L’industria manifatturiera italiana: le sfide e il coraggio. Evidenze dal caso Fiat (The Italian manufacturing industry: challenges and courage. Evidences from the Fiat case)

  • Paola Paniccia
  • Vincenzo Formisano
Keywords: manufacturing, entrepreneurship, virtue of courage, time-knowledge binomial


Purpose of the paper: This article aims to highlight the role that the virtue of courage can play in entrepreneurship, especially as far as the new challenges regarding the problems of adaptation of the Italian manufacturing firms are concerned. In particular, the article underlines the synergy between courage, knowledge and time.

Methodology: The article analyzes the aforementioned role through combining some theoretical pillars regarding entrepreneurship, and the classic philosophical thought about the concept of courage, with an appropriate review of the extant management literature associated with it. The article also deepens this analysis through studying the evolutionary dynamics regarding Fiat. The study is aimed at shedding light on some strategic choices reflecting courage.

Results: On the basis of its literature review, the article identifies some core features constituting the concept of courage and highlights their importance when entrepreneurial behavior is concerned. The article also provides the extant literature with food for thought about aforementioned link as well as a analyses an Italian example of courageous entrepreneurial behavior associated with the international manufacturing industry. In this example, the mentioned linking pin finds concrete application.

Research Limitations: The main limitation consists in the analysis of a single case study whose nature and size are only partially representative of the Italian manufacturing industry. Furthermore, appropriate inquiries could also address the important relationship between the industrial policy, at country level, and the specific entrepreneurial behavior in the manufacturing industry.

Practical implications: The most significant insights emerging from this work mainly regard: i) how to improve the evaluation of governance decisions; ii) how to plan and implement long-term strategies aimed at exploiting the reciprocal functionality between manufacturing enterprises and the country system.

Originality of the paper: This study combines the concept of courage with that of entrepreneurship. Mixing the classical and subsequent literature developed on both these themes, the study focuses on the link connecting courage with knowledge and time and underlines the importance of this link in the manufacturing industry. These insights are new in the literature.


AA.VV. (2006), “Imprenditorialità e impresa: il ruolo dell’imprenditore”, Sinergie, n. 71.

ABATECOLA G., MANDARELLI G., POGGESI S. (2013), “The personality factor: how top management teams make decisions. A literature review”, Journal of Management and Governance, vol. 17, n. 4, pp. 1073-1100.

AMOS B., KLIMOSKI R.J. (2014), “Courage Making Teamwork Work Well”, Group and Organization Management, vol. 39, n. 1, pp. 110-128.

ARISTOTELE, (a cura di), Natali C. (2014), Etica Nicomachea, Laterza, Roma-Bari.

BARNARD C.J. (1948), Le funzioni del dirigente. Organizzazione e direzione, Utet, Torino (ed.originale, 1938)

BENEDETTO XVI (2009), Caritas in Veritate, Lettera Enciclica, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano.

BENSON J.K. (1977), “Organizations: A Dialectial View”, Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 22, n. 1, pp. 1-21.

BIRD B. (1988), “Implementing Entrepreneurial Ideas: The Case for Intention”, Academy of Management Review, vol. 13, n. 3, pp. 425-453.

BLACKBURN R., KOVALAINEN A. (2009), “Researching small firms and entrepreneurship: Past, present and future”, International Journal of Management Reviews, vol. 11, n. 1, pp. 127-148.

BRESLIN D. (2011), “Interpreting futures through the multi-level co-evolution of organizational practices”, Futures, vol. 43, n. 9, pp. 1020-1028.

CAFFERATA R., DOSSENA G. (2012), (a cura di), Spirito imprenditoriale e formazione d’impresa, Il Mulino, Bologna.

CAFFERATA R. (1987), “Una interpretazione dialettica del rapporto tra impresa e ambiente esterno”, Finanza, marketing e produzione, n. 2, pp. 69-108.

CAFFERATA R. (2014), Management in adattamento. Tra razionalità economica, evoluzione e imperfezione dei sistemi, Il Mulino, Bologna.

CASELLI L. (2007), Globalizzazione e bene comune. Le ragioni dell’etica e della partecipazione, Edizioni Lavoro, Roma.

CASELLI L. (2012), La vita buona nell’economia e nella società, Edizioni Lavoro, Roma

CENTRO STUDI CONFINDUSTRIA (2014), In Italia la manifattura si restringe. Nei paesi avanzati le politiche industriali puntano sul territorio, Sipi S.p.A, (Ed.), Roma.

CICERONE M.T., De inventione, II. LIV.163

CYERT R.M., MARCH J.G. (1963), A behavioural theory of the firm, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, NJ.

D’AQUINO T. (2010), Compendio di Teologia e altri scritti, Selva A., Centi T.S. (a cura di), Utet, Torino.

D’AQUINO T. (2009), Summa Theologiae, Tito P., Centi S., Angelo P., Belloni Z., (a cura di), Nuova ed. in lingua italiana, (consultabile on-line: http://documentacatholicaomnia.eu/20_50_1225-1274-_Thomas_Aquinas,_Sanctus.html).
DE BRUIN B. (2013), “Epistemic virtues in business”, Journal of business ethics, vol. 113, n. 4, pp. 583-595.

