4004650: Theory of the Firm

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Semester:WS 15/16
Scheduled in semester:1
Semester Hours per Week / Contact Hours:40.0 L / 30.0 h
Self-directed study time:120.0 h

Module coordination/Lecturers


Doctoral degree programme in Business Economics (01.09.2008)


This module aims at fostering professional competences. In particular, an overview on theories of the firm is given in order to provide students with a profound background for better understanding the various current topics of their discipline.

The set of theories dealt with in the course will continuously be reviewed and adapted. So far, the following theories of the firm are considered to be particularly relevant for all three doctoral programs currently being offered by the graduate school:

  • Introduction to the Theory of the Firm (Prof. Dr. Stefan Güldenberg)
  • The Nature of the Firm and the Problem of Social Cost (Ass.Prof. Dr. Tanja Kirn)
  • Agency Theory (Prof. Dr. Marco Menicetti)
  • Property Rights and Contractual Theory (Prof. Dr. Michael Hanke)
  • Information Processing Theory (Prof. Dr. Jan vom Brocke)
  • Resource-based Theory of the Firm (Prof. Dr. Christian Marxt)
  • Behavioral Theory of the Firm (Prof. Dr. Stefan Güldenberg)
  • Knowledge-based Theory of the Firm (Prof. Dr. Stefan Güldenberg)

Lecture Goals

  • Basic understanding of the fundamental research questions connecting to the existence and boundaries of organizations
  • Basic understanding of the different approaches which try to explain the existence and boundaries of organizations from various perspectives
  • Basic understanding of the underlying assumptions of these approaches

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • gain an overview about various theories of the firm and their history
  • critically review and discuss different theories of the firm
  • apply theories of the firm as guiding theoretical framework to own thesis topic and research questions


Lectures Method

Lecture; self-study; presentation and paper by students

Admission Requirements



Buckley, P.J.; Michie, J. (eds.) (1996): Firms, Organizations and Contracts: A Reader in Industrial Organization, Oxford/New York Oxford Management Readers

Exam Modalities

The students will be assessed in this module through:

  • paper (5000 - 7000 words)
  • Presentation of paper


  • PWW-DS_Theory of the Firm (WS 15/16, in Bewertung)