International Journal of Operations & Production ManagementEmerald Article: Use of resource-based view in industrial clust...
The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at   The current issue and full text archive of this journal i...
IJOPM   of the study produced a significant improvement in managers’ and strategists’23,9    perceptions about the cluster’...
1993), the identification of strategic resources and their interactions (Amit and Industrial clusterShoemaker, 1993; Black ...
IJOPM   Heterogeneity23,9    According to Peteraf (1993), heterogeneity in an industry can involve situations        in wh...
or substitution depends on a series of factors. Among these are issues described Industrial clusterby Rumelt (1984) and Di...
IJOPM   Research methodology23,9    Strategy formulation in the managerial field is characterised by a strong        depend...
Industrial cluster                                                                                                 strateg...
IJOPM                      (3) Classification of the identified concepts into categories. Consisted of23,9                  ...
The domain analysis examines each concept and calculates how many Industrial clusterconcepts are “immediately” linked to i...
IJOPM   The case of the southern Brazil wine cluster23,9    According to the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin (OI...
The national production of wine in recent years averages approximately 300 Industrial clustermillion litres per year. The ...
IJOPM23,91006Figure 3.Partial view ofcognitive map                  24 and 33) that related with mountain agriculture (con...
Strategic resources and capabilities           Conditions that sustain competitive advantage                              ...
IJOPM   as a basis for strategy formulation. Although RBV constructs are still in23,9    consolidation, Peteraf’s (1993) f...
Dierickx, I. and Cool, K. (1989), “Asset stock accumulation and sustainability of competitive       Industrial cluster    ...
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Use of resource based view in industrial cluster strategic analysis

  1. 1. International Journal of Operations & Production ManagementEmerald Article: Use of resource-based view in industrial clusterstrategic analysisEduardo de Oliveira Wilk, Jaime Evaldo FensterseiferArticle information:To cite this document: Eduardo de Oliveira Wilk, Jaime Evaldo Fensterseifer, (2003),"Use of resource-based view in industrialcluster strategic analysis", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 23 Iss: 9 pp. 995 - 1009Permanent link to this document:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/01443570310491747Downloaded on: 07-12-2012References: This document contains references to 37 other documentsCitations: This document has been cited by 12 other documentsTo copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.comThis document has been downloaded 4741 times since 2005. *Access to this document was granted through an Emerald subscription provided by UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS LONDONFor Authors:If you would like to write for this, or any other Emerald publication, then please use our Emerald for Authors service.Information about how to choose which publication to write for and submission guidelines are available for all. Please visitwww.emeraldinsight.com/authors for more information.About Emerald www.emeraldinsight.comWith over forty years experience, Emerald Group Publishing is a leading independent publisher of global research with impact inbusiness, society, public policy and education. In total, Emerald publishes over 275 journals and more than 130 book series, aswell as an extensive range of online products and services. Emerald is both COUNTER 3 and TRANSFER compliant. The organization isa partner of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and also works with Portico and the LOCKSS initiative for digital archivepreservation. *Related content and download information correct at time of download.
  2. 2. The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0144-3577.htm Industrial cluster Use of resource-based view in strategic industrial cluster strategic analysis analysis 995 Eduardo de Oliveira Wilk and Jaime Evaldo FensterseiferSchool of Administration (PPGA/EA) and Agribusiness Research Center (CEPAN), Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), BrazilKeywords Resources, Cluster analysis, Strategic evaluation, Industrial performance,Winemaking, BrazilAbstract The resource-based view of the firm has recently emerged as a new paradigm instrategic analysis. According to this view, firms are heterogeneous collections of resources that leadthem to distinct market performance. This paper uses this approach not to analyse an individualfirm but a cluster of firms, whose competitiveness depends not only on their individual resourcesand capabilities but also on those shared by the cluster as a whole. The analysis was developed for awine cluster located in southern Brazil. The main objective was the identification of the resourcesand capabilities shared by the cluster in its effort to formulate sustainable competitive strategies.The research method employed combined the techniques of cognitive mapping analysis with thetheoretical basis of the resource-based view approach. The results of the study produced asignificant improvement in managers’ and strategists’ perceptions about the competitive potentialof the cluster.IntroductionOne of the central purposes of strategy formulation and implementation is thedevelopment and sustaining of competitive advantages. The theories in thisfield are under constant scrutiny and frameworks and analytical models thatsearch to explain the nature of competition among firms abound in the strategyliterature. In essence, there is a need for an understanding of why some firmsperform better than others while the competitive environment remains thesame for all firms. Amongst the most relevant contributions in this sense arePorter’s (1980, 1985) five competitive forces model, with its roots in industrialorganisation. Despite the strong contribution of this analytic approach, morerecent research is paying greater attention to the firms’ internal environment,looking for factors like knowledge and other intangible strategic assets toexplain differences in performance. This type of approach is embodied in theso-called “resource-based view (RBV) of the firm”. This paper follows this stream of research. It presents the results obtained ina process of strategic analysis carried out for a wine cluster in southern Brazil.The main objectives were to identify the strategic resources and capabilities of International Journal of Operations &the cluster and to develop an understanding of their interactions and the Production Management Vol. 23 No. 9, 2003conditioning factors that can lead to sustainable competitive advantages. pp. 995-1009 The research method employed combined the techniques of cognitive q MCB UP Limited 0144-3577mapping analysis with the theoretical basis of the RBV approach. The results DOI 10.1108/01443570310491747
