Western Washington University Western Washington University

Perspectives on Business
Fall 2016

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Course Syllabus:

Meets: F 1:00 pm -- 2:50 pm (ES-80; CRN 41006)
Instructor: Professor Craig P. Dunn, PhD
Office: PH 017
Office Hours: by appointment
Phone: 360-650-2593 (office/voicemail)
E-mail: wilderprofessor@wwu.edu
URL: www.wilderprofessor.com
twitter: @wilderprofessor

An introduction to perspectives on the nature of business in society, the development of the firm and how organizations function.

What is the corporation? Do corporations--and more particularly the managers who represent them--have any responsibilities beyond seeking to maximize shareholder wealth? How are organizations best structured for enduring success? These and other related questions provide the 'grist' for this course.

This course is designed to be a challenging and exciting course for the undergraduate scholars student. The overriding pedagogical objective is to sharpen your abilities to think critically and to diagnose situations from a social perspective. Accomplishing this objective entails introducing you to a broad range of business frameworks, necessarily taking account of the complexities and constraints imposed by the environment in which the firm operates, why the environment must be attended to--and how it affects the moral character of decisions.


o Social context
 Describe the common ways of explaining ethical/social duties in business
 Identify the relationships and responsibilities business has to stakeholder groups
 Explain the nature and imperative of a “market economy” and citizens self-identifying as consumers
o Legal/regulatory context
 Describe the sources of legal rules and regulations
 Explain the need for and various types of business regulation
o Political context
 Discuss how business is expected to respond to, or reflect, societal expectations, and the consequences of not doing so
 Describe how business influences the regulatory process
 Summarize the history of relationships among business, government, and society
o Ecological context
 Explain the effects of business on the environment, and why it has those effects
 Discuss how and why government regulation affects the environment
o Ethical theories and models of ethical reasoning;
 Discuss how societal values are incorporated into ethical reasoning
o Global economic environment
 Identify the effects on business decisions of operating across borders

A maximum of 100 points may be accumulated in this course. Points are computed based on the timeliness and quality/thoroughness of reflective journal entries (see below).

Grading policy anticipates that faculty members are expected to use all grades from A to F to distinguish among level of academic accomplishment, with the grade for average undergraduate achievement being a C. The following grading standards will be used to determine your final course grade. Students are responsible for monitoring their own progress throughout the semester.

93 - 100 points


90 - 92.9 points


86.5 - 89.9 points


83 - 86.4 points


80 - 82.9 points


76.5 - 79.9 points


73 - 76.4 points


70 - 72.9 points


66.5 - 69.9 points


63 - 66.4 points


60 - 62.9 points


In a section entitled Grades and Intellectual Honesty, the Western Washington University catalog states:

Grades are given for the student’s work and achievement. Fair evaluation of students’ work and helpful instruction are possible only when students submit work which genuinely reflects their own reading, computation, research and thoughts and is their own production, whether in writing or other format(s). Intellectual dishonesty can result in a failing grade and the placement of a note in the student’s permanent record. For the university’s policy on academic dishonesty, see Appendix D.

Students involved in any form of academic dishonesty (including but not limited to plagiarism or `cheating') on any MGT 202 coursework will receive a failing grade for the course.

'. . .my spirit never walked beyond our counting house. . .[It] never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole.'
'But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,' faltered Scrooge.
'Business!' cried the Ghost, wringing his hands again. 'Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business. . .'

-Jacob Marley
A Christmas Carol
(Charles Dickens)

One textbook is recommended: Exploring Business, by Karen Collins. This textbook may be accessed for as little as $24.00 at the following URL: http://students.flatworldknowledge.com/course/2537658. In addition to the 'study pass' option, from this site students may purchase 'print-it-yourself,' 'hard copy,' and/or 'eBook' versions of the text, as well as study aids -- all of which are optional. Additional on-line required readings are available on the course schedule. Students are expected to read each assigned reading before the scheduled class session for which it is assigned.

For each week the class schedule will indicate a 'prompt' for your reflective journal (see course schedule for due dates; entries are due by midnight). This term-long assignment is designed to engage you in critical thinking: critique, synthesis, analysis, and application.

For each reflective journal posting, students are to 'cut and paste' the 'prompt' for the assignment into a new thread within their own journal, and then provide their reflections on the 'prompt.' The reflective journal is to be kept in Canvas (https://wwu.instructure.com/courses/1078027). To post an entry, do the following:

o Click on the 'Assignments' button in the left menu bar
o Click on the target assignment
o Cut and paste the 'prompt' from the course schedule into the BODY of the journal entry
o Click 'post entry' (following completion of journal entry)

Only each individual student, as well as the faculty member, have access to journal posts--which are time and date stamped upon submission. Journal entries are evaluated on timeliness, thoroughness, and thoughtfulness in addressing the issue under consideration.

There are no examinations for this course.

There are no writing assignments for this course

"Greed, for want of a better term, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed in all of its forms-greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge-has marked the upward surge of mankind."

-Gordon Gecko
Oliver Stone's Wall Street

There are no team projects for this course.

Class participation is mandatory. Failure to attend scheduled class sessions may be reflected in final course grading.

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