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Syllabus Econ 640

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Economics 640: Domestic and Global Business EnvironmentSpring Semester, 2009 Towson University Instructor: Howard Baetjer, Jr., Lecturer, Department of Economics Office: Stephens 123H Phone: Office: (410)-704-2585 Home: (410)-435-2664 (No calls after 9:00 p.m.) Email: [email protected] Website: Office hours: Wednesday and Thursday 1:45-3:15, and by appointment P REF AT ORY A CKNOWLEDGMENT It is a privilege for me to teach this course again in spring 2009, after teaching it in spring 2007 and spring 2008. The course has been developed over the last several years at the University of Baltimore by Professor Barry Brownstein. This syllabus is almost entirely his; I have made small adaptations to my own teaching style. As the joint UB/Towson MBA gains momentum, I thank Prof. Brownstein for his guidance and the opportunity to follow in his path. I NTRO DUCTION


omestic and Global Business Environment is a course that draws on economics as its primary discipline. The course also draws on management, ethical, philosophical and psychological theories. Current problems and lessons from history are woven throughout. The emphasis is on developing an economic framework for understanding the domestic and global environment of business. At the same time, implications of this framework for business management are continually drawn. At the beginning of the 21st Century, it has become clear that whether we are talking about central planning in markets or command and control management techniques, hierarchal systems have severe limitations. More than ever competitive advantage depends upon being able to utilize and grow new knowledge. But as Cowen and Parker point out: Too often the long and narrow management channel in command (and control) firms leads to new ideas being cut off before they reach board levels. As Dee Hock, the founder and former CEO of Visa International put it: We can't run 21st Century society with 17th Century notions of organization. The business environment our organizations find themselves in has rapidly changed, and this course will give you an understanding of how to navigate this new territory.

Professor Baetjer, Econ 640 Syllabus, Spring 2009

The course begins with a discussion of spontaneous and planned orders and the role of beliefs in economic paradigms and human action. We introduce ethical perspectives and consider property rights. We examine the "use of knowledge in society" and the capacity of the market process to coordinate individual action. We consider leading-edge management theories, such as market-based management. Mastery of this framework yields insights into systemic domestic and global processes that result from the decisions of individuals, corporations and governments. These systemic processes create the dynamic environment of business. The framework can be applied to business management and regulatory and ethical issues such as international trade policy, environmental problems and health care issues. The course is also designed to build critical thinking, writing and dialogue skills. These skills include the ability to uncover and articulate hidden beliefs and assumptions behind judgments, decisions and actions; to recognize faulty reasoning and biases in perceptions; to trace through cause and effect beyond primary effects to secondary effects and thus to analyze systems; to reframe a problem from many points of view; to synthesize ideas in writing; and to engage in active and empathic listening and productive dialogue with others. Throughout this course students will have opportunities to reflect on their own beliefs and professional and ethical values. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the mental models in their own minds and what is truly meaningful to them. They will have opportunities to reflect on such values as integrity, self-reliance and independent judgment; responsibility for our judgments, decisions and actions; commitment to life-long learning and understanding; and appreciation of the impact of ones actions and decisions on others. This course is challenging. Diligent students will find that learning the economic framework and practicing the skills demanded in this course will increase their capacity to analyze past, present, and future problems in the domestic and global environment of business. I believe that your understanding of the theoretical tools and practical skills taught in this course can continue to deepen and grow throughout the rest of your lives. Using the framework leads to understanding and to valuable insights that provide a foundation for responsible managerial decision making. Course Goals: Econ 640 is designed to provide students: A rich understanding of the economic and business environment. The course design stresses analytical, synthesizing and evaluative skills thus ensuring that long after the semester ends students retain ownership of important core concepts useful in their professional careers.2

Professor Baetjer, Econ 640 Syllabus, Spring 2009

An interdisciplinary framework, which while focusing on economics, also exposes students to cutting-edge management theories. Learning skills, useful in their education and professional careers, such as writing skills that involve synthesizing and evaluating, dialogue skills, critical thinking skills and respect for life-long learning. Objectives: Econ 640s specific learning objectives are that upon completion of this course students will be able to: Evaluate the connection between their paradigms and their attitudes and behavior in decisions having economic, managerial, and ethical components. Examine the relationship between order and control in markets and organizations. Recognize how simple rules such as property rights promote healthy economies and healthy business cultures. Examine the use of knowledge in society and organizations. Appraise the role of entrepreneurial alertness in a market economy. Assess the conditions that promote discovery in markets and inside the firm. Analyze the role and impact of prices and profits in a market economy. Evaluate cutting-edge management theories, such as market-based management, that are related to the economic framework. Assess the role that the "rule of law" plays in the market and in a business culture. Analyze the entrepreneurial discovery process and the effects of government regulation on this discovery process. Analyze international trade issues. Appraise regulatory and ethical dimensions of such domestic and global issues as health care, environmental problems, and globalization of markets.TE ACH ING METHODOLOGY

This course utilizes lecture, dialogue and small group exercises. In every class period, I will both lecture and engage in a dialogue with students. The small group exercises, lectures and class dialogue are intended to promote students understanding of the material. This understanding should continually evolve throughout the semester. I believe that in an effective classroom the professor and students create synergies. Together we will engage the ideas of great thinkers and in the process examine our own beliefs. When we learn together there is inspiration and excitement. To remain fresh and vital my teaching must be informed by your interests and questions. My ideas and those of the authors of the course reading material must mingle with your words and thoughts. Your own external and internal conversation with these ideas is where learning takes place.3

Professor Baetjer, Econ 640 Syllabus, Spring 2009

Books and readings have been carefully selected to expose students to the works of original thinkers. Readings and lectures are designed to lead students toward a rich understanding of the framework the course presents. Students are required to analyze these works in order to understand elements in the authors arguments. Then, going beyond analysis, students must strive to uncover common threads across these works and so to synthesize these elements into a whole perspective on the domestic and global environment of business.HOW TO MAXIMI ZE YOUR LEARN ING

This course is designed to provide a rigorous and stimulating graduate education experience. To realize the benefits of this course you must be an active learner, analyzing and synthesizing readings, lectures, and class discussions. The following are steps that you can take to maximize your success this semester: Approach learning as a discovery process. Understanding is not something you either have or do not have; instead it is a continuing process that goes as far as your effort. Revisit many of these readings before and after we discuss them in class. Your understanding will increase with each reading. Go beyond rote memorization of the material. Strive to acquire an integrative understanding of all you read. Complete all assigned readings on time, before coming to the class in which they are discussed. As you read, note the ideas the strike you, your understanding of the authors argument, common threads across readings, and questions that the readings raise for you. Budget sufficient time outside of the classroom to insure a timely completion of all assignments and readings. Attend all classes and arrive to class on time. While last-minute emergencies are part of life and understandable, a work schedule that consistently prevents you from fulfilling your obligation to this course will interfere with your success in this course. Please dont disrupt class by coming late. Adopt a study pattern that does not attempt to cram reading or writing assignments. Think broadly about the readings and classroom discussion. Broadbased critical thinking will increase your enjoyment of the material. Enjoy this learning experience without feeling any obligation to accept any particular idea. Treat your classmates respectfully, even when you do not

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