Performance Assessment and Social research

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
SECS-P/07 SPS/07
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide knowledge and application tools to carry out an empirical research, analyze and critically evaluate the results (as it appears on scientific books, journals, newspapers and magazines) and interact with methodological expertise with research institutes and agencies.
The student will be introduced to the logic that guides the design, implementation and critical analysis of empirical research.
The program is divided into three modules: the first two modules deals with the acquisition of the language of social research, with an overview of the main methods and techniques of social research, including polls and surveys, as well as qualitative research methods (discursive interview, focus group and ethnography). Among these types, which are also the basis of the evaluation research, the following will be addressed: customer satisfaction, organizational analysis, analysis of the business climate, feasibility studies, research and selection of personnel, analysis of flows of work (work flow), the evaluation of the potential of human resources (empowerment), etc.
In the third module, methods and tools for examining the evaluation and control systems in public administrations will be studied in depth, from an economic-business perspective. In particular, some of the main types of controls and assessments spread in the Italian public administration will be examined; the organizational and managerial implications connected to the functioning of the evaluation and control systems in public companies will also be analyzed.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will be able to:
- recognize and classify the conceptual devices and tools of the variegated field of the epistemology of social sciences, and of the methodology of social research, identifying them in different disciplines and approaches: philosophical, sociological, political, economic, psychological, pedagogical, etc.
- to rework ethical problems and the moral dilemmas that we encounter when conducting empirical research;
- to identify and interpret the evaluation systems currently in use in the Italian public administration, their evolutions and the reasons for hindering-failure of their development;
- to critically compare the different methodologies and theoretical-practical alternatives for conducting an empirical research;
- to distinguish and systematically analyze the main dimensions of an evaluation and control system;
- to examine, from an economic-corporate perspective, the functioning of an assessment and control system in the public sphere.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
Course syllabus
The first two parts allow you to acquire tools that enable the student to carry out empirical research of any type, to analyze and critically evaluate the results of an empirical research and to interact with methodological competence with research institutes and agencies. Some types of these empirical research are: customer satisfaction, organizational analysis, company climate analysis, evaluative research, feasibility and impact studies, personnel selection e recruitment, work flow analysis, the assessment of the potential of human resources (empowerment), etc.

The third part provides business methods and tools for examining evaluation and control systems in public administrations. Particularly, the program provides:
· an analysis of some of the main types of controls and assessments diffused in the Italian public administration;
· systemic analysis of the main dimensions of an evaluation and control system;
· analysis of the organizational and managerial implications related to the functioning of the evaluation and control systems in public administrations.
Prerequisites for admission
For the first and second parts, knowledge about the key notions of social research methodology is required.

For the third part, knowledge about elements of business administration referred to the Public Administration or notions of Public Management is required.
Teaching methods
For the first two parts:
- lessons are both audio-recorded (and transformed into Mp3 format files) and video-recorded;
- with the materials (ppt) presented in class, the lessons will therefore be available on the course website:

- The exam results will also be available on the web page of the course.

The third part will alternate frontal lessons with case studies discussions in order to encourage the development of skills for applying knowledge.
Teaching Resources
First and second parts:

· Pawson, R. and Tilley N. (2001), Realistic evaluation, London, Sage.
· Patton, M. Q. (1990), Qualitative evaluation and research methods, London: Sage.

Third part:
Materials are avalilable at the "segreteria didattica del Dipartimento di Economia, Management e Metodi Quantitativi (DEMM) - Università degli Studi di Milano", during the office hours only.
Method - methodological readings
Rebora, G. (2007). Una traccia per l'analisi dei sistemi di controllo in diversi contesti aziendali. In Rebora, G. (a cura di) La crisi dei controlli: imprese e istituzioni a confronto (pp. 15-22). Milano: Pearson Education Italia
Pollitt C. (2009), «Bureaucracies Remember, Post-bureaucratic Organizations Forget?», Public Administration, vol. 87, n. 2, pp. 198-218
Control experiences - control experiences in central administrations and Corte dei Conti

Turri, M. (2008) Il controllo successivo sulla gestione della corte dei conti: esame di un referto (la gestione dell'emergenza rifiuti effettuata dai commissari del governo) in ottica economico aziendale, Rivista della Corte dei Conti, n. 1/2008
Barbato G. e Turri M. (2015) Il pluralismo teorico per esaminare la valutazione della performance nei ministeri italiani. Liuc Papers N. 284
Barbato G., Salvadori, A., Turri, M. (2018) There's a lid for every pot! The relationship between performance measurement and administrative activities in Italian ministries. Cogent Business & Management (2018), 5: 1527965

Control failures - analysis of the causes of failures of control systems

Minelli E., Rebora G., Turri M. (2009) Why do controls fail? Results of an Italian survey, Critical Perspectives on Accounting 20 (2009) 933-943, DOI 10.1016/
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is identical for attending and non-attending students.

The exam will consist of a written test of 4 questions (i.e. 1 question for each text): 3 questions for the units of prof. Gobo (6 credits) + 1 question for the unit of prof. Turri (3 credits). Upon passing the entire exam you will earn 9 credits.
The duration of the entire test will be 80 minutes (20 minutes for each question).

To pass the exam it is necessary to obtain sufficiency in all 4 questions. Otherwise the whole exam is repeated.

The written test allows:
- to ensure the achievement of the objectives in terms of knowledge and understanding;
- to ascertain applied knowledge and understanding (e.g. discussing a situation, a case study or a control system)
- to test the student's capacity for independent reasoning and judgment.
The exam also aims to understand written communication skills, especially in relation to the use of specific language related to the evaluation of results in the public sphere and the social research.

For attending students (i.e. those who have attended at least at the 80% of the lessons and have also carried out the three exercises) the score deriving from the 3 exercises will be added to the mark of the written test.

It is very important to consult the course website before coming to class where urgent communications can be found (as the suspension of the lesson due to unexpected events, public transport strikes, teacher sickness, etc.).
Unita' didattica 1
SPS/07 - GENERAL SOCIOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Gobo Giampietro
Unita' didattica 2
SPS/07 - GENERAL SOCIOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Gobo Giampietro
Unita' didattica 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Turri Matteo
every Wednesday from 5pm to 8pm: contact for an online colloquium, via Microsoft Teams
online, on Microsoft Teams