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Corporations and Politics

BA 4307-501
Spring 2005

Marilyn R. Kaplan, Ph.D.

Email through WebCT ONLY
Office SOM4.216
Hours: Monday/Wednesday 11-12, before or after class, or by appointment

The business world and the political world are intertwined. Each has the power to affect the other to some
degree. In this class we will be discussing the power each sector has over the other as well as the
amplitude, intensity, and possibility of the consequences of business-political engagements. We will
examine historical as well as current political events and relate them to the business world through the use
of critical thinking skills. We will also attempt to predict future government, social, and corporate actions.

Required reading:

1. Steiner and Steiner, Business, Government, and Society, McGraw Hill, 10th edition.
2. Browne & Keeley, Asking the Right Questions, Prentice Hall, 2003.
3. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers

Daily newspapers and business periodicals - Wall Street Journal suggested.

Grading Policy:
Term Paper Project 25% A+: 97 and up; A: 94-96; A-: 90-93
Exam 25% B+: 87-89; B: 84-86; B-: 80-83
Homework 25% C+: 77-79; C: 74-76; C-: 70-73
Case Discussion 15% D+: 67-69; D: 64-66; D-: 60-63
Participation 10% F: Below 60%


Your weekly homework assignment is to bring in a current event clipping from a daily newspaper (New
York Times, Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, etc.), a business periodical (Business Week,
Fortune, etc.) or the internet that directly relates to the topic of the week, for example: foreign trade,
worker safety, or pollution.
Please attach your news story to another sheet of paper that includes the following:
1. Explaining why this news item is important to business
2. How does it relate to the topic/readings assigned for the week
3. Apply the questions of critical thinking
Late homework will not be accepted. Homework is due every week except when noted in the
Term Paper

Part 1: Choose an industry or firm that is of particular interest to you and that is also in the news (examples
are tobacco, dietary supplements, Firestone). To get topic approval, you must write a one- page paper
explaining what your topic encompasses and how it related to the course. Topics will be approved on a first
come, first served. A list of potential topics is available on my website. Topics related to cases in the
textbook may not be used.

Ø Due: NO LATER THAN 1/31, 7pm

Ø 10% of the total project points
Ø One page – Upload through WebCT - Assignments

Part 2: : Take that industry or firm research it and write up the details of the impact of regulations or
lawsuits on the industry and the impact of the industry on government and society both in the past and
currently. Assume that you are writing a case study to add to our textbook. Present the facts and only the
facts: this is not the time for opinion. This is the research portion of the project.

Ø Part 2 Requirements:
o Describe the situation/Facts only
§ Who What When Where
§ Give some historical background
o State the problem
§ What events are occurring socially?
§ What events are occurring economically?
§ What events are occurring politically, etc?
o Use timelines, maps, graphs if necessary to illustrate your case
Ø Due: NO LATE THAN 2/21, 7pm
Ø 30% of total project points
Ø Approximately 3-5 pages
Ø Turn in hard copy PLUS Upload through www.turnitin.com

Part 3: Take the case that you produced in Part 1 and analyze it. Now is the time for your opinions – not
research! Pretend that you are the CEO. Identify the stakeholders, threats and opportunities in the social &
political environment. What actions should be taken by the firm? If you were CEO, what decisions would
you make? Support your recommendations.

Ø Part 3 Requirements:
o Identify the stakeholders
§ Who are they?
§ How important are they to this problem?
o SWOT analysis
§ Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the firm/industry.
§ What opportunities are available to the firm in the environment?
§ What threats await the firm in the environment?
o List possible alternative strategies
§ Rank the alternatives or assign probabilities
§ Which of these strategies do you recommend and why?
o Be sure to write a strong conclusion – case analysis is based on a well-supported
Ø Due: NO LATER THAN 3/28, 7pm
Ø 60% of total project points
Ø Approximately 7-10 pages
Ø Turn in hard copy PLUS upload through www.turnitin.com
Term paper format & rules:
Ø You must follow the requirements. This assignment involves the ANALYSIS PROCESS.
Ø For each part you will be turning in a hard copy as well as uploading to turnitin.com.
Ø All three parts are required.
Ø Late papers will not be accepted.
Ø Use the MLA Handbook and follow the rules of format for papers regarding spacing,
headers, references, citations, etc.
Ø You must list references – I expect you to go to the library for sources. The Internet may be
used but only along with other sources. If your paper has only Internet sources, it is an
automatic zero!
Ø Word processing programs have spelling and grammar checking capabilities – use them!

