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Family ties and corporate ties

The specific way in which production organisations grow and develop in the south of Italy

The environment and infrastructure, as well as the social system, and the opportunities waiting to be seized. The mechanism behind the growth and development of companies differs from region to region. It changes not only in accordance with the various objective conditions that exist, but also in line with the subjective trends that need to be observed and understood. For this reason, “Crescere a Mezzogiorno. Organizzazione di un gruppo di ricerca e alcune evidenze empiriche” (“Growth in the south of Italy. Organisation of a research group and some empirical evidence”), an essay written by Davide Bizjak, Luigi Maria Sicca and Ilaria Boncori (from the Department of Economics, Management and Institutions at the University of Naples, and the University of Essex) and recently published in Impresa Progetto – Electronic Journal of Management, could prove to be of use.

“The design of the entire research project” – the three authors write – “revolves around the dilemma of growth in the business organisations studied (medium-sized manufacturing companies in southern Italy), through the analysis of a number of the characteristics that are inherent to the processes of growth.” The method used in the study is “of a qualitative type”, and is based on “narratives provided by managers and entrepreneurs (…), who have often borne witness to entire generations of stories.” The goal in this instance is to understand the tangible levers that companies in southern Italy have used in order to develop, on the basis of a dual condition: on the one hand, the fact of being “disadvantaged in terms of the ability to raise and use capital”, and on the other, the reality that these organisations are stronger because they are “partly impervious to changes in economic cycles.”

The essay begins by addressing the method according to which the survey was conducted, and then proceeds with an analysis of the qualitative results of the interviews that were carried out, before the three researchers finally explain: “From both an economic and an organisational perspective, businesses in the south of Italy appear to operate almost independently of global economic trends, for better or for worse. Both during the phases of development and during times of crisis, the results of companies in the south are slow to arrive but nonetheless consistent; the development of these businesses echoes the way in which family ties evolve, and indeed, these form a network beneath the stories of entrepreneurial activities gathered during the interviews.” In this way, we observe the outlines of a business culture in an area in which entrepreneurship goes hand in hand with fundamental human ties: a situation which we must seek to observe and understand with care, and which also leads to the emergence of unique figures such as “prudent innovators”.

Crescere a Mezzogiorno. Organizzazione di un gruppo di ricerca e alcune evidenze empiriche(“Growth in the south of Italy. Organisation of a research group and some empirical evidence”)

Davide Bizjak, Luigi Maria Sicca, Ilaria Boncori

Impresa Progetto – Electronic Journal of Management, no. 1, 2020