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business_essentials

Business Essentials

Course length

This course is two-weeks long.

Marks overview

  • Quizzes 20%
    • Q1 (on day 6, 10%)
    • Q2 (on day 9, 10%)
  • Learning Exercises (homework) 30%
  • Daily assessments 10%
  • Final exam 40% (on day 10)

Textbook

Suggested books

Recommended articles

Important resources

Books

News

Statistics

  • For statistics, tools, country indicators, Project Mgmt tutorials and courses, etc. see resources

Day 1

Learning Objectives

Index

  • Appendix A, p. 359, A Brief History of Business in Canada
  • Chapter 2, Redrawing Corporate Boundaries
  • Chapter 4, Forms of Business Ownership

In-class activity

Exercising your ethics: team exercise

Environmentally Friendly Automobiles

At the 2017 Montreal Auto show, an impressive array of new electric vehicles (EVs) were on display. Included were Volkswagen’s e-Golf, Honda’s Clarity, Hyundai’s Ioniq, and Nissan’s Leaf. Suddenly there are lots of EVs to choose from; almost 50 new versions will come on the market by 2022. Toyota also introduced its Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle in 2018 in Quebec. In 2017, Volvo announced that all the new models it introduces in 2019 and later will be either hybrids or EVs. Countries such as France, Britain, Norway, China, and India have all announced plans to reduce or ban the sale of gas- and diesel-powered vehicles over the next couple of decades.

China has the largest number of registered EVs (336 000), but that is only 1.3 percent of the country’s total car market. Worldwide in 2016, only 0.1 percent of the cars on the road were electric. But the number will likely rise to 10 percent of new cars sold by 2025, and by that year, EVs might constitute 4.5 percent of total vehicles on the road. At the time, electric car sales in Canada were 0.56 percent of total car sales. The Bourgeois Chevrolet Buick GMC car dealership in Rawdon, Quebec, is the top seller of EVs in Canada.

To date, the sale of EVs has been influenced by several factors: limited range, high purchase price, long charging times, and too few charging stations. But progress is being made in dealing with those shortcomings. For example, Toyota is introducing a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that will get 1000 km per fill-up. That is double what the best EVs get now, and the fuel cell car can be refueled in just three minutes. Improved efficiencies in batteries have reduced battery prices, and this may make EVs cheaper than gas-powered cars by 2025. Work on further improvements in battery technology is ongoing at Dalhousie University and at Hydro Quebec’s Montreal research lab.

Ontario has invested $200 million to build more charging stations and that increased availability should make consumers more willing to purchase an EV. Quebec and Ontario also pay subsidies to consumers who buy EVs. Ontario gives $13 000 to consumers who purchase a BMW i3 (the list price of the car is $48 000). Quebec also mandates mini- mum levels for sales of EVs. Starting in 2018, 3.5 percent of all auto sales in Quebec must be electric, hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. By 2025, the minimum increases to 15.5 percent. It is hoped that these incentives will result in a big increase in the number of EVs that are on the road. However, critics say that subsidizing electric cars is both expensive and ineffective. The Montreal Economic Institute says that the subsidies offered by Ontario and Quebec could cost those provinces a total of about $17 billion by 2030, but they will cut emissions by only 4 percent.

Critical thinking question

Consider the following statement:

“Giving money to consumers so they will be motivated to purchase an electric car is a bad idea. In a democratic, free-market society, it is much better to let consumers consider the various costs and benefits of each type of car and make their own decisions about which type they will purchase.”

Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Explain your reasoning.

Learning Exercise (homework)

Answer these questions:

  • Which of the four forms of business ownership do you think would be best for you if you were a small business owner? Explain the reasons for your choice.
  • Which era in the history of Canadian business would you like to live in most? Why?
  • “What role should the government play in social responsibility? Should government create more regulations to encourage businesses to uphold their responsibility to stakeholders? Or should government take a laissez-faire approach and allow businesses to be as socially responsible as they choose? Explain your reasoning.”

