Law no. 240/2010 and subsequent legislation imposed on Italian state universities relevant changes to their governance and control systems. This phenomenon has created debates, studies and research on the consequent effects of changes, still going. Furthermore, universities are, especially in Italy, public administrations interesting and peculiar, characterized by common elements to other public entities, but also by distinctive and almost unique features. This issue of Management Control includes six papers related the performance measurement and evaluation in the Italian universities. This issue is analyzed for as performance should be according to recent legislation, but also for how it should be according to the management and accounting principles not adopted by law, which could support internal decision-making processes (at the single university level) and external (at ministerial level, in terms of public policies). Some critical issues emerged: the difficult integration of information systems useful for control and decisions; the habit to use cash accounting, with no consideration of operations’ economic aspects, it’s hard to overcome as a mentality and organizational processes; past practices in measuring/assessing teaching and research processes determined their excessive autonomy, while they should be integrated with each other and with the overall universities’ functioning.
Keywords: Performance Measurement Systems, Italian Universities, Performance plans, disclosure, accrual accounting, performance-based funding, social reports.