Introduction to Business and Management

Home Admissions Course Guide Introduction to Business and Management

This Course Guide has been taken from the most recent presentation of the course. It would be useful for reference purposes but please note that there may be updates for the following presentation.


Introduction to Business and Management

Welcome to BUS 1000BED Introduction to Business and Management! This is an 18-credit-unit, two-term, 1000-level course for undergraduate students offered by the Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration.

This course does not require previous knowledge of business and management. It offers you a basic understanding of internal aspects of business, such as people at work, financial information and marketing, as well as organisational culture and structure. It also gives you an overview of the external (economic and political) and global context of businesses.

BUS 1000BED is delivered using a set of seven study units, course readings (adopted from the UK Open University course B100), online multimedia components and learning support sessions.


Course aims

The overall aims of BUS 1000BED Introduction to Business and Management are to:

  • equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills related to the internal functions and external environment of a business; and
  • provide you with a comprehensive introduction to various topics related to business and management, including human resource management, finance, marketing, economics and business ethics.

Course learning outcomes

Upon the completion of BUS 1000BED Introduction to Business and Management, you should be able to:

  • examine the nature of business, major business functions, the external business environment, and the main social and economic issues faced by enterprises;
  • outline organisational structure, culture and values, and discuss how to manage people at work;
  • evaluate the importance of accounting and financial information for business managers;
  • solve marketing problems and analyse the sustainability issues in marketing; and
  • evaluate the nature and drivers of globalisation, and business situations under ethical considerations.

The course is based around a set of seven study units, course readings and multimedia components, supported by regular learning sessions. The study materials for this course can all be found on the BUS 1000BED course page of the University's Online Learning Environment (OLE).


The study units

The study units set out your study pathway through the course readings and other course learning resources. They provide you with learning materials, such as case studies, articles and activities that are designed to facilitate your understanding of each topic. As you work through the study units, you will also come across various study tips, which aim at improving your study skills.

You'll therefore need to keep referring to the units as you work through the course. There are seven units, as follows:


Unit 1 The nature of business, the external environment of businesses, and stakeholders

This unit introduces the nature of business and other types of organisations, including some of the key aspects of organisations and their environments, as well as some core ideas about management.


Unit 2 Human resource management

This unit introduces the key concepts of work, reasons why people work, and managing people at work.


Unit 3 Accounting and finance

This unit introduces the importance of financial information for business managers, including the need for raising finance and managing financial resources accurately and prudently.


Unit 4 Marketing

This unit provides an introduction to the subject of marketing, including an introduction to marketing strategy, customer behaviour, the marketing mix, social media marketing, social and political marketing, and societal and sustainability issues in marketing.


Unit 5 The economic system and business-government relations

This unit gives you an introduction to some basic micro- and macroeconomic concepts and ideas, including supply and demand and price determination, economic growth and national income, money supply and interest rates, and governmental economic and industrial policy.


Unit 6 Business ethics and corporate social responsibility

This unit introduces the idea of the wider responsibilities of businesses, beyond their own organisation and its financial goals and obligations. The unit introduces some ethical theories that can help managers make sense of their obligations and discusses important contemporary business ethics issues, including sustainability and human rights.


Unit 7 Globalisation and international business ethics

This unit introduces the global context in which large companies and even many small companies now operate. It covers topics and ideas from the meaning and nature of globalisation, drivers of globalisation, and the internationalisation and globalisation of enterprises, to ethical issues in international business.


The course readings

Each study unit has a corresponding set of readings, which were originally developed for UK Open University course B100. The overarching aim of the course readings is to enable you to acquire knowledge and understanding of:

  • the nature of businesses and organisations, including organisational structure, culture and values;
  • the principles of the main business functions (human resource management, accounting and finance, and marketing);
  • the external environment in which a business operates, including the economic and political context at the national and global levels; and
  • the principles of business ethics and the main social and environmental issues faced by businesses and organisations.

The study units will indicate at which point you should turn to each of the readings. The units and their corresponding readings are set out in the following table.


