Arts and culture represent an essential part of human life and well being, and since the second half of the last century their relevant role from the economic perspective has been largely acknowledged. Indeed, this sector offers a considerable level of employment and moves large amounts of financial resources. As a consequence, over the last decades, accounting tools and techniques have gained a prominent role in governing in such settings, as they allow a better evaluation of the performance of the organizations to satisfy the enlarged demand for accountability by a broad range of stakeholders. Nevertheless, the issues relating to the crucial role played by accounting, above all from an accountability perspective, should be regarded by taking into account the peculiar characteristics of Arts and Culture. Indeed, a major element of complexity – that is likely to threaten the effectiveness and usefulness of accounting tools in these contexts – lies in the difficult task of measuring what appears to be immeasurable, that is the cultural value produced and distributed by an organization, such as a museum, among different social and cultural strata of population. Hence, a simplistic adaptation of management accounting tools conceived for private-sector companies is not adequate, as to pursue the above-cited aims there is the need to develop specific models able to encompass the peculiar environmental and contextual features that characterize cultural organizations. On this basis, the purpose of the paper is to find out what are the conditions that favour the realization of a system deemed to be effectively implemented and capable to assess museums’ performance by encompassing both the cultural and economic perspectives towards enhanced accountability for the communities of reference. For this reason, the paper is grounded on the link between accounting logic and accountability within public sector organizations (see Broadbent and Laughlin, 2013) broadened by also taking into account the issues relating to the cultural value. The framework conceptualised is then employed to examine the case of the British Museum – a well-known example of excellence in this field – to observe how major institutional transformations and the evolution of activities and human and financial resources management can support both donors and institutions in orienting their resources toward a virtuous cultural management.

Measuring cultural value towards enhanced accountability: insights from the British Museum

ALLINI, ALESSANDRA;F. MANES ROSSI;SPANO', ROSANNA;
2015

Abstract

Arts and culture represent an essential part of human life and well being, and since the second half of the last century their relevant role from the economic perspective has been largely acknowledged. Indeed, this sector offers a considerable level of employment and moves large amounts of financial resources. As a consequence, over the last decades, accounting tools and techniques have gained a prominent role in governing in such settings, as they allow a better evaluation of the performance of the organizations to satisfy the enlarged demand for accountability by a broad range of stakeholders. Nevertheless, the issues relating to the crucial role played by accounting, above all from an accountability perspective, should be regarded by taking into account the peculiar characteristics of Arts and Culture. Indeed, a major element of complexity – that is likely to threaten the effectiveness and usefulness of accounting tools in these contexts – lies in the difficult task of measuring what appears to be immeasurable, that is the cultural value produced and distributed by an organization, such as a museum, among different social and cultural strata of population. Hence, a simplistic adaptation of management accounting tools conceived for private-sector companies is not adequate, as to pursue the above-cited aims there is the need to develop specific models able to encompass the peculiar environmental and contextual features that characterize cultural organizations. On this basis, the purpose of the paper is to find out what are the conditions that favour the realization of a system deemed to be effectively implemented and capable to assess museums’ performance by encompassing both the cultural and economic perspectives towards enhanced accountability for the communities of reference. For this reason, the paper is grounded on the link between accounting logic and accountability within public sector organizations (see Broadbent and Laughlin, 2013) broadened by also taking into account the issues relating to the cultural value. The framework conceptualised is then employed to examine the case of the British Museum – a well-known example of excellence in this field – to observe how major institutional transformations and the evolution of activities and human and financial resources management can support both donors and institutions in orienting their resources toward a virtuous cultural management.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/602207
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