  3. 3. IJOPM of the study produced a significant improvement in managers’ and strategists’23,9 perceptions about the cluster’s strategic resources and capabilities and hence of its competitive potential. Although individual firms have been the preferred unit of analysis in strategy literature, today, in a world of alliances and coalitions, competition increasingly occurs between supply chains, networks of firms, or clusters. A996 cluster, whose role in competition has only recently been widely recognised, can be defined as a geographical concentration of inter-related firms, specialised suppliers, knowledge producers and research centres, brokers, consultants and consumers, connected in a value producing chain (Porter, 1990). In this study, the same principles and constructs of the resource-based approach applicable to the individual firm were applied to the cluster and its collective resources and capabilities. The study is structured as follows. The next section presents the main theoretical concepts of the resource-based approach, exploring issues like strategic attributes and relationship between resources. The following section discusses the methodological steps taken in this research study, where the elaboration of cognitive maps plays a central role. Finally, the wine cluster analysis and a discussion of the main results are presented. The RBV of the firm Positioning a firm for competitive advantage through the correct understanding of its strengths and weaknesses has been one of the basic prescriptions in the strategy field since the developments of Ansoff (1968) and Andrews (1971). This prescription, however, remained for a long time at a conceptual level, lacking tools for a deeper analysis of firms’ resources, which constitute the ultimate basis for firms “strengths and weaknesses”. Today, the RBV of the firm has rediscovered its roots in the studies of Selznick (1957) and Penrose (1959), and is establishing itself as a promising and insightful field of research. This approach “views” firms as different amalgams of productive and strategic resources and capabilities that lead them to different performance potentials. As Barney (1991) noted, all firms are different because they do not have the same history, the same experiences, the same organisational culture or the same assets and abilities. In its modern form, the RBV approach has been object of the works of Wernerfelt (1984), Rumelt (1984, 1991), Dierickx and Cool (1989), Barney (1986, 1991, 2001), Teece (1986), Grant (1991), Mahoney and Pandian (1992), Amit and Shoemaker (1993), Peteraf (1993), Foss (1997), Teece et al. (1997), Castanias and Helfat (2001), Lockett and Thompson (2001) and Mahoney (2001), among others. Some important research themes concerning the RBV approach includes the classification of strategic resources (Barney, 1991; Grant, 1991; Zahra and Das,
  4. 4. 1993), the identification of strategic resources and their interactions (Amit and Industrial clusterShoemaker, 1993; Black and Boal, 1994), the valuation of strategic resources strategic(Collis, 1994), and the resource acquisition and formation processes (Barney, analysis1986; Bernardo and Chowdhry, 2002). This paper deals with the second themeand the approach taken here is to explore the conditions that make a resourcebecome strategic. 997The strategic nature of a resourceResources can be classified in three main categories (Penrose, 1959; Barney,1991; Grant, 1991): (1) physical resources, like plants and equipment, land, natural resources and raw materials; (2) human resources, including the productive, technical and managerial workers; and (3) organisational resources, formed by the routines that coordinate the human and physical resources in a productive way.Resources can also be “tangible”, which can be observed and evaluated withclarity, like physical resources, and “intangible”, which cannot be directlyobserved or quantified, like the reputation of a company or a product,organisational culture, management and coordination abilities,non-documented technologies and knowledge, among others. Resources and capabilities can be defined as “strategic” when they arevaluable, rare, inimitable, non-substitutable, or still, ambiguous tocompetitors and can be used as basis for the achievement of competitiveadvantages. Additionally, a fundamental distinction between resources andcapabilities is that resources consist of a bundle of potential serviceswhereas capabilities can be defined as the services, activities or functionsitself, played by these resources (Penrose, 1959; Mahoney and Pandian,1992). The search for special attributes that characterise the strategic value of aresource leads us to an extensive list of terms. Although researchers haveexplored these attributes under different names, a deeper analysis of the mainstudies of Wernerfelt (1984), Rumelt (1984), Teece (1986), Dierickx and Cool(1989), Barney (1991), Grant (1991), Amit and Shoemaker (1993) and Black andBoal (1994) shows a strong similarity of ideas. Peteraf (1993) developed a framework that synthesised most of these ideas infour necessary conditions that must exist for a resource to be consideredstrategic, referred to as the “cornerstones of competitive advantage”:heterogeneity, imperfect mobility, ex ante limits to competition and ex postlimits to competition. Each one is next briefly described, as they constituteimportant elements of the conceptual basis of our study.
