2 • Caratteristiche, nascita ed evoluzione dei contratti di rete
The chapter offers a description of network contracts involved in the 2021 survey in terms of objectives and goals and a summary of the configuration of the networks participating in the survey, such as their vertical or horizontal nature or the use of a common fund, and the nature of the resources that the partners decide to share in the network, with a focus on their complementarity. In addition, the chapter explores, for the first time, the theme of the evolution of network contracts, from their genesis to their transformation over time. The chapter then opens a reflection on the developments and evolution of the network contract, whether or not it is a transitional tool to allow small and medium-sized enterprises to acquire the resources and skills necessary to grow and move towards more structured forms of collaboration, or a durable tool suitable over time to support the performance of network companies without necessarily transforming itself into a different legal institution. Finally, the chapter proposes a comparison with the data collected in 2019 to discuss the trend of evolution of network contracts with respect to the variables investigated.