Female Entrepreneurship and Management in the Immigrant Reception Sector in Italy

  • Paola Paoloni
  • Marco ValeriEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics book series (SPBE)


The aim of this paper is to verify whether relational capital allows increasing the information inherent in the process of the network of female cooperative micro-enterprises. The focus on Italy is justified on the grounds that the phenomenon of immigration in Italy has become a central theme in the political and social debate. Based on the literature on the subject and on previous research results it is useful to ask the following research question: does the network affect the competitive advantage of female micro-enterprises operating in the field of immigrant reception in Italy? To gather data for our study, a qualitative research methodology was adopted using a case study approach based on examining in depth current events of real life (Yin in Case study research: design and methods. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, 2009). The survey has involved two enterprises, Formland and Altea, which are two out of the ten business realities committed to immigrants’ reception within the area of the Italian region Lazio. The first one is a female-run business, which includes eight reception centers scattered throughout the territory (four in the province of Frosinone, two in the province of Caserta and two in that of Naples), the second one is an entirely female-owned enterprise and counts around forty reception structures. The structure of the interviews reflects the need to examine the personal features of female managers, the organizational aspects and the style of leadership, the task environment in which the enterprise works and the main possible benefits, or obstacles, they might obtain, or face. The paper develops the CAOS model of micro-entrepreneurship, examining the personal characteristics of a female entrepreneur (C), the environment in which a micro-enterprise operates (A), organizational and managerial aspects (O) and the motivations for starting a new business (S). Using this model, the authors are able to correlate these factors, classify different types of connections, and to identify the kind of existing relationships. The analysis shows a predominant use of networks characterized by informal and permanent relationships, supporting the need to reconcile work and family and to involve relatives and friends in the network. This emphasizes the lack of strategy in the female-run micro-enterprises. Given that female management is regarded as central to the development and welfare of economies, deepening the knowledge of how women managers lead business can contribute to improving the effectiveness of policies aimed at promoting the participation of female managers in the economy.


Relational capital Entrepreneurship Organizational behavior Network Women in management Competitive advantage 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EconomicsNiccolò Cusano UniversityRomeItaly

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