“Man – Jean Paul Sartre says – is nothing else but that which he makes of himself “.
Domenico De Masi was born in Molise, and raised in Campania and Umbria. His career has mostly been focused on teaching and research.
He travelled much, but the most important cities for his work have been Milan, Sassari, Naples and Rome.
In Brazil – where he holds an honorary citizenship in Rio de Janeiro – he has held conferences in almost all the main cities of the country.
He has held conferences in almost all the main cities including Rio de Janeiro where he holds honorary citizenship.
His biography is divided by paragraphs relating to different life segments: family and research; domains of activity; the Neapolitan, Milanese and Roman periods; teaching in Sassari, Naples and Rome; the founding of his school and then of S3Studium company; other professional and civilian commitments; trips to Brazil and many other countries worldwide as well as received acknowledgements.
DOMAINS OF ACTIVITY
De Masi’s professional competencies are especially focused on sociology of work and organizations, covering domains such as the work market, organizational structures, business strategies, individual motivation, remote work, services’ and products’ quality, creative groups, ethical values, brand and work environment.
The relationship with businesses and trade unions is indispensable to teach sociology of work and it is always maintained through research, consulting work, training and communication.
The main steps of this work path are the iron and steel plant Italsider in Bagnoli, the engineering plant Cmf of Finsider Group in Milan, Bergamo and Livorno, Ifap centre for managerial training of IRI staff in Rome and the company S3Studium, also based in Rome.
The consulting, research, training and communication relationships established with Italian and foreign companies are uncountable.
During his career, De Masi received numerous awards and prizes. The most important are listed below.
Honorary citizenship in Sant’Agata dei Goti and Ravello, decoration by the Italian Republic, official of the Republic, Leonardo prize awarded by Confindustria, ICE and the Presidency of Republic, prize “Gladiatore d’Oro” (Golden Gladiator) given by the province of Benevento, prize Fregene, and Excellence Prize CFMT 2009 to the career.
Honorary citizenship of Rio de Janeiro, honorary member of Ordine del Rio Branco (Rio Branco order) given by the President of the Republic, medal to the merit Anita Garibaldi, given by the Governor of the State of Santa Catarina.
FAMILY AND STUDIES
During his academic studies he also started developing an interest in sociology.
For three years, after his degree, he travelled back and forth to Paris and he got his specialization in Sociology of Work. De Masi married twice.
First with Franca Giambelluca and then with Susi del Santo, whom he continues to live with.
He has two daughters, Mara and Barbara, and four grandchildren: Irene, Edoardo, Iacopo and Arianna.
Domenico De Masi has been teaching since 1961, first as assistant, then as associated professor, ordinary professor and dean. During these years he has focused mostly on education by implementing innovative methods that combine theory and research.
So far he has taught over 5000 students and 800 graduates. He has never taken part in any political network or academic lobby. De Masi’s career steps have been as follows:
In 1961 he became assistant to the chair of sociology at University of Naples (Law studies).
In 1968 De Masi became Professor of sociology of work at University of Sassari (Political sciences studies). Amongst his colleagues Franco Bassanini, Gustavo Zagrebelski, Valerio Onida, Luigi e Giovanni Berlinguer.
Between 1971 and 1973 De Masi taught sociology at Istituto Orientale in Naples (political sciences faculty). Massimo Galluppi and Romolo Runcini were his colleagues.
During those years he published La negazione urbana (Il Mulino, 1971), Sociologia dell’azienda (Il Mulino, 1973), L’industria del sottosviluppo (Guida 1973).
From 1974 to 1977 De Masi taught methods and techniques for the social research at University Federico II in Naples (Sociology faculty). His colleagues were Alberto Abruzzese, Gino Germani and Luigi Lombardi Satriani.
During those years he published I lavoratori nell’industria italiana (Angeli, 1974); Dentro l’università. Studenti, classi, corporazioni (Angeli, 1978).
In 1977 De Masi started teaching at University La Sapienza in Rome, starting with sociology at Teacher’s training course and then sociology of work for the faculties of Sociology and Communication Sciences.
De Masi was also dean of the Communication Sciences faculty, where his colleagues were, Aris Accornero, Federico Butera, Franco Ferrarotti, Bruno Mazzara, and Mario Morcellini. During those years he also managed the collection “La Società” for editor Franco Angeli and he published Il lavoratore post-industriale (Angeli, 1985); Trattato di sociologia del lavoro e dell’organizzazione (Angeli, 1985-87); Sviluppo senza lavoro (Edizioni Lavoro, 1994); Il futuro del lavoro (Rizzoli, 1999), Ozio creativo (Ediesse 1991e Rizzoli, 2000); La fantasia e la concretezza (Rizzoli, 2003); L’emozione e la regola. I gruppi creativi in Europa dal 1850 al 1950 (Laterza, 1990 e Rizzoli, 2005); Non c’è progresso senza felicità (Rizzoli, 2005); La felicità (with Oliviero Toscani, 2008). A group of De Masi’s students (Cevoli, Merli, Saporito, Stefano, Troiano) published the research Stazione Termini (Angeli, 1979).De Masi became friends with Achille Bonito Oliva, Luciano De Crescenzo, Roberto Panzarani, Franco Maria Ricci, Antonio Romano, Leonardo Sciascia, Oliviero Toscani and Lina Wertmuller.
