Italy - Research Paper

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Introduction and Country Background1



Standard Operating Practices18

SWOT Analysis27


Introduction & Country Background
Geographically, Italy is comprised of a peninsula that extends into the Mediterranean Sea, as well as two large islands. The shape of Italy has been depicted as a ‘boot’ in many cartoons and drawings for years. The country covers over 116,000 square miles, making it approximately the combined size of Florida and Georgia. (Killinger, 2002) Italy is a democratic republic that has a current population of around 60 million people, making it the twenty-third most populous country in the world. Italy is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the ‘Group of Six’, which later became the G8, and the European Union. ("Italy," 2010) Italians are primarily Roman Catholic and are required to have fourteen years of formal education. This has lead to a 98 percent literacy rate among the population that only has a growth rate of 0.02 percent per year, which is one of the lowest growth rates in the world. (Killinger, 2002)

After the decline of the Roman Empire, it took what is now Italy over fourteen centuries to become unified and drive out foreign rule. The state of Italy was formed following the Italian unification movement, known as Risorgimento. Italy installed their first Parliament and declared the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. (Killinger, 2002)

In 1922, Benito Mussolini created the first Fascist regime in history. Mussolini later established the Lateran Pact of 1929 with Pope Pius XI, which recognized the Catholic religion as the ‘sole religion of the state’ and the Vatican as an independent state. Italy entered World War II in October of 1940 by attacking Greece from Albania. In December of the same year, the victorious Greeks invaded Albania. Their advance was only stopped by German support. In North Africa the Italians were handed multiple defeats by the British and again had to be rescued by the Germans. In July of 1943, American and British forces landed in Sicily. Fifteen days later Mussolini was arrested and power was returned the parliament and the king. In April of 1946, Mussolini attempted escape, and was caught, shot, and hung in Milan. A few days later, the German army corps in Italy surrendered to allies. (Hearder, 1990)

At the end of World War II, a vote by the people concluded that the kingdom of Italy would be replaced by the Republic of Italy. In 1948, a new constitution granted the President of the Republic the powers of the chief of state while the head of government was a prime minister with the title of President of the Council of Ministers. A constitutional court holds the supreme judicial power in Italy, while a lower and upper house were set up and were given the legislative power. (Killinger, 2002)

After World War II, Italy entered a period known as the ‘Economic Miracle’, which was driven by multiple industries and firms that contributed to the production of cars. These included the steel, rubber, and oil industries. (Amyot, 2004) Oil was discovered in the South, in the Northern Po Valley, and in Sicily in 1949. Natural gas was found the following year. (Hearder, 1990) The Marshall Plan also sent more than $1.2 billion from the United States to Italy for reconstruction.

The strong growth that Italy experienced after World War II helped it become a major player in the business world. Italy’s Quality of Life Index was eighth in the world in 2005 (the United States was ranked thirteenth) and was ranked as the eighteenth most developed country in the world. ("Members of the," 2010) Some major international companies based in Italy are Versace, Gucci, and Armani in the fashion industry, Pirelli automobile tires, Beretta firearms, and car manufacturers Fiat, Alfa Romero, Maserati, Ferrari, and...
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