Introduction to Business [OpenStax]

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Introduction to Business Course Outline

How do the world’s economies and governments shape economic activity?

Concepts Covered:

  • How do businesses and not-for-profit organizations help create our standard of living?
  • What are the sectors of the business environment, and how do changes in them influence business decisions?
  • What are the primary features of the world’s economic systems, and how are the three sectors of the U.S. economy linked?
  • How do economic growth, full employment, price stability, and inflation indicate a nation’s economic health?
  • How does the government use monetary policy and fiscal policy to achieve its macroeconomic goals?
  • What are the basic microeconomic concepts of demand and supply, and how do they establish prices?
  • What are the four types of market structure?
  • Which trends are reshaping the business, microeconomic, and macroeconomic environments and competitive arena?

How are individual business ethics are formed?

Concepts Covered:

  • What philosophies and concepts shape personal ethical standards?
  • How can organizations encourage ethical business behavior?
  • What is corporate social responsibility?
  • How do businesses meet their social responsibilities to various stakeholders?
  • What are the trends in ethics and corporate social responsibility?

What are the processes of taking a business global?

Concepts Covered:

  • Why is global trade important to the United States, and how is it measured?
  • Why do nations trade?
  • What are the barriers to international trade?
  • How do governments and institutions foster world trade?
  • What are international economic communities?
  • How do companies enter the global marketplace?
  • What threats and opportunities exist in the global marketplace?
  • What are the advantages of multinational corporations?
  • What are the trends in the global marketplace?

What are the common forms of business ownership?

Concepts Covered:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the sole proprietorship form of business organization?
  • What are the advantages of operating as a partnership, and what downside risks should partners consider?
  • How does the corporate structure provide advantages and disadvantages to a company, and what are the major types of corporations?
  • What other options for business organization does a company have in addition to sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations?
  • What makes franchising an appropriate form of organization for some types of business, and why does it continue to grow in importance?
  • Why are mergers and acquisitions important to a company’s overall growth?
  • What current trends will affect the business organizations of the future?

Just how important are small businesses to our economy?

Concepts Covered:

  • Why do people become entrepreneurs, and what are the different types of entrepreneurs?
  • What characteristics do successful entrepreneurs share?
  • How do small businesses contribute to the U.S. economy?
  • What are the first steps to take if you are starting your own business?
  • Why does managing a small business present special challenges for the owner?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages facing owners of small businesses?
  • How does the Small Business Administration help small businesses?
  • What trends are shaping entrepreneurship and small-business ownership?

How do leadership styles influence a corporate culture?

Concepts Covered:

  • What is the role of management?
  • What are the four types of planning?
  • What are the primary functions of managers in organizing activities?
  • How do leadership styles influence a corporate culture?
  • How do organizations control activities?
  • What roles do managers take on in different organizational settings?
  • What set of managerial skills is necessary for managerial success?
  • What trends will affect management in the future?

What needs to be considered when designing organizational structures?

Concepts Covered:

  • What are the traditional forms of organizational structure?
  • What contemporary organizational structures are companies using?
  • Why are companies using team-based organizational structures?
  • What tools do companies use to establish relationships within their organizations?
  • How can the degree of centralization/decentralization be altered to make an organization more successful?
  • How do mechanistic and organic organizations differ?
  • How does the informal organization affect the performance of the company?
  • What trends are influencing the way businesses organize?

What are the elements of the human resource management process?

Concepts Covered:

  • What is the human resource management process, and how are human resource needs determined?
  • How do firms recruit applicants?
  • How do firms select qualified applicants?
  • What types of training and development do organizations offer their employees?
  • How are performance appraisals used to evaluate employee performance?
  • What are the types of compensation and methods for paying workers?
  • What is a labor union and how is it organized, what is collective bargaining, and what are some of the key negotiation issues?
  • How are grievances between management and labor resolved, and what tactics are used to force a contract settlement?
  • What are the key laws and federal agencies affecting human resource management and labor relations?
  • What trends and issues are affecting human resource management and labor relations?

What is the key to Motivating Employees?

Concepts Covered:

  • What are the basic principles of Frederick Taylor’s concept of scientific management?
  • What did Elton Mayo’s Hawthorne studies reveal about worker motivation?
  • What is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and how do these needs relate to employee motivation?
  • How are McGregor’s Theories X and Y and Ouchi’s Theory Z used to explain worker motivation?
  • What are the basic components of Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory?
  • What four contemporary theories on employee motivation offer insights into improving employee performance?
  • How can managers redesign existing jobs to increase employee motivation and performance?
  • What initiatives are organizations using today to motivate and retain employees?

How do manufacturers and service firms manage and control the creation of products and services?