  5. 5. IJOPM Heterogeneity23,9 According to Peteraf (1993), heterogeneity in an industry can involve situations in which the amount of strategic resources is limited and scarce in relation to its demand. Under this condition, inferior or inefficient resources are used in production in order to supply the residual demand. In this context, a possibility of superior profits (economic rent) emerges for the most efficient firms. This998 argument can be more clearly understood if we assume that firms with superior resources have lower average production costs than the other firms. However, being limited by the scarcity of the resources they cannot expand production quickly even if prices are very high. The high prices, however, can induce other, less efficient, firms to enter the market. When equilibrium occurs between demand and supply, and prices reach its own equilibrium, these companies will have their profits lowered to the equilibrium point and the lower cost firms will obtain higher profits by using their superior resources. Thus, the more efficient firms are able to sustain their competitive advantages as long as their resources cannot be imitated or expanded to the demand level. The efficiency differential (heterogeneity) in relation to other firms’ resources and the existence of scarcity in relation to demand are essential conditions to improve profit performance through the use of a strategic (superior) resource. Ex ante limits to competition The existence of ex ante limits to competition, as defined by Peteraf (1993), implies that prior to the establishment of a superior position in resources there must exist a limited competition for that position. Peteraf (1993) states that a position in resources can only be a source of superior performance if the firm has an opportunity to acquire them in the absence of competition. Thus, the value of the resources cannot be known to all competitors prior to their acquisition and use, for otherwise it would generate a competition for these resources and consequently profits would be eroded. Concerning this point, unless a difference exists between the ex post value of the necessary resources and their ex ante acquisition cost, the generated above normal profits (economic rent) can be null (Rumelt, cited in Peteraf, 1993). Ex post limits to competition The need of ex post limits to competition implies that after a firm establishes a superior competitive position through heterogeneous resources in relation to its competitors, there must exist factors that sustain the durability of this heterogeneity condition in a way that preserves the attained superior position. Peteraf (1993) considers as main conditions that limit ex post competition the presence of “imperfect imitability” and “imperfect substitutability” of a resource. The performance of competitors through imitation or substitution, increasing the supply of a resource initially scarce, can dissipate the profits in a competitive environment. The capacity to protect a resource against imitation
  6. 6. or substitution depends on a series of factors. Among these are issues described Industrial clusterby Rumelt (1984) and Dierickx and Cool (1989) as “isolation mechanisms” strategic(Peteraf, 1993). The most important isolation mechanisms are the analysisindetermination or causal ambiguity of the knowledge involved in theacquisition of a resource, the degree of asset complementarities and theexistence of “path-dependent” factors. 999 “ Indetermination” or “causal ambiguity” exists when the competitors areunable to identify which are the valuable resources or how to recreate or definethem (Reed and DeFillippi, 1990). For example, in the case of non-codifiedknowledge, causal ambiguity renders difficult to identify, from a competitiveposition standpoint, which resources sustain that position. Thus, theidiosyncrasies of the learning process, rather than representing a problemare, in some cases, a desirable condition to sustain a competitive advantage. A “path-dependence” condition, in turn, means that a resource or asset wasdeveloped and accumulated in a process through time, generally in a learningsequence involving trial and error.Imperfect mobilityThe “imperfect mobility” condition of a resource implies that, although thisresource can be traded, it is much more valuable in the firm in which it iscurrently being used than it would be in another firm. The resources areimperfectly mobile when they are somewhat specialised or exclusivelydeveloped or adapted for the needs of the company that possesses them. Concerning this aspect, Teece (1986) argues that certain groups of resourcesonly produce value when used jointly, referring to them as “co-specialisedassets”. Another source of “imperfect resource mobility” is present when theassociated transaction or mobility costs for this resource are excessively highin relation to its value (Rumelt, cited in Peteraf, 1993). Certain resources, however, are configured or related in such a way that itbecomes difficult for both sellers and buyers to analyse them and determinetheir costs or individual values. These “information asymmetries” prevent alikely buyer to have access to a proper evaluation of these resources, hinderingtherefore their negotiation or change of hands (Barney, 1991). The consideration of the conditioning factors described above is hence anessential step in the evaluation of the resources and capabilities of a firm and insignalling the path for the identification of the ones that have strategic value.And, since the strategic value of a firm’s resources resides not only in itsindividual attributes but also in the total effect of its complex and systemicinteraction (Black and Boal, 1994), a systemic understanding of these attributesand interactions provides the foundations for a firm, or a cluster, to identify itssources of advantages and possible scope of competition.