Day 2

Learning Objectives

  • The Management Process
    • Who Are Managers?
    • The Planning Process
    • The Three Levels of Plans
    • Organizing
    • Leading
    • Controlling
  • Types of Managers
    • Levels of Management
    • Human Resource Managers
    • Operations Managers
    • Information Managers
    • Marketing Managers
    • Financial Managers
  • Basic Management Skills
    • Technical Skills
    • Human Relations Skills
    • Conceptual Skills
    • Time Management Skills
    • Decision-Making Skills

Index

  • Chapter 6

In-class activity

Ethics Activity

Read the following article:

Volkswagen

Activity Instruction

Answer the ethical dilemma at the end of the article.

Learning Exercise (homework)

Answer the following question:

  • What differences in corporate culture might you expect to find between a 100-year-old Winnipeg manufacturing firm and a five-year-old e-commerce firm in Toronto?

Day 3

Learning Objectives

  • Setting Goals and Formulating Strategy
    • The purposes of goal setting
    • The differences between long-term goals, intermediate goals and short-term goals
    • Setting strategic goals
    • Analysing the organization to better understand its strengths and weaknesses
    • Scanning the business environment for threats and opportunities
    • Matching the environmental threats and opportunities with the strengths and weaknesses of the business
    • Distinguishing between corporate-level strategies, business-level (or competitive) strategies, and functional strategies
    • The importance of contingency planning and crisis management
  • Management and the Corporate Culture
    • Forces Shaping Corporate Culture
    • Communicating the Culture
    • Managing Change

Index

  • Chapter 6

In-class activity

  • Identify internal strengths (S), weaknesses (W), external opportunities (O), and threats (T) surrounding CDI College. (For more information, see this: Using SWOT for Strategic Analysis)

Learning Exercise (homework)

Answer the following question:

  • Consider the various corporate-level strategies discussed in the chapter (concentration, growth, integration, diversification, and investment reduction). What is the relationship among these various strategies? Are they mutually exclusive? Complementary? Explain.

Day 4

Video to watch

Article to read

Learning Objectives

  • The Structure of Business Organization
    • Determinants of Organizational Structure
    • Chain of Command
  • The Building Blocks of Organizational Structure
    • Job Specialization
    • Functional Departmentalization
    • Customer Departmentalization
    • Product Departmentalization
    • Geographic Departmentalization
    • Process Departmentalization
  • Establishing the Decision-Making Hierarchy
    • Assigning and Performing Tasks
    • Distributing Authority
    • Centralized and Decentralized Organization
    • Tall and Flat Organizational Structures
    • Span of Control
    • Downsizing
    • Line Authority
    • Staff Authority
    • Committee and Team Authority

Index

  • Chapter 7

In-class activity

Watch Psychology Electric Shock Experiment (Milgram Experiment).

Read the following article and think about the hierarchy of authority within organizations and the ambiguous roles they are expected to play in light of resulting ethical dilemmas.

Time Limit: 30 minutes

Just follow others

The business world is replete with examples of people behaving in ways they presumably knew were wrong because someone “higher up” in the organization told them to do so. Examples of such practices include these:

What accounts for such practices? While there are a number of explanations, one common one is that people are often indoctrinated to believe they need to follow the chain of command and not question orders or directives from those above them in that chain. More specifically, people may come to believe that if someone higher up in their organization tells them to do something, they have little choice but to follow orders, and, in doing so, they also absolve themselves of responsibility.

