Author

Ian J. Stone

Date of Award

8-2011

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Jessica Leahy

Second Committee Member

Robert J. Lilieholm

Third Committee Member

Robert Seymour

Abstract

Innovation is considered a major factor in the success and development of individual businesses and industries. The logging industry is a crucial component of Maine's larger forest products industry, providing harvesting services to landowners and raw materials to mills. Currently, very little is known about innovation in Maine's logging industry or logging in general. Given that innovation will be a crucial component to the continued success and future development of Maine's logging industry, it is essential that this subject be studied in detail. To understand the amount and types of innovation occurring in Maine's logging industry a series of case studies on logging innovators and an industry survey were performed. Results show that overall Maine's logging industry has a low degree of innovation, but that certain firms do exhibit a high degree of innovation. The focus of innovators is different from the general population, with the general population being focused on service based and marketing innovation and innovators being focused on process innovations and organizational innovations that track performance. This research has shown that number of employees, employee incentive programs, and membership in logging organizations are the factors that influence the innovativeness of logging firms. Firm innovativeness is does not appear to be correlated with logging firm performance, indicating that logging firms may have little control over factors influencing firm performance and that logging firms may be adopting innovation that do not perform well. This research also shows that many long standing logging innovations, such as mechanized harvesting systems, have failed to gain wide acceptance and adoption in Maine. This thesis also investigated the innovation system (a series of interconnected groups that influence innovation) of the logging industry. Markets, other logging firms, and the infrastructure of the forest industry are the most important components of this system. Logging firms also have very little connection to research and education centers. The logging innovation system is weak and decentralized in nature with logging firms have very little access to important information or opportunities to collaborate. This project has also identified multiple barriers to logging innovation, with the most important being cost. This research has shown that Maine's logging industry struggles to be innovative, and that the most likely causes of this are a weak innovation system and innovation barriers that are difficult to overcome.

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