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Course 2018-2019 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31

CLMG (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - M (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - IM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - MM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - AFC (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - CLEFIN-FINANCE (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - CLELI (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - ACME (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - DES-ESS (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  12 credits SECS-P/07) - EMIT (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - GIO (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  12 credits SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Mission & Content Summary

International Institutions (IIs) have been traditionally studied under the perspective of International Relations, Political Sciences and International Law. The shift towards a managerial model in IIs has been envisaged since the late 80s’ and progressively put in action by organizations. In many areas - strategy, result-based management, human resources management, financial management- management reforms, systems and tools in international organizations seem to have applied general principles of New Public Management and lessons learned from the corporate environment, not always with a specific attention to adapt tools and systems to IIs’ specificities. International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) are achieving greater importance within the IOs’ environment and within the technical cooperation “industry”. This course takes into consideration the different families of IIs but focuses mainly on UN system, as a unique subject of observation, and on the INGOs. Some insights are also offered about other important non profit actors, such as Global Foundations, and new hybrid actors, such as Global Public-Private Partnerships. Drawing from the peculiarities of the IIs and INGOs in terms of governance, staff profile and operations, this course responds to the need to identify a “tailored” approach for management systems and tools to be adopted by International public and non-profit organizations and shapes the concept of “management” around them.

  1. The first lectures of the course sets the context of the international organizations, clarifying the notion of International Institution and categorizing the main actors of the international cooperation and development industry (IIs and INGOs) in “families”. The focus then shifts on the analysis of the United Nations system, composed of different kind of organizations and with strongly specific governance systems, both at the level of single organizations and of the UN system as a whole. To this extent, the case study of WHO is presented and discussed with the purpose of letting participants understand the complexity of governance that regulate the functioning of a UN system specialized agency.
  2. The following lectures address the challenges of the interactions between the UN system and the corporate sector, focusing also on development cooperation: this part of the course approaches the main strategic frameworks and declarations that ld and lead the IIs’ intervention (Millennium Development Goals, Paris Declaration, Agenda 2030) and offer an overview of the main issues related to interagency coordination and management of field projects. This allows participants to appreciate the specificities of project cycle management in the development industry. Furthermore, a specific lecture is focused on the management of organizations’ profile (stakeholder, communication, resource mobilization and branding).
  3. The focus of the course then expands to include the International Financial Institutions (IMF, World Bank, Regional Development Banks) as well as the other relevant families of IIs and INGOs. An overview of the managerial reforms, tools and systems in IIs then is provided: the main management functions, such as financial management, HR management, stakeholders management, profile management and branding, field operations’ management, management control, performance measurement- here is taken into consideration, with regards to both the activity of IIs and INGOs.
  4. Lastly, the course addresses the growingly important issues of ethics and accountability for mission driven organizations and their executives.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...

Understand the complexity and richness of the UN system as a whole, distinguish roles and governance, functioning and operational mechanisms of Funds, Programmes and Specialized Agencies, as well as of International Non Governmental Organizations, and other private and public-private global actors.

At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Identify different families of IOs and elaborate on their peculiarities in terms of operational and institutional nature.
  • Make comparisons between UN system organizations, other IIs and INGOs in terms of operating and governance mechanisms.
  • Deal with governance and management issues across the field of International Organizations.
  • Understand the current challenges and open issues of the managerial reforms in IIs and INGOs.
  • Appreciate the complexity and the need for a tailored approach to management in IIs and INGOs.
  • Identify and apply the strategic frameworks and distinctive features of management in development cooperation.
  • Understand how IIs and INGOs operate on the field.
  • Identify and address the main issues of Ethics and Accountability from an IOs standpoint.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
  1. Group assignments and contribution to class debate:
    • Through the group assignment students study and analyze some of the main “managerial challenges” of an International Institution (or NGO) of their choice consistently with the contents presented throughout the course and searching information and data from organizations’ websites, scientific and institutional literature, as well as from media to support their analysis.
    • The objective of the assignment is for groups to prepare a ‘portfolio’ on their organization which explains the main features, challenges and identifies some of the best practices in management and governance. Ideally, this portfolio is progressively built (i.e. the report is in ppt format) throughout the course consistently with the subjects treated in class, and it is a means for students to further reflect on the concepts and practices discussed in class, to apply them to a concrete case study and to develop distinctive expertise on specific organizational functions. Mirroring the structure of the course, the portfolio is built around the following sections:
      • Strategic positioning of the organization, identifying the main strategic challenges and opportunities for the organization when considered as part of the broader development/emergency/technical cooperation environment).
      • Governance system of the organization,  identifying and describinging the main relations among the governing bodies of the organization, i.e. executive and representative organs, identify the formal and informal decision making systems applicable to them, and offering their perspective on efficiency/effectiveness/representativeness of the organization’s governance, including relations with other international organizations, NGOs/UN system, corporate organizations.
      • Organizational settings of the organization, analysing the level of centralization/decentralization of the organization, presence of centralized/out-posted administrative or management services, recent re-structuring exercises to realign with strategy; offering their perspective on the alignment between organizational structure and main programmes/intervention areas.
      • Orientation towards results, analyzing the design/metrics and implementation of the Results Based Management frameworks, analyzin the quality and readability of documents such as Programme and Budget, Annual Reports and any other result-based budget/reporting document.
      • Funding policies and related operational issues, analyzing the balance between core and non- core resources; identifying level of concentration/fragmentation of donors, orientation of non- core resources with regards to core mandate of the organization.
      • The organization’s profile, analyzing the organization’s ability to establish brand recognition and to concretize it in mobilization of human/financial/immaterial resources, its stakeholder management and its ethical profile.
  2. Role Play
    • Students are participating to a Role Play, simulating the discussion of an item of the Agenda during a General Assembly of a proposed International Organization. Information, rules and supporting documents are shared before the Role Play. Each group then prepares a reflective one-pager to summarize the lesson learned.

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •     x
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  •     x
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)
  • x    

    For students regularly attending the course in class, final grade for this course is based on:

    • Group assignments and contribution to class debate (50% of the final grade).
    • Role Play (20%).
    • Final examination (30%).
      • The final written exam, composed of multiple choice questions only, is based on the contents of the lectures and discussions in class, ppt presentations and all mandatory readings indicated in this syllabus. Further readings are not assessed.

    For students not regularly attending the course in class or failing to participate in the group assignment or in the Role Play, final grade for this course is based on:

    • Final written examination (100%).
    • Students who not have followed regularly classes or who fail to participate in the group assignment and/or in the Role Play are assessed through a separate final written exam, composed of open-ended as well as multiple choice questions, based on mandatory readings, PPT presentations and further readings listed in the syllabus and uploaded on the e-learning.

    Teaching materials
    • Mandatory readings: E. MISSONI, D. ALESANI, Management of International Organizations, Routledge, 2014.
    • Further readings: articles and other materials uploaded on the e-learning platform with the syllabus and during the course.
    • Mandatory readings: E. MISSONI, D. ALESANI, Management of International Organizations, Routledge, 2014.
    • Articles and other materials uploaded on the e-learning platform with the syllabus and during the course.
    Last change 10/06/2018 17:04