ELLRAM L.M., TATE W.L., PETERSEN K.J. (2013), “Offshoring and reshoring: an update on the manufacturing location decision”, Journal of Supply Chain Management, vol. 49, n. 2, pp. 14-22.

ENCECLOPEDIA TRECCANI, Coraggio, Vocabolario on line.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION (2014), Helping Firms Grow, European Competitiveness Report.

ESCRIVÀ J.M. (1994), Cammino-Solco-Forgia, Edizioni Ares, Milano.

FAZZI R. (1982), Il governo d’impresa, vol. I, Giuffrè, Milano.

FRATOCCHI L., DI MAURO C., BARBIERI P., NASSIMBENI G., ZANONI A. (2014), “When manufacturing moves back: concepts and questions”, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, vol. 20, n. 1, pp. 54-59.

GARTNER W.B., (1988), “Who is an entrepreneur? Is the wrong question”, American Journal of Small Business, vol. 12, n. 4, pp. 11-32.

GARTENER W.B., SHAVER K.G., GATTEWOOD E., KATZ J.A. (1994), “Finding the Entrepreneur in Entrepreneurship”, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, vol. 18, n. 3, pp. 5-9.

GOLDBERG L.R. (1990), “An alternative «description of personality»: The Big-Five factor structure”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, n. 59, pp. 1216-1229.

GOLINELLI G.M., BACCARANI C. (2006), “L’imprenditore tra imprenditorialità, managerialità, leadership e senso del futuro”, Sinergie, n. 71, pp. VII-XIV.

GOUD N.H. (2005), “Courage: Its nature and development”, The Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development, vol. 44, n. 1, pp. 102-116.

GRAAFLAND J.J. (2010), “Do markets crowd out virtues? An Aristotelian framework”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 91, n. 1, pp. 1-19.

HAMBRICK D.C., MASON P. (1984), “Upper echelons: The organization as a reflection of its top Managers”, Academy of Management Review, vol. 9, n. 2, pp. 193-206.

HANNAH S.T., AVOLIO B.J., DOUGLAS R.M. (2011), “Moral maturation and moral conation: A capacity approach to explaining moral thought and action”, Academy of Management Review, vol. 36, n. 4, pp. 663-685.

HARBOUR M., KISFALVI V. (2014), “In the Eye of the Beholder: An Exploration of Managerial Courage”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 119, n. 4, pp. 493-515.

HARRIS H. (1999), “Courage as a management virtue”, Business and Professional Ethics Journal, vol. 18, n. 3 e 4, pp. 27-46.

HERNANDEZ M. (2008), “Promoting stewardship behavior in organizations: A leadership model”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 80, n. 1, pp. 121-128.

HREBINIAK L.G., JOYCE W.F. (1985), “Organizational Adaptation: Strategic Choice and Environmental Determinism”, Administrative Science Quarterly, n. 3, pp. 363-349.

KIDDER R.M. (2005a), “Moral Courage, Digital Distrust: Ethics in a Troubled World”, Business and Society Review, vol. 110, n. 4, pp. 485-505

KIDDER R.M. (2005b), Moral courage, W. Morrow, New York.

KILMANN R.H., O’HARA L.A., STRAUSS J.P. (2010), “Developing and validating a quantitative measure of organizational courage”, Journal of Business and Psychology, vol. 25, n. 1, pp. 15-23.

KINKEL S. (2012), “Trends in production relocation and back-shoring activities: changing patterns in the course of the global economic crisis”, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, vol. 32, n. 6, pp. 696-720.

KLEIN M., NAPIER R. (2003), The Courage to Act: 5 Factors of Courage to Transform Business, Mountain View, Davies-Black Publishing, CA.

KNIGHT F.H. (1921), Risk, Uncertainty and Profit, Augustus Kelley, New York.

KOERNER M. (2014), “Courage as identity work: Accounts of workplace courage”, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 57, n. 1, pp. 63-93.

KOHUT H., (1985), Potere, coraggio e narcisismo. Psicologia e scienze umane, Astrolabio, Roma.

KRIZNER I.M. (1973), Competition and Entrepreneurship, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

KRIZNER I.M. (1979), Perception, Opportunity and Profit, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

LEWIN A.Y, VOLBERDA H.K. (1999), “Prolegomena on co-evolution: a framework for research on strategy and new organizational forms”, Organization Science, vol. 10, n. 5, pp. 519-534.

MURMANN J.P. (2013), “The co-evolution of industries and important features of their environments”, Organization Science, vol. 24, n. 1, pp. 58-78.

NAUGHTON M.J., CORNWALL J.R. (2006), “The virtue of courage in entrepreneurship: Engaging the catholic social tradition and the life-cycle of the business”, Business ethics quarterly, vol. 16, n. 1, pp. 69-93.

NORMANN R. (1992), La gestione strategica dei servizi, Etas Libri, Milano.

PANICCIA P. (2002), Dinamiche temporali e cognitive nell’approccio sistemico al governo dell’impresa, Cedam, Padova.

