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COURSE NAME: "Made in Italy: The Italian Business Environment"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Antonella Salvatore
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 1:30 PM 2:45 PM

The course analyzes the Italian Business environment, the characteristics of its culture and its inner workings. Students will be able to understand the different types of Italian corporate cultures and the role of family businesses in Italy. The course allows students to assess some of the most popular Italian brands and learn why "made in Italy" is a leading brand in the world, despite recent influences and threats from foreign investors. Company cases and special guests will be an important part of this course and will allow students to relate theory to practice.

Students will first explore why Italy’s business environment can be considered a relationship oriented culture rather than an information oriented one and analyze what this entails in terms of business practice and etiquette. They then study different management styles in Italy and the geographical and other factors that affect them. The course then examines the influence of the European Union on Italian corporate activity, the challenges faced by foreign companies in Italy, as well as recent developments in the country’s job market and labor laws.  Students will study the brand "Made in Italy". The course focuses on specific types of Italian companies and the important role of business districts, using a range of case-studies of brands and industries (such as FIAT, Ferragamo, Eataly, Tecnogym, Loro Piana, Fendi, Como’s silk business district and Prato’s textile industry) in order to analyze their development, challenges and strategies and to evaluate the reasons for the success of “Made in Italy brands”. Last but not least, company representatives from remote and guest speakers will tell students how they plan to face the challenges of the post-covid era.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • understand the different features of Italian business culture, etiquette and management styles and explain these through theories of relationship oriented cultures vs. information oriented cultures

  • be able to explain the features of the Italian job market and regulations affecting it

  • understand the relationship between Italian businesses and international actors and institutions

  • explain the role of major Italian business districts and family firms in the country

  • analyze what makes “made in Italy” a brand and evaluate how the recent economic downturn has threatened the concept of “made in Italy”

  • successfully navigate business databases to collect and analyze relevant materials on Italian businesses




Attendance and Participation 10%
Mid-term exam 30%
Test 20%
Final exam 35%
Elevator Pitch 5%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Students are expected to attend all scheduled class meetings presented in the course outline. Since success in this field requires a high level of interpersonal skills, grading to a greater extent that in other classes will be based on active class participation, interaction with the instructor and with the other students, the major emphasis is on the quality of the contribution made and not the quantity.

Students are expected to read the assigned company cases and work on class exercises. Grade will be determined by the student’s contribution, interaction and critical thinking.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.



Introduction to the Italian business environment

Italian culture: Relationship oriented countries vs. information oriented countries

Management styles and Communication styles in Italy

Differences between Northern Italy and Southern Italy
Security vs. flexibility

Italian business etiquette

Political and legal environment

Italy and the EU. 
Labor laws and Jobs Act
Italian education system: schools and universities

Italian political system

Barriers and challenges for foreign companies: is it difficult to invest in Italy?

Entry strategies for foreign companies
Starbucks case in Italy
Nespresso case in Italy

Business and marketing

Italian family firms

Italian business districts

Chinataly: Prato

Made in Italy: a global brand

Marketing of Italian luxury goods

Italian eno-gastronomy: Eataly case

Italian firms in the post-covid era


Company representatives and guest speakers in class:

- Eataly

- Camicia on demand

- Fiat Crysler Automobiles

- Macro Museum

- Coca Cola: their strategy in Italy

- FOCSIV: the major Italian not-for profit organization

- Intersos: the meaning of social inclusion in Italy during the pandemic