“Prepared to Face the Unexpected”: Dynamic Enterprises in Italy as a Model of Resilience


  • Elena Sischarenco




Businesses that demonstrate organizational flexibility, characterized by dynamic problem-solving skills, in-house production processes, and a robust human capital, appear to be successful and resilient in times of crisis. Drawing on my fieldwork in medium-sized manufacturing companies in Emilia, Northern Italy, from June to November 2021, I investigate ideas and characteristics that shed light on good practices, key ingredients of the success of such companies, and possible future models of resilience. I employ participant observation and provide evidence taken from conversations or episodes observed, especially in one of the companies. Although greater structuring is often sought and considered the resolution of many existing problems, non-structuring is, at the same time, convenient in many circumstances. People are essential components in this dynamic organizational model, and their commitment in the organization goes far beyond contractual obligations. Their motivation stems from personal satisfaction as well as from a sense of responsibility and strong personal commitment.

Author Biography

Elena Sischarenco

holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews (2017), during which she carried out research with entrepreneurs in the construction business in Lombardy (Northern Italy). She authored Encountering Entrepreneurs: An Ethnography of the Construction Business in the North of Italy. Currently, she works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), contributing to the project “Urban Bricolage: Mining, Designing & Constructing with Reused Building Materials.” Throughout her career, she has conducted ethnographic studies in various sectors, including 3D printing, industrial manufacturing, and the automotive, medical, and construction industries. Her research mainly focuses on business anthropology, circular economy, innovation, knowledge, entrepreneurialism, business ethics, responsible research, identity, economic vulnerability, trust, and informal relations.

Elena Sischarenco can be reached at elena.sischarenco@gmail.com


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