Operations Management and HR of Cultural Institutions

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Remote students
Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
Course Description: 

As experts in the field of culture, it is crucial to gain knowledge about successful and efficient leadership, management and communication. The aim of the course is to equip students with a clear understanding of elements, aspects and the latest trends in operations -, human resources management and institutional communication from small and medium scale organizations to large institutions. The course will have dual focus: it will include several interactive classroom/online workshops, while optional visits to Vienese cultural institution onsite or virtually contributes to the learning of the students significantly.

The working method of the class is very interactive: individual research, group activities, class discussions and site visits are essential elements of the classes.

The course will include the following topics:

Leadership: Students will learn to define the key elements and characteristics of leadership. They will be able to create a complete list of skills, knowledge and attitude necessary for great and effective leadership. They will also discover the crucial difference between leadership and management, as well as identify actions related to both. Finally, they will have plenty of opportunities to recognize great and bad examples of leadership, be it from history, corporate world or their own experience.

Corporate Culture: Students will be exposed to the most known models and concept of organizational culture – a living, organic entity described as a character of a company or corporation and shaped by its members and their interactions. They will be able to utilize and build on your previous experience with any organizations in identifying key cultural elements. They will also be able to discover in a group work what it takes to have a winning culture – as well as learn about a few well known cultural mistakes and failures when „Culture eats strategy for breakfast”  - i.e. when company strategy is not in line with or not considering the impact culture properly.
We will look at how external and internal changes are shaping and impacting the culture and what is the key to change a culture.

Institutional Communication: Why is it important to have a strong brand in the cultural sector? How can a cultural brand be successful and authentic? The interactive workshop will showcase the different types of brands and the important steps to establish a successful brand. Why is formulation a clear mission, vision and having a strategic approach is crucial for communicating the brand? Students will learn about the essence of brand narratives and its importance during institutional crisis.  The session will also examine the constantly changing relationship between brand communication and program communication, the tools, channels that can be applied.

Human Resources Management: This session will introduce the major elements of effective human resources management and practices.  In addition, it will increase participants’ understanding when it comes to continuing their own careers in the cultural sphere internationally. Throughout the interactive workshop, basic theory will be balanced with examples, case studies and skill developments in the field of HR. The main topics of the workshop will touch upon: key roles and responsibilities within the Human Resources function, talent management and succession planning, capacity and capability building and change management, good practices in the field generally and in cultural heritage, challenges for HR management in the public and non-profit sector.


Learning Outcomes: 

The participants of the course will acquire a basic knowledge of terms and concepts in operations-, human resources management and institutional communication. There will be a special focus on management, leadership, internal communication strategies, audience engagement, PR, creative content-marketing, unique story-telling strategy and cultural project-based marketing solutions. They will learn and explore the basic methods, trends and tools used in both fields; familiarize with the strategy making processes, gain experience in applying the acquired tools, methods and strategies in practice.

  • Regular class attendance is mandatory (10%).
  • Active participation in classroom work (25%)
  • Mid-term individual and group assignments including readings (30%)
  • End-of-term presentation (35%)
  • + active participation in the institutional visits (5%)