Basic and applied research

Our core activity consists in providing research-based evidence and guidance in the field of automotive industry and urban sustainable mobility.
CAMI is committed to exploring the future of the automotive industry and mobility in four areas:

The evolution of the automotive industry architecture and value chain

Italian Observatory on Automotive Supply Chain

Scientific Coordinator: Anna Moretti

The automotive supply chain represents one of the most important industry in Italy. It involves almost 2,000 companies, over 200,000 employees and a total turnover of around € 57 billion.

CAMI  provides the scientific coordination of the observatory, which is developed in partnership with ANFIA and the Turin Chamber of Commerce​

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The intense evolution that has affected the automotive industry in recent years are the focus of the international debate concerning possible future scenarios about the trajectories for vehicles, alternative powertrains, self-driving cars, and the impact of the new urban mobility paradigm.

The theme of environmental sustainability is the common thread that binds the different evolutionary hypotheses, as the thrusts that derive from such attention will probably be the drivers of major changes in products, processes, and business models in the industry.

The Observatory on Italian Automotive Supply Chain stems from the combination of the complementary research skill. from  CAMI,  from Anfia (National Association of Automotive Industry) and the Chamber of Trade in Turin.

Post-merger "network" integration: the case of Fiat and Chrysler

Scientific Coordinator: Francesco Zirpoli

The project is based on a longitudinal analysis of the merger between Fiat and Chrysler. In the automotive industry, i.e. the context in which the merger takes place, many technologies are owned and produced by automotive suppliers with interests of their own as well as limitations in their knowledge, competence, and abilities, that is often where they sit. This latter aspect is what distinguishes our perspective from other analyses of mergers.​

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The theoretical language and concepts we use to analyze this grand organizational experiment involving Fiat and Chrysler rely on a contextually updated variant of the Carnegie’s school’s “behaviorally plausible” approach to the study of organization according to which:

  • firms are “socio-political entities” subject to cognitive and economic constraints;
  • people and groups of people in complex modern organizations are guided by “rules of thumb” and “standard operating procedures”;
  • organizations are rife with conflict over resources between highly interdependent people and groups of people.

We then propose a model for understanding the merger of production networks that hinges on three refinements to existing theory:

  1. the institutionalization of most routines requires some more or less implicit agreement between members of an organization to economize on conflict (truce);
  2. the managers and engineers who concretely tasked with turning two production networks into one are, in contemporary sociological parlance, multiple embedded;
  3. political contestation in organizations runs beyond bargaining and negotiation.

The evolution of technology and the business ecosystem

Technological discontinuities and incumbents’ sourcing strategy: the case of electric batteries in the automotive industry

Scientific Coordinator: Anna Cabigiosu

This project explores how carmakers manage their sourcing strategy to cope with the technological discontinuity provided by the Electric Vehicles.

The study relies on a longitudinal research design and secondary sources to disentangle and correlate two separate domains: the technological evolution of batteries and the evolution of carmakers’ sourcing strategy.

Both dimensions are analyzed and compared using the “life-cycle” model.

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This study aims at increasing our understanding of how carmakers managed their sourcing strategy during this cycle of technological discontinuity (Anderson and Tushman, 1990).

In this respect, we mainly focus on incumbents’ open innovation search strategy analyzing the breadth of their search strategy (Laursen and Salter, 2006) and how they managed and control external relationships (Dyer and Singh, 1998; Paulraj and Chen, 2007; Parmigiani, 2007).

This study explores how the main carmakers, which invested so far in EVs, managed their sourcing strategy in this setting.

Preliminary results suggest that carmakers followed a sourcing strategy characterized by an inversed u-shaped breath of suppliers base and that this u-shaped breath is correlated to the batteries’ technology life-cycle.

Finally, all carmakers gradually increased their control over batteries technology by moving from market to hierarchy.

Traditional Industries and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: New Trends in the Creation and Protection of Innovation in the Global Automotive Industry

Scientific Coordinator: Alessandra Perri

The automotive industry is a unique environment where complexity permeates product architectures, technology, organizational processes, as well as design and engineering activities.

Cars are integral products that result from the combination of a large number of components, which incorporate different technologies and are linked to each other by complex interdependences.

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This project, funded within the 2018 Academic Research Programme of the European Patent Office, maps the evolution of the knowledge base of the global automotive industry, with a focus on the technologies underpinning the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Over the last decades, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have had to expand the range of technological domains they master to stay abreast of technological advances. To do so, OEMs have not only invested in new fields but also adapted their innovation processes by promoting a “distributed innovation” model, where innovation arises from the joint contribution of a network of actors endowed with complementary specialized knowledge and operating at different stages of the value chain. The growing complexity of cars and of the automotive product development and the subsequent division of innovative labor have come along with increasing sophistication of design and engineering tools, such as virtual development, simulation techniques, and digital technologies.

