Two universities take a joint look at the “Cucinelli case study”


Good examples of business culture are beneficial to all. Such experiences are not meant to be copied, but they serve as a source of guidance when learning to do more and better. When it comes to business and to the manufacturing culture, being a copycat is dangerous while inspiration can be helpful. There are, after all, too many different variables at play from one company to another – the men and women involved, the setting, the prospects that arise from time to time. However, it is always a good idea to learn from others who have invested their will and their resources to ensure that the business achieves more than merely turning a profit by the end of the year.

An interesting read in that direction is “Brunello Cucinelli: la creazione di valore condiviso nell’impresa umanistica” [Brunello Cucinelli: the creation of shared value in the humanistic business], written by Maria Rosaria Napolitano and Floriana Fusco (from the Universities of Naples and of Milan, respectively). The objective of the study is to delve into the entrepreneurial experience of one of the most important businesses for the textile sector and for the Italian industrial scene as a whole.

The researchers start by noting that corporate social responsibility has been studied as a strategic lever, to make businesses more competitive while creating shared value for all stakeholders. The study, therefore, first underscores the theoretical basis that defines business culture and corporate social responsibility and, subsequently, describes (both in terms of its historic evolution and of its current management), the “Cucinelli case study” – taken as the perfect incarnation of the socially responsible business: a success story and a boast for the Made in Italy brand globally.

What makes the difference? According to Napolitano and Fusco, the entire corporate structure must be built around social responsibility as a strategic objective that is “capable of affecting the company’s culture and identity, as well as providing a unique and distinctive positioning for the products”. The section that addresses the relationship between Cucinelli and his employees is particularly clear: “Trust is the glue that binds together all those who work for him. A shared vision of the business objectives is the key to a healthy and dignified relationship that unites the businessman-philosopher and his employees”.

Of course, the study by Napolitano and Fusco focuses on a virtually unique – and therefore inimitable – example of business culture elevated to the highest degree; however, as was noted at the outset, that is exactly what makes it a wellspring of, at times provocative, ideas. For reading and contemplation.


Brunello Cucinelli: la creazione di valore condiviso nell’impresa umanistica

Maria Rosaria Napolitano, Floriana Fusco

Micro & Marco Marketing, 2, 2019, August