University of Surrey - Guildford

Registry > Module Catalogue
View Module List by A.O.U. and Level  Alphabetical Module Code List  Alphabetical Module Title List  Alphabetical Old Short Name List  View Menu 
2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: ECO2042 Module Title: BUSINESS HISTORY
Module Provider: Economics Short Name: ECO2042
Level: HE2 Module Co-ordinator: NEWMAN ME Mrs (Economics)
Number of credits: 10 Number of ECTS credits: 5
Module Availability
Assessment Pattern
Unit(s) of Assessment

Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)



Qualifying condition(s)
A weighted aggregated mark of 40% is required to pass the module.
Module Overview

Business is crucial to the supply-side of any modern economy, and receives considerable treatment in microeconomic theory. The relevance of this theory is often tested in formal statistical models, but history also provides a vehicle for understanding using and indeed developing tools of economic analysis. The current module bases itself on this historical perspective, asking when various functions of modern business became important to economists and to economic performance, charting some significant subsequent developments and emphasising the role of technological change and innovation in shaping the business environment. 






On the conceptual side, the module identifies attitudes towards business and industry amongst Victorian political economists like JS Mill and Alfred Marshall, then early twentieth century figures like Chamberlin and Robinson.











On the historical side, it identifies early industrial trends during the Industrial Revolution, the development of large-scale industry during the Victorian era, the emergence of mass production processes and vertically integrated supply chains and, finally, the rise of globalisation and the multinational.  It charts developments in corporate governance, merger and takeover activity, industrial and competition policy.  Finally, international developments are also covered.
Module Aims
To familiarise students with the ways in which both microeconomics and other analytical tools can illuminate our understanding of the historical development of business.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the module, students will:-
  • Understand the chronology of the development of business from the Industrial Revolution to modern times
  • Be aware of the way in which technological change and innovation has helped shape the development of business and industrial organisation
  • Understand the historical development of both the entrepreneurship and management functions of business
  • Understand the historical development of competition between different forms of business
  • Understand the role of economic and technology policy in shaping business history
Module Content
Likely topics to be covered include:
  • The Industrial Revolution and the concept of the entrepreneur
  • The historical origins of modern management
  • The 2nd Industrial Revolution, the rise of the joint-stock company, and the corporate governance debate
  • The origins of mass production systems; Fordism and its limits
  • Organisations and innovation in the 20th century
  • Business groups and the Asian challenge
  • Electronics and the digitalisation of business in the 20th century
  • Historical analysis of industrial and competition policy
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Lectures (20 hrs)
Selected Texts/Journals

No single text-book provides a source for all material covered in the course. The following texts are however recommended:

  • Geoffrey Jones and Jonathan Zeitlin (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Business History, Oxford University Press (2008)
  • Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism, Harvard UK (1990)
  • Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., The Visible Hand: the Managerial Revolution in American Business, Harvard UP (1977)
  • S. Pollard, The Genesis of Modern Management, Penguin Books
  • D. Hounshell, From the American System to Mass Production 1800-1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology in the United States, Baltimore and London, John Hopkins University Press.
  • A.D. Chandler, J.W. Cortada (eds) A Nation Transformed by Information: How Information Has Shaped the United States from Colonial Times to the Present (Hardcover)
  • L. Hannah: The Rise of the Corporate Economy, London; Methuen (1976)

Articles of use include:
The Global History of Corporate Governance: An Introduction, Randall Morck and Lloyd Steier, NBER Working Paper No. 11062, Issued in January 2005

Last Updated

13 August 2009