Inderscience Publishers

Italian industrial districts: crisis or evolution?

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Since the 1980s, many Italian industrial districts have pointed out a loss of competitiveness, a slow down of growth and even a lack of resources, which were not entirely due to mere negative market business cycles. The research paper, after a brief introduction concerning the main features of Italian industrial districts, identifies the main reasons of crisis in: corporate governance on one hand, entrepreneurs are too production–oriented with a short run perspective and undervalue the essential activities of R&D, strategic planning, financing, marketing, etc.; on the other, most of Italian districts do not have a collective governance, able to plan, drive and organise the whole system; limited relationships with external systems; low technology and limited innovativeness of the industry sector; inadequate investments in R&D and scarcity of financial sources. Finally, it tries to suggest some measures to overcome the crisis and successfully deal with global competition.

Keywords: industrial districts, entrepreneurship, complexity, Italy, corporate governance, collective governance

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