Module code: ECO2057

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 and using 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 emphasizing the role of technological change and innovation in shaping both organizational forms and the general business environment.

Module provider


Module Leader

GOLSON Eric (Economics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

JACs code: V310

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • The Industrial Revolution and the concept of the entrepreneur

  • The historical origins of modern management and organisational forms

  • The rise of the joint-stock company, and the origins of the corporate governance debate

  • The origins of mass production systems

  • The development of large business corporations

  • The role of finance in business development

  • Historical analysis of government industrial policy

  • The role of international trade in the globalisation of business

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment

Not applicable

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

understanding of a chronological framework for, and the main contours of, business history. This foundation is extended to a consideration of the relevance of various economic concepts in the understanding of the relationship between technological change and business organization, and how this relationship has differed between economies and over time. The examination extends this latter approach further, but also requires an in depth analysis of specific topics.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of two units of assessment:

  • An in-class test (1 Hour 15 minutes around week 7 but before mid-semester break) worth 30% of the module mark. This will be made up of a multiple choice component intended to test basic elements of a chronological and conceptual framework for business history as well as three short answer questions


  • An examination (2 Hours) requiring two short answers (33%) and two essays (66% of the exam mark). The two essays can be selected from a list of seen topics released prior to the examination. 


Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment is given through discussion in lectures, while feedback is given both generally, through feedback notes on the multiple choice quiz, and through annotated marking of the coursework test. General feedback from this test in the lectures and through SurreyLearn provides formative material for the examination. Office hours provide further opportunities for individual feedback and discussion of background work on essay topics.

Module aims

  • To familiarise students with the ways in which both micro-economic and other analytical tools can illuminate our understanding of the historical development of business

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Display knowledge of the chronology of the development of business from the Industrial Revolution to modern times KC
002 Explain the way in which technological change and innovation have helped shape the development of business and industrial organization KC
003 Discuss the historical development of both the entrepreneurship and management functions of business KCT
004 Comprehend the historical development of competition between different forms of business KC
005 Evaluate the role of economic and technology policy in shaping business history KC
006 Display knowledge the nature of differences in the historical evolution of businesses in different economies KCT
007 Appreciate the need to meet tight deadlines PT
008 Evaluate the role that finance plays in the development of business KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 22

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Build an appreciation of the usefulness of economic concepts in historical analysis through lectures and independent reading

  • Allow students to communicate their knowledge of  relevant economic concepts in (group) discussions effectively.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures with opportunities for discussion and group work (2 x 11 hours including test)

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for BUSINESS HISTORY :

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Business Economics BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Economics and Finance BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Liberal Arts and Sciences BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.