-members of the regional cluster NCE Finance Innovation and analysing these relations through the lens of social network analysis (SNA). Our results indicate that the regional cluster members to a large extent have relations outside the regional cluster’s boundaries. Moreover, the regional cluster network exhibits hierarchical properties, where a few actors are significantly more connected, and therefore potentially important for the network’s ability to diffuse information and knowledge. We found that traditional financial institutions are highly central with regards to every used centrality measure, which might suggest that the firm-specific characteristics of cluster members to a degree can explain their level of connectedness. Our findings suggest that SNA can be a valuable tool for researchers, cluster facilitators and policy makers by exposing detailed information about the network properties of a regional cluster, such as the distribution of influence and the efficiency of information flows.