Course 2009-2010 a.y.



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 90
IM-LS (6 credits - I sem. - OB)
Course Director:

Classes: 90 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

This course examines the role of entrepreneurs and corporations in the global market over the past two centuries. Based on a longitudinal methodology of analysis and a vast array of case-histories, the course addresses a wide range of issues related to international business. Through the inductive, articulated methodology typical of the historical approach, it will be possible to answer to questions relevant in contemporary international business management, e.g. : How can entrepreneurs and firms successfully exploit the opportunities and overcome the problems of operating outside their home country? Which is the role of technology in explaining the evolution of internationalization strategies? Which part plays local culture and patterns of consumption in explaining the success or failure of international corporations? Which is the part played by governments in this process? What is the contribution of multinationals to the wealth of a nation?

In this perspective, the objectives of the course are:

  • to provide the students the analytical tools and the sensibility to understand the entrepreneurial dynamics in a complex environment;
  • to understand, through a broad, global and comparative approach the dynamics of continuity and change in shaping entrepreneurial opportunities;
  • to stress the relevance of path dependency and of its understanding and management in strategic decision making;
  • to provide concrete examples of strategic decision making in conditions of uncertainty and complexity;
  • to stress the relevance of local contexts in providing the opportunities and constraints for firms and entrepreneurs active at an international level;
  • to explore, through historical examples, the strategic opportunities in present emerging economies through the analysis of the contribution of global firms to now advanced countries.

Course Content Summary

  • The Rise of Global Capitalism: From merchants to multinationals: international business strategies before international business (1700-1900). The first globalization wave (1880-1930): macro conditions, micro effects at company and industry level. Between the two wars: the end of the first global economy and the rise of international cartels.
  • Managing saturation: The post- WWII economy: macroeconomic evolution in the 20 glorious years. Making the world American: the globalization of manufacturing and services. Americanization and its limits.
  • Remarking (and enlarging) Global Capitalism: The European Multinationals (1945-1990). From Asia: Japan. Policies for competitiveness in global business: Korea (1950-1990). At the eve of the new millennium: Multinationals engines of growth?


Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Written exam.


Attending students
The course is based on

  • class materials available on the class website;
  • readings available at Course Reserve;
  • power point presentations of each lesson.

 Non attending students

  • G. Jones, Multinationals and Global Capitalism. From the Nineteenth to the Twenty-first Century, Oxford U.P., Oxford 2005
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 26/03/2009 15:51