This paper aims to analyze some emerging aspects related to the economic literature on production networks, and detect their evolution in the particular legal instrument of network contracts. The proposed work analyzes four case studies of network contracts in Tuscany (three networks belonging to the "Gucci System" and the network part of Esaote SPA) and seeks to highlight some unique and distinctive futures: functions, the innovation capabilities, human resource management and strategic coordination. The methodology used is a qualitative analysis supported by both sources of primary data (the network contracts) and direct interviews with companies and privileged witnesses of the Tuscan manufacturing sector. The main result of the survey is to draw a reading of network contracts framework. We try to reclassify them according to three different gradients of interaction between agents, and on the types of functions developed: (i) integrated networks through the development of interfunctional coordiantion, (ii) networks aimed at developing innovative processes; (iii) networks that can be integrated into a true strategic coordination.
Keywords: Network contracts; Strategic coordination; Gucci system; Global value chain; Cross-fertilization processes.