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MEng Computer Science with Industrial Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Fundamentals of Technological Change

Unit code BMAN10252
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course will act as a first introduction to management and social science perspectives on technological change and how it has developed over time.

The first part of the course will explore the nature of science and technology from social and economic perspectives and will outline the economic history of technological change and industrialisation. It will introduce the concept of technological innovation, exploring how understandings of the innovation process have developed from simple science-led or demand-pull linear models through to the interactive models currently favoured by social scientists, showing how the latter have developed progressively as empirical case studies of innovation have been amassed. It will introduce the students to economic (mainstream and ‘heterodox’) and managerial theories of technological change that have shaped management and policy thinking about innovation.

Finally the course will discuss the management of technology both in the firm and in society more generally, taking as examples technological revolutions (e.g. the ICT revolution), systemic innovations (e.g. containerized shipping), firm level innovation strategies (e.g. open innovation and corporate venturing) and the role of government in innovation driven economic development (e.g. in the development of Silicon Valley).



BMAN10252 is a free choice option for students with prior agreement from their home schools. Option for BSc Accounting & IBFE.

BMAN10252 is a free choice option for students with prior agreement from their home schools. Option for BSc Accounting.



1) To understand the nature of technological change and the roles it plays in firm competitiveness, economic growth and development

2) To introduce students to the challenges of managing technological change at both the societal (public policy) and firm (management/strategy) levels

3) To appreciate and use insights from economic history, economics, sociology and management studies as they relate to technological change

Learning outcomes

On successful completion students should be able to demonstrate:

1) an appreciation of the role of technological change in economic development, past and present

2) awareness of key models of the innovation process, their strengths and weaknesses

3) an understanding of the role of innovation in firm competitiveness

4) an appreciation of the management, policy and regulatory challenges in relation to technological change and how firms and governments attempt to address them

5) The ability to critically appraise, synthesise and apply social science concepts relevant to technological change.

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture plus small group seminar. Nine seminars are focused around the key reading of that week and two are supporting sessions: one on critical reading/thinking and one on essay writing.

Lecture hours: 11 (1 hour per week for 11 weeks)

Seminar hours: 11 (1 hour per week for 11 weeks)

Private study: 78

Total study hours: 100

Informal Contact Methods
Office Hours
Online Learning Activities (blogs, discussions, self assessment questions)

Assessment methods

Assessed essay (2,000 words) 80%
One page report summarising a  research article as discussed in the seminars (20%)

Feedback methods

- Informal advice and discussion during a lecture, seminar, workshop..

- Online exercises and quizzes delivered through the Blackboard course space.

- Responses to student emails and questions including feedback provided to a group via an online discussion forum.

- Specific course related feedback sessions.

- Written and/or verbal comments on assessed or non-assessed coursework.


Recommended reading

Key texts:

Coombs, Rod; Saviotti, Paolo; Walsh, Vivien (1987) Economics and technological change (Third Edition), Macmillan

Freeman, Christopher; and Soete, Luc (1997) The Economics of Industrial Innovation (Third Edition), Printer Publishers

Landes David; (1969) The Unbound Prometheus: technological change and industrial development in Western Europe from 1750 to the present (Second Edition), Cambridge University Press

Mokyr Joel; (1990) The Lever of Riches: technological creativity and economic progress, Oxford University Press

Mazzucato Mariana (2015) The entrepreneurial state: debunking public vs. private sector myths (Anthem Books).

Volti, Rudi, (2017) Society and Technological Change (Eight Edition), Worth


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 78

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Cornelia Lawson Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Other staff involved: Other teaching staff and guest lecturers may be included.

Pre-requisites: None

Co-requisites: None

Dependent course units: None

Programme Restrictions:

  • Available as a free choice option to students who have received prior agreement from their registering School.
  • Option for BSc Accounting. Not available to BSc in Management/Management (Specialism), IMABS, IM, IBFE or ITMB.
  • BMAN10252 is available to visiting and exchange students admitted through the University of Manchester’s International Programmes Office.

For Academic Year 2020/21

Updated: March 2020

Approved by: March UG Committee

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