Small Business Economics

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 505–521 | Cite as

Hierarchical and relational governance and the life cycle of entrepreneurial ecosystems

  • Alessandra Colombelli
  • Emilio Paolucci
  • Elisa UghettoEmail author


In this paper, we explore the way the evolution of entrepreneurial ecosystems is shaped by different governance designs. We propose a theoretical framework in which we discuss what type of governance design would best fit the needs of an entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout its evolution. We also provide argumentations concerning the mechanisms that may explain the evolution through the different governance configurations. The conceptualization of a new framework has allowed us to specify a set of propositions, which we have tested on one single empirical setting, represented by Turin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The paper introduces some important policy implications. It highlights the need for a more complex relational form of governance for the growth of an entrepreneurial ecosystem, which could be obtained by means of a systemic and participative approach rooted in shared cooperative norms and informal routines.


Governance Entrepreneurial ecosystem Local stakeholders 



We are grateful to all of the interviewees for having given up their time to talk to us. We wish in particular to thank Valentino Castellani and Anna Prat (Torino Strategica) for having shared their profound knowledge of the history and strategy of Turin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with us. We are also grateful to Silvio Aime (University of Turin), Marco Cantamessa (I3P), Andrea Casalegno (Top-IX), Barbara Graffino (YES4TO), Giancarlo Rocchietti, Marco Lingua, and Silvano Bernardi (Club degli Investitori), Stefano Molino (Innogest), Nicoletta Marchiandi (Camera di Commercio di Torino). We are indebted to the Fondazione Human Plus for having provided us with the questionnaire data. The authors are responsible for all of the views and opinions expressed in the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandra Colombelli
    • 1
  • Emilio Paolucci
    • 2
  • Elisa Ughetto
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Politecnico di Torino and BRICK, Collegio Carlo AlbertoTurinItaly
  2. 2.Politecnico di TorinoTurinItaly

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