This tendency was powerfully demonstrated in a classic series of studies conducted by noted Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram. Milgram told subjects in an experiment that they were to administer electric shocks to another “subject” in the next room on his commands. They were also informed that each successive command would result in a more powerful shock than the previous one. As the shocks increased in intensity, the other individual began to yell and scream in pain and eventually started to beg the subject to stop. (The other individuals were actually confederates in the study and were only acting like they were getting shocked.) While many subjects became uncomfortable and some asked if the experiment could be halted, upon hearing Milgram order them to continue (because “the experiment cannot be stopped” or “you don’t need to worry, I know what I’m doing”), most did so. Indeed, more than half of the subjects actually administered a shock clearly labelled as dangerous and potentially life‑threatening when ordered to do so.

So, what is the bottom line? Each individual has to make their own decisions when confronted with a situation in which their boss instructs them to do something they know or suspect to be wrong. Too much questioning or unwillingness to carry out orders can result in sanctions or even job loss, but people need to exercise some degree of self-control and be willing to accept personal responsibility for their actions.

Now that you have learned about this issue, answer the following questions: (15 minutes)

  1. In what situations should subordinates go against what they are taught by questioning authority that may appear questionable?
  2. In what situations should subordinates not question authority?

Learning Exercise (homework)

Please answer the following questions:

  1. Explain the significance of organizational size as it relates to organizational structure. Describe the changes likely to occur as an organization grows.
  2. Why do some managers have difficulties in delegating authority? Why do you think this problem might be more pronounced in small businesses?

Day 5

Learning Objectives

  • Basic Organizational Structures
    • The Functional Structure
    • The Divisional Structure
    • Project Organization
    • International Organization
  • Organizational Design for the Twenty-First Century
    • Boundary-less Organization
    • Team Organization
    • Virtual Organization
    • Learning Organization
  • The Informal Organization
    • Formal versus Informal Organizational Systems
    • Informal Groups
    • Organizational Grapevine

Index

  • Chapter 7

Learning Exercise (homework)

Please answer the following questions:

  1. Do you think that you would want to work in a matrix organization, where you were assigned simultaneously to multiple units or groups? Why, or why not?
  2. In your own words, explain how a functional structure differs from a divisional structure.

Day 6

Quiz 1

  • Today, we take quiz 1 on LMS

Articles to read

Learning Objectives

  • Production and Operations
    • The Meaning of Production and Operations
    • The Growth of Global Operations
    • The Creation of Value Through Production
    • Goods-Manufacturing Processes
    • Service-Producing Processes
    • Differences Between Service and Manufacturing Operations
  • Operations Planning
    • Forecasting
    • Capacity Planning
    • Location Planning
    • Layout Planning
    • Methods Improvement Planning
  • Operations Scheduling and Control
    • Scheduling Goods and Service Operations
    • Tools for Scheduling
    • Materials Management
    • Worker Training
    • Just-in-Time Production Systems
    • Material Requirements Planning

Index

  • Chapter 10

Learning Exercise (homework)

Please answer the following two questions:

  1. Pick three services (not physical products) that you use regularly. Explain what customization, unstorability, and intangibility mean for each of the services. How do these factors influence the way the service is delivered to customers?
  2. Describe three high-contact service operations and three low-contact service operations. Do the concepts of intangibility and unstorability have different implications for low- and high-contact service operations?

Day 7

Article to read

Suggested books

Learning Objectives

  • The Productivity-Quality Connection
    • Measuring Productivity
    • Productivity Among Global Competitors
    • Domestic Productivity
    • Manufacturing vs. Service Productivity
    • Industry and Company Productivity
  • Total Quality Management
    • Managing, Planning and Organizing for Quality
    • Leading and Controlling for Quality
    • Tools for Quality Assurance
    • Value-Added Analysis
    • Statistical Process Control and Quality/Cost Studies
    • Benchmarking
    • Getting Closer to the Customer
    • ISO 9000:2000 and ISO 14000
    • Process Re-engineering
    • Adding Value Through Supply Chains
  • Productivity and Quality as Competitive Tools
    • Investing in Innovation and Technology
    • Adopting a Long-Run Perspective
    • Emphasizing Quality of Work Life
    • Improving the Service Sector

Index

  • Chapter 10

Learning Exercise (homework)

