Learning Outcomes


icon of a magnifying glass over a list

The content, assignments, and assessments for Introduction to Business are aligned to the following learning outcomes. For a complete list of topics covered in the course, see the Detailed Learning Outcomes. 

Module 1: Role of Business

Discuss the role of business in society, the primary functions within a business, and external forces that affect business activities

  • Explain the concept of business
  • Distinguish between for-profit and nonprofit businesses
  • List and explain the four factors of production required to sustain a business
  • Identify the primary functional areas within a business and describe their contribution to the organization
  • Identify business stakeholders and describe their relationship with business organizations
  • Identify the external forces that shape the business environment

Module 2: Economic Environment

Explain fundamental economic principles and describe how they shape the business environment

  • Define economics and explain the difference between macroeconomics and microeconomics
  • Identify the forces that drive supply and demand within an economic system
  • Illustrate the relationship between supply and demand using supply and demand curves
  • Compare and contrast different economic systems (capitalist, planned, and mixed)
  • Describe the methods economists use to evaluate the health of an economy, such as GDP, unemployment rate, and CPI
  • Explain the effect that the four stages of an economy (expansion, peak, contraction and trough) have on business operations
  • Identify and explain the four stages of an economy (expansion, peak, contraction, and trough), and describe their impact on business operations

Module 3: Global Environment

Describe the characteristics, opportunities, and challenges of the global business environment

  • Explain why nations and U.S. firms engage in global business
  • Describe how nations measure global trade
  • Evaluate common strategies used to reach global markets
  • Identify and describe forces that affect global trade
  • Describe global trade agreements and economic organizations that regulate and promote global trade
  • Describe ethical challenges that businesses face in a global environment

Module 4: Financial Markets and Systems

Explain the institutions and markets that comprise the financial system, and explain how they impact the economy and the money supply

  • Explain what money is and what makes it useful
  • Explain the role of banks in the U.S. monetary system
  • Describe common ways in which businesses obtain financial capital (money) to fund operations

Module 5: Legal Environment

Summarize the role of the legal system in governing and shaping the climate for business

  • Explain the meaning and purpose of law
  • Differentiate between statutory and common law
  • Define tort law, and explain the role of product liability in tort law
  • Explain the purpose and characteristics of intellectual property law
  • Describe warranties
  • List and describe the elements of a legally enforceable contract, and explain the consequences of breach of contract
  • Summarize consumer protection and antitrust laws

Module 6: Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Explain the importance of business ethics and corporate social responsibility

  • Differentiate between ethical and legal behavior
  • Explain the concept of business ethics, and outline the steps companies take to encourage ethical behavior
  • Identify common ethical challenges faced by organizations
  • Explain the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Module 7: Business Ownership

Distinguish among the forms of business ownership

  • List and explain the important factors in choosing an organizational type
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of sole proprietorships
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of partnerships
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of corporations
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid forms of business ownership
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of franchises
  • Describe the two types of mergers and acquisitions

Module 8: Entrepreneurship

Discuss the role of entrepreneurship in small business

  • Discuss the contributions of small business to the U.S. economy
  • Identify the common traits of successful entrepreneurs
  • Discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and important considerations of starting a small business
  • Describe the steps to starting a business
  • List and describe the key components of a business plan

Module 9: Management

Describe the primary functions, responsibilities, and skills of effective leadership and management

  • Describe the three levels of management and the key skills needed by managers
  • Summarize the development of management theory and the key functions of management today
  • Identify the types of planning and decision making managers engage in, and explain how these help organizations reach their goals
  • Describe the organizing function of management and common types of organizational structure
  • Describe common management and leadership styles, and identify the circumstances under which they are most effective
  • Explain why control is an essential part of effective management, and outline the steps of the control process

Module 10: Motivating Employees

Explain common motivational theories and apply them to business

  • Describe the Hawthorne effect, and explain its significance in management
  • Explain need-based theories of worker motivation
  • Explain process-based theories of motivation
  • Differentiate between Theory X, Theory Y, and Theory Z managers
  • Explain how managers can use job characteristics and goal-setting theory to motivate employees

Module 11: Teamwork and Communication

Explain the importance of teamwork and effective communication in a business environment

  • Differentiate between groups and teams, and describe the characteristics of different types of teams
  • Explain the stages of team development and the factors that contribute to team success
  • Explain the importance of, and barriers to, effective communication within an organization
  • Describe typical communication flows, channels, and networks within an organization, and explain when different channels are appropriate
  • Describe the ethical issues, risks, and challenges associated with electronic communication in business

Module 12: Managing Processes

Explain how operations management contributes to organizational success

  • Define operations management in manufacturing and production businesses
  • Describe four major types of facility layouts: process, product, cellular, and fixed position
  • Identify existing and emerging technologies that are changing the way goods are produced and delivered
  • Define operations management in service businesses
  • Explain the scheduling tools (Gantt and PERT) used to increase operations efficiency
  • Explain the importance of logistics and supply-chain management
  • Identify the techniques that are available to ensure high-quality goods and services (Six Sigma, TQM, SPC) and describe the costs of poor quality

Module 13: Marketing Function

Explain the key components of the marketing function

  • Explain the role of customers in marketing
  • Explain the role of segmentation and targeting in marketing
  • Explain the marketing mix

Module 14: Marketing Mix

Explain how organizations use the marketing mix to market to their target customers

  • Explain common product marketing strategies and how organizations use them
  • Explain common pricing strategies and how organizations use them
  • Explain common product distribution strategies and how organizations use them
  • Explain how organizations use integrated marketing communication (IMC) to support their marketing strategies

Module 15: Human Resource Management

Recognize the role of human resource management in planning, recruiting, and managing a workforce

  • Explain how the functions of human resource management contribute to business success
  • Summarize and discuss key laws affecting human resource management
  • Discuss how organizations can effectively recruit and hire employees
  • Discuss effective approaches to training, developing, and rewarding employees
  • Describe the different HR management options for employee termination
  • Discuss the challenges facing today’s HR managers

Module 16: Accounting and Finance

Recognize sound accounting practices, and use financial statements and accounting principles to make informed judgments about an organization’s financial health

  • Define accounting, and explain its role as a form of business communication
  • Identify key financial statements and their components, and explain the primary use of each type of statement
  • Calculate the break-even point, where profit will be equal to $0, using information from financial statements
  • Use financial statements to calculate basic financial ratios to measure the profitability and health of a business
  • Discuss the importance of ethical practices in accounting and the implications of unethical behavior