Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

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Business Administration

Get down to business.

Grow your career in business and management

BUS 825 - Business Foundations C01

Academic Credit Value:
3 units
Course Delivery Mode:
Blended (in-class & online)
Hours of Study:
39 hours
Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Anti-requisite(s):
Instructor Name:
Jeffrey O'Leary
Course Dates:
01/18/2020 - 04/04/2020

Required Course Materials:
Business Essentials (9th Cdn ed.), Griffin, R., Ebert, R., Starke, F., Dracopoulos, 2019. Toronto, ON: Pearson.
Optional Course Materials:
Course Description:
Business Administration Foundations explores the functional areas of management including finance, human resources, marketing, operations and general management. It provides context for students to understand the themes of change, international business, ethics and social responsibility, small business growth, information and communication technology, and quality to understand contemporary Canadian business practices and processes.
This course offers a dynamic, seminar approach to learning where students are encouraged to discuss and evaluate current events in Canadian business using concepts in management theory and their personal business experience. In addition, students will be exposed to a variety of learning activities including group problem-solving tasks, case studies, discussion sessions, role-plays and simulations.
To maximize their learning experience, students are highly encouraged to read a business newspaper on a regular basis and to come to class with questions or discussion points regarding each week’s assigned readings. Students should also bring a calculator and their textbook to every class.
Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, students will:
  • develop an understanding of the foundational concepts and vocabulary associated with business management;
  • gain a basic knowledge of the current issues and environments faced by managers and administrators in Canada as well as other countries;
  • acquire and applied fundamental management skills including: pitching ideas, case analysis, budget development, collaborative problem-solving, and
  • experience first-hand the preparation of a basic business plan.
Course Evaluation
The final grade is calculated based on the following components:

Group Leadership & Participation (10%)
Reference Discussions (5%)
Mini Assignment - Reflection Paper (5%)
Written Assignment (10%)
Team Assignment (50%)
Quizzes (20%)
Course Format:
This course is designed to present the fundamental concepts and theories in business and promote the
application to the workplace and professional practice. Course activities will include instructor presentations, required readings and experiential learning activities (i.e. case studies, group discussions, projects, etc.).

This course emphasizes student participation in classroom discussions. It is expected that students will read the assigned chapters from the text prior to each class.
Assignment Submission:
Course assignments are submitted in class on the specified due date
Late Coursework:
Late assignments will be subject to a 2% per day late penalty (includes weekends and holidays) for up to seven (7) days. After this date, no assignments will be accepted and a grade of zero (0) will be applied.  Extensions for course work must be approved by the instructor before the due date (see Academic Regulations below), and will be granted for illness or emergencies only. Students may be asked to submit supporting documentation for an extension request.  

Policy & Procedures:

Academic Regulations (Attendance, Coursework, Tests/Exams):
In accordance to McMaster University’s General Academic Regulations, “it is imperative that students make every effort to meet the originally scheduled course requirements and it is a student’s responsibility to write examinations as scheduled.” Therefore, all students are expected to attend and complete the specific course requirements (i.e. attendance, assignments, and tests/exams) listed in the course outline on or by the date specified.  Students who need to arrange for coursework accommodation, as a result of medical, personal or family reasons, must contact the course instructor within 48 hours days of the originally scheduled due date.  It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Program Manager to discuss accommodations and procedures related to deferred tests and/or examinations within 48 hours days of the originally scheduled test/exam, as per policy.  Failure to contact the course instructor, in the case of missed coursework, or the Program Manager, in the case of a missed test/examination, within the specified 48-hour day window will result in a grade of zero (0) on the coursework/exam and no further consideration will be granted.

*Note: Supporting documentation will be required but will not ensure approval of accommodation(s).
Academic Integrity
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for
academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been
  2. Improper collaboration in-group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Academic Accommodations:
Students with disabilities who require academic accommodations must contact the Student Accessibility Centre (SAS) to meet with an appropriate Disability Services Coordinator.  To contact SAS, phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652, or email For further information, consult McMaster University’s Policy for Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities.
On-line Elements:
In this course, we will be using on-line elements, which may include email, Avenue to Learn, WebEX, and external web sites. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.
Course Changes:
The instructor reserves the right to modify elements of the course and will notify students accordingly.
Course Withdrawal Policy:
Policies related to dropping a course and course withdrawals are posted to the Centre for Continuing Education’s program webpage, FAQs & Policies (
Storm Closure Policy:
In the event of inclement weather, the Centre for Continuing Education will abide by the University’s Storm Closure Policy:, and will only close if the University is closed. All in-class courses, exams and room bookings by internal and external clients will be cancelled if the Centre for Continuing Education is closed. On-line courses will take place as scheduled.
Grading Scale:
Grade Equivalent
Grade Point
Equivalent Percentages
A+ 12 90-100
A 11 85-89
A- 10 80-84
B+ 9 77-79
B 8 73-76
B- 7 70-72
C+ 6 67-69
C 5 63-66
C- 4 60-62
D+ 3 57-59
D 2 53-56
D- 1 50-52
F 0 0-49
Course Schedule:


Topic / Focus

Related Readings


Week 1


Jan 18


In Class


Introduction (Course Sessional Outline):

· Course objectives, activities, and evaluation criteria


The key components of the Canadian Business System:

· The historical evolution of business in Canada; Evaluation the evolution and increasing sophistication of products and services developed by Canadian business; The role of economics in shaping business activities; Basic concepts of budgets and budgeting.







