Vertical and horizontal relationships in the process of innovation and learning by interacting: study in an industry cluster

Abstract This study sought to examine the vertical and horizontal relationships and the impact of these relationships on the process of innovation and learning by interacting, using a case study in an active industry cluster in Brazil. The methodology procedure was field research with a universe of 36 companies of the lumber industry. The research results helped identify the factors that prevent companies of a cluster from establishing more solid collaboration relationships capable of enhancing competitiveness. It was found that the prevailing mechanism in the business environment of the cluster was learning by doing, obtained from accumulated experiences and skills acquired locally, which allow the definition of adaptations and technological improvements. These findings reveal the need to create spaces inside the companies for learning by interacting and the development of new skills and competencies required for innovation.