Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM6550 (AF:407061 AR:249935)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
In accordance with the learning objectives of the Master degree in Comparative International Relations, the course offers students a clear and comprehensive guide to the business history of Central and Eastern Europe in the 20th century.
Students will become acquainted with the main approaches and methods of international business history, and have the opportunity to read and discuss new research work on the business history of Central and Eastern Europe. The history of enterprises will integrate the economic history narrative on the area. Through the prism of the historical evolution of enterprises in the region, the course aims at developing the students’ ability to critically analyze, comment and debate the many political and economic processes in CEE countries, singling out the main historical actors and their interactions. The course focuses on three periods: the interwar years (1918–1939); The state socialist period (1945–1989/91); The transition period (1989/91 to the present); it follows a thematic approach and considers literature on different countries of the area.
During the first lessons, students will become acquainted with business history’s methods and frameworks. Particular attention will be devoted to the history of international business, multinational corporations and globalization. In the second part of the course, we will place the specific historical experience of enterprises located in Central and Eastern Europe in the economic history of the area and will make reference to different case studies and countries. A few lessons will be dedicated to the relations between Western European, US and Japanese companies and socialist enterprises during the Cold War years. Finally, the varieties of business responses to post-socialist transformations will be observed and discussed.
1. Students appraise different theoretical approaches to the study of the economy in CEE focusing specifically on the history of the enterprises;
2. Students distinguish and appraise the peculiarities of business evolution in Central and Eastern Europe compare to the Western European and US experience;
3. Students recognize, describe and contextualize the organizational trajectories of enterprises in Central and Eastern Europe from early 20th century to the present;
4. Students comment and debate historical case studies, are able to place them in their historical context, critically discuss sources and methodologies.
5. Students recognize different views and critically discuss the literature on the economic and business history of CEE.
The course is designed for master students, who have previous knowledge of contemporary history and history of international relations. Adequate knowledge of English (learning material will be in English)
1. Business History. approaches and methods
2. Business History and Central and Eastern European Enterprises
3. The Interwar years. economic growth and structural change
4. The Interwar years. economic policies, the State and Cartels
5. The Soviet Union. the firm in the planned economy
6. The Soviet Union. Fordism and Stalin’s rule
7. The state socialism years. People’s democracies and the Soviet Model of business management
8. The state socialism years. Comecon integration
9. The state socialism years. Sanctions and East-West trade: the role of Western MNCs
10. The state socialism years. Reforming the Soviet enterprise and the Social Contract
11. The state socialism years. Red Globalization
12. The transition period: Capitalism by design. Managing economic transition
13. The transition Period. Post- socialist business transformation
14. The transition Period. Oligarchs and Markets
15. Conclusion
The course is not based on a textbook. Each lesson will be based on a reading which will be available on Moodle.
Examples of readings:
V. Fava, V. Kulikov. Recent Trends in the Business History of Russia: The Blurry Borders of the Discipline. in BUSINESS HISTORY REVIEW, vol. 96, pp. 325-351
Selected chapters from:
M. Morys, The Economic History of Central, East and South East Europe, London: Routledge, 2021.
J. Jones, Multinationals and Global Capitalism: From the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century, New York, Oxford University Press, 2004.
Assessment will be based on a written essay or a book review on one of the topics of the course to be handed before the end of the classes (50%); and a final oral exam (50%).
The course will be based on short frontal lectures and guided class discussions. Materials will be available through Moodle. Some lessons will be held by the teacher in cooperation with the authors of the readings.
written and oral

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Poverty and inequalities" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 02/07/2023