J Blazek, A Belohradsky, Z Holicka (2021)
European Planning Studies, 1-20

This article aims to address two research questions. First, what is the relationship between the basic characteristics of companies engaged in global and regional production networks (such as their tier, ownership, size) and their economic performance. In doing so, we scrutinize the empirical basis for frequent calls to ‘climb the ladder’. Second, we investigate the extent to which the economic performance of companies is related to their differing intensity of engagement into production networks, something largely disregarded in existing studies. The study uses economic indicators derived from a database covering the evolution of 55 Czech aerospace companies over a 14-year period. The methodology is based on descriptive statistics as well as on canonical correlation that helps to investigate multidimensional conditioning of economic performance of companies. The results show not only large variations in the economic performance of companies, but also several counter-intuitive trends. Our analysis consistently yielded the statistically significant finding that lead firms and first-tier suppliers are able to sacrifice short-term profitability and level of value added in order to reach a higher level of value capture. Therefore, the difference between value creation and value capture require careful consideration by researchers as well as by policymakers when comprehending the costs and benefits of functional upgrading.

Jiri Blazek, Viktor Kveton (2021)
Handbook on City and Regional Leadership

This chapter investigates the role of leaders in the process of deep socioeconomic transformation since the collapse of the state socialism, with a particular focus on the emergence of a regional innovation system in Moravia-Silesia, the largest Czech old industrial region. Methodologically, the chapter is based upon a long-lasting participative observation of socioeconomic evolution performed by both authors, as well as on interviews with key stakeholders (such as the former and current representatives of various intermediate bodies, leading academics and politicians) during the period 2018-19. First, we investigate key regional stakeholders’ perception on the extent to which city and regional leaders fulfilled their roles in terms of setting up the vision and reaching and sustaining consensus among the regional stakeholders, as well as ensuring practical steps to make their vision a reality. Second, we scrutinize variation in the practices of place leadership and examine the extent to which leaders tried to institutionalize their informal networks or exerted efforts to alter the existing institutional setup. Overall, the case of Moravia-Silesia suggests that good leaders make a substantial difference, especially under generally favourable framework conditions, when - in an ideal case - they can effectively use the opportunities offered during such enabling periods. By contrast, fighting a deep crisis requires leaders of truly exceptional calibre; such leaders were not available in the region at that time.