Good governance principles for the cultural heritage sector: Lessons from international experience

Robert Shipley, Jason F. Kovacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Purpose - The collapse of some prominent corporations over the last ten years has been attributed to poor governance. Not-for-profit agencies are now examining their own governance policies and practices in an attempt to prevent the calamities that have plagued the private sector. Because heritage sites, conservation organizations and heritage-based tourism are significant factors in the social life and economies of many countries, the proper management of cultural heritage initiatives is vital. This paper seeks to undertake the development of a set of good governance principles applicable to the oversight and operation of cultural heritage institutions. Design/methodology/approach - The fifth World Parks Congress, in South Africa in 2003, encouraged the development of governance principles for protected areas based on the UNDP document Governance for Sustainable Human Development. Using these standards as a reference for the cultural heritage setting, UNESCO and ICOMOS charters and conventions, along with documents from National Trusts in specific countries are examined with regard to their relevance to good governance. Findings - A set of good governance criteria and principles including legitimacy and voice, direction, performance, accountability, and fairness, is developed. Practical implications - The paper addresses governance issues and principles relevant to non-governmental and public sector governance in the cultural heritage sector. Originality/value - The paper draws on principles of good governance from several international heritage related agencies, trusts and organizations to develop a set of principles that can be recommended for use in the cultural heritage sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-228
Number of pages15
JournalCorporate Governance (Bingley)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Corporate governance
  • Heritage
  • Standards


Dive into the research topics of 'Good governance principles for the cultural heritage sector: Lessons from international experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this