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Managing Cultural Heritage explores managerial and governance issues within the cultural heritage sector, with particular regard to the ecomuseum. Moreover, a social accountability model is supplied to ecomuseums in order to be accountable towards its shareholder, the local community.



1. Introduction: How to Manage Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis

During the actual crisis period, cultural organizations must be able to achieve their mission, which consists in preserving and enhancing public cultural heritage, by managing a shrinking budget. Moreover, because of the public value and utility of the service provided, they have to “learn” how to combine the criteria of sociability, with economy and infra-intergenerational equity ones. Consequently, cultural organizations get engaged in processes of “managerialization” as well as the other organizations operating, in various legal forms, within the entire public sector. From these standpoints, this first chapter aims at introducing the cultural heritage management issues in times of crisis, under the New Public Management and the Governance frameworks.

Michela Magliacani

2. The Ecomuseum Under a Managerial Perspective

The interest in avoiding the negative consequences of careless management of common goods like cultural and natural resources has sparked an interdisciplinary debate on this common issue. Which kind of tool can be used by the social community to “take care” of its cultural and natural resources? The New Museology has provided different forms of museums, which combine community, environment and cultural heritage. Among them, the ecomuseum seems to be more suitable to meet this need, especially in the less favourable areas. This chapter aims at extending the knowledge of ecomuseums from the ecomuseology perspective to a managerial perspective. The morphological and physiological features of the cultural heritage organizations have been analysed through the latter.

Michela Magliacani

3. The Governance Framework in the Ecomuseum Context

Economuseum literature lacks in studies on ecomuseum governance, even though the agency issue is particularly relevant in respect of complex organizational model, such as ecomuseum “umbrella”, “antennas” and “village”. This chapter aims at providing a general understanding of governance structures applied to the ecomuseum context. Moreover, according to the “Community” Governance framework, the relation of shareholders (community) and agents (council and managerial committee) in different forms of ecomuseum is analysed under the accountability lenses.

Michela Magliacani

4. The Ecomuseum Practices: An International Overview

The deductive study has been carried out for achieving the research objective of providing a managerial interpretation of ecomuseum as a community governance model suitable for facing the “glocal” crisis; it is strengthened with an overview of this cultural heritage model on an international level. From the empirical cases provided by the “ecomuseology” literature, this chapter aims at outlining the ecomuseum phenomenon under a twofold perspective: the relationship between the ecomuseum and the community and the relationship between the ecomuseum and the environment. This overview is important for a better understanding of the research choice to develop the Tuscan experience, in the Italian context.

Michela Magliacani

5. The Tuscan Experience

This chapter describes the inductive study developed through four different case studies, located in the “less favoured areas” of Tuscany. That research choice is due to the fact that ecomuseum was regulated after it widely spread within the Tuscan territory, in spite of what happened in other Italian regions. In this way, the creation and the innovation of governance models — such as the ecomuseum — appear as the outputs of a spontaneous institutional change process. This empirical analysis highlights how the crisis should stimulate the implementation of the “community governance” within a cultural heritage-based sustainable development.

Michela Magliacani

6. Which Accountability for the Ecomuseum: A “Community” Governance Scorecard Model

The lack of a management accounting study on the ecomuseum, combined with the main findings of the empirical research carried out in this work, leads to draw attention to the governance principles and methods. According to the CSR framework, this chapter provides a social accountability model suitable to make the ecomuseum accountable towards its shareholder: the local community. This model has a structure similar to the Integrated Governance Scorecard one, containing two more dimensions (legitimacy/voice and vitality) than the classic ones (compliance, performance, risk and knowledge). These variations are connected with the “cultures of accountability” applied to the cultural heritage sectors.

Michela Magliacani

7. Closing Remarks

This study ends with some reflections on the results achieved in comparison with the research aims. Some common traits characterize ecomuseums worldwide. First of all, the bond with its original definition is popular in any experience. Within the Italian context, where we can find the highest concentration of ecomuseums worldwide, a “pure” development of this phenomenon occurs in Tuscany. The ecomuseum matter was not regulated until the phenomenon has been extending within that territory. This is why the Tuscan ecomuseums analysed are an example of what literature defines “community governance”. Another common feature regards the little managerial culture of ecomuseum and, consequently, its need to learn and to apply performance management principles and tools. This has opened up a new ground in managerial studies.

Michela Magliacani


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