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Industrial & Corporate Change - MAN00045H

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  • Department: The York Management School
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Kevin Tennent
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module aims to develop students’ understanding of the broad trends inherent in the development of companies and industries over time, from the industrial revolution to the present day, with a focus on the UK context, which will be contrasted with US, continental European and Asian experience. Understanding change as an organisational and sectoral process is essential for the development of sustainable and ethical business and management. This module will explore different ways of understanding temporal change drawing on historical, ecological-demographic and industrial-archaeological perspectives. This long term perspective will give students the opportunity to explore the links between corporate governance and managerial strategy. Students will have the opportunity to consider not just the evolution of corporate governance and government industry policy over time, but also the fleeting nature of competitive advantage. A further purpose of the module is to introduce students to archival research thus building and consolidating qualitative data skills gained on earlier modules.

Module learning outcomes

Students will develop a broad understanding of the trajectory of modern business after about 1830 and how it has affected the development of modern society. This facilitates the following outcomes:

1) Critically evaluate historical and temporal change as it applies to the business and management context (PLO1)

2) Analyse the effect of changing social, political, technological, and economic contexts on organisations and industries and actively contrast competing explanations and interpretations of a phenomenon (PLO1, PLO2).

3) Be able to evaluate complex business situations and their consequences using corporate archives, evaluating the relevance of sources, identifying gaps and inadequacies (PLO3).

4) Ability to critically reflect on how change has reflected governance styles and managerial practice in the past, and therefore the skill to better reflect on this in the present (PLO8).

Teaching will focus on a series of set readings, which will give students an appreciation of the broad trends in the development of modern corporations. Learners develop their evaluation skills through a weekly archival investigation using primary source documents provided by the module team, building up to an independent interpretation in the module assessment. By providing a historical context for present day practice, the skills built up to support PLOs 1, 2,3 and 8 are further consolidated and refined.

Module content

Specific themes include:

  • Understanding historical research
  • Governance and strategy in first and second industrial revolution industries
  • The development of corporate governance
  • The emergence of the mass food industry and its relationship to changes in retail and distribution
  • Business and the state – regulation, industrial policy and nationalisation
  • Gentlemanly capitalism? Governance, strategy and British international business
  • The archival method


Task Length % of module mark
Archival Investigation
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Archival Investigation
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be given in accordance with the University Policy on feedback in the Guide to Assessment as well as in line with the School policy.

Indicative reading

No single set text but a different relevant text every week. Some examples include:

Blackford, Mansel G. The Rise of Modern Business: Great Britain, the United States, Germany, Japan, and China. Chapel Hill: UNC Press Books, 2008.

Turton, A., The International Business Archives Handbook: Understanding and Managing the Historical Records of Business, New York: Routledge, 2017

Wilson, J., Toms, S. de Jong, A., and Buchnea, E. (eds) The Routledge Companion to Business History, New York: Routledge, 2017

Wilson, John F., and Andrew Thomson. The making of modern management: British management in historical perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.