Industrial districts as local networks of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) rooted their competitiveness in a mix of economic relationships and social ties. Recently, network technologies (ICT) have promised gains of efficiency through a reduction in transaction costs and showed new commercial opportunities for small firms. Despite the attention given to transactions managed electronically, an analysis of ICT diffusion within Italian industrial districts highlights that SMEs use electronic networks mainly to manage knowledge-sharing processes. The paper discusses the results of the past three years of an annual survey focused on the diffusion of ICT within 12 industrial districts based in North East of Italy specialising in the three main macro-industries of the Italian economy: home furnishings (furniture, glass, ceramics), engineering, fashion (textiles, eyewear, shoes, and sportswear). The aim is to study the coherence between economic and technological variables of the district path of development and how SMEs are exploiting opportunities arising from ICT. Results are particularly interesting because they cover the most dynamic period of time that shows the rise and fall of the new economy paradigm.
Chiarvesio, Maria; DiMaria, Eleonora; and Micelli, Stefano, "Network Technologies an Local Networks: Evidence from a Three Year Survey in North East Italy" (2003). ECIS 2003 Proceedings. 47.