Scholastic Dishonesty

Scholastic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Students who violate the University of Texas at Dallas’
rules on scholastic dishonesty will be subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of
failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University. I will strictly enforce the University’s
policies. This policy applies to all assignments, whether papers, homework, oral presentations, tests,

In order to monitor possible plagiarism, all term papers will be uploaded by the students to a website
that uses special software. When you have completed your paper you must upload it to this site.
1. Term paper upload: go to www.turnitin.com.
2. Click on LOG IN.
3. Click on New User. Enter your email address and a password of your choice.
4. Your class name is BA4307501S05, class id is '1227411' and the enrollment password is
5. Follow the directions for uploading the body of your paper.
6. You will receive confirmation of the upload.
7. Papers will not be graded until originality reports have been checked.
8. If there are any problems, you will receive an email from me.
Case Discussions

Each week, students will be called on randomly to discuss the case assigned for the week. Some case
discussions will be role play activities, others will be debates. If you are not present when your name is
called or if you do not participate in the discussion, you will receive a zero for this portion of the grade.


The final exam will consist of 10 multi-part essay questions. The questions are primarily from the lectures
and discussions, but you must be able to support your answers with definitions and details from the

Class Participation

The class participation component means that you must come to class prepared to discuss the assigned
reading and the clipping you brought as homework. I must be able to know your name and your level of
participation for you to receive participation credit. I will call on people at random if necessary to make
sure that the quiet students have a chance.


U.T. Dallas provides each student with a free email account that is to be used in communication with
university personnel. The Department of Information Resources at U.T. Dallas provides a method for
students to forward their U.T. Dallas mail to other accounts. Students may go to the following URL to
establish or maintain their official U.T. Dallas computer account: http://netid.utdallas.edu/. Please email
through WebCT as I will not reply to non-UTD email addresses.

Classroom Rules

You are required to attend class. Respect your fellow students – turn off cell phones, no talking amongst
yourselves, try to be on time. This course is discussion driven, so please allow everyone a chance to speak
and be heard.
All power point slides are available on WebCT.
No late assignments!
Unclaimed papers will be retained for one year.

Extra Credit Paper Presentation

Because of the large size of the class, there will be a limited number of optional extra credit presentations
available. On 5/2, the class period will be devoted to student presentations. You will present your findings
and recommendations from your term paper to share with the class. Your presentation is to last NO MORE
THAN 10 MINUTES – PLEASE REHEARSE. I will have a sign-up sheet available.
Date Topic Steiner/Steiner Browne & Keeley Case Assignment

1/10 Introduction Chapters 1 - 14

1/24 Business Power Chapters 1 & 2


1/31 Corporate Social Responsibility Chapter 3-6 GE


2/7 Ethics Chapters 7 & 8 HCA

2/14 Business/Government Relationships Chapters 9 & 10 Microsoft

2/21 Fiscal Policy No Reading Federal Budget


2/28 The Politics of Business Chapter 11 Federal Express

3/14 Global Issues Chapters 12 & 13 WTO

3/21 Consumerism Chapter 16 Commercialism in


3/28 Movie


4/4 Environmental Politics Chapters 14 & 15 Owls & Loggers

4/11 The Workplace and Civil Rights Chapters 17 & 18 Adarand v. Pena

4/18 Corporate Governance Chapter 19 Disney

4/25 Exam

5/2 Extra Credit Presentations

The reading assignment schedule is subject to change.