Course 2016-2017 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.)

Course Objectives

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.
  • Cultural industries, driven by market rules, profit maximization and targeting mass markets.
In more recent years, this rigid dichotomy blurred. The course explores both models and their challenges, highlighting their specificities in a diachronic and global perspective, aiming at:
  • analysing the relationship between ownership, governance and management in cultural industries and cultural institutions;
  • exploring resources as sources of competitive advantage for cultural firms and institutions;
  • exploring entrepreneurship in cultural settings as a synthesis between conflicting models.

Intended Learning Outcomes
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Course Content Summary

The course:

  • compare the specificity and models of ownership, governance and management in cultural industries andcultural institutions;
  • explore resources as sources of competitive advantage for cultural firms and institutions;
  • analyse the relationship between ownership and governance structures, economic and financial viability and corporate strategy
  • explore entrepreneurship in cultural, territorial, digital settings.

The course provides some theoretical background and will offer students the opportunity to critically discuss governance, sustainability and sources of competitive advantage of some companies / institutions. There are four types of sessions:

  • theory sessions These sessions are guided by the instructor. Students are asked to read the corresponding material beforehand and participate to a discussion started by the instructor;
  • case discussions. These sessions are introduced by a group of students picked the day of class who "set the stage" for the class discussion. Students may use slides or other media. Class activity will consist in group work and discussions starting from the case and mixing cases and theory;
  • Guest speakers: these are sessions introduced by the faculty. Guests will present their view and a discussion will follow. Students are expected to animate the discussion;
  • Simulation. It will take place the two last sessions of the course and will cover all issues covered during the semester.

Teaching methods
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Assessment methods
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Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

While the material is the same for attending and non attending students, the way it is used and the grading system differs quite significantly.
This is a highly complex and rich graduate level course, in which issues of governance and corporate level strategy are discussed with referral to very diverse types of firms and industries. Moreover, we have the opportunity to experience a different way of class activity and participation, thanks to the class layout. Unlike an undergraduate class, the issues under evaluation are not so much related to having read the material, rather to the ability of the students to identify controversial issues associated to the topics discussed in class and to be proactive in searching information, assessing alternative points of view, synthesising results.
Therefore, we strongly recommend you to decide early on whether you want to be an attending or a non attending student. We are asking students to commit to active participation. Although you have the possibility to switch status until the very end of the semester, what is important to the effectiveness of our work together is to assess as clearly as possible who is gradually preparing the exam and who is investing time and energy towards the end of the semester.
Attending 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. At every session the class isdivided into cohorts and materials assigned to different cohorts:
  • For theory sessions, the teacher mostly presents models and students are asked to contribute to discussion.
  • For case sessions, everybody is required to read the case and be ready to address the issues discussed in the preparatory material in Learning Space.
  • We all enjoy guest speakers.
  • The final simulation is going to capitalise on what has been learnt during the semester,  requires limited preparation, just a bit of reading and group work (taking into consideration that you have one exam before Christmas).
  • Right before the mid-term break, students are asked to take a written assignment in class, on BBC strategy and governance case. The case is distributed before the wrap up session; questions on the case are distributed the day of the wrap up session.
The rhythm is more intense during the first sessions, to take into consideration the overall workload of a typical ACME student throughout the semester. Students will be asked to show their name in class. Active participation is encouraged and rewarded; many of the sessions imply presentations by selected groups of students. It will be faculty responsibility to make sure that each attending student is given enough opportunities to speak out.
Shy students or students less fluent in English may feel that this approach is putting them at a disadvantage. It is important to note though that:
  • extroversion is a different thing from competence; in our class we try to encourage active and intelligent participation and quality of comments is much more appreciated than quantity;
  • managerial life consists of several interactions with peers and superiors and mastering interpersonal relations is an important part of your training ;
  • you always have the opportunity to take the exam as non attending even if you are regularly coming to class.
It may happen that you don’t come to class occasionally or that you are not prepared for a specific session. No problem, just make sure to let your peers know right away during group activities in class that your contribution will be limited due to ignorance of specific material. It is your and your group responsibility to try to make the most out of your contribution anyway. This is also something that is very important to learn: we always have something to give. It is faculty responsibility to make sure that attending students are in fact present most of the times.
Students attending the course are graded on the following elements:
For attending students:
  • Wrap up at mid term: 40%
  • Simulation: 25%
  • Presentation and discussion of cases: 25%
  • Active Participation: 10%
For non attending students:
  • Written essay: 100% 
Students non attending the course will be graded solely on the written essay, which will be based on newspapers articles/reports. Students may switch from attending to non attending, at any time.
Students who do not participate to the simulation or who do not have grades for presentation/discussion of cases are considered non-attending students even if they were present in class.
All students have to sign in for the exam session in order to have their grades published. Grades for attending students will be published on LS (provided students agree with this for privacy issues) before the date of the exam. Only students willing to take the course as non-attending students will have to show up the day of the exam.
Please note that there is no statistical evidence from past editions of this course that the status of attending or non-attending impacts the grade.


For Attending and non attending students:
  • Materials available on Bocconi e-learning.
  • Reading package.
  • Ad hoc web course reserve provided by the library.
  • The material consists of academic articles, cases, excerpts from newspaper articles related to a group of companies operating in various industries, mostly in the cultural field. The work done in class will complement the material provided.
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)


The course builds upon existing know-how on principles of business administration, management of nonprofit organizations, management of public administration, principles of public and private law.

Last change 23/05/2016 16:00