Learning outcomes of the course unit
- will learn and understand which economic, organizational, social and institutional processes have led to the evolution of firms from the 19th century up to today;
- should be able to apply such learning to detect the framework in which firms operate and the constraints that influence their development and spread;
- should be able to evaluate the performance of the organizational structure of firms and to critically analyze innovations that are directly and indirectly related to entrepreneurship;
- should acquire a cultural background useful to communicate and interact with private management and institutional regulation subjects concerning issues related to the growth and development of business activities;
- will be stimulated in developing their learning skills by experiencing a varied approach in teaching.
A basic knowledge of economic history
Course contents summary
The course takes into analysis the development of business firms in the Western economy, from the Industrial Revolution to the beginnings of the 21st century.
The first part will focus on the interplay between theory and history following the evolution of specific topics such as: the theory of firm, the growth in scale of enterprises and its organizational structure, the evolution of firm management and governance, the relation between state-owned and private enterprise. A comparative approach will be adopted with an emphasis on the USA.
The second part of the course will be devoted to the Italian case, from the 1860s to the so-called “Italian miracle” during the 1950s-1960s, highlighting the structural and organizational changes and analyzing the contribution given by the industrial sector to the economic development of the country. The interpretations put forward will also suggest that in the Italian case, small enterprises played a crucial role in this development.
- P. A. Toninelli, Storia d’impresa, 2° edizione, Il Mulino, 2012.
- V. Castronovo, Storia economica d’Italia: dall’Ottocento ai giorni nostri, Einaudi, 2006.
During lessons, issues related to business history will be discussed experiencing analytical approaches that combine theory and history. Standard lectures could be coupled by group discussions and individual or collective practical tests.
Assessment methods and criteria
Written exam structured in 2 open questions divided in: (a) a general part each providing a maximum of 10 marks, and (b) a section devoted to applied historical cases each providing a maximum of 5 marks.
Knowledge and understanding will be verified by analyzing the contents of both answers.
The ability in applying knowledge and understanding will be verified by analyzing the answers given to the sections devoted to applied historical cases.
Learning skills and the ability in making judgments will verified by analyzing the answers given to the general part of the questions.
Communication skills and the ability in using the proper technical language will verified by analyzing the terms adopted in the answers and the propensity in clarifying their meaning.
The time required for the written test is one hour.
Attending students can divide the exam into two parts: the first will verify the knowledge related to the first module, through a written exam consisting of two open questions, with an hour of time for the test; the second part of the exam will consist of a group work on an Italian business case that will have to end in a written report to be presented in the classroom. Both sides are worth 15 marks