In 1991 De Masi ran a course on Sociology of Professions at the faculty of Social Sciences of University La Sapienza. Amongst his colleagues Fabrizio Battistelli and Enrico Pugliese.
Between 1961 and 1963, De Masi specialized in sociology of work and became part of the professional group that had taken shape in Naples around the magazine “Nord e Sud”, whose editor in chief was Francesco Compagna.
This group of sociologists was coordinated by Giuseppe Galasso and was asked to carry out a sociological research on behalf of Italsider related to the plant in Bagnoli. More specifically, the research was focused on two main topics: the role of informal groups and the role of trade unions.
In the meantime, two other different teams, one led by Gustavo Iacono and one by Pietro Gennaro, were in charge of studying the plant’s psychological and organizational features. In this project, De Masi was in charge of liaising with the staff and be an “active observer”, by sharing for two years the work done by staff of the blast furnace, rolled sections producers and steelworkers.
During this same period De Masi worked as well with several magazines such as “Il Punto” “Tempi Moderni” “Nord e Sud” and has cooperated with Southern Italian intellectuals named Franco Barbagallo, Francesco Compagna, Cesare de’ Seta, Danilo Dolci, Giuseppe Galasso, Massimo Galluppi, Antonio Ghirelli, Raffaele La Capria, Massimo Lo Cicero, Domenico Rea, Francesco Rosi and Antonio Vitiello.
Once the research at Italsider in Bagnoli was finished, De Masi moved to Milan where he worked until 1996 for the company CMF, part of the group IRI-Finsider, being the hiring and training manager and coordinating the set up of two new plants, in Dalmine and Livorno.
Because of these two new plants CMF received an award from the European Union as best of the year’s organizational process. The relationships with trade unions focused on taking part in the staff selection through role plays and selecting foremen by means of sociometric tests as well as nurturing relationships with external players.
The great attention to the aesthetics in the workplace and good manners at work represent a rare mix of wise organization, innovative courage and cultural security.
During this period, De Masi was part of Turati club and was involved in the set up of Associazione Italiana Formatori , of which he became president in the following years. He also became friends with Franco Angeli, Renzo Raimondi, Severino Salvemini, Enzo Spaltro, Mario Unnia, Pino Varchetta and Vito Volpe.
In 1996 De Masi moved to Rome where he was a teacher and a consultant in sociology of work at Ifap, IRI centre for the study of business management directions, that was chaired first by Giuseppe Glisenti and then by Pasquale Saraceno.
At Ifap, De Masi taught industrial sociology and then he became a senior manager until 1979, teaching in numerous multi-company training courses with Aldo Fabris, Gianni Billia, Gino Giugni, Filippo Martino, and taking part in training top managers of big companies such as Eni, Fiat, Glaxo, Pirelli and Sip.
In 1974 De Masi was the curator of the sociological part with relation to creating Villaggio Matteotti in Terni, designed by Giancarlo De Carlo, whose consultant was Cesare de’ Seta.
Between 1978 and 2000 De Masi runs S3Studium, a post-degree specialization school on organizational sciences, that De Masi founded himself to make up for the lack of university masters.
The school aims at forming experts in research, training, communication, events organization and managerial publishing. As a non-profit school, the students only pay a minimum fee to cover basic costs. Teachers and tutors are not paid as they believe that teaching is a privilege and they financially support the school’s expenses.
The school, that has been managed by Lea Battistoni, Giancarlo Cepollaro and Gilda Morelli, it has formed dozens of young professionals to constantly improve the quality of work and life by means of the strictness of methods, ethics, behaviours, aesthetics and manners.
The paradigm of reference was based on post-industrial society, people’s growth, individual and group creativity, internationalism, universalism, progressive work hybridization, research and play, and destructuring space-time within businesses.
De Masi experimented new forms of organized systems and he promoted new relationships amongst companies, universities, culture and politics.
De Masi’s inspiratioin for his teaching methods were renaissance models such as workshops and academies by respecting individuality, acknowledging experiences and by attaching importance to the emulation in agreement amongst students.