  7. 7. IJOPM Research methodology23,9 Strategy formulation in the managerial field is characterised by a strong dependence on the context in which a firm is embedded, which renders direct observation of resources and capabilities very difficult. But, on the other hand, it is precisely in this difficulty of observation and codification that lies their strategic value, since competitors cannot easily emulate them. In other words,1000 the same conditions that create a problem for competitors, as well as for empirical researchers, are precisely the sources of strategic value of these resources and capabilities. Concerning this problem, Godfrey and Hill (1995) noted that the evidence of unobservable factors could be checked through the observation of their effects, independently of the possibility of formal and direct observation of these factors. According to the authors, qualitative methodologies and case studies are of extreme value in the investigation of these unobservable factors and it was the methodology chosen for this study. In order to identify the resources and capabilities of the wine cluster we used in-depth interviews with experts from the wine sector, followed by the elaboration and analysis of cognitive maps, which constitute graphic representations of the collective knowledge of the interviewed experts. Cognitive maps can be defined as “graphs” elaborated by a person or a group of persons on the subjective aspects of a problem, which are rendered explicit by the use of induction (Howard, 1989; Calori et al., 1994). These maps contribute to the understanding of the images and the words used for the mental representation of a reasoning process and are thus useful in the process of analysing and modelling complex problems characterised by subjective ideas about the reality. The methodological steps of the research are depicted in Figure 1 and described below. The first step consisted of forming a group of experts on the wine industry. Eight experts were chosen among managers, agronomists, oenologists and economists, as shown in Table I. They were selected based on their involvement with different aspects of the wine cluster. This group was one of the main sources of information throughout the study. The data collection was accomplished through in-depth semi-structured interviews (step 2) with the group of experts. The interviews were recorded with the interviewees’ acquiescence, had an average duration of 90 minutes and were transcribed in its entirety immediately after its conclusion. The main objective of this step was to characterise the set of resources of the cluster as a starting point for the identification of its strategic resources and capabilities. In these interviews the strategic value of the resources were appraised based on Peteraf’s (1993) four conditions for a resource to be strategic. The third step consisted of the content analysis. This was carried out in three different stages, adapted from Moraes (1993):
  8. 8. Industrial cluster strategic analysis 1001 Figure 1. Main methodological stepsExpert Function Experience in industry (years)1 Oenologist 182 Marketing director of a winery 203 Researcher from Embrapaa 104 Researcher from Embrapaa 155 Economist 206 Viticulturist 357 Owner of small winery 15 Table I.8 Director of large winery 40 Group of experts fromNote: a Federal Agricultural Research Centre wine sector (1) Preparation of the information. Working with the transcribed interviews, this first stage consisted of selecting and highlighting the important aspects pertinent to the study, like history, learning trajectory and industry infrastructure. (2) Transformation of the general content into concepts. This stage was carried out in two different moments: separation of text into paragraphs, in accordance to the thematic content; and successive synthesis of each paragraph in order to identify concepts that represent central ideas, knowledge fragments and important events, conserving the original meaning as well as the interviewees’ own words.
  9. 9. IJOPM (3) Classification of the identified concepts into categories. Consisted of23,9 grouping the concepts of each interview by thematic similarity and eliminating duplicate ones. Having concluded the content analysis, the next step (step 4) consisted of the elaboration of the basic cognitive maps. These basic maps will evolve, in the1002 sequence of steps, to intermediary maps and finally to a global map. Since cognitive mapping is the central technique used in our study, further details are next provided. As shown in Figure 2, there are three basic types of concepts in the general structure of a cognitive map: (1) tail concepts, which indicate primary concepts that can represent single ideas, actions, or initial events; (2) branch concepts, which represent key ideas, actions or events that synthesize the reasoning of the experts and identify convergences between primary concepts and their final effects; and (3) head concepts, which indicate the final effects. Thus, in step 4, a basic cognitive map was elaborated for each processed interview. This was accomplished with the aid of a mapping software, having as input the concepts generated in the content analysis of step 3. At the end of this section we provide information on the software used. Next, in step 5, each basic map and its links were reviewed with each interviewee and the relationships between concepts were analysed in terms of two aspects: domain and centrality.Figure 2.General structure of acognitive map
  10. 10. The domain analysis examines each concept and calculates how many Industrial clusterconcepts are “immediately” linked to it. It provides a first level measure of the strategicdensity of a concept and serves mainly as a support to selective examination analysiswhen working with large and complex maps. The centrality analysis examines each concept and calculates a “centralityscore” based on how many concepts are directly or indirectly linked to it.Through centrality analysis it is possible to identify which concepts have a 1003high density of links and thus a high weight on the entire map; these areconsidered to be “central concepts”. This analysis may provide some insightinto discovering which concepts are key issues and may need furtherexamination in order to identify evidences of their strategic nature. In step 6, the basic maps generated were compared and similarities betweenthem were identified. Then, in step 7, maps were combined and merged intonew ones, called intermediary maps. In step 8 the intermediary maps were validated in a series of meetings withthe entire group of experts. In these meetings, mediated by a negotiationprocess within the group, the intermediary maps were reviewed one by one andrelationships between them were identified. The negotiation and established relations between maps led to theemergence of a shared view among experts, represented by a global cognitivemap (step 9). At this step the group of experts concentrated on the content ofthe generated global map in order to identify new relationships among theindividually generated concepts. It is the global view at this step of the methodthat allows for the possibility of a synthesis and of a new view of the data. The global map with all relationships between concepts validated is theinput to step 10, which consisted of identifying the strategic resources andcapabilities of the cluster of firms. This was accomplished by the means of acentrality score for each concept, this time calculated for the global map. Sincethe map is a representation of history, knowledge and the inter-relatedresources and capabilities of the cluster, each concept with a high centralityscore was judged by the group of experts on whether or not it represents astrategic resource or capability.Cognitive mapping with the aid of a mapping softwareThe identification of a collection of strategic resources and capabilities of a firmor a cluster of firms requires analysis of a complex web of information andcause-effect relationships between concepts. Mapping software can be veryuseful aids in this process. In our research we made use of the software COPE,developed at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland. It belongs to the categoryof tools called IGDSS (interactive group decision support systems), which makeuse of graphic resources that allow members of a group to acquire a sharedglobal perspective on a complex problem.
  11. 11. IJOPM The case of the southern Brazil wine cluster23,9 According to the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV), wine production activities are present in all five continents in more than 40 countries (Tonietto and Carbonneau, 1999). The world expansion of viniculture is intimately connected to the migratory flows and to the process of fixation of the populations. Thus, in the early stages1004 of development the choice of the ideal ecosystems did not constitute one of the main concerns. Historical circumstances and economic needs demanded sometimes, by lack of totally appropriate areas, art and ingenuity on the part of the viticulturists in order to surpass the inadequacies of the physical environment (Aguiar, 1999a). Similarly to other industries, the wine business followed the progressive globalisation of activities and internationalisation of markets. The product “wine”, however, has some important peculiarities that must be mentioned. In fact, as Aguiar (1999a, p. 25) points out, “wine is not a common merchandise: it cannot be produced anywhere and must obey rules that are far more complex than the simple minimisation of production costs”. According to the author, the location of the vineyards, like any other unit of agro-industrial production, is subject to the rules of competitive as well as comparative advantages; each area has its own and they are more important and decisive for its image and position in the market than production costs alone. In addition, the final product of the wine industry is not a simple output of natural factors, but of a combination of culture, talent and multiple and complex expertise. No producing area can be simply classified as good or bad land, but as different in its potentialities. This way, the exploration of each differentiating factor becomes necessary in the formulation of cluster strategies. Structural context The evolution of the wine and grape business in southern Brazil is an interesting example because, according to Aguiar (1999b), it constitutes simultaneously a repository of the expertise brought by immigrants from their original countries and the expression of adaptation capabilities to adverse topographical conditions and climatic matters. Additionally, there is presently an increasing awareness of the need for a qualitative upgrade towards a strategic positioning that better exploits new market opportunities. The Brazilian wine history dates back to the Portuguese colonisation in the sixteenth century, even though its current development is due primarily to the arrival of Italian immigrants, beginning in 1875. Brazil now occupies the 17th position in the world ranking of wine producers and the wine and grape business is a consolidated activity in 12 producing areas in the states of ´ ˜ Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and, of late ˜ prominence, the Sao Francisco Valley, in the northeast (Falcade and Mandelli, 1999).
