Business managers can learn more from watching a movie like Denys Arcand’s The Barbarian Invasions than attending seminars or reading textbooks, according to the Italian authors of a new handbook called Cinema for Managers. The four business consultants, Francesco Bogliari, Sergio Di Giorgi, Marco Lombardi and Piero Trupia, recommend a list of 50 films, both Italian and foreign, which they believe can help executives and business owners in Italy get ahead.
The idea for the book sprang out of a growing “humanistic management” movement in Italy, which sources cultural and artistic disciplines for novel approaches to management training. “A good film is much more sophisticated and complex than traditional quantitative business training, because of the rich and visually stimulating metaphors it offers for human behaviour,” explains Bogliari, a professor and journalist who edited and co-authored the handbook.
The Barbarian Invasions, for example, warns against intellectual pretension, encourages emotional intelligence (when the “barriers of rationality” break down between the protagonist and his son) and demonstrates the benefits of conviviality—over rigid hierarchy—in the workplace, as the dying man recognizes the importance of human connections.
Lolita, another film on their list, is instructive in the psychological seduction that goes into wooing business clients. And John Wayne films like The Searchers are replete with office-ready metaphors about leadership, solitude and diversity. The latter is a particularly relevant Hollywood lesson for business managers in northern Italy, where companies depend on immigrant labour for survival but racism remains prevalent, says Bogliari.
“We are trying to show that culture opens the mind,” he says. He and his co-authors hope to translate the book and tailor it to other cultures. M
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