Fundamentals of Business
Stephen Skripak, Virginia Tech
Pub Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-0-9979201-0-9
Publisher: Virginia Tech Libraries
Conditions of Use
The text covers all the typical topics for introductory business course. The Chapter 15: Hospitality and Tourism is relevant to the increasing read more
The text covers all the typical topics for introductory business course. The Chapter 15: Hospitality and Tourism is relevant to the increasing industry segment. The last chapter on Personal Finances does come after Chapter 16 Accounting but seems out of place with no connection to the rest of the text.
There does not seem to be any errors or biases.
The textbook was recently written making issues and news items current. Social media marketing is thorough discussed. The Marketing chapter introduces the SAVE marketing model which is taking the place of the four Ps of the marketing mix. Historic ethics cases such as WorldCom and Bernie Madoff are presented.
Pages are of a simple layout with easy readability. All terms are defined and this would also be an appropriate text to use with high school dual credit courses.
Graphics are appealing and provide a distinct look for the various sections of the text. All chapters start with learning objectives and end with take-aways. The individual chapters are of various lengths. Chapter 12: Labor Unions covers just the one topic. Other chapters are much longer with up to seven sections.
There many chapters that could be assigned or presented in a different sequence. It is easy to find and refer to tables and divisions of the chapters.
I find the placement of teamwork as the preface could be very be very beneficial in setting up for class activities and useful for students as they become active in college clubs and organizations.
Effective graphics make the chapters and sections clear. There are very few photos and those are clear and useful.
I found no grammatical errors.
Cultural differences, of course, are addressed in Chapter 4: Globalization of Business. Although there are few photos only one features a person of color.
While the chapter concepts are summarized with "Key Take-Aways", there is no end of chapter "check for understanding" such as review questions, discussions, or activities. Adoption of this textbook would require significant development of assessment tools. The references section at the end of the book is organized by chapter and provides a valuable resource of website hyperlinks.
This text does a good job of introducing key functions of an organization (Marketing, HR, Accounting/Finance) as well as core principles such as read more
This text does a good job of introducing key functions of an organization (Marketing, HR, Accounting/Finance) as well as core principles such as ethics, legal issues, and economics. The material is appropriate for an introductory course to serve as the foundation for general business or to move on to a concentration in any of these business disciplines. There are two chapters that do not quite seem to fit in with the rest of the text: chapter 12 discusses Union/Management Issues, which makes sense in the flow of the book that it follows chapter 11 on HR, but for an introductory course the chapter 12 topic gets into a lot of HR detail not generally covered in an introductory course. Chapter 15 focuses on the hospitality and tourism industry. This is a very specific chapter embedded within the book about an industry while the rest of the book is mostly general information that could be applied to any number or types of organizations. Still, out of 17 chapters there are 15 solid chapters that provide great content and overview of the subject matter.
The book is written in an easy to read format with no noticeable grammatical errors or formatting issues. It is easy to find topics within chapters based on the layout, fonts, etc. The information itself is rooted in fundamental concepts of each chapter's topic or subject matter within the business discipline and there are no overt attempts to lead the reader in a particular manner to form bias or opinions, other than to establish critical thinking of topics.
While there are some examples that may seem somewhat dated, they are explained in a manner that is easy to understand and they are relevant (or "fit") within the context of the chapters and course concepts being discussed. The book is quite lengthy but given the 17 chapters that is to be expected. The author could probably eliminate two chapters on ancillary material to make it a shorter text but the chapters are not unnecessarily bloated for the sake of adding more vocabulary or unnecessary graphics.
The book uses easy to understand language, explains course concepts and terminology, and reinforces abstract ideas with examples. Overall it does a good job of relaying topics that are being introduced to students for the first time.
The text remains consistent in present tense tone of voice, chapter structure is organized consistently throughout the text, and the use of masculine vs. feminine language is muted so that it presents information to readers in a gender-neutral manner.
