Foundations of Business Administration

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Foundations of Business Administration

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Students learn to apprehend real-world business situations by applying specific theoretical perspectives or using related analytic tools. In particular, after following the course students:

    After following the course students:

    • Have an advanced understanding of the traditional and emerging theoretical frameworks and concepts developed for studying organizations
    • Are able to adopt theoretical frameworks and apply tools and framework to real-world situations and organizations
    • Are able to report, expose and defend their analyses and business recommendations, both verbally (report) and orally (presentation and video)
    • Are able to work in small teams and efficiently allocate tasks among team members under time pressure

    Therefore, besides the content-centered objectives and goals, the course has for objectives to impact students’ critical thinking, creativity in their problem solving approach. Critical thinking in which students analyze and evaluate; creative thinking in which students imagine and create; practical thinking in which students solve problems and make decisions. By the end of the course, students have had the opportunity to approach business situations or contexts they are familiar with by using concepts and frameworks aimed at understanding those situations and contexts and innovating them. 

    New approaches to business and management constantly emerge. The course on the Foundations of Business Administration provides insights on traditional and new business approaches, while adopting an even-handed appreciation for theory and practice. The course familiarizes the students with the three main theoretical perspectives on organizations - Modern, Symbolic and Post-modern perspectives - and presents analytical tools rooted in those perspectives. It puts the students in a situation where those tools must be used for providing ideas to be explored by a real-world firm. These lectures are organized in five parts: (1) introduction of the three perspectives and their assumptions over time; (2) interdependency between organizations and their environment; (3) organizational social structure and organizational culture; (4) technology and physical structure of organizations; and (5) organizational power, control and conflict. Throughout the lectures, each perspective, concept and analytical tool is presented by referring to real-world and current business situations.

    The course combines lectures and tutorials. The tutorials involve groups of 20 to 25 students. These latter tutorials combine case studies, round-table discussions about academic, business and press articles, role-games and making videos. A key objective is for you to develop your own personal synthesis and approach for identifying and addressing problems that managers face in organizations. Needless to say, preparing before attending classes gives you the best way to practice in lieu of actually designing and managing organizations. Throughout the tutorials, students will apply the theoretical frameworks and analytical tools introduced in the lectures to real-world organizations and situations.

    Three group assignments under the form of a consulting project (oral presentation, video-making, and written reports), one individual assignment (essay), and a final written exam.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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