Management Control



I sistemi informativi per il controllo e la valutazione delle performance nelle università italiane

Antonella Paolini, Michela Soverchia

pag. 5
I sistemi di misurazione delle performance nelle università: considerazioni critiche sul sistema italiano

Natalia Aversano, Francesca Manes Rossi, Paolo Tartaglia Polcini

» 15
La disclosure nei Piani delle Performance delle università italiane. Intenti simbolici vs approcci sostanziali di legittimazione

Alessandra Allini, Adele Caldarelli, Rosanna Spanò

» 37
La riforma del sistema informativo-contabile degli atenei italiani. Una proposta di analisi del nuovo modello di bilancio

Sabrina Gigli, Marco Tieghi

» 61
Il confronto di performance economico-finanziarie nelle Università: un possibile modello di analisi per indici

Isabella Mozzoni, Simone Fanelli, Antonello Zangrandi

» 93
Performance-based funding e sistemi di allocazione delle risorse ai dipartimenti: prime evidenze nelle università italiane

Andrea Francesconi, Enrico Guarini

» 115
La misurazione della performance sociale nell’esperienza dell’Università di Bologna

Federica Farneti, Benedetta Siboni, Carlotta del Sordo

» 137
Mission della rivista e norme redazionali » 167

I sistemi informativi per il controllo e la valutazione delle performance nelle università italiane

Information systems for control and performance evaluation in Italian universities

Law no. 240/2010 and subsequent legislation imposed on Italian state universities relevant changes to their governance and control systems. This phenomenon has created debates, studies and research on the consequent effects of changes, still going. Furthermore, universities are, especially in Italy, public administrations interesting and peculiar, characterized by common elements to other public entities, but also by distinctive and almost unique features.

This issue of Management Control includes six papers related the performance measurement and evaluation in the Italian universities. This issue is analyzed for as performance should be according to recent legislation, but also for how it should be according to the management and accounting principles not adopted by law, which could support internal decision-making processes (at the single university level) and external (at ministerial level, in terms of public policies).

Some critical issues emerged: the difficult integration of information systems useful for control and decisions; the habit to use cash accounting, with no consideration of operations’ economic aspects, it’s hard to overcome as a mentality and organizational processes; past practices in measuring/assessing teaching and research processes determined their excessive autonomy, while they should be integrated with each other and with the overall universities’ functioning.

Keywords: Performance Measurement Systems, Italian Universities, Performance plans, disclosure, accrual accounting, performance-based funding, social reports.


I sistemi di misurazione della performance nelle università: considerazioni critiche sul sistema italiano

The performance measurement systems in universities. Critical considerations on the Italian system

Performance Measurement Systems have long since been adopted by universities. They have been developed in part as a result of reforms introduced by the wave of the New Public Management, but also as consequence of the harmonization process of the education systems which have affected many countries, particularly in Europe. This paper provides an overview of the Performance Measurement Systems adopted in most European countries and introduces a critical analysis of the Italian system, focusing on the three main university missions that require evaluation. These are: research, teaching activities and transfer of technology, all of which are affected by the administrative activity. Through a documentary analysis, particular attention is given to the guidelines issued recently in Italy by the National Agency for the Evaluation of the University System and Research (ANVUR).

From a critical analysis of the systems currently adopted in Italy, taking into account also the systems in other countries, the need to view university performance in a more holistic manner emerges. This would lead towards an integrated assessment of the three main missions that each university is required to accomplish.

Keywords: Performance Measurement Systems, Italian Universities, ANVUR guidelines.


La disclosure nei Piani della Performance delle università italiane. Intenti simbolici vs approcci sostanziali di legittimazione

The disclosure in the Plans of the Performance of the Italian University. Symbolic intent vs substantial legitimacy approaches

This research focuses on the Performance Plans drawn up by Italian universities, to understand whether the information conveyed in this documents are able to achieve increasing transparency and greater accountability – fulfilling the willingness expressed by recent regulatory attempts – or if, conversely, they constitute a mere symbolic compliance effort. The study embraces the legitimacy framework and relies upon a meaning oriented content analysis of 66 Performance Plans. The main findings show little strategic value underlying Performance Plans, as well as the persistence of certain information gaps on key areas of strategic importance, offering a noteworthy contribution not restricted to the academic debate, but valuable for policy makers and practitioners.