De Masi’s school contributed to the renovation of Sociology of work and organizations through the publishing of essays and books among which L’avvento post-industriale by D. De Masi (Angeli, 1985; Manuale di ricerca sul lavoro e sulle organizzazioni by D. De Masi (La Nuova Italia, 1995); Il lavoratore post-industriale by D. De Masi, R. Raimondi and others (Angeli, 1985); Il presente è l’avvenire by Zsuzsa Hegedus (Angeli, 1985); Trattato di sociologia del lavoro e dell’organizzazione by D. De Masi and Angelo Bonzanini (Angeli, 1985-87); Altre organizzazioni, by Delia Zingarelli (Angeli, 1986); Dove va il lavoro industriale? by D. De Masi e G. Cepollaro (Angeli, 1998); L’emozione e la regola. I gruppi creativi in Europa dal 1850 al 1950 by D. De Masi (Laterza 1990 e Rizzoli 2005); Pubblica Amministrazione e cambiamento organizzativo, a cura di F. P. Arcuri, C. Ciacia and M. La Rosa (Angeli, 1994); Outplacement by C. Rossi (Angeli, 1996); Il castello infranto by Fabrizio Giulietti, Katia Gotnich and Stefano Palumbo (1996); Le parole nel tempo by D. De Masi e Dunia Pepe (Guerini, 2001).
De Masi’s school contributed to the modernisation of Sociology of work and organizations by means of seminars, public meetings, conferences, reviews and exhibitions. Many of these activities took place at “Forum”, the cultural centre managed by the school through a group of its students. Other activities were carried out in different Italian and foreign locations.
When in 2000 University regulations added università masters, De Masi organised for the Communication sciences faculty, where he was the dean, “Master in communication and organization”.
At that point S3Studium school was transformed into a consulting, research, communication, publishing and training company, especially designed to support managerial needs.
The company that operates through a small circle of professionals (Elisabetta Fabiani, Camilla Monda, Stefano Palumbo, Francesca Zaffino) and a wide international network of renown external experts, spreads in Italy and Brazil the post-industrial managerial topics like creativity and creative groups, remote work, events organization and provisional research run on the grounds of the Delphi method.
Through “Club S3” the company organizes conferences, shows and managerial meetings. For more than 30 years the school to begin with and later the company organized a seminar in L’Aquila, in co-operation with Telecom, on the future of Italy and a seminar organized on the twenty most important Italian festivals, which took place in Costa Smeralda, Anacapri, Ravello and Sant’Agata dei Goti.
S3 company also organized a “Festival della Formazione” in Merano (Venice) and other festivals in Positano, Vicenza, Montesarchio and Florianópolis (Brazil).
From 1998 S3Studium published the magazine Next. Strumenti per l’innovazione, conceived and directed by De Masi and designed by F.M. Ricci. With the magazine, S3 publishes with editor Guerini a series of studies and research.
De Masi was president of Associazione Nazionale Formatori.
He was also president of Istituto Nazionale di Architettura, a prestigious association created by Bruno Zevi to support the development of architecture and train architects.
According to the institute’s statute the chairman can be an architect.
Professor De Masi was the last president of the Institute before Zevi died, during his mandate he pushed all members to think about the consequences that the post-industrial paradigm projected onto the work of town planners, architects and designers. To this purpose, the number of visits, meetings and on-the-spot investigations was increased and at the same time both central and local organizational structures were reinforced.
After the end of De Masi’s mandate as president of the institute, De Masi was asked to chair Premio Nazionale In/Arch composed of four different sections and dedicated respectively to new architectural developments, restorations and new architects and journalists writing about architecture.
De Masi was councillor of culture and tourism for the municipality of Ravello (1994-5), promoting a tourism of quality based on culture.
During those years he transformed Ravello Festival, which used to be short and dedicated to classical music, to a cultural event lasting all summer including theatre, dance and visual arts.
In 2009 De Masi was president of Parco del Cilento, where he promoted a kind of self-management for the individual commercial and cultural sectors.
For two mandates from 2002 till 2010, De Masi was president of Fondazione Ravello relaunching Ravello Festival and leading a tenacious battle to build the Auditorium, designed by his friend Oscar Niemever, who had presented De Masi with his project.
In Ravello, De Masi worked with Achille Bonito Oliva, Lina Wertmuller, Cesare de’ Seta, Giuseppe Cacciatore, Pio Baldi, Ermete Realacci, Oliviero Toscani, and many others.
In Ravello, De Masi founded Scuola Internazionale di Management Culturale) that he ran for four years.
The school aimed at training new graduates in the organization of events. He was helped first by Giancarlo Di Paola and then Calogero Catania.
With Ermete Realacci and Alessandro Profumo, De Masi founded Symbola, an association for excellent companies. De Masi is also member of the ethic committee Biotech in Siena and Fondazione Umberto Veronesi .
De Masi has held conferences and ran research in Brazil, where many of his books have been translated and his philosophy spread. In 2010 he received the honorary citizenship by the city of Rio de Janeiro.
In Brazil De Masi has made friends with Roberto d’Avila, Cristovam Buarque, Ellen Gracie, Jaime Lerner, Roberto Irineu Marinho, Oscar Niemeyer, Luis Henrique da Silveira and Ivo Pitanguy.
De Masi has travelled and held conferences in many other countries such as Argentina, China, Congo, Egypt, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela.