Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

Ngoc Nguyen, McMaster University Continuing Education Marketing graduate Ngoc Nguyen, McMaster University Continuing Education Marketing graduate


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*Not applicable for Digital Marketing concentration

BUS 825 - Business Foundations C22

Academic Credit Value:
3 units
Course Delivery Mode:
Hours of Study:
39 hours
Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Anti-requisite(s):
Instructor Name:
Patsy Marshall
Course Dates:
01/21/2019 - 04/15/2019

Required Course Materials:
Griffin, R., Ebert, R., Starke, F., Dracopoulos, G., & Lang, M. (2014). Business (8th Cdn ed.). (Plus MyBizLab access card package) Pearson. (ISBN: 9780133354263)
Optional Course Materials:
Course Description:
Business 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 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 be prepared with questions or discussion points regarding each week’s assigned readings.
Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, students will:
  • developed an understanding of the foundational concepts and vocabulary associated with business management
  • gained a basic knowledge of the current issues and environments faced by managers and administrators in Canada as well as other countries
  • Acquired and applied fundamental management skills including: pitching ideas, case analysis, budget development, collaborative problem solving and decision-making.
Course Evaluation
Assignment  Per Cent*  Description
Assignment #1
15% This personal reflection assignment will have two parts.  Part I gives you the opportunity to review all of the key topics addressed in the course and will be due at the beginning of the course. Part II gives you the opportunity to review your Part I submission and consider how you are going to apply your new knowledge. Part II will be done at the end of the course.
Assignment #2
20% Focuses on the roles of marketing and accounting in defining the success of a business.
Assignment #3 30% A comprehensive case study that requires the ability to reference and integrate many of the concepts you have learned in this course by analyzing a real world global business.
Homework 1 & 2 2 x 5% (10%) Provides you the opportunity to connect the concepts of leadership and diversity to experiences and environments that you are familiar with.
Quiz 10% Ten multiple choice questions based on material covered in the course. The quiz is taken online.
Participation 15% Ten multiple choice questions based on material covered in the course. The quiz is taken online.
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 through weekly online discussion boards.  It is expected that students will read the assigned chapters per the weekly requirements.
Assignment Submission:
Course assignments are submitted to the appropriate A2L Assignment folder by the specified due date
Late Coursework:
Late penalties for assignments:  2% per day up to a maximum of 5 days.  If after 5 days an assignment has not been submitted, the student will receive a zero mark for that assignment.

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 obtained.
  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 Learning Goals Assessments Readings
Canadian Business System
Recognize the key components of the Canadian Business System
Discuss historical evolution of business in Canada; Evaluation the evolution and increasing sophistication of products and services developed by Canadian business; Appreciate the role of economics in shaping business activities; Learn the basis for analyzing a business scenario using Case Studies; Introduce basic concepts of budgets and budgeting.
Discussion Exercise 1

Griffin et al., Chapter 1
Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Forms of Ownership

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; Value of Business Plans in planning, pitching and financing your business; Starting a Corporation:
Partnership Agreements; Unlimited liability; Reporting requirements; Process to incorporate

Discussion Exercise 2

Griffin et al., Chapter 4
Role of Government & Ethics in Business Interaction between Government and Business
Discuss Canadian Business Environments
- How they shape and influence businesses
Concepts to include:
- Fiscal policy; Free market systems; The role
   of Government Regulation and Regulatory
Expectations of ethical conduct and accountability in Canadian Business
- Personal Ethics; Managerial/Business
  Ethics; Policy development; 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?

Discussion Exercise 3

Assignment 1, Part 1

Griffin et al, Chapters 2 and 3
Business and Organizational Structure
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;
Organizational structure and decision-making; Role of joint ventures, co-marketing agreements and other structures in promoting Canadian business internationally

Discussion Exercise 4

Griffin et al, Chapter 7
Management Functions
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.

Online Quiz
May 29 –
June 04

Chapters 6 and 10
Marketing More Than Just a Brochure or a Website
Components of Marketing (4Ps)

- What is Marketing Strategy? Target   
  Marketing and Market Segmentation;
  Consumer Behaviour
Products and Services
- Definition; Development; Life cycle;
-  Product positioning; Promotional
   strategies; Advertising promotions
- Objectives; Strategies and Tactics
The Distribution Mix
- Distribution strategies; Channel Conflict
  and Channel Leadership

Mini Homework Assignment 1 Chapter 15 (473-489), Chapter 16 (510 – 534) and Chapter 17 (550 – 564)
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?

Discussion Exercise 5

Chapter 14
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
What are the pitfalls; Risk management options

Discussion Exercise 6

Assignment 2

Chapter 20

Human Resources
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
- Diversity; Retention; Contingent workers
  Special focus on labour relations:
- Complexities of managing in a unionized
  environment; Managing expectations;
  Negotiating workplace expectations;
  Managing cost; Labour interruptions

Mini Homework Assignment 2 Griffin et al., Chapters 8 and 9
Operations Management
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

Discussion Exercise 7

Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 (380 – 398)
Managing Information Systems & Technology
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

Discussion Exercise 8

Chapter 13
Economics & Finance 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

Assignment 3 Chapter 18 and Chapter 19 (617 – 624)

Assignment 1, Part 2