HIS 3410 The Firm

Norwegian version

HIS 3410 The Firm

Responsible for the course
Sverre August Christensen

Department of Law

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
After completed course students shall have:

  • Developed familiarity with theories of why firms exist.
  • Developed familiarity with the main features of the historical development of the firm, with an emphasis on understanding traditions underpinning the firms of today.
  • Acquired knowledge about ownership, leadership, multinational companies, innovation, and the state's relations to firms.
  • Knowledge about the problems related to self-interest, and possible solutions and answers to this.
  • Acquired knowledge with respect to what is meant by corporate social responsibility, and challenges related to it.
  • Acquired knowledge about ethical theories and challenges in business

Acquired skills
After completed course students shall be able to:
  • Reflect on the role of firms in the economy in general.
  • Understand and reflect on the main features of the ethical and moral dimensions relating to firms.
  • Discuss and try to solve moral dilemmas in business.
  • Distinguish between the different roles and bases of ownership and leadership.
  • Understand the many roles of the state vis-à-vis firms.
  • Reflect in writing on complex contexts.

Developed reflection
  • 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.


Compulsory reading

Sverre Christensen. 2016. Kompendium for HIS 3410 Bedriften. Handelshøyskolen BI

Recommended reading
Micklethwait, John and Adrian Wooldridge. 2005. The company : a short history of a revolutionary idea. Modern Library. Paperback ed

Course outline
  1. Introduction
  2. The firm Ltd.
  3. The firm and the three industrial revolutions
  4. The problem of self-interest
  5. Corporate social responsibility
  6. Process: Ethical theories and issues
  7. Management
  8. Process: Group work and discussions
  9. Ownership
  10. Multinationals and globalization
  11. Innovation and entrepreneurship?
  12. Innovation - state and society
  13. The state and the firm
  14. Process and ethics: Summing up
  15. Summing up

Computer-based tools
No particular IT tools are used in this course.

Learning process and workload
The course is conducted through lectures, writing assignment and discussion and summary of tasks. There will be nine regular lectures related to the main elements of the course. In addition, there will be three lectures dealing with ethics, challenges in writings, and assessment of the whole process. Compulsory assignment will be distributed via It's learning at start. It should be written individually, delivered electronically.

Summary of process:
1. Lectures about / writing technique and ethics
2. Submission of individual task in It's learning, 4-6 pages (work requirements)
3. The process is summarised by lecturer

Students must have submitted and received approval for individual task in It's Learning

Recommended use of hours:

Participation in lectures I
Preparation for lectures
Writing indivdual paper for submission
Participation in lectures II
Self- study and colloquiums
Total recommended use of hours

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.

In course delivery as online courses or evening classes, will lecturer, in collaboration with the Academic Services Network and evening studies, organize an appropriate combination of digital and class room teaching. Online students are also offered a study guide, which will help progression and overview. Total recommended amount of time for completion of the course also applies here.

Coursework requirements
Students must have submitted and received approval for individual task in It's Learning, to take the exam in the subject. See section on Learning Process and time for further description.

The course concludes with the following examination items and weighting:

1) A forty eight (48) hours individual take-home examination, counts 70% of the grade.
2) A One (1) hour individual examination at school, counts 30% of the grade. The individual digital exam will be based on questions from the curriculum.

Both parts must be passed in order to obtain final grade in the course HIS 3410 The Firm, 7.5 credits.

Examination code(s)
HIS 34102 Individual take-home exam, count 70 % of final grade in the course HIS 3410 The Firm, 7.5 ECTS Credits.
HIS 34103 Individual written exam at school, count 30 % of final grade in the course HIS 3410 The Firm, 7.5 ECTS Credits.

Examination support materials
HIS 34102 - All support materials allowed.
HIS 34103 - No support materials allowed.

Re-sit examination
A re-sit exam is held every semester, and HIS 34102 and HIS 34103 can be taken separately.
Students who have not approved the coursework requirement are not allowed to take the exam, and must meet the requirements within a subsequent course completion.

Last re-sit in individual written exam three (3) hours, HIS 34101, is offered autumn 2016 and spring 2017.

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 is recommended for all students at BI Norwegian Business School.