Introduction to theme (multi-level (human) coordination and empowerment)
The question of coordination between all the actors included in this model (with sections on collaboration on more levels and the link between human coordination and empowerment)
V.1. Collaboration on more than one level
Collaboration for regional economic development is the joint working between partners to achieve shared and mutually beneficial objectives, in the short or longer term, that help places adopt to increasingly knowledge intensive economic changes and which could not be achieved as effectively by working alone. This link describes collaboration between local leaders, universities, local social entrepreneurs, and businesses. Related research examines how collaboration may aid in improving the quality of the national and regional situation. Several studies have acknowledged the importance of collaboration between these parties for attaining local economic development. Furthermore, collaboration between leaders at different levels and links between outside actors and local leaders facilitate this. Collaboration leads in the short term directly to the exchange of knowledge that improves economic performance, and indirectly to the exchange of knowledge that supports business activities.
In the long term, collaboration directly creates mutual understanding and indirectly creates conditions for knowledge and economic development.
Future Research should test whether factors that were found in the literature to influence the collaboration process are valid in the context of the Multi-Level, Multi-Actor Model of Local Economic Development.
V.2. Link between human coordination and empowerment
Research has addressed the relationship between human coordination and empowerment. Empowerment can be defined as “as any process that enables“ autonomy, self-direction, self-confidence, and self-worth” (Ghiassi, 2011; Alsop and Heinsohn, 2005; Narayan, 2005). Stimulating empowerment has been determined as enhancing economic development at the local level. Effective community empowerment is only possible when the community is viewed as a system with parts (for example: jobs, education, health) that need to function together. In order for this system to function effectively, there needs to be coordination of the activities involved in the community empowerment process. The community coordinators role is not to empower the community, but to help create an environment in which a community can empower itself. This can be achieved by assisting the community in the process of forming sustainable and independent empowerment groups. The community coordinator and the formed empowerment groups co-coordinate throughout the empowerment process.
Future research should examine which empowerment practices are most effective. This will vary for each community but the effectiveness of community empowerment committees can still be examined.
V.3. Link between human coordination and entrepreneurial activities
As entrepreneurial activities may aid in enhancing local economic development, this theme involves coordination approaches that stimulate entrepreneurial activities. Many governments aim to encourage entrepreneurship, but the extent to which governments are capable of doing so is uncertain. Although governments play a crucial role in sustaining and upgrading entrepreneurial clusters, they should not focus on designing the perfect policy but on continuously solving problems and working closely with the entrepreneurs and innovators around them. This can be done by hiring delivery units which can strengthen an entrepreneurial ecosystem or by cooperating with cluster organizations.
Future research should include the cluster concept in the Multi-Level, Multi-Actor Model of Local Economic Development. The cluster concept is closely related to Entrepreneurship and Local Economic Development.