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Business Development and Innovation: Introduction MSB305

In the conventional view of economics, firms are seen as homogeneous entities that operate in isolation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Firms are in fact embedded into different layers and networks of relations with a number of different organizations across many locations. This course introduces students to how firms interact with and utilize their surroundings. It delivers a fundamental understanding of regional development and inter-organizational networks of production and learning, whereby emphasis is put on modern knowledge-based and evolutionary approaches. That is, the course presents students with the scientific underpinnings of the beyond-the-individual-firm perspective that are at the heart of modern approaches to business development. Drawing on core concepts and insights from the fields of Regional Science and Economic Geography as well as Complex System Theories, students will learn about and discuss the role played by location, networks, and system embeddedness for businesses and their development. The course thereby lays the basis for the subsequent courses: BDI: The firm perspective and BDI: The policy perspective.

Course description for study year 2021-2022. Please note that changes may occur.



Vekting (SP)


Antall semestre






Tilbys av

UiS Business School

Learning outcome


  • Students will learn:About different ways of how firms are embedded into regional and inter-regional networks of production and learningHow and why economic activities locate in various ways in spaceHow and why externalities arise from agglomeration, urbanization and learning networksAbout the importance of knowledge and innovation for firm and regional developmentHow and why a system- and network based perspective is crucial to understand the development of firms, technologies, and territoriesHow and why path-dependencies exist and what this means for sustainable business developmentAbout the role institutions and long-term regional specifies play in this context



  • Students will acquire skills in:
  • Applying multilevel, network, and evolutionary thinking to economic problems
  • Taking different perspectives when analyzing organizations and regions
  • Assessing the roles of location for organizations
  • Work with contemporary academic literature
  • Formulating scientific statements to initialize a discussion
  • Summarise academic arguments and studies
  • Leading a discussion supporting an argument
  • Leading a discussion opposing an argument
  • Writing a critical literature review

Subject areas that are most likely covered are:


  • Beyond the boundaries of the firm
  • Classical theories of regional development (e.g., agglomeration, urbanization, polarization)
  • Modern theories of regional development (e.g., human capital, evolutionary, institutions, cluster, complexity)
  • Interfirm linkages and spillovers
  • Networks and (social) relations
  • Knowledge- and innovation- based economic development
Required prerequisite knowledge
Recommended prerequisites
Appropriate bachelor background in core business fields.
Eksamen / vurdering
Vurderingsform Vekting Varighet Karakter Hjelpemiddel
Portfolio 1/1 A - F

The folder consists of:
• individual written assignment 
• group work

The resit will be an extended written individual report.

Coursework requirements
Presence in all classes with group work, Written critical literature review
  • Be present in all classes in which the student’s group plays an active roleas presenteras oppositionas supporter
  • Will write a critical literature review, which is to be submitted through Inspera before the deadline.
Course teacher(s)
Course coordinator: Tom Brökel
Course teacher: Jason Deegan
Study Program Director: Yuko Onozaka
Method of work

Each student will be assigned to a group. These groups will play different roles during the seminar classes. Each student has to equally contribute to these roles. The roles include:

  • Read scientific papers
  • Prepare and share written questions and statements about the papers on time
  • Respond to questions during the seminar and engage actively in it
  • Organise and contribute to discussions

Workload elements:

Lectures: 25 hours

Seminars: 25 hours

Self-study, including assignments: 200-250 hours

Open for
All master study programs at the University of Stavanger.
Course assessment
Students will have the opportunity to give feedback on the course first in an early dialogue, and in multiple course evaluations. 
Overlapping courses
Course Reduction (SP)
Perspectives on Strategic Innovation (MØA305) 10
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