  12. 12. The national production of wine in recent years averages approximately 300 Industrial clustermillion litres per year. The Brazilian wine and grape business is conducted, for strategicits most part, in small family-owned properties, generally involving a great analysisvariety of grapes. About 65 per cent of the grape production is destined forwine, juice, distilled and other derived products, while 35 per cent is destinedfor consumption in natura. Southern Brazil’s wineries, mainly concentrated inthe state of Rio Grande do Sul, account for 93 per cent of the national 1005production. The cluster object of this study is located in this state, averagingabout 120km from the capital city of Porto Alegre, and comprises about 400wineries and family canteens. One of Brazil’s main competitors is Argentina, with a production of 2.17million litres/year. Being the main producer as well as the main consumermarket in the Mercosur area (a custom union formed by Argentina, Brazil,Paraguay and Uruguay), this country stands out at the world level, being thefourth largest producer and having the fourth highest per capita consumption(40 litres per person/year), according to data from EMBRAPA (BrazilianAgricultural Research Company). Compared to other countries, Brazilian wineconsumption is extremely low, limited to about two litres per person/year,while in France and Italy it is around 70 litres per person/year. Thus, theBrazilian wine market, rather than being considered unattractive, should belooked at for its great expansion potential. The Brazilian wine industry has been systematically searching for ways ofdeveloping its potentialities to attain a better market position for its wines. Thepresent study aims at contributing towards this end and constitutes animportant first step in that direction, being useful for strategic decision makingfor the cluster as a whole as well as for individual firms.Results and discussionThe global cognitive map comprises 170 concepts. As a basis for discussion ofthe results, Figure 3 presents a condensed view of the map, considering onlythe concepts with higher centrality scores and their neighbouring links. Foridentification purposes, each concept received a number, assigned by COPE asit was registered in the cognitive map. Analysing the map, we observe as starting points some initial events thatinfluenced the directions of the development trajectory adopted by the industry(tail concepts 7 and 29). These events lead to abilities in mountain agriculture(concept 11) and grape varieties adaptation (concept 26), which reveal a greatspecialisation and path dependency; this is in turn related to the attributes oflong learning curve and thus high training costs demanded in technical schools(concepts 145 and 22). Also, certain non-codified knowledge mentioned by theexperts (concepts 46 and 38) constitutes barriers to competition. Othercapabilities acquired by successive studies and experiments were theexploration of topographical variations and climatic conditions (concepts 12,
  13. 13. IJOPM23,91006Figure 3.Partial view ofcognitive map 24 and 33) that related with mountain agriculture (concept 11), leads to multiple and unique wine types (concept 111). In turn, these multiple wine types associated with the concept of mountain agriculture (concept 11) and the good road infrastructure (concept 53) enables tourism exploration (concept 129), which is one of the strategic advantages of the analysed cluster. From the exploration of each part of the map, the group of experts was able to identify many complex connections and paths between concepts, as well as direct and indirect effects that unveil attributes related to their strategic nature. The strategic resources and capabilities identified in this process are listed in Table II, which also shows the attributes that sustain them as sources of competitive advantage.
