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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article articulates an evolving, new view of inter-organizational relationships (IORs), in industrial districts derived from data on twenty-one leading Italian firms engaged principally in the production of goods where fashion and design occupy a central role: shoes, clothing, leather goods, and furniture. It first gives a brief summary of some of the principal organizational characteristics of industrial districts and their relationship to flexible production. It then considers the emergence of leading firms despite the homogeneity of industrial districts and their use of forward integration as a strategic response to new competitive threats. Furthermore, it also discusses the various theoretical explanations for vertical integration. Finally, it presents some empirical data from case studies prior to the concluding remarks about leading firms and their implications for IORs.

Keywords: inter-organizational relations, Italian firms, industrial districts, empirical data, case studies

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