Four Italian Cases
Chapter 3: The Concept of Firm-Level Entrepreneurship
F. Visconti and S. Sciascia This chapter introduces firm-level entrepreneurship as a key concept in interpreting the phenomenon of firm growth in industrial districts. The chapter has a threefold aim: to present the concepts of firm-level entrepreneurship; to substantiate the relevance of its adoption for this study; and to review the relevant literature, looking particularly at the so-called knowledge-based approach to entrepreneurship. Thus, we provide an explanation of the relevance of firm-level entrepreneurship in the new competitive scenario. This is followed by a review of the literature on firmlevel entrepreneurship, basing the discussion on earlier studies on entrepreneurship. Finally, we discuss the knowledge-based approach to entrepreneurship adopted in this book. 3.1. 3.1.1. THE RELEVANCE OF FIRM-LEVEL ENTREPRENEURSHIP The Need for Entrepreneurship in the New Competitive Landscape Today’s economic environment is characterised by increased risk, decreased ability to forecast and fluid industry boundaries. Uncertainty impacts markets and marketing practices. Markets shift, overlap and fragment as boundaries blur. Distribution channels reshape, reconfigure, and circumvent the status quo. Firms interact, compete, and collaborate for consumers whose demand is rapidly changing (Day and Montgomery, 1999; Kinnear, 1999). Surviving and prospering in such harsh conditions entail merely coping with rather than dealing fully with or managing complexity. Different names have been given 41 42 Industrial districts and firm-level entrepreneurship to the complexity that companies have to face on the contemporary scene. The definitions of ‘information era’, ‘global economy’, ‘new’ or ‘net economy’, ‘hypercompetition’ and even the term ‘third industrial revolution’ have been used indifferently. It...
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