Business and Economic Ideas
Economic analysis and its application to business and management
- Offered to 2nd Years
- Mondays 16.00-18.00
- South Kensington Campus
- 2-term module worth 5 ECTS
- Available to eligible students as part of I-Explore
- Extra Credit or Degree Credit where your department allows
This module is an introduction to a selection of influential business and economic thinkers over the past two hundred years. It covers a variety of forms of business activity, such as manufacturing, commerce, finance, retail, and the public sector. It takes a focus on key issues in economic policy, wherever possible with a focus on current public debates and controversies, and shows how ideas both old and new in both Economics and Business and Management can both provide powerful frameworks for analysis, but may also be misleading. Good ideas can be ignored and bad ideas may refuse to die. This can be explained, in part, by an understanding of the nature of evidence in the social sciences and the types of phenomena social scientists investigate. These differ in crucial ways from the natural sciences. It is also due to the fact that debates in the sciences, both natural and social, are never dispassionate assessments of the evidence, but are shot through with the exercise of power and rhetoric. The course will also consider why and how new ideas arise and gain currency. In so doing, we will again note with caution that progress is not always improvement. It considers thinkers from a variety of geographic locations and political perspectives, and analyses how the thought of these thinkers has been interpreted in different ways over time.
By the end of this module you will be able to:
- Examine key historical and intellectual concepts from the history of business and economic thought.
- Integrate concepts using self-directed primary and secondary historical research.
- Present individual and group work to peers and respond to constructive feedback from facilitator and other learners.
- Apply key concepts, research, and feedback to write an analytical history essay.
- Develop and integrate essay work into an aggregated historical group project.
- Evaluate current curriculum provision and use digital tools to contribute to future historical curriculum development.
Indicative core content
- Theory, research and knowledge in the Social and Natural Sciences. The process of competition and alternative schools of thought. Adam Smith.
- Commerce and free trade in the age of Enlightenment, c.1800: morals, polite society and the growth of consumption.
- Theories of trade and trade protection. Mercantilism. Adam Smith and absolute advantage. David Ricardo and comparative advantage.
- Economic impact of trade protection and the political economy of trade protection woith applications to Trumps trade wars and Brexit.
- Innovation and innovation policy. Schumpeter 1&2 and the debate about firm size and innovation. Critical evaluation of tools to promote innovation.
- Alternative approaches to regulation of the environment with application to fracking.
- Market regulation of dominant firms and the privatization debate.
- Key debates in macroeconomic theory and policy from Keynes and the Classicals to modern macroeconomics and lessons learned from the Financial Crisis.
- Critical appraisal of mainstream economics.
- Large firms, strategy and structure.
- The development and practice of management and the application of the social sciences to the development of management methods.
- Managerialism and McDonaldisation. Leadership including toxic leadership
- Culture and management. Institutions, ethics, stakeholder theories and corporate social responsibility.
- Challenges of the global and digital age.
- Group essay - 2000 words (15%) (subdivided: 50% individual mark, 50% group mark)
- Individual essay - 1200-1500 words (30%)
- Individual third essay - 2000 words (40%)
- Individual class presentation - 5 minutes (15%)
- Requirements: You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 85 hours of independent study in total during the module. Independent study includes reading and preparation for classes, researching and writing coursework assignments and preparing for other assessments.
- This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 5 course. See Imperial Horizons level descriptors [pdf]
"I particularly learned a lot from this module and we had interesting conversations."
"These lectures are the highlight of my week."