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An explorative study of the relationship between country reputation and corporate localisation strategies in Italian companies
Language: English This thesis is written in English
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Fabrizio Piras, Università degli Studi di Milano - Bicocca, 2014-15
Fabrizio Piras
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Over the past years, several companies have changed their localisation strategy. This topic has been the object of debate within the academic scenario and some authors have revealed the presence of a great number of companies that have chosen to bring back their facilities to the country of origin. Some other scholars have tried to understand this transformation, identifying among the key factors that might positively influence this transfer, the importance of the country in which the company produces its goods. For these authors there is a connection between the consumers’ purchase and the perception of the extrinsic value of a product, such as the country of origin or production and therefore the concept of ‘Made in’.
In contrast with previous studies, this exploratory research starts from the assumption that if ‘Made In’ is able to influence the process of purchase and consumption of a product or service, it can even represent a reason for companies to move their plants to the country of origin. Therefore, the point is not to find out whether it happens or how many times it happens, but the focus of the research is to ascertain why this happens. The final aim of the research is to explore the relationship between the localisation decisions of Italian companies and the country in which they have decided to localise their plants. In order to explore this relationship the work has been focused on a sample of 15 managers belonging to three different groups of companies’ localisation strategies: those that are involved in back-reshoring, off-shoring and never-shoring. Through an in-depth interview with each of them, the researcher has discussed the two main topics (reputation and localisation) and has analysed the responses by the software tools of MAXQDA and Excel. The use of these tools has been integrated with the construction of some cognitive diagrams. In this way, the researcher acted as a sense-making device, with the intention of giving a complete framework to the object of the study.
The findings show in which way the country reputation can influence the localisation strategies of the Italian companies interviewed. The main idea is pointed out in the last paragraph of ‘Findings and discussion’. The choice of locating the plant(s) abroad can only be made in certain industries and with certain products where the ‘Made in Italy’ and ‘know-how’ do not affect the target market.