How Organizations Behave

Barbara Michel
Day/Time Taught: 
TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Course Number: 

There are many different issues facing organizations today, in addition to the everyday tasks that must be accomplished. For instance, what obligations do organizations have to be environmentally responsible and what responsibility organizations have/should have to give back to the communities in which they are members, i.e., be a “Good Citizen”? There are also many different types of organizations. Does a hospital respond to these external issues the same way that a retailer does? Do government-run entities behave the same as non-profit organizations or traditional manufacturers? Similarly, how do these different organizational structures/business models accomplish their goals and objectives? Is marketing the same for all organizations, or do the responsibilities of organizational areas change with the type of organization? These are some of the questions that we will delve into in this course. The course is designed as a comparative look at how different business models are similar, as well as different. Also, one of the goals of this course is to expose the student to the various aspects of running a business/organization in a fun and interesting format.

This course is unique for a First Year Seminar because it links the student to a local mentor organization. Each student will gain unprecedented access to the inner workings of the mentor organization in an effort to learn how a successful organization operates. Students will explore how the mentor organization executes the various functional areas. Then, by comparing the mentor organization’s business processes to other organizational formats, students can begin to see similarities and differences and start to understand what works well for certain situations. Is it possible to learn from other organizational structures? Can a retailer learn something from a manufacturer, a government institution, a non-profit organization?
As part of the course, the students will work with the mentor company on a particular research project to aid the mentor organization in their efforts toward continuous improvement. In addition, the students will conduct a comparative analysis of how other organizational structures deal with the same or similar issue in an effort to glean some insight and recommend some areas for improvement in the mentor company’s process. Very often, great ideas come from studying a topic or business totally unrelated to one’s own.
In the end, the student should have a much more “Real World” understanding of all that has to take place to be successful in an organization. The student will gain a better understanding of what he/she may want/not want to major in as well as what successful companies expect from their employees in terms of academic knowledge and character. Thus, even if the student decides that a Business degree is not for him/her, he/she will still gain valuable insight as to how our business world works and what employers expect from their employees, thereby enabling a better chance to succeed in the chosen field.
Instructor Bio: 

Barbara Michel is a Lecturer in the Marketing Department of Appalachian State University's (ASU) Walker College of Business (WCOB). Barbara has been teaching at ASU since Fall 2008. She has taught Principles of Marketing (MKT3050), Professional Selling (MKT3052) and Retailing (MKT3210) within her department. Barbara has also developed and teaches 2 different First Year Seminar (FYS) classes as part of the University's General Education Program. One of the FYS classes in the Fall semester is linked to the Business Exploration Residential Learning Community (Business RLC).

She works more closely with this group of incoming students to develop greater connections to the University, Community and College of Business and to expose this group to the abundance of opportunities that are offered to Appalachian students. Barbara is professionally qualified with 30 years of business experience, she began her career working for a small marketing research company and then a family owned apparel company. She then spent 15 years (1985 - 2000) with L'eggs Products, then a division of Sara Lee Corporation, beginning as an Assistant Manager of Sales Reporting and Analysis and rising to become Director of Sales Forecasting and Planning. In March of 2000 she and her husband left their positions in Winston-Salem, NC and moved to Boone where they opened a retail hobby store. They expanded to a second location in Charlotte in 2003. In 2008 Barbara and her husband sold their retail hobby business when she was offered a teaching position in the Marketing Department of the WCOB. Barbara and her husband have since opened another small business located in the High Country. Barbara is also involved in the University community serving on various committees and being a Faculty Advisor for one of the WCOB student clubs (Pi Sigma Epsilon).

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Dr. Martha McCaughey

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