 Keywords: University, Performance plane, disclosure, legitimacy.


La riforma del sistema informativo-contabile de-gli atenei italiani. Una proposta di analisi del nuovo modello di bilancio

The reform of the accounting information system of Italians universities. A proposal of analysis of the new model budget

The reform of the financial accounting system in Italian Academia. A first assessment of the University settings and performance through the analysis of the renewed financial reporting.

In the context of a wider redesign of Italian university information systems, the shifting from the cash to the accrual accounting approach represents a radical change on the ways to communicate financial and economic information to the stakeholders. At the same time, this also implies an overall transformation of Universities’ internal and external relationships. Such revolutionary changes are determining, in fact, significant modifications both for organizational mechanisms and for decision-making processes. In particular, new priorities seem to shape the governance system, as well as the relationships between the Dean and the other institutional bodies: Board of Directors and Academic Governing Council (Senato Accademico), in particular. The introduction of new tools for external communication offers, therefore, a different representation of university’s structure and performance, affecting the interactions between University and its stakeholders. With the aim to explore such changes, we propose a preliminary analysis of the renewed financial reporting – according to the reform of D.M. n. 9/2014 – of a sample of Italian Universities. In particular will be considered the income statements and the balance sheets at 30 April 2015.

 Keywords: university, accrual accounting, financial reporting, accounting change.


Il confronto di performance economico-finanziarie nelle Università: un possibile modello di analisi per indici

Comparing economical-financial performances of Universities. A ratio-based model

In Europe and in Italy, Universities are pressured to increase their performance. As a matter of fact, recently, several national governments have introduced quasi-market mechanism, pursuing the aim of encourage competition among Universities, improving efficiency, effectiveness and increasing economic viability. In this scenario, the practice of benchmarking is becoming more important as it provides a realistic approach for assessing the performance in critical areas for learning from the experience of other organisations. However, the majority of performance indicators only refers to the two main core activities of University (research and teaching), underestimating the economical-financial performances. The idea is to provide managers with a multidimensional performance evaluation system, which also consider the accounting dimension as an essential element to support strategic decisions. The paper aims to define a set of balance sheet ratios, which take into account the peculiarity of University management, meanwhile developing data-benchmarking process for monitoring and compare economic and financial dynamic in higher education institutions.

Keywords: higher education, benchmarking, balance sheet ratios.


Performance-based funding e sistemi di allocazione delle risorse ai dipartimenti: prime evidenze nelle università italiane

Performance-based funding and resource allocation systems. An empirical analysis in Italian Universities

This article presents the results of an empirical research aimed to investigate the relationship between performance-based funding (PBF) systems and resource allocation systems within public sector organizations. This research is focused on the mechanisms for allocation of new faculty positions in Italian public universities, which are characterized by an increasing relevance of PBF over the last years. This context allows us to assess both the coherence between universities’ performance measurement systems and the PBF system and the awareness of its effects. Results show, with few exceptions, a high degree of maturity in the design of universities performance measurement systems. These systems have been primarily designed to be consistent with universities’ organizational context and strategies so avoiding a simplistic transposition of performance indicators drawn from the PBF system.

Keywords: higher education, public universities, performance measurement systems, performance-based funding, resource allocation.


