Bricolage and Innovation in the Emergence and Development of the Spanish Tourism Industry

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Following the seminal work of Lévi-Strauss, developed by Baker and Nelson and Duymedjian and Rüling, this paper analyzes the role that entrepreneurial bricolage played as an innovation tool in the origins and growth of four important Spanish tourism companies: Meliá, Barceló, Iberostar, and Riu. Their development has been deeply embedded in the island of Majorca (Spain), whose historical market conditions shaped and drove the companies’ bricolage actions. Entrepreneurial bricolage has generally been studied from a short-term perspective; however, this work adopts a dynamic approach that, instead of focusing on the concept of bricolage, aims to explain its evolution over time. To this end, four historical and qualitative case studies are used. The main contribution made by this paper is that the four companies did not limit their bricolage actions to contexts of scarcity but made this type of entrepreneurship a regular mechanism in their business practices, as the island’s tourism context thrived. However, the resulting innovations, as well as their main drivers, did indeed change over time.
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