Dissertation Abstracts

The Ceramic Tile District Innovation System

Author: Gabaldón-Estevan, Daniel , Daniel.Gabaldon@uv.es
University: University of Valencia, Spain
Supervisor: Francesc Xavier Molina Morales and Ignacio Fernández de Lucio
Year of completion: 2010
Language of dissertation: Spanish and English

Keywords: innovation systems , industrial district , ceramic tile
Areas of Research: Economy and Society , Science and Technology


The purpose of this doctoral thesis is to raise an analytical proposal in which the Marshallian industrial districts perspective and the innovation systems perspective can converge. The objective is justified because of the potential limitations of the district concept to capture and explain the innovative processes that happen inside it but, at the same time, the unique specificities that characterise and differentiate an industrial district from other levels of analysis.
Accordingly, the theoretical part deals with the relevant characteristics of each of the two perspectives considered and based on their resemblances and complementarities the notion of distritual innovation system has been proposed. Thus, the distritual innovation system appears as a concept that emphasizes the relevance of the territory, when an industry adopts the district form, but is also highly dependent on other elements of the innovation system.
In order to assess the appropriateness of this combined proposal the empirical part has focussed on the characterisation of the distritual innovation system of the tile in Castellón. To do it we combine different analysis that includes: the description of the value chain, mapping the innovation system, highlighting the functions that the system requires should be fulfilled, and analyzing the interaction between the different elements through research contracts and patents. By combining the aforementioned analysis we show the constraints, inertias, challenges and opportunities that the distritual innovation system faces while showing the utility of this analytical proposal.
The main conclusion from our research is that specific characteristics of the inter-organizational environments in the industrial district have to be considered for a correct systemic analysis of the innovation process. The implications for the ceramic tile producers can be, on the one hand, a certain degree of homogeneity, and on the other, the need to access district external suppliers to permit a certain degree of differentiation with respect to the rest of the local competitors