INDUSTRIAL DISTRICTS AND BUSINESS NETWORKS
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to provide students with an advanced understanding of the theoretical foundations of the inter-firm co-operation through a critical analysis of the main models of industrial organization related to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The potential competitive advantages that an enterprise obtains from cooperation with other enterprises will be verified empirically with regard to industrial districts and business networks.
At the end of the course students will have acquired:
- The knowledge and understand of the constitutive characteristics of industrial districts and business networks;
- The ability to apply them to the design and management of business networks;
- The ability to make judgments to assess the competitive advantage of a firm belonging to an industrial district or a business network and to direct its change;
- Communication skills, through the use of a technical language appropriate to start-up or promote a business partnership network;
- Learning skills through the link between theoretical thinking and observation of facts.
Course contents summary
(1) Introduction to the Course: understanding the inter-firm co-operation; (2) The industrial district; (3) The industrial districts in the Italian experience; (4) Territorial districts vs. functional districts; (5) The "contractual" business networks; (6) Contractual business networks: case studies; (7) Industrial districts and business networks: two complementary models of networks.
"From industrial districts to business networks: theory and practice", a collection of readings edited by the teacher (in Italian).
Acquiring knowledge and understanding: lectures and seminars with managers of business networks.
Applying knowledge and understanding: short writing assignments.
Making judgments: during the course students will be encouraged to reflect critically on the potential competitive advantages that firms belonging to "industrial districts" and "contractual business networks" can obtain.
Communication skills: discussion of case studies.
Learning skills: each case study will be assessed with regard to the coherence between the theoretical and regulatory framework and its implementation.
Assessment methods and criteria
Written exam (by small groups) / Oral exam (individual).
Knowledge and understanding acquired, the ability of applying this and of making judgments, will be evaluated through the submission of a critical essay of approximately 3500 words, written by a small group, typically composed of three students (maximum 20/30 marks). The communication skills with an appropriate technical language will be evaluated individually through the oral and multimedia presentation of the written essay (maximum 4 marks) supplemented, to evaluate learning skills, by an individual oral examination consisting of two questions (maximum 3 marks each).