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District leaders as open networks: emerging business strategies in Italian industrial districts

Author

Listed:
  • Eleonora Di Maria

    () (University of Padova)

  • Stefano Micelli

    () (University of Venice)

Abstract

Italian industrial districts are no longer self-contained systems of small firms, where firms' competitiveness is the result of physical proximity and links with global economy are limited to export sales. A new generation of firms is taking the lead, reshaping the form of districts through their innovative strategies focused on R&D, design and ICT. Most of these firms are leaders within their markets and organize their value chains by coupling district knowledge and competencies with opportunities offered by globalization processes. The rise of these open networks contributes to the transformation of industrial districts and the real drivers of the district firm's competitiveness. Based on a survey of 650 Italian SMEs from 41 Italian districts, the paper describes the characteristics of this new firm model, compared to the traditional district one. The paper also discusses implications for districts in terms of innovation dynamics and governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Eleonora Di Maria & Stefano Micelli, 2007. "District leaders as open networks: emerging business strategies in Italian industrial districts," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0038, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  • Handle: RePEc:pad:wpaper:0038
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. F. Xavier Molina-Morales & M. Teresa Martínez-Fernaández, 2003. "The Impact of Industrial District Affiliation on Firm Value Creation," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 155-170, March.
    2. Morosini, Piero, 2004. "Industrial Clusters, Knowledge Integration and Performance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 305-326, February.
    3. Roberto Grandinetti & Enzo Rullani, 1994. "Sunk internationalisation : small firms and global knowledge," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 67(1), pages 238-254.
    4. Zucchella, Antonella, 2006. "Local cluster dynamics: trajectories of mature industrial districts between decline and multiple embeddedness," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(01), pages 21-44, April.
    5. Anders Malmberg & Peter Maskell, 2006. "Localized Learning Revisited," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 1-18.
    6. Crouch, Colin & Gales, Patrick Le & Trigilia, Carlo & Voelzkow, Helmut, 2001. "Local Production Systems in Europe: Rise or Demise?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199242511.
    7. Ordanini, Andrea & Micelli, Stefano & Di Maria, Eleonora, 2004. "Failure and Success of B-to-B Exchange Business Models:: A Contingent Analysis of Their Performance," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 281-289, June.
    8. Ashish Arora & Alfonso Gambardella & Enzo Rullani, 1997. "Division of Labour and the Locus of Inventive Activity," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 1(1), pages 123-140, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guido Fioretti, 2005. "Individual Contacts, Collective Patterns. Prato 1975-97, a story of interactions," Urban/Regional 0504010, EconWPA.
    2. Fioretti, Guido, 2010. "Trajectories in Physical Space out of Communications in Acquaintance Space: An Agent-Based Model of a Textile Industrial District," MPRA Paper 24902, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Guido Fioretti, 2014. "Trajectories in geographical space out of communication in acquaintance space: An agent-based model of a textile industrial district," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93, pages 179-201, November.
    4. Fabrizio Cafaggi & Paola Iamiceli, 2010. "Inter-firm Networks in the European Wine Industry," EUI-LAW Working Papers 19, European University Institute (EUI), Department of Law.

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    Keywords

    district firms; open networks; global value chain; innovation; governance;

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