This module helps students build an intellectual foundation to business as a field of inquiry. The module presents a ‘big history’ of ideas to expose students to the major schools of thought in philosophy, politics and early thinkers of social science (economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology). By exploring the social movements and counter-movements that have shaped the course of human intellectual history, students will locate the emergence of business and management not only in its economic context, but within a wider arena of social and political transformation. Students will be exposed to competing perspectives on some of the most fundamental problems facing thinking individuals throughout the centuries, and will be strongly encouraged to develop reflective awareness of the ways through which seemingly distant ideas shape the economic organisation of contemporary societies. To this end, moreover, students will have the opportunity to identify and question the soundness of taken-for-granted assumptions underpinning the formations of the worlds we inhabit.
By the end of the module students will have a powerful set of thinking tools by which to interpret events of the past, the present, and visions of the future. The module has two principal aims: first, to impress upon students the importance of the ‘big ideas’ that have impacted most strongly on the development of advanced human societies; and second, to motivate students to reflect on the relevance of these big ideas for their own lives, and for the wider challenges of the contemporary business world. The overarching aim of the module is to establish business management as an intellectually stimulating and liberal subject which affords students with a powerful and enlightening understanding of a contingently emerging world - a world that we are nonetheless often tempted to take as natural and somehow inevitable.
‘Part 1 - Government and Society’ explores early developments in human thought in relation to central power and political institutions, economic enterprise, private property and social stratification. It examines debates about the importance of political stability for economic development and human well-being. It will also explore geographical dimensions of cultural diversity, social exchange and social identity. It therefore examines important historical and geographical processes necessary for business operations and economic prosperity.