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Firm-level competitiveness in the forest industries: review and research implications in the context of bioeconomy strategies

Korhonen, J., Hurmekoski, E., Hansen, E., Toppinen, A.
Canadian journal of forest research 2018 v.48 no.2 pp. 141-152
bioeconomics, forest industries, research and development
The operational environment of the forest sector is becoming more complex, and maintaining competitiveness has become increasingly complicated. At the industry or firm level, competitiveness is seen as the ability to perform better than competitors in terms of value creation over time. Relatively little is known about changes in firm-level competitiveness caused by the shifting dynamics of the competitive situation in the forest sector toward the bioeconomy. A systematic literature review is conducted to examine how competitiveness of the sector is analyzed at the firm level and what are seen as its most influential drivers. Furthermore, these findings are discussed in the context of the bioeconomy transition. The results show that strategies and firm characteristics related to innovation and differentiation provide the key for understanding competitiveness at the firm level. Literature focuses on describing the competitive dynamics between firms within an industry rather than across sectors, despite that substitution between materials as well as intersectoral R&D collaboration are strongly advocated by national and international bioeconomy strategies.