Family firms and industrial districts represent the pillars of the Italian manufacturing industry. Yet, the interplay between corporate ownership and the districtual organization of the industry has been basically overlooked. This paper reports preliminary evidence on the joint contribution of family firms and industrial districts to the competitive performance of Italian manufacturing firms. Descriptive and econometric analysis shows a positive effect of family ownership on firm profitability, as measured by the industry-adjusted Return on Sale (ROS), whereas the advantage of being located in an industrial district is less evident. Empirical evidence shows that the comparative advantages of family ownership change along the firm size distribution and according to the nature and relevance of the external (districtual) economies. Specifically, the performance impact of the interaction between the ‘‘district effect’’ and the ‘‘family effect’’ changes significantly across firm size classes: while these two effects operate as a substitute in smaller sized classes, they are complements in medium-sized firms. In particular,medium-sized firms (100–250 employees) are the best at leveraging the benefits of districtual organization, but only in the case of family ownership.
Family firms and industrial districts: Evidence from the Italian manufacturing industry / Cucculelli, Marco; Storai, Dimitri. - In: JOURNAL OF FAMILY BUSINESS STRATEGY. - ISSN 1877-8585. - STAMPA. - 6:(2015), pp. 234-246. [10.1016/j.jfbs.2015.07.002]