One could easily pick up this course text and only read select chapters that were of interest. Gaining an understanding of the legal topics (Chapter 5 Forms of Business Ownership) was not necessary to learning about subsequent chapters such as Marketing, HR, economics, etc. An instructor could pull needed material from this course text to supplement other teaching materials as well as to expand on the introductory materials contained herein to build out a more robust, in-depth course on any of the topics contained within this textbook.
There is a very logical structure with the early chapters discussing types of business formation, teamwork, and ethics before moving to more operational activities such as financing, marketing, management and so forth. A few chapters could be reorganized. The ethics chapter could be moved to coincide with the legal (chapters 3 & 5) and there are two chapters that do not seem to fit with the introductory material (Chapter 12 on Unions and Chapter 15 on Hospitality & Tourism) but otherwise the book had a good flow of advancing through the broad goal of introducing multiple aspects of business.
The book could use more graphs, pictures, diagrams, etc. to emphasize course concepts; however, the author made the textbook very easy to read (especially online) so the lack of numerous photos or graphics may conversely make it easier to download and read as plain text.
There are no noticeable grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. There are a few figures that are either not labeled or are not appropriately referencing the course text where they are presented, leaving "floating images" in some places that have no meaning to the topic discussed. Figure 7.3 on page 167 is an example. There is a photo of someone's arm by a laptop and notepad next to sections discussing operational plans and planning for contingencies or crises.
Gender neutral language is used throughout the course text and no offensive references are made or examples presented. The textbook examples cover a wide array of businesses, industries, and geographical reference points.
This course is an excellent resource for a first-year business student that is seeking a broad overview of several business disciplines and to lead into more in-depth study of the course topics throughout an undergraduate curriculum.
The text has an extensive coverage and actually has several chapters one doesn't normally find in an introductory textbook on business. If this was a read more
The text has an extensive coverage and actually has several chapters one doesn't normally find in an introductory textbook on business. If this was a traditional textbook, I would not adopt it since there are superfluous chapters and sections that I would not want in the book but since I can custom-make an electronic copy, I would cut the unnecessary section.
The content is standard and can be found in many similar textbooks. I did not find any errors or biased opinion. All assertions are backed by reputable sources.
In such a book, the only areas that need regular updating are the examples, vocabulary, and technology. 1. Examples must be current, real, and interesting for the students in order to drive home the issues. Most recent news from companies like Apple, Amazon, or Starbucks attract the attention of students. 2. Vocabulary. "Human Resources" instead of "Personnel" or "Tossed salad" instead of "Melting Pot," etc. 3. Technology. Other than specific case studies which might have a historical significance, all references to hardware, software, and telecom should show the most current examples.
It flows well if a freshman or any student new to the business major (otherwise why one would read such a book) can get past the boring look and "feel" of the book. the book looks like a long term paper! Proper use of deeper indentations and special boxes can give the book a more interesting and magazine-like feel, although I understand that part of the bland look is due to cost restrictions.
I did not find any inconsistencies.
The book, by it's electronic nature, is naturally flexible but only to the extent of being able to cut or move materials but I am not sure if an adopter can add his/her own chapters/sections.
This is where I will offer the bulk of my feedback. A. Why does TEAMWORK has its own special section before the chapters start? It should be moved to chapter 7, 8, or 10. B. Chapter 12 (Union-Management Issues) is not necessary in such a basic business text. The topic can be subsumed under chapter 3 or 11. C. Another superfluous chapter is #15 (Hospitality and Tourism). It looks like one of the contributors to this text has a specialty in this area. For instance, do students also need to read a chapter about Real Estate or another one about the Airline Industry? D. As much as Personal Finance (chap. 17) is a very useful topic, especially for younger generation of students, allocating a separate chapter to it seems unnecessary to me. How about moving an itemized summary of it to an appendix at the end. E. In place of the deleted chapters, add or restructure as follows, so as to have more chapters about marketing which has the effect of making the text a lot more interesting for the commercial and consumer-driven society we all live in. Chapter 13, Marketing (Introduction to the topic plus discussion of the Product aspects) Chapter 14, Marketing (Price & Place) or (Price and Distribution) Chapter 15, Marketing (Promotion & Advertising)
The only interface issue I found is mentioned in #7.
Grammar is good.
I did not find any of words or phrases that may come across as culturally insensitive or politically incorrect.
Table of Contents
Preface: Teamwork in Business
Chapter 1: The Foundations of Business
Chapter 2: Economics and Business
Chapter 3: Ethics and Social Responsibility
Chapter 4: Business in a Global Environment
Chapter 5: Forms of Business Ownership
Chapter 6: Entrepreneurship: Starting a Business
Chapter 7: Management and Leadership
Chapter 8: Structuring Organizations
Chapter 9: Operations Management
Chapter 10: Motivating Employees
Chapter 11: Managing Human Resources
Chapter 12: Union/Management Issues
Chapter 13: Marketing: Providing Value to Customers
Chapter 14: Pricing Strategy
Chapter 15: Hospitality and Tourism
Chapter 16: Accounting and Financial Information
Chapter 17: Personal Finances
About the Book
Virginia Tech Libraries and the Pamplin College of Business are pleased to announce publication of Fundamentals of Business, a full color, 440+ page free online textbook for Virginia Tech’s Foundations of Business course. This Virginia Tech course averages 14 sections with over 700 students in Fall semesters. The textbook is an open educational resource, and may be customized and redistributed non-commercially with attribution.
The book is the work of Prof. Stephen Skripak and his team of faculty colleagues from the Pamplin College of Business, Anastasia Cortes and Richard Parsons, open education librarian Anita Walz, graphic designers Brian Craig and Trevor Finney, and student peer reviewers Jonathan De Pena, Nina Lindsay, and Sachi Soni. Assistive Technologies consulted on the accessibility of the textbook.
The first openly licensed book of its kind created at Virginia Tech, the book is in direct response to two problems faced by Pamplin’s team of professors: a used edition of the previous textbook was priced as high as $215, and students were not engaged by the previous text.
Skripak and his colleagues started with an openly licensed textbook created in 2011 (licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license) which legally allows modification and non-commercial redistribution with attribution. The team significantly updated, redesigned, and contributed new content to create a learning resource that fits course learning objectives and reduces student textbook costs for this course to zero. Through a grant from the University Libraries, three students were hired to peer review drafts of the text. The team worked together through details of updating data, designing new figures, and ensuring web and print-on-demand ready layout. The resulting work, Fundamentals of Business, is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
In addition to faculty members’ ability to customize content and resolution of student affordability issues, the availability of an openly licensed text in common, editable file format bodes well for faculty at other institutions seeking to leverage academic freedom in support of student learning and affordability. The book is representative of a larger movement to empower faculty to freely adopt, adapt, and author a myriad of course types. We hope that many other institutions will take advantage of the opportunity to adopt, adapt or remix the book to fit their needs.
Fundamentals of Business is available in VTechWorks, Virginia Tech’s institutional repository, in PDF and editable Microsoft Word formats. Print-on-demand copies are available at the cost of manufacturing and shipping in color and black & white from Lulu Press. The book is also featured in the Open Textbook Library, OER Commons, and MERLOT II.
Credits for cover images: “Hong Kong Skyscrapers” by Estial, cropped and modified by Trevor Finney CC BY-SA 4.0; “Paris vue d’ensemble tour Eiffel” by Taxiarchos228, cropped and modified by Poke2001 and Trevor Finney CC BY 3.0; “London Bridge” by Skitterphoto, cropped and modified by Trevor Finney, Public Domain; “New York” by Mscamilaalmeida, cropped and modified by Trevor Finney, Public Domain.
About the Contributors
Stephen J. Skripak, Professor of Practice in Management at Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech. Former Associate Dean for Graduate Programs (2006-2014). Senior executive with 25 years of business leadership experience, including positions as General Manager and Chief Financial Officer with divisions of Fortune 500 companies. Background includes financial services, consumer packaged goods, apparel, and industrial companies, with emphasis in turnaround situations.