Micro and small business innovation in a traditional industry

Document Type

Journal Article


Emerald Publishing Limited

Place of Publication

United Kingdom


School of Business and Law




Duarte Alonso, A., Duarte Alonso, A., Bressan, A., & Bressan, A. (2016). Micro and small business innovation in a traditional industry. International Journal of Innovation Science, 8(4), 311-330. Available here.


Purpose -The purpose of this paper is to explore innovation among micro and small business operators in Italy's wine industry. Moreover, in adopting the theory of innovation, the study examines winery operators' perceptions on innovation, ways in which wineries are innovating and whether participants' responses vary based on demographic characteristics. Design/methodology/approach -An online questionnaire designed for this study gathered the responses of 211 participants, composed by owners, winemakers, directors and business partners. Findings - Innovation is fundamentally associated with minimising ecological footprint, investments, making improvements in the winery, adapting to trends and new consumer demands and, importantly, with maintaining traditions while enhancing the quality of the wines. Further, participants primarily agree with involvement in wine tourism and adoption of social media as predominant forms of innovating. Several inter-group differences particularly based on levels of wine production and size of the winery emerged. Overall, the findings align with the dimensions of the theory of innovation, namely, benefits, costs, resources and discounting factors. Originality/value - Despite the significance of Italy's wine industry, in terms of exports and consumption on a global scale, academic research focusing on this industry's innovative practices has been limited. Similarly, there is scant research on innovation among micro and small firms, or on industries relevant to countries' socio-economic capital. This exploratory study provides an element of originality and value, exploring and contributing to the literature on these under-researched areas



Access Rights