Click here to download

The network contract in the agrifood industry: An exploratory study on collaborative drivers in central Italy
Journal Title: ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE 
Author/s: Lorenzo Compagnucci, Alessio Cavicchi, Francesca Spigarelli 
Year:  2019 Issue: Language: English 
Pages:  24 Pg. 335-358 FullText PDF:  155 KB
DOI:  10.3280/ECAG2019-002009
(DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation:  clicca qui   and here 


In 2008, the European Union (EU) started promoting the development of micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of Think Small First - Small Business Act (sba). As SMEs represent 99% of all European businesses, they are the backbone of Europe. This phenomenon is even more clear in the Italian agrifood industry where, in 2016, SMEs were about 1,5 million. Nevertheless, most of the Italian SMEs show unsatisfactory economic performances compared to European competitors. Indeed, the small size of firms is a challenge in terms of design and production capacity. To support inter-firms’ cooperation and to enact the principles of the sba, the Italian parliament introduced the network contract (NC) as industrial policy under Law n. 33 of 2009. The NC allows entrepreneurs to collaborate in order to improve, individually and collectively, their innovation capacity and/or their competitiveness. On one side, there is a positive economic return from cooperation. On the other hand, a deeper understanding of networks should be achieved by examining how networks operate and what is the content of the links. Indeed, one of the most challenging issue lies on the disposition of network members to be cooperative. This exploratory study aims to improve the understanding of the NC and its collaborative drivers, by analyzing whether, why and how features related to network characteristics and management perceptions affect companies’ collaboration, competitiveness and innovation capacity. To do this, we perform a multiple case study analysis by interviewing six key informants who have subscribed the NC in the agrifood industry. The study has managerial and policy implications. Findings highlight some keyelements that characterize a network approach and its related advantages, which can bring benefits to companies, while triggering competitiveness, innovation and sustainability at local level. .
Keywords: Agrifood industry, innovation, Italy, networks, network-based contract
Jel Code: Q13, Q18, L14

