Course 2019-2020 a.y.


Department of Management and Technology

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.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Mission & Content Summary


In the last 150 years, modern industrialization has been organizing cultural production along two main models: - Cultural institutions, often publicly financed, connected to the academic world and dealing with heritage preservation and identity-building; - Companies in cultural industries, driven by market rules, profit maximization and targeting mass markets . Both models are diffused and interplay at global level, but their sustainability follows opposite and often conflicting perspectives. The debate on which model is more appropriate in different settings has been influencing policy decisions and strategic behaviors on cultural matters. In more recent years, this rigid dichotomy blurred and the superiority of a model over the other became less evident, due to technological and political transformations, leading to new models and formulas. The course explores key issues facing cultural organizations and affecting their governance and institutional form, highlighting their specificities in a diachronic and global perspective. The course thus aims at: - exploring the ambiguity of the term culture and the implications on the management of a cultural organization. - identifying key categories of stakeholders and their impact in the design of governance structures and mechanisms. - analyzing the relationship between strategy and governance in cultural organizations -exploring resources as sources of competitive advantage for cultural organizations.


  • Culture as an ambiguous concept. 
  • Typologies of cultural organizations and drivers for their success
  • Models of governance in cultural organisations.
  • Resources, identity and growth opportunities for cultural organizations.
  • Strategies for sustainable cultural organisations.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...

Acquire relevant knowledge on governance and strategy of cultural organizations. More specifically, students will be able to:

  • Recognize and distinguish different models of cultural organizations in terms of key stakeholders privileged and conditions for their economic viability.
  • Identify the specific facets of culture addressed by different types of cultural organizations.
  • Describe governance structures and mechanisms for different types of cultural organizations.
  • Define the key resources mobilised by cultural organizations to grant economic viability and long term sustainability.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Compare cultural organizations based on their governance structure and sector.
  • Interpret changes occurring in the strategy of cultural organizations as a consequence of changes in institutional, legal, technological and market context.
  • Evaluate the conditions for sustainability of a cultural organization.
  • Assess the relevance and the impact of different stakeholders on the organization's strategy and governance.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


The course provides some theoretical background, but is designed having in mind the practitioner’s point of view.

  • Therefore, guest speakers' talks bring hands on experience to students and help them appreciate the real issues faced by cultural organizations.
  • Case studies allow students to apply theories on real cases and favour plenary discussions.
  • Individual assignments are used to let students consolidate their understanding on specific topics and to synthesize the main learning outcomes from the course. Individual assignments consist of a written comprehensie discussion of a specific case and a one page answer to specific guidelines for some of the cases discussed in class
  • The simulation at the end of the semester allows students to play a specific role within a cultural organization, so as to experience the challenges and opportunities to specific roles in a cultural organization to orient strategy.

Assessment methods

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


Attending students are those who are physically present in class for at least 75% of classes and actively participate to class activity. Physical presence is a necessary but not sufficient condition for participation. Students  are required to come to each class prepared and actively participate to the construction of a common understanding on the issues covered in class.

  • The individual assignment accounts for 40% of the grade and consists of the analysis of a case/incident. Students are required to write an essay and answer to a series of questions. Essay evaluation grades the following:
  • Ability to conceptualise the issue.
  • Depth of analysis.
  • Originality of the point of view presented.
  • Clarity of presentation.
  • Group assignments include one simulation (25% of the grade) evaluated by faculty and peers and presentation/discussion of cases (25%) of the grade.
  • Class participation accounts for 10% of the total grade.


Not attending students take a general exam at the end of the semester. It consists of an essay based on a case study/incident on one of the topics discussed in class. Students are required to address one or two questions related to the case/the topic. Essay evaluation grades the following:

  • Ability to conceptualise the issue.
  • Depth of analysis.
  • Originality of the point of view presented.
  • Clarity of presentation.

Teaching materials


In accordance with intellectual property rights rules, different materials are available in different ways:

  • On Bocconi Bboard platform.
  • Via a digital only reading package published by EGEA.
  • The following ebook: P. DUBINI (edited by), Institutionalising fragility. Entrepreneurship in cultural organisations, Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli 2016.
  • On ad hoc web course reserve, provided by the Library.
Last change 03/05/2019 10:56