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Course 2021-2022 a.y.


Department of Accounting

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 19

ACME (6 credits - I sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 19 (I sem.)

Mission & Content Summary

The success of any firm depends on its capabilities to generate winning strategic ideas, to motivate its managers and employees to implement strategies, to redirect ineffective decisions and actions, and to create stakeholders’ consensus. In these respects, performance measurement systems play a crucial role. On the one hand, through strategic planning, programming and budgeting, performance targets are set, coherently with strategic and organizational choices, and used to evaluate managers’ accountability. On the other hand, reporting systems serve to communicate actual performance to both managers and stakeholders in a way that fosters learning from experience, enables redirecting ineffective behaviors and supports the generation of stakeholders’ trust. Starting from such premises, the mission of this course is to explore the role of performance measurement and control systems (PM&CS) in implementing strategy and supporting governance processes in the Arts, Communication, Media and Entertainment companies.


The most important topics we consider during this course are the following:

  • The design of performance measurement and control systems consistently with strategies and organizational choices.
  • The preparation of profit plans and their use to control and evaluate a firm’s performance.
  • The use of strategic profitability analysis to interpret and drive organizational units’ as well as managers’ performance.
  • The application of asset allocation techniques that aid making decisions on investments.
  • The use of transfer prices in managing business units of multinational companies.
  • The definition and use of non-financial performance indicators and the design of integrated reporting systems.
  • The calculation and application of value-based measures.
  • The identification of the behavioural and organisational consequences of using performance measurement and performance management techniques for motivating managers and employees.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Recognize the key elements related to the design and functioning of performance measurement and control systems (PM&CS) from a theoretical viewpoint.
  • Identify the relations between strategy and performance measurement and control systems (PM&CS).
  • Interpret the interactions and trade-offs between strategy and performance measurement and control systems (PM&CS).
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Demonstrate those technical skills related to some specific PM&CS and tools, such as profit plans, variance analysis, asset allocation techniques, transfer pricing systems, the balanced-scorecard and value-based reporting from the perspective of managers (both functional/business units and corporate ones).
  • Apply the acquired technical knowledge to solve real-life problems experienced by companies having to design and use specific performance measurement and control systems (PM&CS) and related measurement techniques.
  • Use a formal language for the explanation of performance measurement and control systems (PM&CS) issues and enhance their communication and presentation skills.
  • Face problems and questions related to performance measurement and control systems (PM&CS) through analytical reasoning and critical thinking.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Group assignments

The learning experience of this course includes, in addition to face-to-face lectures, case discussions, group works, real examples and interactions with guest speakers from companies that are coping with specific PM&CS issues.

  • As we use case studies and simulations from the Arts and Entertainment industries, describing “real-life” situations and showing that there are several possible solutions to multifaceted problems, students deal with the identification and analysis of complex, open-ended issues. This is expected to enhance their ability to sift through information. To identify the salient issues is a vital skill in business today as managers in practice face the problem of dealing with large volumes of written material. The cases required for this course should thus be seen as important preparation for their career. Besides, to actively participate to case discussion and interact with guest speakers, students need to use their communication and interpersonal skills. Finally, for group case discussions and assignment preparation, students work as a member of a team in analysing problems, searching for relevant information and preparing and presenting reports.

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

    With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the above-mentioned learning outcomes, the student assessment is based on two main components:

    1. Group assignment (group grade, 25% of the final grade) designed for the purpose of verifying the student ability to:
      • Identify and analyze the main PMC&S issues related to a real-life situation.
      • Apply the appropriate tools and techniques learnt in class.
      • Use a formal language for the explanation of the specific PM&CS identified.
      • Apply their analytical reasoning and critical thinking to solve the main PMC&S issues identified.
    2. Final written exam (individual grade, 75% of the final grade), based on a mix of open questions, incidents/cases and exercises related to the reference book, which aims to assess the student’s learning level of the theoretical models and the main concepts, methods and tools shared in the course.

    The assessment of non-attending students is entirely based (100% of the final grade) on the final written exam, which has the same content as the one applied to attending students.

    Teaching materials

    The main course material, for both attending and non-attending students, is:

    • R. SIMONS, Performance Measurement and Control Systems for Implementing Strategy, Pearson New International Edition.  Book chapters are already available on Harvard Business School Press website (hbsp.harvard.edu) or on Case Centre (www.thecasecentre.org)
    • In addition to Simons’ textbook, slides and some other materials (articles, videos, useful links, etc.) are provided during the course. Students  need to refer to the Bboard platform and the "Course Reserve" platform provided by the Library.
    Last change 01/09/2021 15:30