Growth, Location and Sustainable Development (MSB305)

Businesses and organizations do not operate in isolation. They are deeply intertwined within intricate networks and socio-economic systems. This integration plays a pivotal role in determining their success and transition towards sustainable operations. Being part of such systems means that any changes within these systems can influence factors like input availability, demand magnitude, and even the very conditions under which they operate, as defined by institutional frameworks.

This course delves deep into the modern perspective of economic growth that goes beyond just looking at individual firms. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the significance of innovation, geographical location, and temporal factors in the processes of economic development. A key emphasis is placed on the shift towards a more sustainable economy.

By integrating concepts from Innovation and Transition Studies, Regional Science, Complex System Theories, and Knowledge Dynamics, students will be equipped with the analytical tools necessary to evaluate the economic and technological development strategies of individual firms, regions, and entire nations. Furthermore, they will be able to draw vital insights that can guide the design of strategies at each of these levels.

Although this course is a component of the minor titled "Economic Development", it remains accessible to all interested students.

NB! This is an elective course and may be cancelled if fewer than 10 students are enrolled by August 20th for the autumn semester.

Course description for study year 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


Course code




Credits (ECTS)


Semester tution start


Number of semesters


Exam semester


Language of instruction



Subject areas that are most likely covered are:

  • A perspective beyond the boundaries of the firm
  • Theories of economic development including human capital, innovation, institutions, agglomeration, urbanization, complexity, diversification
  • Interfirm linkages, networks, and spillovers
  • Sustainability and transformation

Learning outcome


Students will learn:

    • How and why a system-based perspective is crucial to understanding the development of firms and economies
    • How and why economies growth
    • How and why economic activities locate in various ways in space
    • How and why knowledge and innovation are crucial for the transition toward more sustainable economic practices


  • Applying multilevel, network, complexity, and evolutionary thinking to economic problems
  • Working with and summarizing the contemporary academic literature
  • Assessing economic development and growth from a sustainability perspective

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

Open to all students with appropriate bachelor's and master's backgrounds in economics, business studies, and related fields.


In-class Group Presentation and Oral Examination

Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
In-class Group Presentation 45/100 Letter grades
Oral Examination 55/100 Letter grades

Coursework requirements

Compulsory assignments
  • Completed and handed in on time all individual & group assignments or quizzes during the semester
  • Contributed to and participated in (including presence during) the presentation of group work

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Tom Brökel

Course teacher:

Yong Hao Tan

Course teacher:

Tom Brökel

Study Program Director:

Yuko Onozaka

Method of work

In this course, you will learn through a mixture of lectures, seminars, group work, and individual study. Lectures provide basic knowledge. The seminars are based on group work and are topic focused. They require active preparation and participation.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Perspectives on Strategic Innovation (MØA305_1) 10

Open for

All master's study programs at the University of Stavanger.

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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