  14. 14. Strategic resources and capabilities Conditions that sustain competitive advantage Industrial cluster strategicExpertise in exploitation of multiple Path dependence, topographical knowledge analysis topographies with vineyards with long learning curve, non-codified expertiseTourist attractiveness of mountainous Immobility, inimitability topography, exploitation of “mountain wine” 1007 conceptGrape varieties adaptation capabilities Path dependence, long term investments in physical and personnel research structureIncreasing technology incorporation, selective Path dependence, long term investments in technification of production without losing technical schools and research institutes human “touch” in wine makingSmall family-owned wineries with their own Path dependence, long term investments in “family oenologists” technical schools and research institutes, imperfect mobilityPotential for achieving “controlled origin”, Complexity, specialisation, adaptation, wine authenticity and uniqueness inimitability, immobilityCollective efficiency, 400 wineries Complexity, co-specialisation, path dependence, information asymmetries, imperfect mobility Table II.Long term contracts between wineries and Co-specialization Strategic resources and grape-growers capabilities and theirDistinct climatic characteristics Specificity, inimitability sustainabilityAn important result from the analysis is that the strategic resources andcapabilities of the southern Brazil wine cluster have their own exclusive andidiosyncratic characteristics that should be valued. Associated with thetourism potential, the proximity of the capital city of Porto Alegre and the goodroad infrastructure are at the origin of unique conditions for sustainedcompetitiveness. Finally, it is necessary to note that these results represent the view of eightexperts and could possibly be enriched by a higher number of participants.However, since the process of reaching consensus within a group is very timeconsuming, this possible enrichment could be very costly.ConclusionEvery company can be seen as a unique collection of resources and capabilities,whose form of combination in productive use is dependent upon management’sperceptions. Each one acts in the market limited by these perceptions and,sometimes, does not explore its full potentialities. Enlarging these perceptionsis a major challenge, both for the companies and for the strategists that areresponsible for the formulation of industrial and regional development policies. This study was conducted having as its central purpose the identification ofthe strategic resources and capabilities of a cluster and their sustainability,combining the resource-based perspective with cognitive mapping techniques
  15. 15. IJOPM as a basis for strategy formulation. Although RBV constructs are still in23,9 consolidation, Peteraf’s (1993) framework has proven to be very useful and insightful for pursued objective. The approach used here also contributed to improving the understanding of the linkages between firm-level resources, as highlighted by the RBV approach, and the collective, systemic, and sector-wide resources of the industrial1008 organisation tradition. Since firms are influenced by both types of resources, industrial clusters’ as well as firms’ strategies must be formulated not only from the point of view of individual resources and capabilities, but also taking into account the collective and shared resources and capabilities of the whole cluster. How to manage and co-ordinate this process in an integrated way remains a challenge for practitioners and constitutes an important area for empirical research. It also became clear in this study that history matters and the cumulative development and upgrading of resources and capabilities can fundamentally shape the future strategic options of a cluster. References ¸˜ ´ Aguiar, F.B. (1999a), “A internacionalizacao do mercado vinıcola”, Annals of the IX Congresso Brasileiro de Viticultura e Enologia, pp. 25-30. Aguiar, F.B. (1999b), “Introductory note”, in Falcade, I. and Mandelli, F. (Eds), Vale dos Vinhedos, ¸˜ ´ ˜ Caracterizacao Geografica da Regiao, EDUCS, Caxias do Sul. Amit, R. and Shoemaker, P.J. (1993), “Strategic assets and organisational rent”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 33-46. Andrews, K.R. (1971), The Concept of Corporate Strategy, Irwin, Homewood, IL. Ansoff, H.I. (1968), Corporate Strategy, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY. Barney, J.B. (1986), “Strategic factor markets: expectations, luck and business strategy”, Management Science, Vol. 42 No. 9, pp. 1231-41. Barney, J.B. (1991), “Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage”, Journal of Management, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 99-120. Barney, J.B. (2001), “Resource-based theories of competitive advantage: a ten-year retrospective on the resource-based view”, Journal of Management, Vol. 27 No. 6, pp. 643-50. Bernardo, A. and Chowdhry, B. (2002), “Resources, real options and corporate strategy”, Journal of Financial Economics, Vol. 63 No. 2, pp. 211-34. Black, J.A. and Boal, K.B. (1994), “Strategic resources: traits, configurations and paths to sustainable competitive advantage”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 15, Summer, pp. 131-48. Calori, R., Johnson, G. and Sarnin, P. (1994), “CEO’S cognitive maps and the scope of the organization”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 15, pp. 437-57. Castanias, R. and Helfat, C. (2001), “The managerial rents model: theory and empirical analysis”, Journal of Management, Vol. 6, pp. 661-78. Collis, D.J. (1994), “Research note: how valuable are organisational capabilities?”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 15, Winter, pp. 143-52.
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