Bridging the gap between threshold and dynamic capabilities : a qualitative study of the collaboration strategies of New Zealand wineries : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Business Studies in Management, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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The objective of this study is to examine collaboration’s role as a strategic capability within the context of the New Zealand (NZ) wine industry. It utilises resource-based theory to examine collaboration’s position as a mechanism to survive within an industry (threshold capabilities) or a basis for competitive advantages (dynamic capabilities). The literature review found that collaboration is a multi-level construct with different forms occurring at the corporate, business and operational-levels as well as the network-level strategy. In the literature review, coopetition (the interplay between cooperation and competition) was found to be the main form of collaboration occurring at the corporate and business-levels whilst co-creation (market-led collaboration with customers) was more common at the operational-level. Depending on the resources and capabilities that firms can leverage, collaboration may be able to be manipulated into a dynamic capability depending on the industry. An instrumental case study methodology was adopted within the ‘boundary’ of the Wairarapa wine cluster. Four pilot firms across NZ were analysed to ensure that the correct questions were being asked as well as fourteen Wairarapa firms with a range of triangulation techniques (primary and secondary methods). This took the total sample to 18 interviews (including the pilot firms) with 14 coming from the Wairarapa. The empirical findings revealed that collaboration (particularly in the form of coopetition) is a threshold capability for smaller organisations; the larger wineries can use it to a competitive advantage - a dynamic capability. These larger firms use collaboration as much as they can before any disguised forms of competitive advantages are lost. This is not a luxury that smaller firms can afford meaning that collaboration especially at the coopetition-level allows the larger wineries to increase their forms of business performance. The discussion chapter develops and analyses a 2 x 2 matrix from the empirical findings. Each cell contains a roughly equal number of firms; the characteristics and reasoning for this discovery is discussed. The theoretical contribution outlines that larger firms, can leverage competitive advantages from collaboration; smaller organisations have to collaborate to survive. Future research should measure if this study’s findings are indicative across the country’s wine industry and overseas.
Business collaboration, Wine industry, New Zealand, Business strategy, Threshold capability, Competitive advantage, Wairarapa wineries