Concepts Covered:

  • Why is production and operations management important in both manufacturing and service firms?
  • The Production Process: How Do We Make It?
  • Location, Location, Location: Where Do We Make It?
  • Why are resource-planning tasks such as inventory management and supplier relations critical to production?
  • How do operations managers schedule and control production?
  • How can quality-management and lean-manufacturing techniques help firms improve production and operations management?
  • What roles do technology and automation play in manufacturing and service-industry operations management?
  • What key trends are affecting the way companies manage production and operations?

How is the marketing mix is used to create sales opportunities?

Concepts Covered:

  • What is the marketing concept and relationship-building?
  • How do managers create a marketing strategy?
  • What is the marketing mix?
  • How do consumers and organizations make buying decisions?
  • What are the five basic forms of consumer and business market segmentation?
  • What Is a Product?
  • How do organizations create new products?
  • What are the stages of the product life cycle?
  • What strategies are used for pricing products, and what are the future trends?
  • What trends are occurring in products and pricing?

What are the major roles of marketing?

Concepts Covered:

  • What is the nature and function of distribution (place)?
  • What is wholesaling, and what are the types of wholesalers?
  • What are the different kinds of retail operations?
  • How can supply-chain management increase efficiency and customer satisfaction?
  • What is promotion, and what are the key elements of a promotional mix?
  • How are advertising media selected?
  • What is personal selling?
  • What are the goals of sales promotion, and what are several types of sales promotion?
  • How does public relations fit into the promotional mix?
  • What is social media, and how has it changed promotion?
  • What is e-commerce, and how has it affected the retail sector?

That is the role of information technology in business?

Concepts Covered:

  • How has information technology transformed business and managerial decision-making?
  • Why are computer networks an important part of today’s information technology systems?
  • What types of systems make up a typical company’s management information system?
  • How can technology management and planning help companies optimize their information technology systems?
  • What are the best ways to protect computers and the information they contain?
  • What are the leading trends in information technology?

How does accounting contribute to a company’s overall success?

Concepts Covered:

  • Why are financial reports and accounting information important, and who uses them?
  • What are the differences between public and private accountants, and how has federal legislation affected their work?
  • What are the six steps in the accounting cycle?
  • In what terms does the balance sheet describe the financial condition of an organization?
  • How does the income statement report a firm’s profitability?
  • Why is the statement of cash flows an important source of information?
  • How can ratio analysis be used to identify a firm’s financial strengths and weaknesses?
  • What major trends affect the accounting industry today?

What is the role of financial institutions in U.S. and international economies?

Concepts Covered:

  • What is money, what are its characteristics and functions, and what are the three parts of the U.S. money supply?
  • How does the Federal Reserve manage the money supply?
  • What are the key financial institutions, and what role do they play in the process of financial intermediation?
  • How does the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protect depositors’ funds?
  • What roles do U.S. banks play in the international marketplace?
  • What trends are reshaping financial institutions?

What key trends affect financial management and securities markets?

Concepts Covered:

  • How do finance and the financial manager affect the firm’s overall strategy?
  • What types of short-term and long-term expenditures does a firm make?
  • What are the main sources and costs of unsecured and secured short-term financing?
  • What are the key differences between debt and equity, and what are the major types and features of long-term debt?
  • When and how do firms issue equity, and what are the costs?
  • How do securities markets help firms raise funding, and what securities trade in the capital markets?
  • Where can investors buy and sell securities, and how are securities markets regulated?
  • What are the current developments in financial management and the securities markets?

How can you kick off your Career in Business?

Concepts Covered:

  • First: Learn the Basics of Business
  • Developing Interpersonal Skills Is Key to Your Success
  • Make Your Future Happen: Learn to Plan
  • Going to College Is an Opportunity of a Lifetime—Never Drop Out
  • Get Your Career Off on the Right Track
  • Self-Test Scoring Guidelines

About the book

Introduction to Business

Introduction to Business covers the scope and sequence of most introductory business courses. The book provides detailed explanations in the context of core themes such as customer satisfaction, ethics, entrepreneurship, global business, and managing change. Introduction to Business includes hundreds of current business examples from a range of industries and geographic locations, which feature a variety of individuals. The outcome is a balanced approach to the theory and application of business concepts, with attention to the knowledge and skills necessary for student success in this course and beyond.

About the authors:

Senior Contributing Authors

Lawrence J. Gitman, San Diego State University – Emeritus
Carl McDaniel, University of Texas, Arlington
Amit Shah, Frostburg State University
Monique Reece
Linda Koffel, Houston Community College
Bethann Talsma, Davenport University and Grand Rapids Community College
James C. Hyatt, University of The Cumberlands

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