Going against the grain? Brazil and the global furniture production network

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Joseph Bryon Sloop (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Keith Debbage

Abstract: Much of the literature dealing with the global production network (GPN) of furniture tends to focus on larger transnational corporations especially in Asia. By contrast, research on the GPN of small and medium sized furniture enterprises like those in Brazil has been sparse even through Brazil is an emerging furniture market that doubled production over the past decade. The locational focus of this dissertation is the Brazilian furniture industry and especially several innovative firms in the Santa Catarina region. From 2011 to 2013, the Brazilian furniture industry in Santa Catarina was responsible for 43 percent of Brazilian furniture exports. More specifically, this dissertation explores several specific research questions. First, it will be argued that the furniture industry is spatially concentrated in Brazil, and that one of the most rapidly growing clusters, especially regarding international sales, is the Santa Catarina region with its emphasis on the São Bento do Sul furniture cluster. Second, based on a mixed-methods approach, it is hypothesized that Santa Catarina has emerged as an internationally connected furniture cluster because it has developed a global production network grounded in process and product innovation, the utilization of web-based technologies, and the development of a strong value production chain grounded in the local economy. Third, it will be argued that the development of any innovative furniture value chain in Brazil, or elsewhere in the Global South, is inherently constrained by the difficulties of developing a market brand that is well-recognized and trusted in Global North markets, particularly as it relates to distribution networks. Much of this dissertation will embrace a mixed-methods approach based on both an empirically driven analysis of the economic geography of the Brazilian furniture industry, and an interview based approach regarding the competitive strategies of specific firms located in the Santa Catarina region. Such a comprehensive approach will elevate our understanding of how the furniture value chain in Brazil presents both opportunities and challenges regarding global production networks that attempt to link Global South and Global North markets. Particular attention will be focused on the Renar Móveis, Rotta Móveis and Temasa Móveis furniture companies, and the Brazilian Furniture Group located in High Point, NC because they seemed to have birthed furniture companies that have practiced innovative strategies, utilized web-based technologies, and developed various partnerships. It will be argued that these have all been key ingredients in developing a competitive global value chain that has successfully penetrated specific international markets.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Brazil, Furniture, Santa Catarina, South America
Furniture industry and trade $z Brazil
Furniture industry and trade $z Brazil $z Santa Catarina
International business enterprises $z Brazil

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