The School of Graduate Studies and Research of The American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) invited Associate Professor of International Business from KEDGE Business School, France, Dr. Dimitrios Tsagdis, to speak to students, faculty, and staff as part of their Public Lecture Series over “Successful EU Nations, Regions, and Clusters: An Overview of the Interrleations between Competitiveness, Productivity, and Prosperity.”
Prior to joining KEDGE in 2015, Dr Tsagdis led a distinguished twenty-three year career in a number of United Kingdom Universities along with several international appointments and visiting professorships. His research focuses on local-global interfaces at different levels of complexity. His research has been published in top international journals and he is a regular keynote speaker in international conferences.
Bilal Akash, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research, introduced Dr. Dimitrios, who transitioned straight into his presentation. This presentation explored the multi-level relationships between competitiveness, productivity, prosperity, and ‘success’ in clusters, regions, and nations along with the range of factors underpinning them, using the EU as its empirical context. Starting with clusters, as one of the lowest levels of meaningful economic differentiation, the case of the successful Linköping ICT cluster in the highly productive and competitive but not highly prosperous Östra Mellansverige region of Sweden was considered, reporting its critical success factors along with the set of ‘objects’ and relations underpinning its success. Advancing to higher levels of geographical resolution, the World Economic Forum and the EU understanding of national and regional competitiveness were introduced respectively along with the pivotal role of productivity. Their underpinning factors were reported and the longitudinal patterns of the UK competitiveness (for the 1995-2018 period) was used as an example to raise some key questions about the relative and ephemeral nature of such competitiveness measures and understandings. The presentation then deepened into issues of EU regional productivity and longitudinal labor productivity patterns in particular. The case of Italy, rich in successful clusters (‘industrial districts’ in the local vernacular), but rather weak in regional and national productivity, competitiveness, and prosperity, was used as an illustration of the differences between the aforementioned concepts. The generalization of this relationship was then depicted across all EU regions. This allows the identification of important national differences in the transformation of regional productivity into prosperity. The presentation concluded with some important implications for theory, policy, and practice.
The one thing Dr. Dimitrios wanted his audience to take away from his lecture was the understanding that the “relationship between product, competitiveness, and prosperity is complex and requires research of industry and life cycle.” Overall, he felt like the lecture was positive in that through the questions from the question and answer session, he could tell that the audience members got something useful from it.
Mr. Mohamed Khalifa of Human Resources was one of the members in the audience who “found it interesting. I’m interested in what makes countries prosperous.”
Provost Stephen Whilhite was also in the crowd, “These are the kinds of events we want to encourage on the campus with other foreign institutions. Today’s lecture was relevant to the topics we center on at our university. I am looking forward to featuring more of these types of events.”