Profili delle grandi imprese

Organization and management of large enterprises in Italy

Within the framework of the Business Census, Istat launched in 2014-2015 a dedicated survey on top Italian enterprises (or enterprise groups) in order to collect information on their organization of business and managerial capabilities. The main results of this survey are published today.

In 2013, 2,974 enterprises (or enterprise groups) were interviewed, and they developed 4,580 business lines. The leading enterprises (with a global unconsolidated turnover equal or superior to 2.5 billion or with at least ten thousand employees) presented, on average, the most complex organization. Indeed, they encompassed in their perimeter of control more business lines both in Italy (2.5 average value) and abroad (1.2). Middle-big enterprises had 1.3 business lines in Italy and 0.3 abroad. Nevertheless, a high degree of complexity in business organization (4 or more business lines) was to be found only in 7.4% of all enterprises, and in 30.0% of the leading enterprises.

The control of the enterprises was highly concentrated, especially by family members as natural persons (54%) and frequently not separated from the management. Roughly one third of the board of Directors had family ties with the ownership. Strategic decisions and business planning were often centralized at the corporate level. Only 33.6% of business lines had a management with a relevant financial and decision making autonomy.

The most frequent age group for top managers was between 41 and 50 years (roughly 50% of all enterprises). Only in 3.7% of all enterprises top managers had an average age equal or under 40. Roughly half of the enterprises had at least a woman in their top management, but males as top managers (87,8%) largely exceeded females. Most of top managers were graduated.

The business development strategies preferred by enterprises in 2010-2013 were product differentiation (42.3%), and expansion abroad, especially by access to new markets (52.1%), by green field operations (10.9%), and by M&A (8.4). Enterprises quite often carried out in M&A operation and downsize production activities in Italy (15,7% and 6,8%).

50% of all enterprises were internationalized in terms of production activities or knowledge intensive business support functions. Internationalization was implemented above all through the direct control of enterprises resident abroad (29,8%) and it was mainly motivated by access to new markets (69,9%), reduction of labour costs (38,8%) and reduction of general costs (28,5%).

In half of all enterprises knowledge workers were less than 1% of total employees. Most of knowledge workers were concentrated in one third of enterprises.

For information:

Domenico Moro
ph. +39 0646736691

society, statistics report
Enterprises, Industry and construction, Services
document typology:
Press release
Reference period
Year 2013
Date of publication
23 June 2016
Full text
(pdf 235 KB)

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