Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
EM6017 (AF:358159 AR:188212)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
3rd Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
According to teaching objectives of the curriculum in Economics and Management, the course is an introduction to business history.
The specific teaching objectives are:
1) Make students acquainted with national and international historiographical debate on the historical evolution of the firm
2) Provide students with a large overview of the evolution of the forms of the enterprise with a special focus on the Italian case
3) Provide students with the instruments to understand how firms react to changes in their political, social, institutional environment

The course is divided in 5 weeks, follows a chronological order, includes class readings of historical cases and primary sources. Students are required (not obliged) to prepare presentations.
Students will be acquainted with the major discontinuities in business history, from pre-industrial manufacturing to the third industrial revolution.
They will recognize major themes in business history’s historiography.
They will recognize the peculiarities of historical research vs research in social sciences.

Capacità di utilizzare conoscenze acquisite
Students will be able to provide an historically coherent definition of the enterprise in different historical times with a special focus on the Italian case.
Students will be familiar with major debates on forms of the enterprise.
Students will be able to define constraints posed by the historical and institutional context to the application of managerial theories.

Capacità di giudizio:
Students will recognize forms of enterprises in different historical contexts

Capacità di comunicazione:
Students will be able to present in public and defend research outcome

Capacità di apprendimento:
Students will be able to critically read and discuss an historical text and historical sources
Basic knowledge of modern history.
Week 1. Business history and the uses of the past

1- Course Introduction
2- Why Business History?

Week 2. The historical evolution of the firm

3 – Preindustrial manufacturing
4 – Case study (Arsenale)
5 – The enterprise and the First Industrial Revolution

Week 3. The emergence of the large enterprise and managerial capitalism
6- The Second Industrial Revolution and national patterns
7 – From multiunit enterprises to multidivisionals
8 – Europe in the Interwar period

Week 4. The Cold War: the age of “shrinking spaces”
9 – The Third Industrial Revolution and Post War Americanization
10 – Italy: the State Entrepreneur
11 – Italy: Industrial District and Family Business

Week 5. New Forms of Enterprises

12 – The network firm (Benetton)
13 – Multinationals and Emerging Markets
14 – The Fourth Industrial Revolution

15- Exam preparation
Amatori F. & Colli A., 2011, Storia di impresa. Complessità e comparazioni, Bruno Mondadori, 2011 (selected chapters- Moodle)
Amatori F. (a cura di), L'approdo mancato. Economia, politica e società in Italia dopo il miracolo economico, Annale Feltrinelli, 2017 (selected chapters - Moodle)

Gareth Austin, Carlos Dávila, and Geoffrey Jones, "The alternative business history: business in emerging markets," Business History Review, 91, no. 3 (2017).
Favero Giovanni, 2006, Benetton: Identifying an Image, Imagining an Identity, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, 06/WP/2006, pp. 1-9.

Primary sources\ published interviews
The exam will be written, based on slides, textbook and compulsory readings (see Moodle).
Both slides and readings will be available online.
Written exam (open question) (50%)
Presentations (50%)
Frontal lessons with power point presentation. Q&A sessions and case studies by students.
Teaching language: Italian

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Human capital, health, education" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 28/10/2021