Knowledge management is one of the most innovative and effective tools available to company managers in the face of economic challenges and a context of imposed organisational changes. For companies attempting to acquire new information, the forms of their inter-company collaboration are crucial, since these play a large role in determining the related knowledge transfer processes. Companies involved in industrial districts have the advantage of grasping knowledge from others, thanks to the relationships established among the parties. The literature generally holds that knowledge transfer requires a sense of equality and fairness among the firms, to create conditions in which firms will share their own knowledge for joint competitive advantage. However, empirical evidence demonstrates that value chains are often characterised by hierarchical relationships and asymmetry among the parties, and that this holds true even for of industrial districts. Situations of power-based relations contrast with the traditional Marshallian conception of the district, and conform more to the hub-and-spokes model. Hub-and-spokes districts are characterised by the presence of one or more large firms, with vertical integration between these and the smaller firms. Surrounding the hub companies there will be a much larger number of suppliers, holding long-term contracts and other forms of commitment. The literature suggests that knowledge transfer processes in hub-and-spoke districts may be different than those of other types of districts, due to the needs of the larger companies and particularly the underlying power structures. The current work identifies the structure of the Basilicata petroleum district, a hub-and-spoke business district centred on Eni SpA’s Distretto Meridionale (DIME). It analyses the power and socio-cultural relations present in the business district, showing their impact on processes of knowledge creation and transfer.

Knowledge transfer in hub-and-spokes industrial districts: power and socio-cultural relationships in the Basilicata oil district, Italy

TESTA, GIOVANNA
2014

Abstract

Knowledge management is one of the most innovative and effective tools available to company managers in the face of economic challenges and a context of imposed organisational changes. For companies attempting to acquire new information, the forms of their inter-company collaboration are crucial, since these play a large role in determining the related knowledge transfer processes. Companies involved in industrial districts have the advantage of grasping knowledge from others, thanks to the relationships established among the parties. The literature generally holds that knowledge transfer requires a sense of equality and fairness among the firms, to create conditions in which firms will share their own knowledge for joint competitive advantage. However, empirical evidence demonstrates that value chains are often characterised by hierarchical relationships and asymmetry among the parties, and that this holds true even for of industrial districts. Situations of power-based relations contrast with the traditional Marshallian conception of the district, and conform more to the hub-and-spokes model. Hub-and-spokes districts are characterised by the presence of one or more large firms, with vertical integration between these and the smaller firms. Surrounding the hub companies there will be a much larger number of suppliers, holding long-term contracts and other forms of commitment. The literature suggests that knowledge transfer processes in hub-and-spoke districts may be different than those of other types of districts, due to the needs of the larger companies and particularly the underlying power structures. The current work identifies the structure of the Basilicata petroleum district, a hub-and-spoke business district centred on Eni SpA’s Distretto Meridionale (DIME). It analyses the power and socio-cultural relations present in the business district, showing their impact on processes of knowledge creation and transfer.
978‐1‐910309‐34‐6
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11367/31748
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