PANICCIA P. (2006) (a cura di), Creazione e valorizzazione della conoscenza in impresa, Aracne, Roma.

PANICCIA P. (2014), “Tempo e conoscenza nella co-evoluzione tra impresa e ambiente”, in Cafferata R., Management in adattamento. Tra razionalità economica, evoluzione e imperfezione dei sistemi, Il Mulino, Bologna, pp. 294-299.

PETERSON C., SELIGMAN M.P. (2004), Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, Oxford University Press, New York.

PLATONE, “La Repubblica”, in Platone. Tutte le opere (2013, 4a ed.), Newton Compton Editori, Roma, pp. 1735-2185.

PLATONE, “Lachete”, in Platone. Tutte le opere (2013, 4a ed.), Newton Compton Editori, Roma, pp. 1192-1227.
POGGESI S. (2004), “La prospettiva sistemica nell’opera di Chester J.Barnard”, in Cafferta R. (a cura di), Cooperare in impresa. Studi sul pensiero di Chester Barnard, Giappichelli, Torino, pp. 39-56.

PORTER M.E., KRAMER M.R. (2007), “Strategia e società. Il punto d’incontro tra il vantaggio competitivo e la corporate social responsibility”, Harvard Business Review- Italia, vol. 1, n. 2, pp. 1-18.

PUTNAM D. (1997), “Psychological courage”, Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, vol. 4, n. 1, pp. 1-10.

QUINN R.W., WORLINE M.C. (2008), “Enabling courageous collective action: Conversations from United Airlines flight 93”, Organization Science, vol. 19, n. 4, pp. 497-516.

RULLANI E. (2014a), “Manifattura in transizione”, Sinergie, n. 93, pp. 141-152.

RULLANI E. ( 2014b), “Territori in transizione. Il nuovo rapporto tra imprese e politiche territoriali per la rinascita industriale e l’innovazione”, in Cappellin R., Marelli E., Rullani E., Sterlacchini A. (a cura di), Crescita, investimenti e territorio. Il ruolo delle politiche industriali e regionali, Website “Scienze Regionali” (www.rivistasr.it), eBook.

SCHUMPETER J.A. (1934), The Theory of Economic Development, Harvard University Press Cambridge, Mass.).

SEKERKA L.E., McCARTHY J.D., BAGOZZI R.P. (2011), “Developing professional moral courage: Leadership lessons from everyday ethical challenges in today’s military”, in Comer D.R., Vega G. (Eds.), Moral courage in organizations: Doing the right thing at work (pp. 130-141), Arkmonk, M.E. Sharpe, NY.

SEKERKA L.E., BAGOZZI R.P. (2007), “Moral courage in the workplace: Moving to and from the desire and decision to act”, Business Ethics: A European Review, vol. 16, n. 2, pp. 132-149.

SEKERKA L.E., BAGOZZI R.P., CHARNIGO R. (2009), “Facing ethical challenges in the workplace: Conceptualizing and measuring professional moral courage”, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 89, n. 4, pp. 565-579.

SHANE E VENKATARAMAN (2000), “The Promise of Entrepreneurship as a Field of Research”, Academy of Management Review, vol. 25, n. 1, pp. 217-226.

SCHOENBERGER R.J.(1986), World class manufacturing: the lessons of simplicity applied, The Free Press, New York.

SIMON H. (1947), Administrative behavior, MacMillan, New York.

SOLOMON R.C. (1999), A Better Way to Think about Business: How Personal Integrity Leads to Corporate Success, Oxford University Press, New York.

SRIVASTVA S., COOPERRIDER D.L. (1998), Organizational Wisdom and Executive Courage, TheNew Lexington Press, San Francisco, CA.

THE ECONOMIST (2012), Manufacturing and Innovation, Special Report, April 21st.

TRANFIELD D., DENYER D., SMART P. (2003), “Towards a methodology for developing evidence-informed management knowledge by means of systematic review”, British Journal of Management, vol. 14, n. 3, pp. 207-222.

VALLINI C. (2006), “Un’idea di Claudio”, Sinergie, n. 71, pp. 213-218.

UNCTAD/WTO (2013), International Trade Centre, Trade Performance Index.

VARALDO R. (2006), “Il distretto industriale oltre la fabbrica: come rispondere alle sfide della globalizzazione”, in Quintieri B. (a cura di), I distretti industriali dal locale al globale, Rubbettino Ed.Soveria Mannelli, pp. 115-140.

WEBER M. (2000), L’etica protestante e lo spirito del capitalismo, Bur, XI Edizione, Milano.

WEICK K. (1993), Organizzare, Isedi, Torino.

WOODARD C.R. (2004), “Hardiness and the concept of courage”, Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, vol. 56, n. 3, pp. 173-195.

WORLINE M.C., QUINN R.W. (2003), “Courageous principled action”, in Cameron K.S., Dutton J.E., Quinn R.E. (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San-Francisco.

ZAHRA S.A., WRIGHT M. (2011), “Entrepreneurship’s next act”, The Academy of Management Perspectives, vol. 25, n. 4, pp. 67-83.