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Book part
Publication date: 4 August 2017

Marco Bettiol, Chiara Burlina, Maria Chiarvesio and Eleonora Di Maria

Defined as local manufacturing systems, industrial districts have been recognized as particularly important for the location of firms’ manufacturing activities intertwined…

Abstract

Defined as local manufacturing systems, industrial districts have been recognized as particularly important for the location of firms’ manufacturing activities intertwined with innovation processes. The debate on the internationalization of production has stressed the low value related to manufacturing within value chain activities (smile framework), emphasizing the need to focus on high value-added activities (R&D or marketing). Following multinational enterprises’ internationalization strategies, also district firms have progressively offshored their production phases in the past years. However, recent studies focused on backshoring have revamped the attention on the domestic control of production for firms’ competitiveness. This chapter explores district firms’ location choices for manufacturing activities between local and global. Based on an empirical analysis of about 260 Italian district firms specialized in mechanics, furniture, and fashion and supported by a case study investigation, our results show that despite district internationalization processes, a non-negligible amount of firms still carry out – in-house or through outsourcing – production activities at district level. Larger firms couple district production and long-term upstream outsourced internationalization activities. The district system confirms its role of pooling specialized competences and product know-how, being decisive for firms’ innovation and responsiveness to national and international markets. Backshoring, instead, is a very limited phenomenon and linked to upgrading strategies.

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Breaking up the Global Value Chain
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-071-6

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Book part
Publication date: 21 October 2019

Marco Bettiol, Maria Chiarvesio, Eleonora Di Maria, Cristina Di Stefano and Luciano Fratocchi

Manufacturing offshoring has received substantial attention within international business studies that have explored where activities are located and how they are…

Abstract

Manufacturing offshoring has received substantial attention within international business studies that have explored where activities are located and how they are governed. However, recent examples of manufacturing relocation to the home country/region have put the advantages of offshoring under scrutiny, since the location of production activities in high-cost countries may have positive impacts in terms of innovation and marketing opportunities. Despite the growing interest in offshoring and “relocations of second degree,” there is a lack of knowledge on the alternative strategies firms may implement after offshoring. This chapter aims to propose a comprehensive framework to summarize and classify the multiple alternatives firms may implement after the initial relocation abroad of manufacturing activities. Based on an extensive literature review and a comparative analysis of Italian case studies, the chapter suggests theoretical advancement in the theory of location of business activities, offering multiple post-offshoring strategic options that may be implemented individually or in combination. In so doing, the analysis also stresses the variety of strategic paths and the complexity of choices concerning manufacturing location, emphasizing reshoring as a nuanced phenomenon and exploring how domestic and foreign locations can complement each other and be mutually reinforcing.

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International Business in a VUCA World: The Changing Role of States and Firms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-256-0

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Book part
Publication date: 13 August 2014

Valentina De Marchi, Eleonora Di Maria and Stefano Ponte

This paper aims at enriching the literature on international business (IB) studies to include insights from Global Value Chain (GVC) analysis to better explain how MNCs…

Abstract

This paper aims at enriching the literature on international business (IB) studies to include insights from Global Value Chain (GVC) analysis to better explain how MNCs can orchestrate a global network organization. A first important contribution of the GVC literature is that it shifts the focus from single firms to their value chains, providing instruments to study how activities are split and organized among different firms at the industry level, and how MNCs can implement different governing mechanisms within a network-based setting. The GVC literature also highlights that retailers (as global buyers) often act as ‘lead firms’ in shaping the trajectories of global industries, while IB studies have so far focused predominantly on manufacturing firms. A fine-grained analysis of alternative forms of governance characterizing value chains can offer additional elements in explaining how MNCs can manage their network relationships in a global scenario. Finally, through their focus on upgrading, GVC studies suggest that knowledge flows and innovation dynamics taking place within value chains are as important as those taking place within the MNC’s organizational border. We conclude by arguing that these insights can help the IB literature to examine the challenges and opportunities MNCs face in engaging with suppliers and to explain the dynamic evolution of orchestrating global activities at the global level.

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Orchestration of the Global Network Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-953-9

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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2009

Maria Chiarvesio and Eleonora Di Maria

The purpose of this paper is to compare supply network strategies of district firms (from now on ID) and non‐district (non‐ID) firms with the aim of outlining emerging…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare supply network strategies of district firms (from now on ID) and non‐district (non‐ID) firms with the aim of outlining emerging strategies as well as identifying similarities and differences between business models.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis is based on a quantitative approach: the TeDIS survey focuses on 45 leading Italian districts and SMEs located outside districts (Made in Italy sectors). Results refer to 630 Italian firms.

