Module code: ECOM025

Module Overview

This module looks at the firm and the industrial environment in which it operates. It asks why the firm exists and how it chooses to organise itself, before considering some of the factors that affect its performance and how these are related to the market structure in which it operates.

An important influence on the firm is the structure of the market in which the firm works. This will affect the products and the process that the firm selects – and the profits it earns. At the same time, of course, the firm may take actions that affect this market structure to its advantage. Thus, we want to ask how the firm’s performance is affected by the market it is in. This has important competition and industrial policy implications.

Module provider


Module Leader

PASCOA Mario (Economics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 76

Lecture Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 30

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Industrial organisation and the firm; governance.

  • Market structures: monopoly versus perfect competition.

  • Product differentiation, monopolistic competition.

  • Input markets, monopsony.

  • Efficiency and regulation.

  • An illustration: the fair rate of return regulation

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 1 50
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate they can handle the most important issues in Economics of the firm at a reasonably demanding analytical level.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of two pieces of coursework – take home, individual.

Formative assessment and feedback

Having the coursework split into two parts so that feedback from the first part can be used to help students in the subsequent assignment.

Moreover, in every lecture, the second half is devoted to going over solutions to problems posted on Surrey Learn. The small dimension of the students’ class allows for solving these problems in an interactive way.


Module aims

  • Provide an economic approach to an understanding of businesses and their principal elements. Companies are complex organisations, their managers constantly make decisions that affect the economic viability of the firms in which they operate. Why do some companies succeed and others fail, how can management reverse the fortunes of declining firms, what allows emerging companies to be successful in highly competitive industries?

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the importance of economics when considering business issues KP
002 Critically evaluate why firms exist and why they may operate under different market structures KC
003 Demonstrate a critical awareness of the constraints of firm size K
004 Apply economic knowledge to analyse what price / non-price strategies can be used by the firm KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Usually, in the first hour of each lecture, the lecturer gives a formal presentation of a new topic, closely related but not entirely following what students may find in the recommended readings. Then, in the second hour, students have the chance to interact with the lecturer by solving together problem sets that were posted before on Surrey Learn. Such two-sided way of organizing the lectures is intended to make students acquainted with the lecturer personal views on the different topics, reflecting his experience and research, while giving at the same time the opportunity to practice in class many relevant exercises and discuss with the lecturer and classmates some questions that may have come about while studying independently before the class. Thus, students have an incentive to keep up to date with the material by preparing for that second hour interactive session that takes place every week.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures, which are recorded and disseminated as captured content

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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ECOM025

Other information

In line with the University's curriculum framework, the School of Economics is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Resourcefulness and resilience. Students in this module will develop their understanding of how a firm operates under different market structures for its output and inputs.  Their analytical skills and economic intuition, while being trained in lectures and readings, will be enhanced by (i) practicing exercises and (ii) discussing in class questions on the theory or illustrations of the applicability of the theory. These discussions offer opportunities for reflection on the behavioural aspects of team learning. The assessment is structured so that students can learn and be positive from feedback, recognising successes or failures and identifying opportunities for development.

Employability. This module will contribute to prepare students to work in firms or in governmental/regulatory agencies that monitor and support firms. The intuition and knowledge acquired in this module will help them when interacting with colleagues or clients on issues dealing with the firm’s objectives and strategies. For this purpose, discussions in class will often cover real-world case studies. The interaction with classmates in these discussions is also intended to develop team learning attitudes and skills that will be important for success in their employment.

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 2024/5 academic year.