The present paper is intended as a brief state of the art about the phenomenon of contractual networks in Italy. Contractual networks are booming throughout Italian firms and often confused as the only possible form of inter-organizational networks in day-by-day rhetorics. As discussed in a previous paper published in this journal (Butera and Alberti, 2012), inter-organizazional networks show a great variety of forms, structures, aims, functioning mechanisms and composition, so that reducing them to the sole contractual networks as some policy makers, lawyers and media are doing is nonsense and ontologically wrong. For these reasons, this paper wants to take a strategic organization view on the phenomenon of contractual network, trying to clarify what they are, how they work, which are their pros and cons, how much they are diffused in Italy, which are the policies to support them and finally discuss how this particular form relates to the wider phenomenon of inter-organizational networks.
Keywords: Network contract, inter-organizational network, SME, industrial district