Course 2020-2021 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) - 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  |  SECS-P/07) - EMIT (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - GIO (6 credits - II sem. - OBS  |  SECS-P/07) - DSBA (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - PPA (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - FIN (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Mission & Content Summary


International organizations (IOs) have been traditionally studied from the perspective of international relations, political science and international law. This course takes a managerial approach towards key areas of global organizing: the United Nations (UN) system, international financial institutions, global public-private partnerships, international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and global foundations.


The first part of the course (lectures 1-7) will set the IOs’ context of global governance: we will clarify what international organizations are and categorize the main actors in “families.” We will then focus attention on the different areas of global organizing (e.g., development, aid and health), and discuss the main issues and institutions involved in each. Subsequently, we will examine how coherence and coordination is achieved within the United Nations system, and how organizational governance is structured. We will conclude with a discussion of managerial issues vis-à-vis INGOs and public-private partnerships.


The second part of the course (lectures 8-12) will provide an overview of the managerial reforms, tools and systems in international organizations. The issues to be considered include financial management, HR management, stakeholder management, profile management and branding, field operations’ management, management control, and performance measurement. Lastly, the course will address 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...
  • Identify different families of IOs and elaborate on mandate and operations.
  • Understand the complexity and richness of the UN system, and distinguish roles and governance mechanisms of Funds, Programmes and Specialized Agencies.
  • Understand the current challenges and open issues of the managerial reforms in IOs and INGOs.
  • Understand the role of the aid system, other transnational actors, such as global public-private partnerships and global philanthropic foundations.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Apply critical thinking in relation to management tools and reforms.
  • Appreciate the complexity and the need for a tailored approach to management in IOs and INGOs.
  • Identify the strategic frameworks and distinctive features of management in development cooperation.
  • Make comparisons between UN system organizations, other IOs, transnational hybrid organizations, global philanthropic foundations and INGOs in terms of operating and governance mechanisms.
  • Understand how IOs 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)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments


This course relies on lectures, class-based case studies, class discussions, and an optional assignment.

Assessment methods

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


Attending students (those who submit all the assignments)

The final grade for the course will be based on the following elements:


(A) Three 2pg policy memos, each counting for 30% of grade

Students are expected to produce three memos related to a policy/operational/managerial issue covered in class. These memos are intended to provide a review of issues and generate specific recommendations for your hypothetical organization. The precise topics, examples, and further guidance will be provided during Class 1 (see PowerPoint presentation).

Each memo should be max. two pages, using Times New Roman font 11, single space, and normal margins (overlong memos will be penalized). The deadlines for submission are as follows: memo 1 by 21 March, and memos 2 and 3 by 9 May.


(B) One short final exam, counting for 10% of grade

A short exam will test material covered in classes 8-10, through a short question (out of 2 options). The answer should be no more than 200 words (one paragraph).


(C) An optional short assignment (0-1 points added to your final grade)

Students may elect to write a short assignment related to Coronavirus to boost their grades. This will take the form of a hypothetical ‘explainer’ blog post tailored to their substantive interests in terms of organizations and regions. Example topics include: ‘How the WHO is assisting Lesotho to deal with Covid-19 — here is what you need to know,’ ‘How the European Commission is assisting Croatia to deal with Covid-19 — here is what you need to know,’ … You are free to choose the exact organization (whether intergovernmental or non-governmental) and country. Your blog post should review the evidence and weave it together in a coherent narrative that reflects the organizational identity and mandate. Further guidance will be provided in class 1.

Short assignments will be graded as follows: excellent (adds 1 point to your final mark), good (adds 0.5 point to your final mark), poor (do not alter your final mark). Length should be approximately 700 words (within the 650-750 words range). The deadline for submitting the assignment (via Blackboard) is 9 May.


Students who do not submit all assignments detailed in point (A) above will be assessed as non-attending students.


Non-attending students

For students not regularly attending classes, final grade for this course is based on a final written examination (100%) composed of 20 multiple choice questions and 2 long-answer questions, based on mandatory readings, presentations and further readings listed in this syllabus.

Teaching materials


Mandatory readings

(1)        Missoni E., & Alesani D. 2014. Management of International Organizations. London: Routledge.

(2)        A limited number of additional chapters or articles, as indicated in the syllabus


Further readings

Articles and other materials uploaded on blackboard.

Last change 27/11/2020 15:04