The organization of markets have changed significantly in recent decades. Transaction costs in capital markets have declined, and now provide firms with much better access to private equity, venture capital, and tailorized financial products. Product markets have internationalized and resulted in more complex and widely distributed supply chains. And labor markets have been affected by the trend towards the gig economy and firms’ increased reliance on innovation and intangible assets. The last aspect is key, because we need to ask how firms can develop a competitive advantage if their key assets are employees whose human capital they cannot control. All these developments have a significant impact on how firms are managed, owned, financed, and organized.
This course surveys and discusses recent findings on the interface between financial markets and firms’ employees and their human capital. Much of the textbook discussions in various subfields of business and economics is still based on traditional paradigms, which view firms as collection of physical assets that generate cash flows, and which see financial markets as mainly occupied with valuing and distributing these cash flows. Yet, recent research has moved on from this paradigm and recognizes that this traditional conception is in serious need of overhaul, but much of this change in thinking and many of these new findings have not found their way into business education. This course is intended to fill this gap.
After successfully completing this course, students should be able to do the following:
semester 4 or higher
The course requires cross-disciplinary thinking and understanding of key concepts in accounting, finance, economics, and management at the level of the respective courses in the Bachelor curriculum. The course will introduce key theoretical concepts in economics (e.g., signalling, hold-up problems, principal-agent relations, etc.). No prior knowledge of these concepts is assumed, and all requisite tools from game theory and microeconomics will be introduced at a relatively informal level. However, tolerance for handling abstract concepts is required.
|Forms of teaching and learning||Contact hours||Independent study time|
|Lecture||2 SWS||4 SWS|
|Form of assessment||Group assignment – case write-up (25%)|
Final exam – online take-home (75%)
|Further information||Registration via Student Portal|
Prof. Ernst Maug, Ph.D.
Prof. Ernst Maug Ph.D.
|Frequency of offering||Spring semester|
|Duration of module||1 semester|
|Range of application||B.Sc. Bus. Adm.|
|Preliminary course work||–|
|Program-specific Competency Goals||CG 1|
|Literature||Much of the material presented in this class is new and has either been published recently, or has not even reached the publication stage at this point. In addition, the material cuts across disciplines. As a result, there is no textbook or other monograph treatment. The following textbook provides an excellent treatment of the established theoretical concepts, but it has been written before several of the developments that form the core material of this class:|
Milgrom, Paul R., and John Roberts, Economics, Organizations and Management (Prentice Hall, New Jersey), 1992.
Further theoretical developments in the academic literature are mostly too technical and these concepts will be communicated extensively in the lectures and, if necessary, through teaching notes.
The classes will provide guidance to empirical studies and how to read them, and course participants will be asked to read selected (mostly non-technical) passages from empirical studies. Key statistical concepts will be introduced in class, and understanding and interpreting such empirical studies is one of the learning goals of this course.