Sepe, Fabiana (2017) Tradition and innovation in small wine firms. The case of Campania Region. [Tesi di dottorato]


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Item Type: Tesi di dottorato
Lingua: English
Title: Tradition and innovation in small wine firms. The case of Campania Region.
Date: 6 December 2017
Number of Pages: 180
Institution: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Department: dep04
Dottorato: phd052
Ciclo di dottorato: 30
Coordinatore del Corso di dottorato:
Della Corte, ValentinaUNSPECIFIED
Solima, LudovicoUNSPECIFIED
Date: 6 December 2017
Number of Pages: 180
Uncontrolled Keywords: tradition and innovation, wine industry, small firms
Settori scientifico-disciplinari del MIUR: Area 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche > SECS-P/08 - Economia e gestione delle imprese
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2018 20:37
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019 08:57


The recent dynamics of the wine industry have attracted much attention in the last years. An increasing scientific community spanning over economics, management, and innovation studies are paying much attention on the radical process of structural change that is affecting this specific sector. Radical changes are increasingly affecting both demand and supply conditions. Specifically, on the supply side, a remarkable process of professionalization, research and knowledge intensification is taking place; new professionals and specialized knowledge workers (e.g., oenologists and agronomists) holding university qualifications are introducing new scientific methods and practices in the vineyard and in the cellar, thus radically changing the wine-making process. Indeed, in a couple of decades the wine industry experienced a drastic revolution, moving from a traditional low-tech industry to a knowledge intensive, (applied) science-based and innovative industry. On the demand side, changes in preferences from large quantity bulk wine to small quantity premium wines are re-orienting companies’ market strategies, attaching a renewed importance to the different innovation dimensions (from product/process to marketing/organization up to external knowledge sources and systemic innovation). Furthermore, because of the development of a gourmet culture, firms strive for identifying market niches populated by highly sophisticated consumers demanding “hedonic and experience goods”. Starting from these premises, the current dissertation is articulated in four chapters. The first chapter presents a general overview to the study that introduces the core issues of the current dissertation. These ones pave the way to the definition of some theoretical reflections, which constitute a precious point of departure for the statement of the research problem. Indeed, in order to identify the literature gaps, by contributing to add value to this study, the starting point is to understand and deeply investigate on the main traits characterizing the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry, generally and wine sector, specifically. Overall, the added value of this dissertation is to test the research issue within a specific industry context. Starting from both the assessment of the literature gaps and the definition of the motivations supporting this study, the structure of the current dissertation is conceived according to the development of theoretical and empirical sections in order to address both the research scope and the research questions. As for the research design, this study follows a precise path that is composed of two main steps: 1) the first stage focuses on a review of the existing literature, paying particular attention to how small firms manage innovation, as well as a study of the specific innovation strategies implemented by small firms operating in wine industry; 2) the second phase relies on the empirical investigation aimed at carrying out the data analysis in order to answer the research questions and to achieve the research objective. The second chapter proposes a theoretical analysis on the literature background based upon the innovation concept within the strategic management literature. Since the focus of the current dissertation is on the innovation implemented by small firms, the attention shifts on the variables contributing to define the small firms’ innovative profile. In this regard, both external and internal variables are taken into consideration. The first ones regard the opportunities a small firm can seize from the environment: on the contrary, the internal variables refer to specific endogenous features characterizing a small firm. Nonetheless, in order to provide this dissertation with a more solid theoretical background, the main focus is on a deep understanding of the innovation practices implemented within the wine industry. In this sense, due to the relevance of this sector and the relative growing interest of the researchers in carrying out studies in this field, an up-to-date literature review on the theme of wine innovation is realized. In order to both have a more thorough picture of the world of wine and to understand how and to which extent innovation can be implemented in this specific sector, chapter three deals with the ‘state of the art’ of the globalization process affecting the wine industry, by particularly focusing on Italy, which is the leading country in terms of wine production. Than, a general overview of the wine industry guarantees a better and more deep understanding of the different aspects characterizing this specific sector, sheding light on the importance to introduce innovative patterns, remaining, at same time anchored to the traditional components and first of all to the terroir concept. In this perspective, the concept of terroir and wine as both cultural and luxury product is investigated, paying also particular attention to the development of the ‘wine tourism phenomenon’, which plays a key role with reference to both marketing activities and systemic collaboration. The interest of undertaking this study in Campania Region is twofold: firstly, top quality wines are a ‘flag product’ of Campania Region and, secondly, it is a region with a wine tradition of ancient origins (it is one of he first and most important centres of settlement, cultivation and study of wine in the world). Definitively, by taking into account the theoretical framework on innovation and the different facets characterizing the world of wine, chapter four deals with the empirical analysis that, in line with the research questions and the research scope, aims to verify if small wine firms implement innovation at different levels and, if yes, to test their inclination to adopt and implement some innovation practices rather than other ones. In order to answer to the second research question, the current dissertation carries out a hierarchical cluster analysis aimed at verifying how the sampled wine firms can be clustered according to their degree of implemented innovations. Finally, a Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) is implemented to test the theoretical model derived from the literature review. In this regard, the main purpose becomes to test if there is a positive relationship between the selected innovation dimensions (product/process, marketing/organizational, external knowledge and systemic innovation) and the wine firm’s perception to be innovative. Finally, conclusions explain the findings and the results of this study, highlight the limits and give some hints on the future research directions. Properly, as for the limitations and the relative future research horizons, among the principal research constraints, there is the lack of performance data contained in the data set. These ones could be useful for evaluating the effect of innovation predictors on performance. Secondly, this dissertation is based on a unique case study that is the Campania Region wine industry. Hence, caution should be taken in generalizing the findings, since not all regions and/or countries face similar wine growing and development conditions. In this sense, it could be useful to repeat the research through a multiple case study analysis. Another important limit derives from the fact that this study is not a longitudinal one, since the survey seeks to capture information on the topic of innovation, asking to the wine firms to state whether some kinds of innovation were introduced during the previous three years (OECD-EUROSTAT, 1997). In conclusion, conceptualizing a framework based on the different innovation dimensions with reference to the wine industry is helpful for supporting managerial decision-makers, since it can recommends tactical guidance and strategies to implement innovation at different firm’s levels.


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