The Restructuring of Italian Industrial Districts:Groupification,Innovation and Internationalization

  • 1. Center for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China;
    2. Department of Geography and Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-9155, USA

Received date: 2011-01-24

  Revised date: 2011-06-08

  Online published: 1997-11-20


Italian industrial districts(IDs) attracted substantial scholarly attention in the past three decades. Based on the recent literature on Italian industrial districts,this paper analyzes the feartures of traditional Italian industrial district model,and the recent restructuring processes of the districts in the context of globalization and knowledge economy.The traditional Italian industrial districts model is characterized by small and medium enterprises(SMEs) production system with flexible specialization and embeddedness in local communities, resembling the Marshallian industrial district(MID).However,with the development of globalization and knowledge economy,Italian industrial districts have been undergoing the process of restructuring,including groupification,innovation and internationalization.Specifically,the organizational structure has been transformed from a small and medium enterprises production system to a hierarchical production system dominated by’district groups’;the innovation model has been transformed from localized incremental innovation to open innovation based on R&D in large firms,as well as the increasing importance of external knowledge linkages; the relatively closed local network has been turned into an open global network with the processes of internationalization of production activities and the entrance of multi-national enterprises(MNEs).Finally,this paper discusses theoretical implications for the research on industrial districts and empirical implications for the development of Chinese industrial districts.It is argued that the future research on industrial districts should pay more attention to the following three areas: 1) the evolutionary processes of the industrial districts; 2) the interaction between local and global networks;3) the integration of meso-level,region-based view with micro-level,firm-based view.

Cite this article

WANG Zhou-yang, Yehua Dennis Wei . The Restructuring of Italian Industrial Districts:Groupification,Innovation and Internationalization[J]. SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA, 2011 , 31(11) : 1335 -1341 . DOI: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2011.011.1335


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