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Quality, difference and regional advantage: The case of the winter sports industry
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2013 (English)In: European Urban and Regional Studies, ISSN 0969-7764, E-ISSN 1461-7145, Vol. 20, no 4 SI, 385-400 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

his paper addresses the role of quality, difference and differentiation in the value both producers and consumers attach to products and firms. It is argued that analysis of urban andregional competitiveness needs to be complemented by a renewed focus on the vital role thatquality plays in competitiveness as well as an understanding of geographies of product differenceand differentiation. Debates on economic development and resilience need to focus on innovation but also on how through making and providing quality goods and services - that may be based on the latest technologies or equally on age-old craft traditions - firms secure and develop competitive strengths. But since quality is always a value co-constructed in a negotiation between the consumer and producer, processes of identification and differentiation are formative. A case study of two developments in winter sport equipment is used to exemplify an industry in whichquality is both an entry condition as well as a major factor in differentiation and valuation. The case illustrates the roles of producer-led innovation and user-led innovation in equipment innovation; and that the appreciation of products' quality, value and differentiation rests in interactions between producers, intermediaries and led-users in localized and regional settings. Focusing on the geographies of quality and differentiation is suggested to be important not only for firms but also for urban and regional policy. Regional advantage may partly rest upon how actors come together to co-construct notions of quality and difference: notions that can have lasting effects on regional competitiveness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 20, no 4 SI, 385-400 p.
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-187153DOI: 10.1177/0969776412448089ISI: 000324921800003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-187153DiVA: diva2:573844
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2012-12-03 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2013-11-04Bibliographically approved

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Power, Dominic
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