At the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Comprehend the nature of economic problem, and identify and make sense of the key mechanisms that markets and organizations use in coordinating economic transactions;
- Give an account of the various theories of a firm, and locate the commonalities and major differences in their approaches in explaining the emergence of different organizational forms;
- Comprehend the role of information, and analyze how that manifests into various economic problems;
- Analyze and evaluate how different competitive/business level strategies influence or affect a multi-business firm;
- Analyze and evaluate how different corporate strategies influence or affect a multi-business firm;
- Assess the rationale of joint venture, franchising and other long-term relational contracts as the hybrid forms between pure market and organization coordination, and critically evaluate their pros and cons within a given factual context;
- Relate to and apply the knowledge on the relevant economic theories, in particular with respect to the role of information, in understanding and analyzing the market and contractual mechanisms in conducting mergers and acquisitions; and
- Relate to and apply the knowledge on the relevant economic theories, in particular positive agency theory, in understanding and analyzing corporate governance of firms with both diverse ownership and blockholders.
Business consists of various economic transactions. Fundamentally, these transactions are coordinated by two means, namely, market vs. organization. To be able to understand the economic problems underlying the markets and the organizations are of great importance to lawyers in today’s globalized world, who face increasing challenges from their clients to understand how business works and offer creative value-added legal services to complex economic transactions.
The first part of this course lays down the business foundations for lawyers, with the focus on the key theories concerning the economic rationale for market and organization as the two key coordinating mechanisms for transactions. Students will learn, among other things, agency theory, game theory, transaction cost theory and behavioral theory of the firm. Students are also introduced to the structures and dynamic mechanisms of intra-and-inter-firm coordinating mechanisms and business strategies.
The second part of this course covers the application of the theories and approaches discussed in part one. Students are asked to assume the role of a deal lawyer and explain how they would tackle problems presented in various business case studies. Highly relevant situations will be discussed during this course, presenting real life problems and business savvy solutions. Ultimately, understanding the problems inherent in transactions and organizations helps to bridge gaps that would otherwise affect deals or interfere in the proper working of business.
Teaching and assessment methods
The course is taught primarily through seminars, while students are expected to read and self-study at home. In addition, students also get both individual and group assignments, and they are expected to solve them and present their perception of the actual business problems and potential solutions in class. It is mandatory to attend all lectures. Students get a final written exam during the exam period. Grading consists of the following three parts:
- Individual assignments: altogether 10%;
- Three group assignments: altogether 30%;
- Final written exam: 60%.