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The company as it was, as it is and as it will become

The latest book by Giulio Sapelli explores the past, present and future of production organisations, in an original interpretation

The corporate universe is variegated, yet shares common features. Their responses concern not only history but also the present, looking towards a future that each day becomes increasingly complex. Anyone who thinks about corporate culture, its changing nature and the forms that individual production organisations may assume, must also be able to picture the evolution of production systems in a long view, one that also provides an image of what is happening in the here and now. This two-way view can be found in Giulio Sapelli’s most recent literary effort ‘Perché esistono le imprese e come sono fatte‘ (Why companies exist and how are they made).

In a work that is not simple or easy reading, Sapelli’s writing is nevertheless stimulating and often provocative. Something to be read, in other words.

It is the author’s reasoning that in recent years companies have encountered and are still going through a period of deep crisis, due to mutations in the global balance, which they have been able to confront by making use of a great capacity for resilience, adaptation and transformation. For Sapelli, in order to better grasp what has happened and what is happening we must go back in time to ponder what has taken place, using all the tools of knowledge provided by history, economy and sociology. This is what Sapelli has done in a dense work that opens with small businesses, moves on to public undertakings and then explores large private corporations and cooperatives, composing a planetary view of a company that is ‘beyond the nation’. The author thus touches on crucial points such as the question of organisation, work and citizenship as references for production.

Perché esistono le imprese e come sono fatte‘ (Why companies exist and how are they made) is the re-edition and remaking of a book first published twenty years ago. Not all readers will agree or be in tune with its contents, rich in references and quotes (which often need to be kept at hand to understand their utility and meaning). The text is a long climb of well articulated and fascinating reasoning, yet nevertheless a climb. The author writes: ‘The polyphony of forms taken by the company and good governance are the cultural and moral beams that sustain the possibility to keep building the future, thanks to the diversity of corporate forms socially transformed and the power of individual subjectivity.’

Perché esistono le imprese e come sono fatte (Why companies exist and how are they made)
Giulio Sapelli
Guerini, 2019