Four Italian Cases
Chapter 10: Discussion and Conclusion
F. G. Alberti In this chapter we discuss within-case and cross-case analyses results and we build theory on the basis of the chain of evidence resulting from such analyses. This chapter proceeds as follows. First we discuss the antecedents of entrepreneurial growth within industrial districts, identified in the four case studies. On the basis of that, we proceed to elaborate a model of entrepreneurial growth of firms within industrial districts. Then we suggest some consequences of firm-growth in industrial districts, building on the evidence from case study analyses. Next, we derive implications for practitioners in managerial and policy terms. The concluding section of this chapter summarises and discusses the main contributions of the study and examines limitations and future research paths. 10.1. INTRODUCTION The relevant issue addressed in this book concerns the phenomenon of firm growth within industrial districts. We know from mainstream industrial district literature, discussed in Chapter 2, that district firms are treated as being one and the same, overlooking the fact that firms widely differ in terms of size, performance, structure and strategy (Boschma and Lambooy, 2002; Boschma and Ter Wal, 2007). Broadly speaking, district firms were represented as homogeneous agents, characterised as small and mediumsized and with equal access to local resources and competencies being ‘in the air’. However, there is growing evidence – most strongly expressed by the literature on Italian industrial districts – of the emergence of powerful leading firms (see for example, Visconti, 1996; Lazerson and Lorenzoni, 1999; Rabellotti and Schmidtz, 1999). Often, leading firms...
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