Masters Theses

Orcid ID

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Ronald V. Kalafsky

Committee Members

Ronald Foresta, Liem Tran


Knowledge is one of the most desirable commodities within any industry. Due to a continually globalizing marketplace, firms seek new venues to access pertinent information that will aid in their success. Significant sources of knowledge for industrial markets can be found in the temporary agglomerations that have been around for years: international trade fairs. The goal of this paper is to explore how firms in the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry use educational programs during trade fairs. Specifically, how firms use these programs to access remote knowledge (i.e. tacit information unavailable in local context) in these temporary, localized environments. Analysis of firm-level survey data gathered at Solar Power International revealed that there is a significant effect of educational program participation on accessing remote knowledge. The results provide evidence that firms participate in trade fair educational programs to access remote knowledge critical to success in the global economy. Moreover, the analyses intimate that firms according high levels of importance for knowledge exchange with customers and competitors also place high levels of importance on educational program attendance. Finally, relationships between the importance of exports, trade fairs as export strategies, and the importance of educational programs are also examined. This study finds that firms whom concentrate on exports were less likely to view educational programs as a beneficial opportunity.

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