Today, innovation and internationalization processes need more programming and high investments in new knowledge and relationships. Through trans-sectorial and trans-territorial networks, smes can participate to global dynamics, especially in terms of knowledge sharing and absorbing. We propose that the ‘Contratto di Rete’ (Network Contract) is an innovative type of formal contract and a central solution in these dynamics. Since its introduction in 2009 by means of the Law Decree 5/2009, the brand-new networking tool has achieved broad success among Italian entrepreneurs. The authors provide an overview of the discipline regulating the tool; a background concerning network and contract theory; and finally a presentation of some best practices through insightful case studies. This approach integrates legal and managerial perspectives, delivering useful implications for scholars and practitioners.
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