45121 - Business History

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality Decent work and economic growth Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Course contents

The aim of this course is to provide student with an understanding of the evolution of the different forms of enterprises over the last two centuries. Particular emphasis will be given to the analysis of the Italian case study. Each issue will be developed with the support of specific case studies.

The course is organized into two parts.

The first part will be given by prof. Patrizia Battilani and will focus on the following issues

1. The three Industrial Revolution and the Italian case study
2. From the first to the second world war: the emerging of state owned enterprise
3. The impact of the Marshall Plan on the Italian enterprises
4. The Italian golden age: fashion, engeneering and tourism
5. From the oil crisis to the flourishing of the MAde in Italy
6. The starting of a complex transformation from 1990s to the new millenium
7. The 2008 crisis and its impact on the Italian enterprises
8. The circular economy
9. The women's business
10. The regional divide

The second part will be given by prof. Tito Menzani and will develop the following issues:

1. Introduction
2. The origin of the managerial enterprises
3. The multinational enterprises nd the globalization
4. Network of enterprises
5.Cooperative enterprises
6. The regulatory state and the state owned enterprises
7. Innovation in historical perspective
8. Work organization (fordism and toyotism)
9 The origin of marketing
10. Accounting in historical perspective



P. Toninelli, Storia d'impresa, 2012

P. Battilani e F. Fauri, L'economia italiana dal 1945 ad oggi, Il Mulino, 2019.

Essays which will be made available at the beginning of the course

Patrizia Battilani, L'impresa cooperativa in Italia nella seconda metà del Novecento: istituzione marginale o fattore di modernizzazione economica?, in "Impresa e storia", n. 37, 2009, pp. 9-58.

Tito Menzani, La macchina nel tempo. La meccanica strumentale italiana dalle origini all'affermazione in campo internazionale, Bologna, Clueb, 2011 (solo cap. 2).

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures

Assessment methods

Exams will be held according to the following format:

24 multiple choice (half point each; only one right answer, no penalties for wrong answers) and 4 essay questions (max 5 points each)

The exam will be based on assigned readings you can find in the previous box and the power point presentations.

In case online exams will be envisaged by the University of Bologna, the structure of the written exam is the same. The exam will be run through Zoom and Exams Online (EOL). Detailed instructions on how to manage and hand in the online exam are available on the course page on the VIRTUALE platform.

The maximum possible score is 30 cum laude, in case all anwers are correct, complete and formally rigorous.

The grade is graduated as follows:

<18 failed
18-23 sufficient
24-27 good
28-30 very good
30 e lode excellent

Office hours

See the website of Patrizia Battilani

See the website of Tito Menzani