Imprese leader e territorio: il ruolo della grande distribuzione commerciale nello sviluppo imprenditoriale del Made in Italy

The aim of the paper is to analyse the role of leading firms as critical actors in the development of local productive systems, especially regarding the experience of retailer firms. First we analysed the literature on leading firms and on entrepreneurial process of development pulled by medium-large firms; this allowed us to underline some new strategic elements in the relationship between leading firms and the local productive system. Then we focused our attention on the new role played in the local system by some big retailers in comparison with other traditional manufacturing companies. In particular, we have underlined the entrepreneurial differences between endogenous big retailers (as Coop in Italy) and large global industrial companies (more open in adopting international outsourcing strategies and less embedded in the local system). In contrast with the traditional approach which, in general, underlines the risks for SME firms connected to the emergence of large distribution chain, we have also emphasized the opportunities linked to the adoption of partner strategies by some big retailers. Finally we have analysed the Coop Centro Italia experience to create value (in terms of better organization, employees, management, revenues) for a large network of small local suppliers producing goods and services. The case examined let us show an effective experience of external entrepreneurship (in terms of building virtuous linkages firm-local system).

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