Griffin et al., Ch 1


Week 2


Jan 25




Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Ownership Options:

· The role of small (and new) businesses in the Canadian economy; “The Entrepreneurial Process”; Types of ownership - sole proprietorship, limited liability partnership, corporations, co- operatives; Starting a corporation (partnership agreements, unlimited liability, reporting requirements, process to incorporate); Value of business plans in planning, pitching and financing your business.


Griffin et al., Ch 4


Week 3


Feb 1




Role of Government and Business Ethics:

· Canadian business environments - How they shape and influence businesses; Fiscal policy, free market systems, the role of government regulation and regulatory requirements; Expectations of ethical conduct and accountability in Canadian business - personal ethics, managerial/business ethics, policy development (expenses, donations, gifts, bribes and corporate relations), corporate social responsibility, whistleblowers, who are corporations accountable to and why; What have the federal, provincial and regional/municipal governments done to support and stimulate Canadian business?



Griffin et al., Ch 2 and 3

Week 4


Feb 8


In Class

Organizational Structure:

· Different models for organizational structure - how mission, vision, purpose and strategy determine which model is chosen; Why organizations choose different organizational structures - Job specialization, departmentalization, scalability; Organizational structure and decision-making; Role of joint ventures, co-marketing

Griffin et al., Ch 7


agreements and other structures in promoting Canadian business internationally


Team contract DUE


Reference & Discussion question posting due end-of-week



Week 5


Feb 15




Management Function in Different Organizations:

· What a manager does (planning, organizing, leading and controlling); The management process; Management skills; Strategic management; Benefits of analytical tools such as SWOT and gap analysis; How motivation and leadership qualities and techniques can drive organizational performance and success.


Moderate your Reference & Discussion forum


Griffin et al., Ch 6


Week 6


Feb 22





· Components of Marketing (4Ps) - what is marketing strategy? Target marketing and market segmentation, consumer behaviour; Products and services definition, development, life cycle, branding; Promotion - product positioning, promotional strategies, advertising promotions; Pricing objectives, strategies and tactics; The distribution mix - distribution strategies, channel conflict and channel leadership


Mini Assignment #1 DUE


Team Business Plan synopsis DUE


Moderate your Reference & Discussion forum

Griffin et al., Ch 12 and 13



Week 7



Feb 29




Quiz 1


Understanding the Accounting Equation:

· What exactly is accounting?; Scope and types of accounting processes and procedures; Why do you need financial statements?; What balance sheets and income statements tell you; How to read a balance sheet; Foundational explanation of - Assets, Liabilities, Fixed and Variable Costs, Cash Flow; What information do they provide?; What information systems support accounting processes?


Moderate your Reference & Discussion forum


Griffin et al., Ch 11


Week 8


Mar 7


In Class


Making Financial Decisions:

· Scope of responsibilities for financial managers; Differentiating between operating and capital expenditures; Sources of financing; Securing financing for your business - when to look for external financing, what about going public?, what either option offers; What are the pitfalls; Risk management options


Griffin et al., Ch 15




Moderate your Reference & Discussion forum.

At least 7 responses and 2 moderating posts due



Week 9


Mar 14




Factors in Human Resources Management:

· Scope of human resources management from recruitment to training to compensation and benefits to performance evaluations to termination; Key trends and issues in HR Management; Special focus on labour relations - complexities of managing in a unionized environment, managing expectations, negotiating workplace expectations, managing cost, labour interruptions


Team Business Plan progress report DUE Moderate your Reference & Discussion forum


Griffin et al., Ch 8 and 9


Week 10


Mar 21


In Class


Operations Management:

· Differentiating between service operations and goods production; Defining production in a global economy; Factors of operations planning (capacity, location, layout, quality, methods); Issues in operations scheduling and control; Why productivity is such a critical issue to Canada; Six tools of total quality management


Mini Assignment #2 DUE


Moderate your Reference & Discussion forum


Griffin et al., Ch 10



Week 11


Mar 28




The Medium and the Message in Organizations:

· Explore use of information systems to support every aspect of an organization from finance to sales, marketing, operations and HR; Introduce the variety of systems and processes used to collect, manage, interpret and analyze data; Have an appreciation for the risks and threats to IT, and the safeguards that can be put into place to reduce this risk; Examine how communications spans an organization and how used effectively can increase productivity, decrease employee turnover, facilitate innovation and contribute to a healthy organizational culture; Tools for effectively managing communications - what tools are available? what works best?; When to use technology and when to keep it face-to-face


Moderate your Reference & Discussion forum


Griffin et al., Appendix C


Week 12


April 4


In Class


Quiz 2


Concepts in Corporate Finance and Economics:

· Defining money in Canada (spendable and convertible; credit); Understanding Canada’s financial institutions and the services they offer; How the Bank of Canada works including managing the money supply; Primary and secondary securities markets; Looking at stocks, bonds and mutual funds


Griffin et al., Ch 14





Moderate your Reference & Discussion forum Reference and Discussion forums close end of week

Business Plan (Group presentations)

Business Plan submission DUE (including all contract components)

Written assignment (Praxis) DUE

Completed Individual Grading Framework due.