Historical Development of Modern Business

SAM14 Historical Development of Modern Business

Autumn 2023

Spring 2024
  • 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

    Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:


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


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

    General competence

    Apply the knowledge of economic and business history to the theoretical foundation from other courses.

  • Teaching

    Regular teaching, student presentations, term-paper. The lectures will be streamed and recorded.

  • Required prerequisites


  • Compulsory Activity

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

    Term paper topics are handed out in the beginning of the semester, and submission is approx. 6 weeks later.

  • Assessment

    5 hour written digital home exam (100%).

    The exam must be written in Norwegian or English.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale: A-F

  • 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


Course responsible

Professor Bjørn Basberg, Department of Economics.