Clusters and industrial districts are the two concepts that have changed the way to think about competitiveness. For both, the formation of competitive advantage lies outside the business or industry, residing in the surrounding environment to which the firm or the industry belongs. Nevertheless, between the two concepts, there are differences in how they define the nature of the surrounding environment: a spatial concentration of productive activities, in the case of cluster; a local community, for the industrial district. From a historical perspective, these differences are the basis of three different approaches to the problem. The first approach, more and more prevalent, tends to deny the existence of differences, going to identify the cluster with the industrial district, paying full attention of the historical research on the genesis and evolution of the spatial concentration of production. A second approach identifies the district as a special case of cluster, in which the long duration and evolution have led to exceptional socio-cultural conditions that are hardly replicable elsewhere. Finally, a third approach makes the district and the cluster out to be two distinct concepts by identifying the local community – and its related socio-cultural features based on a value system that foster industrial skill and business ability – as the founding component of the district. So that, according to this approach the productive apparatus is considered the outcome of a process of industrial specialization and organization of the local community. This third approach, therefore, establishes a logical gap between the concept of cluster and district; and, in the extreme, it may even belong to two different disciplines: to the business history, the cluster; to the economic and social history, the district. This paper is part of the latter approach. It comparatively analyses historical trends of cutlery industry in Maniago (Italy), Thiers (France) and Sheffield (England) to found empirically the reasons that make the district a more robust theoretical paradigm than the cluster in the understanding how competitive advantage is formed and reproduced over time.

A cross-european comparison of three localized industries: The cutlery industry in Maniago (Italy), Thiers (France) and Pavlovo (Russia) / A. Grandi; A. Guenzi; F. Sforzi. - (2009), pp. 1-15. ((Intervento presentato al convegno 15th World Economic History Congress tenutosi a Utrecht (The Netherlands) nel 3-7 August 2009.

A cross-european comparison of three localized industries: The cutlery industry in Maniago (Italy), Thiers (France) and Pavlovo (Russia)

GRANDI, Alberto;GUENZI, Alberto;SFORZI, Fabio
2009

Abstract

Clusters and industrial districts are the two concepts that have changed the way to think about competitiveness. For both, the formation of competitive advantage lies outside the business or industry, residing in the surrounding environment to which the firm or the industry belongs. Nevertheless, between the two concepts, there are differences in how they define the nature of the surrounding environment: a spatial concentration of productive activities, in the case of cluster; a local community, for the industrial district. From a historical perspective, these differences are the basis of three different approaches to the problem. The first approach, more and more prevalent, tends to deny the existence of differences, going to identify the cluster with the industrial district, paying full attention of the historical research on the genesis and evolution of the spatial concentration of production. A second approach identifies the district as a special case of cluster, in which the long duration and evolution have led to exceptional socio-cultural conditions that are hardly replicable elsewhere. Finally, a third approach makes the district and the cluster out to be two distinct concepts by identifying the local community – and its related socio-cultural features based on a value system that foster industrial skill and business ability – as the founding component of the district. So that, according to this approach the productive apparatus is considered the outcome of a process of industrial specialization and organization of the local community. This third approach, therefore, establishes a logical gap between the concept of cluster and district; and, in the extreme, it may even belong to two different disciplines: to the business history, the cluster; to the economic and social history, the district. This paper is part of the latter approach. It comparatively analyses historical trends of cutlery industry in Maniago (Italy), Thiers (France) and Sheffield (England) to found empirically the reasons that make the district a more robust theoretical paradigm than the cluster in the understanding how competitive advantage is formed and reproduced over time.
A cross-european comparison of three localized industries: The cutlery industry in Maniago (Italy), Thiers (France) and Pavlovo (Russia) / A. Grandi; A. Guenzi; F. Sforzi. - (2009), pp. 1-15. ((Intervento presentato al convegno 15th World Economic History Congress tenutosi a Utrecht (The Netherlands) nel 3-7 August 2009.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2283993
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