Findings

There are more similarities than differences between the approach of ID and non‐ID companies to supply networks. ID firms rely more on local systems in terms of supply networks, while non‐ID firms have also invested at national level (subcontracting networks). The global geographical extension of supply networks stresses the ID companies' search for efficiency in addition to value‐added competences. Non‐ID firms have a more hierarchical approach to internationalization than ID firms, but differences decrease as the size of the companies increases.

Research limitations/implications

The study is still preliminary. Future research should explore the relationships between the strategic approach to supply networks of district firms and non‐ID firms in terms of characteristics of the relationship management and aims of relationships, also with a focus on the size of these firms.

Originality/value

Within the existing literature, the original contribution of the paper lies in its comparison of supply network strategies in ID and non‐ID firms based on a significant quantitative analysis.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 29 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Guido Bortoluzzi, Maria Chiarvesio, Eleonora Di Maria and Raffaella Tabacco

The purpose of this paper is to understand whether and how specific capabilities at the firm level can sustain firms during the process of international expansion in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand whether and how specific capabilities at the firm level can sustain firms during the process of international expansion in emerging markets (EMs).

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative study was carried out, and the authors analyzed data from a sample of 271 manufacturing firms. A logistic regression was used to check for differences in the endowment of resources and capabilities of firms solely focussing on advanced markets (AMs) or extending their international scope to EMs as well.

Findings

Firms that expanded their business in EMs showed a significantly higher endowment of international experience and marketing capabilities compared with firms that focussed only on AMs. The authors found that the size of the firm is irrelevant: even small firms can reach EMs by leveraging an appropriate set of capabilities.

Research limitations/implications

The study is cross-sectional and cannot provide a longitudinal view of the process of capability development. Future research will be needed to detail the process of capability development during the international expansion of firms into EMs.

Practical implications

Regardless of size, firms that plan to enter EMs should develop specific capabilities, especially marketing capabilities, to increase the likelihood of success. Already internationalized firms have a considerable advantage due to the knowledge they have accumulated in other markets.

Originality/value

This paper advances understanding of the process of the international expansion of firms in EMs from a resource-based perspective.

Details

International Marketing Review, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-1335

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Book part
Publication date: 21 October 2019

Abstract

Details

International Business in a VUCA World: The Changing Role of States and Firms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-256-0

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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2015

Guido Bortoluzzi, Maria Chiarvesio and Raffaella Tabacco

This paper aims to examine how three firms set up distribution networks in China and India. The authors highlight the criticalities in this process and the modifications…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine how three firms set up distribution networks in China and India. The authors highlight the criticalities in this process and the modifications necessary to adapt the firms’ distribution networks to the local conditions of both markets. Firms entering emerging markets (EMs) must deal with specific business and environmental conditions that can jeopardise their ability to succeed. The establishment of a proper distribution network is among the most pressing priorities for entering firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The case study approach was used to analyse three European firms in the furniture sector.

Findings

The results show that several adaptations of already-tested solutions were necessary to cope with the specificities of both markets. Such adaptations differently involved the three layers that form the firms’ distribution network: actors, activities and resources. Theoretical and managerial implications are derived from the results.

Research limitations/implications

This paper considers only three firms, which belong to the same sector and target a similar market segment (the high-end market). Therefore, the conclusions can be generalised only under certain conditions.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the development of international marketing literature by specifically studying distribution networks in EM contexts.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

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Abstract

Details

International Business in a VUCA World: The Changing Role of States and Firms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-256-0

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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2020

Marco Bettiol, Mauro Capestro, Valentina De Marchi, Eleonora Di Maria and Silvia Rita Sedita

This paper aims to explore if firms located in industrial districts (IDs) have different adoption paths concerning Industry 4.0 technologies and get different results with…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore if firms located in industrial districts (IDs) have different adoption paths concerning Industry 4.0 technologies and get different results with respect to other similar firms located outside IDs.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a quantitative analysis related to an original data set of 206 Italian manufacturing firms specializing in made in Italy industries and adopting Industry 4.0 technologies. A case study of a district firm is also presented to explain the rationale of investment strategies and results obtained.

Findings

The analysis shows that there are differences between district and non-district firms when Industry 4.0 technology investments are concerned (higher investment rate in big data/cloud and augmented reality for district firms than non-district ones). In contrast to a breakthrough view of the fourth industrial revolution, the study suggests that 4.0 technologies emphasize the peculiarities and competitiveness factors typical of the district model in terms of customization and flexibility. There are differences in the motivations of adoption (product diversification for district firms vs productivity enhancement for non-district firms) and in the results achieved.

Originality/value

The paper is one of the first attempts to empirically explore the technological innovation paths related to Industry 4.0 within IDs, therefore, contributing to the debate on the possible evolution of the district model

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal , vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Abstract

Details

International Business in the Information and Digital Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-326-1

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