“Many businesses have grown tired of general TQM strategies, having once tried them and found them ineffectual. One frequently cited case involves the 3M Company, which implemented Six Sigma after hiring a former GE executive as its CEO. The company later abandoned the methodology, asserting that it had stymied the innovation for which 3M is known. The attention paid to this case has sparked controversy, however, with detractors suggesting that it reveals the limits and pitfalls of Six Sigma, and supporters arguing that it reflects misunderstandings of the methodology and its proper use. Even when they are successful, TQM strategies can be expensive to implement. According to a 2018 article in Industrial Engineer by Satya S. Chakravorty, Six Sigma certification can cost $5,000 or more per person. Full implementation also involves the use of often-expensive software for statistical analysis.

Some businesses are replacing their general TQM strategies with more specific aims and new ideas. For instance, many companies are applying quality management skills to information technology (IT) departments. IT projects are often clouded by uncertainty and logistics confusing to outsiders, leading to inaccurate estimations of costs and time. Having fixed these problems in manufacturing with quality management, businesses are beginning to expect the same level of efficiency in other areas, and IT leaders may have to adopt new quality standards themselves to keep up with the trend.

Cloud computing is also making its mark on TQM, or vice versa, as cloud computing is becoming a more consumer-oriented service. The vast amount of business server usage is switching over to aiding customers in their cloud activities, from running business services to chatting, messaging, and interacting with each other and the business over social and entertainment applications. As the importance of managing server quality increases, IT leaders will be looking for methods to improve bandwidth management and server space allocation. TQM and lean management tactics may be the answer that they are seeking. These IT versions of quality management may also be too complicated for businesses to handle, leading to an increase in dependence on outside vendors and IT outsourcing for TQM needs.

Another TQM trend is the turn toward hybrid methodologies such as lean Six Sigma, which brings together aspects of the Six Sigma and lean, a methodology that emphasizes the minimization of waste. Aspects of the 5S framework are also often co-adopted with these methods. Such hybridity will likely allow existing TQM methodologies to survive and take on new life in the future.”

Source:

“Quality and Total Quality Management.” Encyclopedia of Management, 8th ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2019, pp. 932-936. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX7617900264/GVRL?u=tplmain&sid=GVRL&xid=d4a09ff0. Accessed 23 July 2019.

Answer the following question:

  • Would it be appropriate to “Move Fast and Break Things”, as Zuckerberg used to say?

For more information on Zuckerberg’s philosophy, see this:

Here is a coder’s take on Zuckerberg’s “proposal.” You don’t have to read it to answer the question. Nevertheless, it gives you a sense of how quality control might work in an industry where things break often, i.e. building software:


Day 8

Article to read

Suggested books

Learning Objectives

  • Information Management
    • Information Systems
    • Key Users of Information Systems
    • Types of Information Systems
  • Information Technology and Organizational Processes
    • Better Service Through Coordination of Remote Deliveries
    • Leaner, More Efficient Organizations
    • Increased Collaboration
    • Improved Global Exchange
    • Greater Independence of Company and Workplace
    • Improved Management Processes
    • Improved Flexibility for Customization
    • Providing New Business Opportunities
    • Improving the World and Our Lives
  • IT Building Blocks
    • The Internet
    • Business Communications Technologies
    • Networks: System Architecture
    • Hardware and Software

Index

  • Appendix C, Using Technology to Manage Information, pp. 364-375 in the 9th ed.

Learning Exercise (homework)

Question

If you are in charge of the security of your organization’s information technology infrastructures, how would you protect your organization against this relentless threat? Or even your own self, for that matter?


Day 9

Quiz 2

  • Today, we take quiz 2 on LMS

Learning Objectives

  • Review of Learning Objectives covered from Day 1 through Day 8

Day 10

  • Final exam
business_essentials.txt · Last modified: 2021/09/09 12:58 by Eric Bright