Historical Development of Modern Business

SAM14 Historical Development of Modern Business

Autumn 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, the student can:


    • Discuss 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

    The course consists of lectures, student presentations and term-paper.

  • Required prerequisites


  • Compulsory Activity

    One compulsory term-paper (individual or two students). Assessed on an 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 digital school exam (100%).

    The exam must be written in Norwegian or English.

    An assessment in SAM14 will not be organised in the the non-teaching semester. As of autumn 2023, only mandatory bachelor courses with an individual assessment will have an assessment in the non-teaching semester. This only applies to students with a valid course approval. The retake options that apply at all times are decided by the dean for the bachelor program and will be published in the course description.

  • Grading Scale


  • 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.

  • Permitted Support Material

    One bilingual dictionary (Category I)

    All in accordance with Supplementary provisions to the Regulations for Full-time Study Programmes at the Norwegian School of Economics Ch.4 Permitted support materialhttps://www.nhh.no/en/for-students/regulations/https://www.nhh.no/en/for-students/regulations/and https://www.nhh.no/en/for-students/examinations/examination-support-materials/https://www.nhh.no/en/for-students/examinations/examination-support-materials/


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Will be offered Spring 2024.

Course responsible

Professor Emeritus Bjørn L. Basberg, Department of Economics.