Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to analyse the main dynamics of the Italian food system, focusing on the relationships between the inclination to innovate and a set of firm characteristics. Design/methodology/approach – The empirical analysis includes two steps. In the first, principal component analysis is carried out in order to identify factors that can explain the features that differentiate Italian food firms. In the second phase the role of such factors on innovation behaviour is quantified by means of a logit model. Findings – The empirical analysis showed that, in the Italian food sector, innovation adoption follows different patterns when product or process innovation is considered. In particular, the probability of introducing product innovation is influenced by the quality of human capital, the geographical context and, to a lesser extent, the age of the firm. Research limitations/implications – The research is restricted in so far as it only considers the Italian food sector. Because the data survey is representative only at the level of the manufacturing industry as a whole and excludes firms with fewer than ten employees, the analysis for the food sector can only be indicative. Practical implications – This paper provides a useful source of knowledge on the innovative behaviour of Italian firms. This highlights the need to provide for diversified intervention strategies to stimulate and enforce innovation in the Italian food sector. Originality/value – The research provides some initial insight into firm perspectives in the role of innovations to enhance firms’ market competitiveness.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 8, 2008
Keywords: Innovation; Competitive strategy; Italy; Food industry
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