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Identity Construction and its Influence on Wine Tourism Diversification Decisions: Case Study of Family Wineries in Langhe, ItalyThe aim of this thesis is to examine family wineries’ wine tourism diversification decisions in terms of wine producers’ self-constructions. The focus lies on understanding which motives drive family businesses’ decisions to engage in diversification. A case study approach is adopted, using the Italian wine region of Langhe in Piedmont. The dominant debates within the current literature have primarily concentrated on the economic-social dichotomy in relation to diversification decisions. It has been argued that diversification decisions are predominantly economically driven, highlighting the importance of profit maximisation and risk reduction. This thesis highlights the limitations of the economic-social dichotomy approach and argues for the need to take the social context into account when examining the decision-making process. An interpretivist approach to research is adopted in order to extend current understandings of family businesses and their motives underlying diversification decisions. In line with the interpretivist perspective, this thesis uses discourse analysis (DA) as a methodological approach for analysing and interpreting wine producers’ accounts. The findings reveal that by engaging in discourse about wine tourism diversification, wine producers construct a distinctive, coherent and desired sense of self, which in turn influences family wineries’ decisions to diversification. In this instance, the concept of identity formation plays a central role in explaining family wineries’ motives for diversification. Linking wine producers’ motives for diversification to their self-constructions provides a new insight into how family businesses engage in decision-making. Wine producers’ discourses reveal that their decision-making processes are inextricably linked to sustaining a positive sense of self. Decisions are not only taken to achieve economic goals, but are likely to be influenced by deeper motives, notably wine producers’ identity constructions. The main contribution of this thesis is that it advances understanding of family businesses’ decisionmaking processes by developing a multi-layered conceptual framework to go beyond the economic-social dichotomy in order to reveal wine producers’ semi-conscious and unconscious motives for diversification.
The Impact of Wine Tourism Involvement on Winery Owners' Identity ProcessesThis paper examines how involvement in wine tourism has affected winery owners’ identity processes. Using Breakwell’s Identity Process Theory (IPT) as a conceptual framework, we investigate the extent to which place is a part of winery owners’ self-identities, thereby giving them senses of belonging, distinctiveness, continuity, and self-esteem. Simultaneously, we find that these senses and feelings influence winery owners’ perceptions of the benefits and dis-benefits of wine tourism development in their region. We also discover how personal involvement in tourism can strengthen or threaten winery owners’ identities and thereby affect their support or otherwise for wine tourism. Empirical evidence is provided via a sample of twenty-eight winery owners in Langhe, Italy, who have recently engaged in various tourism-related activities due to the continuous development of the local tourism industry. Our research recognises that place is an integral part of the identity process.