Historical Development of Modern Business

SAM14 Historical Development of Modern Business

Spring 2019

  • Topics

    The course is an introduction to Business History. The focus will be broad and international, and cover the last two hundred years of development concerning business organisation and its role in the economy. Theory and history will be brought together.

    A wide range of topics will be covered, like entrepreneurship, management, firm size, ownership, marketing, finance, internationalisation and government policy.

    The historical development of several Norwegian companies will be dealt with as cases.


    • Theory and history about business development
    • Entrepreneurship
    • The rise of big business
    • Development of managerial capitalism
    • Communication and transport
    • Finance and marketing
    • Labour relations
    • Production systems and technology
    • Business structure
    • Co-operation and business relations
    • Internationalisation and multinationals
    • The firm and the government
    • Norwegian cases (Aker, Hydro, Orkla among others)

  • Learning outcome


    - have an overview of central elements in how businesses (firms, companies) have been organized and operated in the 19th and 20th centuries.


    By the end of this course, the students will be able to:

    - discuss the factors and processes that have shaped modern business as it is today

    - compare the development of businesses in various countries across time and space

    - show how political, technological and economic factors have affected the organization of the business enterprise

    - discuss the relationship between the international economy and individual businesses - find, and assess the reliability of written and electronic source material

    General competence

    - relate their knowledge of economic and business history to the theoretical foundation from other courses

    -communicate this knowledge, in written and oral form  

  • Teaching

    Regular teaching, student presentations, term-paper.

  • Required prerequisites


  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    Overlap with HIS012

  • Requirements for course approval

    One compulsory term-paper (individual or two students). Assessed on a approved/not approved basis

  • Assessment

    5 hour written school exam.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale: A-F

  • Computer tools


  • Literature

    F. Amatory and A. Colli, Business History. Complexities and Comparisons, Routledge, 2011.

    J. Micklethwait and A. Wooldridge, The Company. A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea, The Modern Library, 2005.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered spring 2019.

Written school exam is offered both semesters (according to Regulations for Full-time Study Programmes at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), section 3-1).

Course responsible

Professor Bjørn Basberg, Department of Economics.