Business History

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course intends to offer a historical contextualization that allows translating the vague theoretical representations - that have often been made of entrepreneur and enterprise - in real and concrete protagonists of the economic and social life of the modern development. The objective is, therefore, to grasp, thanks to an inductive approach, the complexity of the evolution of business and entrepreneurship from the first pre-industrial organizational forms until the twentieth century. The ideas and elaborations of business theories are gradually reviewed and adapted through a reciprocal process of correction and proposition, conducted both on the basis of the dialectical relationship with contemporary social, institutional and technological factors, and on the basis of the reconstruction of the links between micro and macro dynamics, related to the wealth of the nation.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students are expected to be able:
- to have a good commando of the concepts and main interpretations of business history;
- to understand and evaluate, through a comparative approach, the role of national and international contexts in conditioning and determining, over the last two centuries, the main characteristics and types of enterprises (and entrepreneurial choices), as well as their evolutionary dynamics;
- to reflect on the role of different national contexts in providing opportunities and/or placing constraints on the action of businesses and entrepreneurs;
- to carry on a critical analysis of entrepreneurial choices and decision-making processes in relation to inertia and traditions, technological factors (or limits), and short or long term crises;
- to identify and evaluate the critical hairpin bends in the paths of development of a company, the multiple positions of the State towards it, and the strengths or critical points represented by the workforce;
- to argument along the space-time axis the importance of business and entrepreneurship for economic growth and as institutions able to overcome the constraints imposed by technology and the market;
- to reflect on the role of different national contexts in providing opportunities and/or placing constraints on the action of businesses and entrepreneurs.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
Lectures will be delivered in presence and students can follow them synchronously in the first term according to the class schedule. The instructions about how to partecipate to classes in presence will be available on the Ariel site of the course, as well as all the updating related to the Covid-19 circumstances.

Topics and reference material will not change.

Exams will be oral through Microsoft Teams or whenever general norms and sanitary circumstances will permit it, they will be written according to the syllabus.
Course syllabus
Business history and business theories: mapping the history of entrepreneurship within the economics literature. Entrepreneurs and enterprises during the ancient regime between agriculture, manufacturing, commerce and finance. The idea of invention and accounting and the profile of modern business. Innovations, entrepreneurs and enterprises against the backdrop of the first Industrial Revolution. Origin and consolidation of large enterprises during the Second Industrial Revolution. National cases between technological changes and scientific organization of work during the Second Industrial Revolution. The affirmation of the large enterprise between state intervention and market in the infra-war period. Golden age and start of the third industrial revolution
after the Second World War: from the decline of American hegemony to the Japanese challenge, from Soviet antagonism to European diversification. A "polyphony" of organizational forms in the age of globalization. The genealogy of the new protagonists (China and India) between processes of convergence and divergence. Long-term reflections on the Italian case.
Prerequisites for admission
No prerequisite is needed. However a basic knowledge of the main features of modern and contemporary history (XVIII-XX centuries), as well as the fundamental transformations of the world economy since the first Industrial Revolution woulb be recommended.
Teaching methods
Lectures, flipped classroom, and interactive presentation.
Students are expected to actively partecipate preparing the required reading before each class
Teaching Resources
The attending students must study readings, papers, slides, and other teaching materials presented and assigned during the lectures.

The non attending students must study:
-Entrepreneurship in Theory and History, edited by Youssef Cassis, Ioanna Minoglou, Palgrave, 2005 (only chapter 1 and 2);
-M.G. Blackford, The Rise of Modern Business. Great Britain, the United States, Germany, Japan, and China, The University of North Carolina Press, 2008 (entire book)
Assessment methods and Criteria
For attending students, the assessment is composed: 50% by class activities (class discussions and class presentations) and 50% by a written final exam based on the teaching materials and notes used during lectures.
While the class partecipation is intended to verify the learnig outcomes of the course (critical thinking, probelm solving, ability to communicate), the written exatm is addressed to ascertain the command of the ideas, events, dates, political dynamics related to the themes of the course.

For non-attending students, the assessment is based on a written final exam, composed of multiple choice and open ended questions. While the multiple choice section is aimed at verifying the learning outcomes of the course (critical thinking, problem solving, ability to communicate), the open ended questions are intended to ascertain the command of the ideas, events, dates, political dynamics related to the themes of the course.
SECS-P/12 - ECONOMIC HISTORY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: De Luca Giuseppe
Educational website(s)