Facebook pixel -->
Foto sezione
Logo Bocconi

Course 2003-2004 a.y.


Department of Economics

Go to class group/s: 31

Classes: 31

Introduction to the course:

The course  aims at providing and discussing the fundamental concepts that might explain the essential features of the structure of the modern firm and their evolution over time.  Specific attention will be devoted to issues like corporate governance, innovation, internationalisation of firms, emergence of  network-like forms of organisation. 
The course is divided into four main parts that trace the evolution of the organizational structure of firms and delineate the main interpretations and related conceptual tools

Course Content :

Part I: Introduction

  • The "textbook" theory of the firm
  • The emergence of large corporations: from the managerial theories of the firm to Chandler

Part II: Firms, markets and contracts

  • The firm as an organisation: from Coase to Williamson to contract theory
  • Firms as a nexus of contracts: The HGM approach
  • The separation between ownership and control: the principal - agent problem and the institutions limiting managerial discretion

Part III The behavioural approach to the (innovative) firm

  • Firms, information and knowledge
  • Bounded rationality,  routines, competencies and capabilities
  • Organisational learning and innovation

Part IV Alternative organisational structures of the firm: division of labour, specialisation, networks and vertical integration

  • The evolution of the vertical integrated innovative firm
  • The multinational corporation
  •  The "American" firm vs. the Japanese firm (Aoki)
  • Networks of innovators, joint - ventures, markets for technology
  • Small firms and industrial districts: from Fordism to Post-Fordism
  • New forms of internationalisation of large and small firms

  •  J. TIROLE, Industrial Organization, The Theory of Industrial Organization, MIT Press, Chapter 1
  •  R. LANGLOIS, P. ROBERTSON, Firms, markets and economic change: a dynamic theory of business institutions, London, Routledge, 1995.

Further material will be indicated during the course.
For further and continuously updated information consult the  IEP web site or contact  S.I.D. - Servizio Informazioni Didattica - Via Gobbi, 5 - 3rd floor.


There will be a written intermediate test and a final written examination.