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Transforming Industrial Districts: Large Firms and Small Business Networks in the Italian Eyewear Industry

  • Arnaldo Camuffo
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    This study is an evolutionary comparative analysis of how large, vertically integrated firms and networks of small firms perform, in response to the challenges posed by globalization. It focuses on the Italian eyewear industry which represents an ideal laboratory for studying the establishment and transformation of such diverse production models under ceteris paribus conditions (same industry, same challenges, same product, and same geographical location). Looking at longitudinal statistical data for the Belluno eyewear district and case studies of the four leading companies in the industry, this study demonstrates that, locally embedded networks of small firms no longer represent an organizational structure as robust and stable as in the past. Globalization challenges such networks and demands adjustments that transform the nature of the Belluno eyewear district, away from the traditional stereotype so widespread in the literature, towards a configuration characterized by the presence of leading firms and moderate hierarchy.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Industry and Innovation.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 377-401

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:10:y:2003:i:4:p:377-401
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