Learning outcomes of the course unit
a) Knowledge and understanding:
The student will have the opportunity to learn and understand the economic, social, cultural, institutional and political-normative processes that mark the gradual affirmation of industrial civilization in the countries of the second wave of industrialization.
b) Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:
The student will be able to apply what he has learned to better understand the complexity of some dynamics of the industrial system, also in relation to the other courses followed.
c) Autonomy of judgment:
The student will be able to evaluate the different entrepreneurial dynamics and develop a critical analysis of the influencing factors that characterize their evolution.
d) Communication skills:
The student will acquire a lexical and conceptual heritage essential for the training and communication of a specialist student in the economic-business disciplines.
e) Ability to learn:
The student will experience a teaching method articulated on different levels - local, national and international - in which entrepreneurial propensities are emerging, in their own ways and times.
- 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
Why is it increasingly difficult, at least with the traditional paradigms of economic theory, to clearly define the contours of the entrepreneur? Brilliant demiurge innovator or shrewd company administrator? At least since the eighteenth century, economic theory has ventured, with varying fortunes, in the effort to focus on this fundamental and elusive protagonist of economic development. In the first lessons, a summary framework of European economic development in the period under analysis will be presented, a preparatory framework for deepening the contents of the second part of the course. In this context, what are the long-term historical dynamics that, starting with the pre-industrial artisan workshop, preside over the gradual affirmation of the factory system and, starting from the English reality, the advent of modern enterprise? And, in a more specific context, what are the peculiarities of the entrepreneurial system of a last-comer country like Italy with reference to the emerging industrial sectors? And the business model that is gradually prevailing? Small or large business? And why? These are just some of the questions we will try to answer in this course. The last part of the course, of a monographic nature, will be dedicated to a historical analysis of the peculiarities and strengths of the Parma canning industry which, starting from the last decades of the nineteenth century, will gradually innervate one of the cornerstones of today, celebrated "Food Valley".
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.
M. DORIA, Industrial entrepreneurship in Italy from Unification to the "economic miracle. Captains of industry, masters, innovators, Turin, Giappichelli, 1998.
A. GUENZI, The agro-industrial system, in “History of Parma”, 1, The original characters, Parma, MUP, 2008, pp. 453-479.
S. MAGAGNOLI, From the fields to the workshops. Origin and development of the agro-industrial system of Parma, in S. MAGAGNOLI ET AL., “Thus the redeemed work will at last be ...”. Land workers in Parma from leagues to CGIL, Parma, MUP, 2005, pp. 221-265.
- P. A. Toninelli, Storia d’impresa, 2° edizione, Il Mulino, 2012.
- V. Castronovo, Storia economica d’Italia: dall’Ottocento ai giorni nostri, Einaudi, 2006.
Due to the continuing conditions of uncertainty related to the effects of Covid-19, the course will take place in e-learning mode using both synchronous and asynchronous didactic tools.
The first part of the course (about 30% of the total lessons) will focus on the historical, economic and international institutional background, within which the individual entrepreneurial paths are maturing. The perspective will be long-term between the first and second industrial revolution and the subsequent start of the European integration process, focusing, from time to time, on the fundamental stages of this historical-economic itinerary.
The second part of the course (about 70% of the total lessons) will focus, on the other hand, on the history of the company with particular reference to the Italian context from the time of Unification and up to the dawn of the Third Millennium. In this context, emphasis will be given, in the last lessons of the course, to the specificity of the so-called "Emilian model" and, in particular, to the historical evolution of the Parma canning sector.
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
Knowledge and understanding will be assessed with multiple choice tests at the end of the course. The test will consist of 15 questions. Each right question will be worth one point. The test is to be considered passed with the achievement of at least 9 points out of 15.
The aforementioned procedure for passing the exam will be valid for all the appeals of the academic year 2021-2022.
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
Any supplementary materials and additional activities will be communicated at the beginning of the course and published on the Elly website of the course.