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Diffusion and Adoption of Innovation in "Retro" Industries

Special issue call for papers from European Journal of Innovation Management

'Diffusion and Adoption of Innovation in “Retro” Industries'

Guest Editors

Dr. Francesco Schiavone, University Parthenope of Naples 
Dr. Sylvaine Castellano, ESG Management School
Dr. Adnan Malaoui, ESG Management School
Dr. Imen SAFRAOU, ESG Management School

The guest editorial team of this special issue is announcing a call for papers that seeks to enhance our understanding of the processes of diffusion and adoption of innovation in “retro” industries.
We define retro industries those industrial sectors in which old products and/or technologies are still appreciated and used by customers even after the emergence of new technology-based products offering superior performance (e.g. industries based on analogical sound). For instance, in the music industry, DJ still mix music and create new sounds using old vinyl-based disks whereas digital formats where already widely accepted as the new technology.
Literally, the word retro is an adjective referring to something “relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

Therefore, retro-based industries mix innovations and elements from the past that were fashionable for some times, disappeared and came back into fashion again. This approach is commonly used in art, design (IKEA reviving the 1970s bright colors and shapes), fashion (Karl Lagerfeld revived Coco Chanel’s tweed outfit from the 1940s), music (the singer Adèle reviving the soul music from the 1950s), etc.

While most academic research focuses on innovation and its positive impact for the organization or on industry level; little is known on the origins, processes and impacts of such retro-based industries.

Diffusion and adoption of innovations might be hampered by various types of factors (Schiavone and Macvaugh, 2010) whose intensity might change across industries. Retro-processes can be analyzed from different perspectives. First, while in some industries innovations replace old products/processes very quickly; in other sectors old products/ processes still compete with new ones before eventually exiting the market. Second, concepts such as traditions or nostalgia might play a major role in better understanding retro-based industries. Finally, consumer characteristics (age, attitude towards change, etc.) might influence retro-industry dynamics.
We welcome papers that analyze and interpret how radical and/or incremental innovations enter and diffuse within such industries of incumbent “retro” technologies and/or products. In particular, we would like to receive papers highlighting somehow how companies implement and support these processes through their strategic, marketing, innovation, or brand management activities.

Potential contributions may include, but should not be limited to theoretical and empirical papers that consider the following:

• The role of opinion leaders in retro industries;
• Technological transitions in old-fashioned industries;
• The impact of cultural and symbolic values of old products on the adoption and diffusion of innovations;
• Issues of innovation adoption in old age users of old products;
• Marketing of innovations substituting old technologies and/or products;
• Brand management of new products in tradition-based industries;
• Innovation and New product development strategies of companies in retro industries;
• The role of information technology for the diffusion and adoption of innovation in these industries;
• Public policies supporting innovation in retro industries;
• The role of industry convergence in levering or hampering the adoption and/or diffusion of retro innovation
• The concept of generation and its impact on retro-innovation, more particularly generation of product, or   generation of consumers    (generation X, Y, Z)
• The link between tradition and innovation in retro-based industries

Empirical papers adopting qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods are welcome.


Anderson, P. and Tushman, M.L. (1990), “Technological discontinuities and dominant designs – a cyclical model of technological change”, Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 35, pp. 604-33.
Brown, S. Kozinets, R.V. and Sherry, J.F. (2003), “Sell Me the Old, Old Story: Retro-marketing Management and the Art of Brand Revival”, Journal of Customer Behavior, 2 (June), 85-98.
Henderson, R.M. and Clark, K.B. (1990), “Architectural innovation: The reconfiguration of ex-isting product technologies and the failure of established firms”, Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 35, pp. 9-30.
Mowery, D.C. and Rosenberg, N. (1999), Paths of Innovation: Technological Change in 20th-Century America. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Rogers, E.M. (1983), Diffusion of Innovations. New York: Free Press.
MacVaugh, J. and Schiavone, F. (2010), “Limits to the diffusion of innovation”, European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 197-221.

Deadline for submissions

June 30th 2012

All submissions should be sent to the European Journal of Innovation Management using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Registration and access is available at Full information and guidance on using ScholarOne Manuscripts is available at the Emerald ScholarOne Manuscripts Support Centre:  Full papers must be formatted according to the European Journal of Innovation Management guidelines (please see journal’s website for details) and submitted to the relevant ‘special issue’ section via the on line submission system. Papers that will not be desk-rejected by the guest editors will be sent to two referees for double blind peer review.  Papers selected for publication are expected to be published in the first half of 2013.

Contact Details for Guest Editors

Dr. Francesco Schiavone, University Parthenope of Naples: [email protected] 
Dr. Sylvaine Castellano, ESG Management School: [email protected]
Dr. Adnan Malaoui, ESG Management School: [email protected]
Dr. Imen SAFRAOU, ESG Management School: [email protected]