University of Vermont

School of Business Administration

Fall 2002



Political Envir of Business

William Averyt - PROFESSOR INFO
OFFICE HOURS: By Appointment
MEETS: MW 2:00-3:15
LOCATION: 001 Kalkin

Econ 11 & 12; BSAD major or minor, CSIS, Jr. standing

Goals & Objectives:

To analyze the evolution of national and international regulation of business and the broader political, legal, social, and cultural forces affecting business.

Course Content:

CASE PROJECT: Student teams will research a case for oral presentation and discussion to the class and submit a written report. The purpose of the research project is to understand how companies manage problems in the legal and political environment. Student teams will play the role of members of a consulting group, the Champlain Consulting Group (CCG), which is advising a specific firm. The CCG is under contract by the firm featured in the case to examine that firm's actions in a specific legal/political issue area and to make recommendations about that company's strategy. The CCG team will make these recommendations to the company's Strategy Committee, which consists of the CEO (Chief Executive Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer), General Counsel (senior lawyer of firm), Vice President Government Affairs, Vice President Public Affairs, and other senior officers of the company. The CCG in its oral presentation will focus on these essential questions: Did the company pursue, or is the company now pursuing, a wise course of action? Does CCG recommend a different course of action? What, exactly? Why?

The case topics and the elements of the case study are listed below. When you are thinking about how to analyze your case, use the concepts and frameworks discussed in the beginning sections of the course, based on the lectures, class discussions, and the readings.


(Topics may be based on class enrollment)

1. Antitrust: Samsung Electronics [Korea] and alleged price-fixing of DRAM memory chips

o issue: possible violation of antitrust laws by Samsung

o rulemaker: Department of Justice (begins investigation of Samsung, others, mid-2002)

o questions to think about: Even though this investigation is just beginning, does it appear that Samsung broke U.S. laws? (Note: as a multinational operating in the U.S. or selling to the U.S. market, it must obey U.S. laws.) How should Samsung handle this challenge?

2. Labor: Verizon and the 2000 Strike

o issue: strike against Verizon by unions (IBEW, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and CWA, Communications Workers of America)

o rulemaker: National Labor Relations Board

o stakeholders: IBEW, CWA, others

o questions to think about: What exactly is Verizon? Why might this strike be extremely significant for "New Information Economy" companies? Are there tensions between the two unions striking against Verizon?

3. Equal employment opportunity: Ralph Lauren and Alleged Racial Discrimination

o issue: RL's compliance with EEO laws and regulations; EEOC report and individuals' lawsuit 2002

o rulemaker: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

o stakeholders: possibly organizations representing Asian Americans, African Americans, other groups

o questions to think about: What impact might these actions have against RL? Which steps should RL take on this issue?

4. Environment: Ford and the SUV (Explorer, Expedition)

o Issue: global warming and Ford's design plans for its SUV and other products

o Rulemaker: Environmental Protection Agency, U.N. panel on climate change, U.S. Congress, U.S. President, Kyoto Accord

o Stakeholders: ?

o Questions to think about: Does this case indicate a fundamental shift in the position of large manufacturers? What would be the significance of that, if it were true? Did Ford's leadership change in the past year affect the company's position on global warming?

5. Trade: U.S. Steel (formerly USX) and Steel Imports

o issue:

o rulemaker: World Trade Organization; U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Department of Commerce

o stakeholders: ?

o questions to think about: Is this an isolated occurrence or the wave of new kinds of trade actions and protectionism?

6. Trade Canadian Lumber Producers and U.S. Trade Barriers

o issue: U.S. tariffs and/or quotas limiting Canadian lumber exports to U.S. market (check on "countervailing duties" placed on Canadian lumber by U.S. Government in 2002)

o rulemaker: rules of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), possibly the World Trade Organization, U.S. Government, Canadian government

o stakeholders: ?

o questions to think about: didn't NAFTA establish a free trade area? Why, then, are we witnessing this conflict?

Teams: You will be a member of a team. Each team will carry out a case study of one of the above cases, as explained above. The members of each team will receive a team grade for the combined paper and presentation (the paper equals approximately three-quarters of the total case grade and the presentation equals approximately one-quarter).

Each team member will evaluate the contribution of each of the other team members after the team presentation. You will be asked to assign positive or negative points to each team member and these points will be applied to the calculation of the person's grade for the entire course. An outstanding contribution will raise a person's course grade by as much as one-fifth of a letter grade (i.e., 2 points will be added to the person's grade calculated on a 100 point basis). A very poor contribution will lower a person's course grade by as much as one entire letter grade (i.e., 10 points will be subtracted from that person's course grade).