La misurazione della performance sociale nell’esperienza dell’Università di Bologna

The social and environmental performance measurement at the University of Bologna

New Public Management principles have led to a growing number of public organisations to use social and environmental performance measurement tools, such as social reports, to be accountable in terms of results, social and environmental impacts. Thus, social report, with reference to the state universities, is developing. This article analyses, the process to develop a social report and the consequential performance measurement in terms of social and environmental impacts. The social report of the studied organisation is an expression of the following functions: (1) transparency of the activity, (2) internal governance (3) stakeholders engagement and (4) measurement of the economic, social and environmental impacts provide with reference the territory. The case study method is used to develop this research. We have applied it to the University of Bologna, which is a large-university that has included in its stated (set out in the Charter of the University to be therefore developed consistently every year) reporting system the social report.

Keywords: environmental performance, social reports, social and environmental impacts.


Aziende, amministrazione razionale e impatto sociale

Sin dalle prime opere dei maggiori esponenti della scienza economica, si è sempre profilata una centralità della persona nel ciclo economico. Lo scopo di ogni attività umana si coniuga nell’esaudire quegli impulsi personali che stimolano ogni soggetto al raggiungimento di obiettivi prefissati, e si configurano sotto forma di bisogni e necessità. La soddisfazione di questi bisogni è il centro dell’operato proprio e degli altri soggetti che compongono l’ambiente sociale di riferimento della persona. Le aziende, secondo una prima definizione in quest’ottica, coniata da Zappa, altro non sono che una “coordinazione economica in atto, istituita e retta per il soddisfacimento di bisogni umani” (Zappa, 1950), o meglio “un istituto economico destinato a perdurare che, per il soddisfacimento di umani bisogni, ordina e svolge, in continua coordinazione, la produzione o il procacciamento e il consumo della ricchezza” (Zappa, 1957). Analogamente, Ferrero ricordava che “l’azienda è lo strumento dell’umano operare nell’attività economica” (Ferrero, 1968). Secondo queste accezioni si conferisce così all’azienda una natura strumentale e secondaria rispetto alla volontà e ai bisogni della persona, che perdura congiuntamente alla persona e oltre la sua esistenza. Le aziende assumono quindi una dimensione “nello spazio” e “nel tempo” (Puddu, 2010). La dimensione spaziale si concretizza nella necessità di monitorare le proprie performance sotto l’aspetto finanziario (generazione o consumo di risorse finanziarie), economico (creazione o consumo di fattori produttivi) e patrimoniale (generazione o consumo di ricchezza), nonché sotto l’aspetto “sociale” (generazione di impatto, positivo o negativo, sulla società, l’ambiente, i lavoratori, le comunità in cui opera, secondo criteri “non finanziari” e di sostenibilità). […]

Key-Words: Rendicontazione sociale


Foundations’ governance for strategic philanthropy: the second national survey

Should non-profit organizations’ leaders rely on enhanced governance mechanisms to optimize the social outcomes of the philanthropic strategies their organizations implement? The recent literature on the non-profit sector has investigated the composition, role, responsibilities, and characteristics of non-profits’ boards. However, there is a lack of research on the causal link between governance practices and effective philanthropic strategy. This gap should be filled because non-profit organizations are increasingly pivotal elements of the “private welfare state” that exists in Europe and the OCSE. While other kinds of organizations that are involved in philanthropy and public welfare face competition (i.e., corporations), budget constraints (i.e., governments), or fundraising imperatives (i.e., NGOs) that limit their ability to address public welfare, private endowed foundations feel less such pressure, so they can tackle social issues that other organizations or individual donors may not. The purpose of this paper is to present the second survey, which will enlarge an existing pilot study on 112 large Italian foundations, the exploratory results of which show strong correlations between sophisticated governance and more challenging philanthropic strategies. Using a second on-line survey and ex-post structured interviews, the research team is currently collecting data from a representative sample of board members of Italian foundations with the goal of investigating the relevance of factors like board capital, board processes, philanthropic culture, and board leadership in optimizing foundations’ grant-making processes and social welfare creation strategies. The results of the study should reveal whether and when well governed private foundations can spend money more effectively and efficiently than individual donors and poorly governed foundations can.

Key-Words: non-profit organization, Foundations, Governance, Grant-making, Strategic Philanthropy