Despite these pervasive and wide-ranging changes, a systematic and dynamic mapping of the knowledge base of the largest manufacturing industry in the world is still missing.

Our research aims to fill this gap through a two-step process. In a first step, we map the evolution of the automotive industry knowledge base by reconstructing the patent portfolios of the top 25 OEMs and 100 suppliers, over a 25-year period. In a second step, the project investigate the nature of 4IR technological building blocks.

The evolution of demand and consumer behavior

Responsible Citizens and Sustainable Consumer Behavior

Scientific coordinator: Pietro Lanzini

There is broad consensus on the need to shift to a new paradigm of lifestyles and economic development, given the un-sustainability of current patterns.

Given this, research on consumer behavior is to play a crucial role in shedding light on the motives underpinning the adoption of responsible behaviors.

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Research on consumer behavior is to play a crucial role in shedding light on the motives underpinning the adoption of responsible behaviors.

Stemming from a thorough discussion of existing approaches, this book argues that the perspective of analysis has to be modified.

First, acknowledging that a profile of the responsible consumer does not exist since all of us can be more or less sustainable and environment-friendly: the sustainability of an individual should not be considered as given, being something dynamic that changes according to both subjective and contextual factors.

Moreover, the book hypothesises that integrating dimensions and perspectives that have been so far overlooked by mainstream research will help deconstruct responsible behaviors adopting a flexible and holistic approach.

Relevant policy implications are discussed, and empirical research on responsible behaviors is illustrated.

Commuters Behaviour and the Influence of Travel Time Experience

Scientific coordinator: Pietro Lanzini

The experience of time and its inherent value represents key-elements for a sound understanding of the determinants of commuters’ travel choice and the subsequent implementation of transport policies.

This project will investigate how factors like the increase of travel time, the travel mode, the number and the kind of interchange affect the perceived utility/disutility of travel time.

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The project will investigate which are the factors affecting the travel time experience in its various dimensions (perceived duration, value, context perception, individual biases, etc.), which are the determinants affecting such dimensions and how travel time influences commuters’ behavior.

The specific medium-term objectives of the project are: a) to provide a descriptive and predictive theoretical framework on the role of time in affecting commuters behavior, a field which has received very little attention from researchers; b) to derive from the newly acquired knowledge policy recommendations and business implications. 

Partners: Santa Caterina State University (Brazil)

The evolution of sustainable mobility

The evolution of the perspectives on urban mobility principles

Scientific Coordinator: Andrea Stocchetti

The review of key contributions of the last two decades shows that a significant shift in the way the sustainable mobility (SM) is conceived has occurred. Perspectives, goals and SM strategies evolved to the point that they represent today an actual shift in the paradigm, i.e. a change in the points of reference for conceiving an urban mobility system.

The theoretical foundations for the evaluation of sustainability impacts have changed accordingly, flanking the emphasis on the environmental impact with an increasing attention to the social and economic impacts. Although fragmented, the literature on urban mobility principles and development provides useful insights on the rationale behind the above mentioned shift in the paradigm.

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The project aims at providing an overview of the main conceptual reference points and principles for urban mobility planning that have emerged over the last two decades.

Over time, the trail to urban sustainable mobility has wavered between the intellectual tension towards the setting of principles and the pragmatic predominance of indicators in the policy agendas. In our view, such bipolar point of reference is not too far from replicating the traditional dilemma of the long-term versus short-term perspective. In the context of urban mobility very often the overall situation is deteriorated at a point that the directions of improvement are undisputed. Pollution, congestion, social exclusion, health concerns, etc., provide an inherent perspective about where the path of improvement should go, to the extent that indicators can surrogate the definition of principles. On the other hand, as the improvement progresses, trade-offs between alternative goal emerge and principles become necessary.

This path would not have been possible without the set of favorable conditions that the European Union and single member States have been able to create over time.


Scientific Coordinator: Andrea Stocchetti

The Department of Management is one of the partners of the CROSSMOBY Project (EU Project - INTERREG V-A ITALIA-SLOVENIA 2014-2020), led by the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. The goal of the project is to improve the quality and the sustainability of cross-border mobility between Slovene and the neighboring Italian areas /Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Venice Province). The actions will consist in the development of a new railway connection and in a new approach to mobility planning, through the development of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans in a set of pilot areas.