The most frequent problems which teams encounter include the failure of one team member to communicate with the team, to make time in her/his personal schedule for team work meetings, to appear promptly at team meetings, to practice for the oral presentation, or to complete his/her work on time.

The team case reports will be an important part of the course material. All class members must read these reports. Material from the case reports will provide subject matter for exams. You will be able to read all team reports by accessing the Public Folder; you may also download reports and print out hard copies for review.

Copies of all teams' reports will be posted in the Public Folder of BSAD 132-A, "BSAD 132A-DISCUSS". Also turn in one hard copy to me on the due date, Wednesday, October 16.

A word on academic honesty: You should not share your team research with other teams. We will have more than one team analyzing a topic. Keep your working notes. Too much parallelism in teams' work on the same case subject will trigger a request by me to see the working notes of all teams working on the same case. Reread the Cat's Tale rules of UVM forbidding plagiarism.

Web Research: The Web will obviously be a major research tool for corporate annual reports, policy statements, and financial data; position papers of leading stakeholder groups such as labor unions and consumer organizations; and laws and regulations of government institutions such as the European Union, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and many others.

Do not fall into the trap of producing a "cut-and-paste Web report." Use Web material in an analytical way. Be skeptical of official statements on the Web sites of companies, labor unions, and government agencies. Of course they are going to present their case in the best light. But you must be a critical analyst and examine the statements by Ford or the NAACP in light of broader evidence and your own conceptual framework for your project.

Be careful to place Web material against the broader analyses of respected sources such as the Wall Street Journal and the others listed below. These sources might have a philosophical leaning toward business, or consumers, or labor unions, but their news reporting and analyses will often be more objective than the statements by the CEO of Verizon, for example.

Remember, in using web resources, that if you copy and paste web content this is a quotation and you must show the source. All indirect use of research materials must also be attributed.

Elements of th

Books & Materials
Required Text(s):

BSAD 132 Readings, UVM Bookstore

Pop Quizzes and Class Participation* 10%
Case Presentation25%
Exam #1 (one essay and ID, multiple choice) 20%
Exam #2 (one essay and ID, multiple choice, cumulative)20%
Final (multiple choice, cumulative) 25%
Grading Comments:

*Approximately 5 times during the course, a pop quiz will ask two or three brief questions about the assigned readings. Note that each question on the pop quiz counts as one point on your course grade. Ten questions equals ten percentage points of your course grade.

Attendance Policy:

Class role will be called from time to time. Unexcused absences as well as the quality of class participation will affect marginal course grades upward or downward, by as much as one-half letter grade Absences for personal emergencies should be cleared with me beforehand if possible.

Additional Comments:

(From Bailey-Howe reference desk)

From: Peter Spitzform []
Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2000 7:38 PM
To: Averyt, William F.
Subject: RE: Dow Jones Interactive

Hi Bill,

Yes, you can search the Wall Street Journal by author or topic, within a date or date range. We've now set up the Wall Street Journal as a Select Publication that will allow you to more simply search the Journal.

At the Dow Jones Interactive home page, select Publications Library. After that loads, if the screen reads "Search By Company," click on the left side of the screen the command to "Search By Words." Next, under the heading Select Publications, click on the little arrow next to the box that reads "Dow Jones - Selected Publications." From the drop-down list, choose the Wall Street Journal. You may, on the same screen, enter a date or date range to be searched, and put your search terms in the box at the top of the screen (labeled "Enter words or phrases...").

The results of your search will be full-text.

Alternatively, after you've selected the Wall Street Journal from the drop-down menu under "Select Publications," you'll find that after the screen reconfigures to reflect your selection that the Wall Street Journal has appeared as an icon to click on. Doing so will give you a screen describing the publication with a hot link called "View most recent headlines." Clicking on that allows you to browse the most recent issue (which will be today's edition if it's past 1:30 pm, the time they update the site with the new journals).

This is NOT a very user-friendly site, and I'd encourage you to stop by for help if you don't find that these written instructions help you enough.

Good luck, and let me (or any of us) know if you need more help.

Peter Spitzform


TEAM NAME: _________________

NAME OF THE EVALUATING TEAM MEMBER: ______________________



NAME OF TEAM MEMBER__________________ POINTS (-10 . + 2)_______

NAME OF TEAM MEMBER__________________ POINTS (-10 . + 2) _______

NAME OF TEAM MEMBER__________________ POINTS (-10 . + 2) _______

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