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 judgements 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.
Readings supplied by the teacher.
Acquiring knowledge and understanding: lectures and seminars with managers of business networks.
Applying knowledge and understanding: short writing assignments.
Making judgements: during the course students will be encouraged to critically think 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 evaluated with regard to the consistency between the main aspects of rhe theoretical and policy framework and their implementation.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam will consist of 3 questions, in 2 hours. The acquired knowledge, the ability to understand and apply such knowledge with independent judgement, will be ascertained by evaluating the accuracy and consistency of the answers. The ability to communicate with appropriate technical language will be ascertained by evaluating the language used in the answers to questions.