The identification of the explanatory factors of the business results is one of the most attractive issues within the field of the strategic management. In this sense, there is an interesting empiric discussion between those who, from the Industrial Economics perspective, advocate the prominence of the sector effect, and those who, closer to the stance of the resources-based view, consider that the firm effects the one that really determines the performance of the enterprises. This work studies enterprises within a single industry. Thus, removing the potential impact on the results of macroeconomic and sectorial factors, it is possible to assess the influence of the firm factor and try to identify the business aspects that best explain the differences in the business performance.
The sector under study is the Appellation d'Origin Rioja, which represents the most significant part of the wine industry in Spain and is the most relevant one within the market of the quality wines. The business factors analysed are divided into four categories: corporate identity (seniority, shareholding, legal form and business group), tangible resources level of occupation and financial structure), intangible resources (human, technological and commercial resources) and variables of strategic behaviour (vertical integration, scope of business and competitive strategy). The business results are expressed in terms of profitability, which has been measured using a number of objective indicators created from accountant information (sales margin, economic profitability and financial profitability) and in terms of growth.
The results obtained in this work highlight the impact of the firm effect on the industry under study, reveal the existing business heterogeneity in spite of the fact that this sector is highly regulated, divide the wineries studied into two different groups according to their business features and the performance obtained, and allow for an identification of several business aspects that might explain the profitability of the commercial wineries within this Appellation d'Origin.