How Organizations Behave

Barbara Michel
Day/Time Taught: 
MWF 10:00 – 10:50 am
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.
NOTE: Priority enrollment given to residents of the Business Exploration Residential Learning Community.

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

QEP Global Learning