What makes it an industrial district?

: A cognitive constructionist approach / di Fernando Alberti. - Jönköping : Jönköping International Business School, ©2003. - 273 p. ; 25 cm. - (JIBS Research Reports).

Industrial districts have been a central topic in social sciences for a long time. The variety of perspectives and definitions about industrial districts illustrates the multivoiced character of the field. A central issue among industrial districts' scholars concerns the understanding of whether a population of specialized firms and individuals spatially located in a geographical area is an industrial district. What makes it an industrial district? This book proposes a cognitive constructionist approach to address this question. It argues that the sense of belonging of individuals to the district and their collective cognitions are core in enlightening the concept of industrial district. Hence, determinants of industrial districts may be found in individual and collective cognitions, through which individuals assign meaning to their belonging to the district and socially construct the district, enacting it. This implies an analysis of individuals' cognitions, through which they interpret the cues from the environment, which, conversely, is the outcome of their own enactment.
The empirical analysis is conducted on the ways of thinking (thematic sets of values, assumptions, beliefs, ideas and thoughts) of individuals (entrepreneurs, managers, senior public servants) located in the silk industrial district of Como, Italy.


Purpose and overview 15
Introducing the field of industrial districts' research 27
What makes it an industarial district? Entering an ongoing conversation 53
Introducing managerial and organizational cognition in the study of industrial districts 73
Methodology 91
The empirical setting: the skill district of Como 119
Empirical analysis: a guided tour in individual district members' cognition 163
Conclusions and implications 213
References 229