Insegnamento a.a. 2023-2024


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLEAM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - CLEF (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - CLEACC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - BESS-CLES (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - WBB (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - BIEF (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - BIEM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - BEMACS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07) - BAI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Mission & Content Summary


International organizations, supranational organizations and transnational networks are key actors in the global economy. They promote collective action to address global societal challenges (e.g., climate change, poverty, pandemics), develop different forms of regulation for the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, and steer technological and data-driven innovation at the transnational level. Besides acting as political arenas, international organizations are complex organizational arrangements whose functioning depends on an efficient application of management systems and tools. The course aims to provide an understanding of the functioning of intergovernmental and supranational organizations (more generally labelled International Organizations, or IOs), their governance and managerial challenges and practices, put in the context of the fast-evolving global societal needs. This is an Engage Course within the CIVICA Bachelor Engage Track developed within the framework of the CIVICA alliance.


The course will be structured as follows:

  • Understanding International Organizations and their environment. This block introduces the main families and the essential characteristics of IOs. It will provide an overview of the main global societal challenges, the changing role of IOs and the ongoing tension between coordination and competition among IOs;
  • Management systems and reforms in inter-governmental organizations. This blocks tackles the main features of the United Nations system and other inter-governmental organizations. It focuses on the main challenges of modern IOs in strategically positioning themselves to strengthen their relevance and in managing their resources and their operations on the ground. It will explain what ‘strategy’ means for multilaterals and will develop hands-on knowledge on how organizations operationalize their vision into concrete plans of actions. It will analyze the main approaches to innovation in IOs, including the role of big data and artificial intelligence technologies. Finally, the block will analyse the evolution of funding patterns and the implications for managing financial resources, exploring the innovative forms of funding international development.
  • Management systems and reforms in supranational organizations. This block focuses on the European Union as a supranational organization and discusses the institutional, governance and operational features of the main European institutions. The central part of this block tackles the issues of managing strategy and HR in the specific context of the EU institutions and elaborates on the specific managerial practices and challenges faced by them. 
  • Cross-sector partnerships and transnational networks. This block discusses how IOs interact, compete and partner with other main players in the global arena, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private actors and global networks to tackle global soceital challenges.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


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

By the end of the course students will learn:

  • The basics of the theory of international regimes and regional integration as conceptual framework to understand the relevance of, and need for, intergovernmental and supranational organizations.
  • The organizational models and policy network analysis upon which to understand the functioning and management of international organizations.
  • The institutional setting, policy-making processes, functioning and management practices of the main families of IOs, including the UN system and the European Union.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Use the fundamental concepts and the language of management to understand how international and supranational organizations, as well as transnational partnerships work.
  • Assess how the institutional and political environment affects the overall sustainability of international and supranational organizations.
  • Leverage on the understanding of the interdependence between public, private and non profit actors to strengthen global development effectiveness.

Teaching methods

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


The learning experience of this course includes, in addition to lectures, case discussions, real examples and interactions with guest speakers from international organizations.

During the course, students will have the opportunity to apply conceptual frameworks and tools discussed in class to the concrete challenges of an international organization through a groupwork activity.


Assessment methods

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


Attending students will be assessed as follows:

  • Written exam(s) - Two written exams 1st partial (50%) and 2nd partial  (50%) or one general exam (100%). The exam is based on a mix of multiple choice and open questions related to the contents discussed in class.
  • Group project (optional) - the project enables students to add up to 2 points to the final mark resulting from the written exam(s).  Students will be requested to firmly commit to undertake the group project by the deadline communicated in class by the instructors. The group project is mandatory for Civica students.


General written exam (100% of the final grade) based on a mix of multiple choice and open questions related to the full reference list of readings, which aims to assess the student’s learning level of the theoretical models, the understanding of key concepts elaborated in the course readings, and the ability to summarise narrative interpretations from the course readings.  

Teaching materials


  • Class notes.
  • Course slides uploaded on the Bboard platform.
  • Selected readings made available on the Bboard platform and E-Library online course reserve.



  • List of compulsory readings for not attending students made available on the Bboard platform and E-Library online course reserve.
Last change 04/06/2023 22:14