  1. In: Handel, M.J. (Ed.) The sociology of organizations: classic, contemporary, and critical readings. SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA, USA, 315-330.
  2. RetImpresa (2013). Il management delle reti d’impresa dalla costituzione alla gestione operativa. -- Retrieved from www.pv.camcom.it/.
  3. Bocci, S. (2011). La politica delle aggregazioni e la pianificazione fiscale: lo sviluppo delle reti di impresa e l’impatto sugli organi di amministrazione. Prime difficolta applicative. Impresa e Progetto, 2(4), 397-412.
  4. Borda, T. (2014). Il latte nella rete. Mondo Agricolo, 6, 24-25.
  5. Bryson, J., Wood, P., & Keeble, D. (1993). Business networks, small firm flexibility and regional development in UK business services. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 5(3), 265-277., DOI: 10.1080/08985629300000016
  6. Cafaggi, F. (2010). Il nuovo contratto di rete: ‘learning by doing’?’. I Contratti, 12, 1143-1154.
  7. Cai, J., & Szeidl, A. (2018). Interfirm relationships and business performance. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 133(3), 1229-1282.
  8. Cantele, S., Vernizzi, S., & Ricciardi, F. (2016). The emerging wave of agilityoriented business networks in Italy: a new strategy for facing global competition. World review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 12(2-3), 270-284., DOI: 10.1504/WREMSD.2016.074967
  9. Carson, D., Gilmore, A., & Rocks, S. (2004). SME marketing networking: a strategic approach. Strategic Change, 13, 369-382.
  10. Centro Studi Confagricoltura (2018). Rapporto reti di imprese. -- Retrieved from www.confagricoltura.it/ita/comunicazioni_centro-studi/rapporti-economici/retidimprese-nel-2017-42-rispetto-al-2016-imprese-agricole-in-rete-41.php.
  11. Charan, R. (1991). How networks reshape organizations – for results. Harvard Business Review, 69(4), 104-115.
  12. Cisi, M., Devicienti, F., Manello, A., & Vannoni, D. (2018). The advantages of formalizing networks: new evidence from Italian SMEs. Small Business Economics.
  13. Compagnucci, L., Cavicchi, A., & Spigarelli, F. (2016). L’efficacia del contratto di rete nel settore agroalimentare Italiano: una rassegna normativa e della letteratura. Economia Marche-Journal of Applied Economics, 35(2), 1-20.
  14. Costantino, L. (2013). Il contratto di rete tra imprese nel settore agricolo. Rivista di Diritto Agrario, 4, 668-684.
  15. Cuffaro V. (2016). Contratto di rete di imprese. Giuffre editore.
  16. Curran, J., Jarvis, R., Blackburn, R.A., & Black, S. (1993). Networks and small firms: constructs, methodological strategies and some findings. International Small Business Journal, 11(2), 13-25., DOI: 10.1177/026624269301100202
  17. D’Alvia, F. (2011). Il progetto di Confindustria per le reti d’impresa. In Fondazione Italiana del Notariato e GRUPPO24ORE (Ed.), Il contratto di rete. Nuovi strumenti contrattuali per la crescita d’impresa. -- Retrieved from http://elibrary.fondazionenotariato.it/articolo.asp?art=37/3708&mn=3.
  18. Del Baldo, M., & Aureli, S. (2012). Networks’ contribution to small-sized firms’ internationalization. International Journal of Economic Behavior, 2(1), 47-66.
  19. Di Diego, B., & Micozzi, F. (2013). Le reti d’impresa. Maggioli Editore.
  20. Eisenhardt, K. (1989), Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 532-550.
  21. European Commission (2003). Recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. (2003/361/EC). Official Journal of the European Union, L 124/36, 20 May 2003.
  22. Ferrari, C. (2010). The Italian “network contract”: a new tool for the growth of enterprises within the framework of the “Small Business Act”? Brief comments on the Italian Law 9 April 2009, N. 33, Art. 3, Co. 4-Ter. Columbia Journal of European Law Online, 16(1010), 77-83.
  23. Gilmore, A., & Carson, D. (1999). Entrepreneurial marketing by networking. New England Journal of Entrepreneurship, 2, 31-38., DOI: 10.1108/NEJE-02-02-1999-B004
  24. Grandori, A., & Soda, G. (1995). Inter-firm networks: antecedents, mechanisms and forms. Organization Studies, 16(2), 183-214., DOI: 10.1177/017084069501600201
  25. Grandinetti, R. (2013). Piccole imprese in (contratto di) rete. In Tunisini, A., Capuano, G., Arrigo, T., Bertani, R. (Ed.), Contratto di rete. Lo strumento Made in Italy per integrare individualita e aggregazione. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  26. Gulati, R., & Higgins, M. (2003). Which ties matter when? The contingent effects of interorganizational partnerships on IPO success. Strategic Management Journal, 24(2), 127-144.
  27. istat (2018a). Annuario statistico italiano. Imprese. -- Retrieved from www.istat.it/it/files//2018/12/C14.pdf.
  28. istat (2018b). Annuario statistico italiano. Agricoltura. -- Retrieved from www.istat.it/it/files//2018/12/C13.pdf.
  29. Langley, A., Smallman, C., Tsoukas, H., & Van de Ven, A.H. (2013). Process studies of change in organization and management: unveiling temporality. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 1-13.
  30. Lin, F., & Lin, Y. (2016). The effect of network relationship on the performance of SMEs. Journal of Business Research, 69, 1780-1784.
  31. Maltoni, M. (2011). Il contratto di rete: prime considerazioni alla luce della novella di cui alla l.n. 122/2010. Notariato, 17, 64-76.
  32. Martucci, M. (2014). Programmazione comunitaria 2014-2020: il G.E.I.E. strumento ultranazionale privato o pubblico? Agrifisco, 1, 10-11.
  33. Massari, F.S., Riggio, M.T., & Calace, D. (2015). Legal and managerial implications of the Italian “contratto di rete”. Management, 10(2), 131-148.
  34. O’Donnell, A., Gilmore, A., Carson, D., & Cummins, D. (2001). The network construct in entrepreneurship research: a review and critique. Management Decision, 39(9), 749-760., DOI: 10.1108/EUM0000000006220
  35. oecd (2014). Italy: key issues and policies. In oecd (Ed.). Studies on SMEs and entrepreneurship. oecd Publishing.
  36. Pache, G. (1990). The role of small business in the development of network organisation: the case of France. International Small Business Journal, 8(4), 71-76., DOI: 10.1177/026624269000800405
  37. Powell, W.W. (2003). Neither market nor hierarchy: network forms of organization.
  38. Rinaldi, C., & Cavicchi, A. (2016). Cooperative behaviour and place branding: a longitudinal case study in Italy. Qualitative Market Research: An InternationalJournal, 19(2), 156-172., DOI: 10.1108/QMR-02-2016-0012
  39. Rubino, M., & Vitolla, F. (2016). The effects of network agreements on firms’ performance. European Journal of Economics and Management, 3(1), 23-32.
  40. Rubino, M., Vitolla, F., & Garzoni, A. (2018). Network contract and internationalization: evidence from Italian firms. Management Decision., DOI: 10.1108/MD-01-2018-0041
  41. Russo, L. (2015). Il contratto di rete in agricoltura. Rivista di Diritto Civile, 1, 181-208.
  42. Szarka, J. (1990). Networking and small firms. International Small Business Journal, 8(2), 10-22., DOI: 10.1177/026624269000800201
  43. Trape, I. (2014). Aggregazione e innovazione nello sviluppo rurale. Rivista di Diritto Agrario, 4, 522-552.
  44. Vanhaverbeke, W., Gilsing, V., Beerkens, B., & Duysters, G. (2009). The role of alliance network redundancy in the creation of core and non-core technologies: a local action approach. Journal of Management Studies, 46, 215-244.
  45. Ventura, F., D’Arienzo, M.C., Martino, G. (2017). Italian network contracts viewed from the perspective of transaction cost economics. In Martino, G., Karantininis, K., Pascucci, S., Dries, L., & Codron, J.M. (Eds.). It’s a jungle out there – the strange animals of economic organization in agri-food value chains, 105-117., DOI: 10.3920/978-90-8686-844-5
  46. Villa, A., & Bruno, G. (2013). Promoting SME cooperative aggregations: main criteria and contractual models. International Journal of Production Research, 51(23-24), 7439-7447.
  47. Villa, A, & Taurino, T. (2017). From SMEs networks towards collaborative management. Procedia Manufacturing, 13, 1297-1304.
  48. Villa, G. (2010). Reti di imprese e contratto plurilaterale. Giurisprudenza Commerciale, 1, 944-967.
  49. Watson, J. (2011). Networking: gender differences and the association with firm performance. International Small Business Journal, 30(5), 536-558., DOI: 10.1177/0266242610384888
  50. Yin, R.K. (2009). Case study research: design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Zaheer, A., & Bell, G. (2005). Benefiting from network position: firm capabilities, structural holes, and performance. Strategic Management Journal, 26(9), 809-825.

Lorenzo Compagnucci, Alessio Cavicchi, Francesca Spigarelli, in "ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE" 2/2019, pp. 335-358, DOI:10.3280/ECAG2019-002009

   

FrancoAngeli is a member of Publishers International Linking Association a not for profit orgasnization wich runs the CrossRef service, enabing links to and from online scholarly content