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Introduction to Business Administration, Group C

The course imparts knowledge of the subject, the theories, and the central topics of Business Administration. 1. Discipline-specific knowledge and competence - Learn about the context and basic principles within the field of business administration 2. Management-specific skills - Develop a basic economic expertise 3. Global business environment - Discussion of issues in an international context 4. Teamwork and responsible leadership - n/a 5. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills - Evaluate and critically think about problems in different functions of a firm 6. Managerial and entrepreneurial practice - Understand the role of strategy, innovation, and organization for the developement of a firm
Course code
Course type
BSc Course
Weekly Hours
HS 2020
Prof. Dr. Ove Jensen, Prof. Dr. Utz Schäffer
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.

The course introduces the elements of business administration that constitute our school’s name: Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Unternehmensführung – Otto Beisheim School of Management. The course content is organized around six themes:

1) Introducing the “Hochschule” in WHU: Evolution of business schools

  • Evolution of the university
  • Evolution of business administration
  • Criticism of business, business administration, and business schools

2) Introducing the “Unternehmen” in WHU: Evolution and theory of the firm

  • Chandler’s theory of scale and scope
  • Williamson’s transaction cost theory
  • Criticism of Chandler and Williamson

3) Introducing the “Wissenschaft” in WHU: Theory and evolution of knowledge

  • Philosophy of science
  • Scientific (r)evolution
  • Social science vs. natural science
  • Criticism of science

4) Introducing the “Führung” in WHU: Evolution of leadership thought

  • The elements of systematic management
  • Taylor’s scientific management
  • Mayo’s humanistic management
  • Leadership vs. management
  • Criticism of management

5) Introducing Otto Beisheim’s work: Evolution and theory of marketing thought

  • Tedlow’s four eras of marketing
  • Evolution of distribution
  • Economic theory and marketing theory
  • Criticism of marketing

6) Introducing management: Key concepts in strategic management

  • Key concepts in strategy
  • Critical evaluation of notorious strategy tools
  • Systematic strategy implementation
  • Corporate governance and co-determination
Date Time
Friday, 04.09.2020 09:00 - 12:15
Thursday, 10.09.2020 15:30 - 18:45
Tuesday, 15.09.2020 08:00 - 11:15
Wednesday, 16.09.2020 08:00 - 11:15
Saturday, 19.09.2020 10:00 - 11:00
Tuesday, 22.09.2020 08:00 - 11:15
Tuesday, 22.09.2020 19:00 - 20:30
Tuesday, 29.09.2020 08:00 - 11:15
Wednesday, 30.09.2020 19:00 - 20:30
The course provides a big picture of business administration. It gives students a map to their ensuing course of studies. The course emphasizes an understanding of the business history as a key to understanding the present and to predicting avenues into the future. An understanding of continuities vs. structural breaks is all the more important in today’s media environment that too easily heralds business revolutions and inflates trends for the sake of proclaiming something new. Against this background, the course encourages students to adopt a healthy skepticism toward business concepts, strategy tools, and management fashions. Critical thinking is one essential meta-competence that this course seeks to foster.
There is no required textbook. We have not found a book that covers the range of topics discussed by this course. Instead, the learning material includes presentation slides, recommended readings, video links, and black board notes. These are available on the learning management system myWHUcourses/Moodle.
The course uses a hybrid teaching approach: It emphasizes live interactions in the classroom while integrating online participants into the classroom via Zoom. In the unfortunate case of quarantine measures, the classroom sessions will be switched to live sessions on Zoom.

The overall learning method mix across all class sessions of this course is:

  • 95% interactive concept lectures, and
  • 5% simulation game.
The course score is entirely based on individual performance. There are no team grades and no peer evaluations. A maximum of 90 points can be achieved. The course score is composed as follows:
  • 45 points (50%): Professor Schäffer’s part of the written exam,
  • 40 points (ca. 45%): Professor Jensen’s part of the written exam,
  • 5 points (ca. 5%): Performance in the simulation game “Managing customers and segments”.

For WHU students, the course score will enter into the module grade of the study module “Introduction to Business”, together with the course “Sourcing: Managing the Firm’s Supply Base”, co-taught by professors Lutz Kaufmann and Felix Reimann. Both courses are weighted equally.

International exchange students can choose either of the two courses or both and will obtain a separate grade for each course.

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