Welcome to Business Across Cultures, and Week 1 Homework

Welcome to the Business Across Cultures course for Spring 2010. This semester’s course may be a little bit different from how the course was taught in the past. See the syllabus (in PDF format) by clicking this link.

Here’s a slight revision of the syllabus, with minor changes made to the evaluation system. I decided to be nice and let you have a Major and a Minor essay, meaning the one you do better on will be worth more of your grade, and the one you do worse on will be worth less of your grade:

For next week’s class, the assigned homework is to bring yourself up to speed on the conflict between Posco and the native people in the Indian state of Orissa. A starting point for your investigation is writer Vandana Singh’s recent post about the conflict, comparing it to the James Cameron film Avatar. (But make sure you move on from there, to read more articles and reports on both sides of this conflict.)

We will discuss parallels, differences, and the comparison in general, as well as the ethics and business concerns of the situation, and its coverage (or lack thereof) in the Korean media. If you have not yet seen Avatar, please do make sure you have seen it before our class next Tuesday morning (March 9th) in order to be able to participate in the discussion.

Remember, as I mentioned in class on Thursday, in response to a very good question: you are expected to write up your thoughts before and after the discussion — two separate sheets which you will staple together when handing them in each week on Thursday. For now, that means writing up your thoughts on business in Avatar, on your thoughts about the situation involving Posco in Orissa, and on Vandana Singh’s comparison of the two situations. You’ll write up a reaction afterward.

Also remember that you are expected to hand in your Student Information Sheet on Tuesday. You will have filled it out with your chosen partner and attached your photo by then.

Finally, I asked you and your partner to brainstorm a list five positive and five negative effects of business on your personal life. I’ll also be making a list, and part of our discussion will be comparing notes on these lists of ours. In any case, you are expected to hand in a typed copy of your list at the beginning of class on Tuesday, so make sure you have two copies: one for me, and one each for you and your partner, which you can use during your discussion.

See you next week!

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