Competitiveness might be defined as the success with which firms and regions compete with one another over market shares and resources. Clusters are innovative, firm, organizational forms (networks of firms, services and institutions linked in a production value chain) in way to improve regional competitiveness in flexible, highly demanding and unpredictable markets. Since the early eighties, the “region” was rediscovered and a burgeoning literature from Californian, Italian and French scholars in sociology, economics and geography offered a wide range of perspectives on the relevance of the territory and the region to economic and social life.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Social Network: A “social network” can be defined as a set of nodes or actors (persons or organizations) linked by social relationships or ties of a specified type.
Flexible Business Network: According to Dicken (2003, p. 286), they are emerging organizational forms in which all functions in the production chain, other than those of central coordination and control, are contracted to independent firms, but in which the final product is marketed under the lead company’s brand name.
“Third Italy”: North-eastern and central parts of Italy where numerous industrial districts can be found, mainly in traditional manufacturing sectors, namely wool textiles, clothing, glasses, silk textiles, metalwork, furniture, ski boots and sports footwear, leather goods and footwear.
Flexible Specialization: An alternative model of production based on the spread of production between specialized producers that together are able to rapidly respond to changing market conditions and to adapt to more exigent and volatile consumer demands.
Coopetition: A special type of economic relations based in a balance between cooperation and competition among firms according to the situation they are experiencing.
Fordism: A model of product organization based upon mass production of standardized goods in larger firms, mass consumption and Keynesian regulation of the economy.
Agglomeration Economies: benefits that stem from the geographic proximity of economic entities.