EXC 3410 The Firm - Introduction Course


EXC 3410 The Firm - Introduction Course

Responsible for the course
Sverre August Christensen

Department of Innovation and Economic Organisation

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

The course provides a broad introduction to the main features of the role of firms in the economy. The versatility of firms will be presented in a broader social context with the aid of historical, ethical and theoretical perspectives. The course aims to educate participants through an introduction to broad historical developments in the Western world, focusing in particular on the foundations relevant for firms and the market economy.

Learning outcome
Acquired knowledge
  • Familiarity with theories of why firms exist.
  • Familiarity with the main features of the historical development of the firm, with an emphasis on understanding traditions underpinning the firms of today.
  • Acquire knowledge with respect to the functioning of the inner life of firms.
  • Understand how power structures in firms reflect different forms of legitimacy.
  • Acquire knowledge of the significance of innovation, development and crises.

    Acquired skills
  • Be able to reflect on the role of firms in the economy in general.
  • Be able to understand and reflect on the main features of the ethical and moral dimensions relating to firms.
  • Be able to discuss situations involving moral dilemmas for firms.
  • Be able to distinguish between the different roles and bases of ownership and leadership.
  • Understand the many roles of the state vis-à-vis firms.
  • Be able to reflect in writing on complex contexts.

  • Develop recognition of our personal responsibility as members of society.
  • Develop recognition of the individual moral responsibility of both firms and employees.
  • Develop recognition of the relationship between firms and society at large.
  • Develop recognition of historical change and historical foundations, not least with respect to ethical and moral dimensions.

    No particular prerequisites are required.

    Compulsory reading
    Micklethwait, John and Adrian Wooldridge. 2005. The company : a short story of a revolutionary idea. Modern Library. Paperback edition

    Collection of articles:
    Sverre Christensen og Knut Sogner. 2012. Collection of Articles for EXC 3410 The Firm. Handelshøyskolen BI

    Recommended reading

    Course outline
    1. Introduction
    2. The firm Ltd.
    3. The firm and the three industrial revolutions
    4. The problem of self-interest
    5. The firm's social responsibility
    6. Process: Ethical issues (Writing a paper)
    7. Who runs the firm?
    8. Process: Group discussions
    9. Who owns the firm?
    10. The firm and globalization
    11. How are firms created and developed?
    12. Innovation and society
    13. The state and the firm
    14. Process: Summing up
    15. Summing up

    Computer-based tools
    No specified computer-based tools are required.

    Learning process and workload
    The course consists of lectures, writing an assignment for submission and discussing and summarizing assignments. There are 9 course lectures based on the principal course components. In addition there will be 3 lectures in connection with writing a paper, about the group discussions and summing up. The assignment will be distributed via It's learning at the start of the course. The assignment is to be written individually, submitted electronically and then discussed in groups of 4-6 students. On the basis of group discussions of each other’s assignments, students are to submit a presentation and write a short report consisting of the following components:
    1. What did the group learn from discussing the technical aspects of writing?
    2. How would the group as a whole summarize the academic content of the question?

    The group presentations are submitted individually and electronically, nobody submits on behalf of anyone else.

    Summary of the process:
    Plenary lecture on writing technique and ethics
    Submission of individual paper on It's learning, 4-6 pages (mandatory)
    Students are divided into groups and there is a lecture about the group discussions
    Group work on writing presentation. The presentation must be submitted on It's learning. (mandatory)
    The process is summed up by the lecturer.

    Course work requirement
    Students must have submitted both the individual paper and group presentation on It's learning and had these approved in order to take the examination for this subject.

    Recommended workload in hours:
    Number of hours
    Participation in lectures I
    Preparation for lectures
    Writing indiivdual paper for submission
    Colloquiums on academic papers
    Participation in lectures II
    Self study and colloquiums
    Total recommended time usage

    Students are required to participate in all parts of the process activities. Submission of individual papers and group presentation are registered on It's Learning.

    Coursework requirements
    Students must have submitted both the individual paper and group presentation on It's learning and had these approved before taking the examination for this subject. See Learning Process and Workload for further details.

    A three hour individual written exam concludes the course.

    Examination code(s)
    EXC 34101 - Individual written examination, counts 100% towards the final grade in EXC 3410 The Firm - Introduction Course.

    Examination support materials
    No support materials are allowed except a bilingual dictionary.
    See information in our web-based Student Handbook about use of dictionary. http://www.bi.edu/studenthandbook/examaids

    Re-sit examination
    Re-sit exam is held every semester.
    Students that have not passed the course work requirement must retake the exercises at the next scheduled course. Students that have not passed the written exam or who wish to improve their grade must retake the exam in connection with the next schedules course.

    Additional information
    Colleges of Higher Education require the correct use of references in all academic work. Link to BI Library page on using citations and references, recommended for all students at BI Norwegian Business School.