1. The nature of business, the external environment of businesses, and stakeholdersUnit 1 Readings
Readings 1–11
2. Human resource managementUnit 2 Readings
Readings 12–20
3. Accounting and financeUnit 3 Readings
Readings 21–27
4. MarketingUnit 4 Readings
Readings 28–36
5. The economic system and business-government relationsUnit 5 Readings
Readings 37–45
6. Business ethics and corporate social responsibilityUnit 6 Readings
Readings 46–55
7. Globalisation and international business ethicsUnit 7 Readings
Readings 56–61


Learning support

In addition to live online lectures, live online surgeries and compulsory day schools (in person), a variety of learning support is provided to assist you in your studies. These include the Online Learning Environment (OLE) and the My Milestone Tracker mobile app.


The Online Learning Environment (OLE)

The main place you will refer to for learning resources during the course is HKMU's Online Learning Environment (OLE). There, you will have access not only to the course materials (including the study units and the course readings) in different formats (both PDF and ePub versions), but also to a rich array of multimedia materials such as videos and web-based activities. At the same time, you will be able to discuss topics with other students and your tutor interactively via the course discussion board.


Learning support sessions

You will be supported throughout the course by regular learning support sessions in the form of live online lectures, compulsory day schools (in person) and live online surgeries. Some of these surgeries are aimed at preparing you for the assignments, while others are weekly optional Zoom consultations with your tutor. Details of these sessions can be found in the Presentation Schedule. The following is a summary of the learning support sessions offered.


Learning support
UnitLive online lecture
(2 hours each)
Compulsory in-person day school
(6 hours each)
Online assignment preparation
(2 hours each)
No. of live online surgeries
(weekly, 1 hour each)
Support hours
per unit
1Lecture 1Day school 1
(6 hrs)
Surgery 1 (1 hr)312
2Lecture 2Day school 2
(3 hrs)
Surgery 1 (1 hr)410
3Lecture 3Day school 2
(3 hrs)
Surgery 2 (1 hr)39
4Lecture 4Day school 3
(3 hrs)
Surgery 2 (1 hr)410
5Lecture 5Day school 3
(3 hrs)
Surgery 3 (1 hr)415
Lecture 6Day school 4
(3 hrs)
6Lecture 7Day school 4
(3 hrs)
Surgery 3 (1 hr)511
7Lecture 8Day school 5
(6 hrs)
Surgery 4 (2 hrs)
(covering all units)
Total8 online lectures
(16 hours)
5 in-person day schools
(30 hours)
4 online assignment preparation
(8 hours)
26 live online surgeries
(26 hours)
support hours


My Milestone Tracker mobile app

The My Milestone Tracker mobile app is specifically designed to help you to check your study progress, such as your completion of assessment components, along the learning journey of the course.



During the course, you will have your progress assessed both formally and informally.

Informal assessment includes various case studies, web activities, exercises and online discussions that you will undertake while working your way through the study units and course readings.

Formal assessment consists of the following elements to pace you to learn effectively throughout the two terms of the course:

  • Eight online lecture polls are worth 10% of the total marks of the course and will be based on your understanding of the live online lectures. They evaluate study materials covered in Units 1 to 7.
  • Four online quizzes are worth 20% of the total marks of the course and are designed to track your acquisition of knowledge, skills and abilities that you have learned in the course units. The four quizzes evaluate study materials covered in Units 1 to 7.
  • Five application-based assessments are worth 25% of the total marks of the course. They are designed as learning activities conducted during the compulsory day schools to facilitate your application of acquired knowledge, concepts and skills to authentic business contexts. They aim to evaluate study materials covered in Units 1 to 7.
  • Three individual assignments are worth 35% of the total marks of the course. You are expected to apply, organise and elaborate on what you have learned to complete writing tasks on specific business and management topics. The three assignments evaluate study materials covered in Units 1 to 7.
  • One oral presentation (compulsory assignment) is worth 10% of the total marks of the course. It evaluates study materials covered in Units 1 to 7.

To pass this course, you are required to obtain no less than 40% of the maximum marks (100%), obtain a pass in the oral presentation (compulsory assignment) and participate in all five compulsory day schools.


Assessment summary

Details of the summative assessment items are outlined in the following table.


UnitOnline lecture polls (10%)
[Due week]
Application-based assessments
(ABA) (25%)

[Due week]
Online quizzes

[Due week]

[Due week]
Oral presentation
(Compulsory assignment) (10%)

[Due week]
1Lecture poll 1
[Week 1]
ABA 1 (5%)
[Week 2]
2Lecture poll 2
[Week 4]
 Quiz 1
(Units 1 & 2)
[Week 7]
3Lecture poll 3
[Week 8]
ABA 2 (5%)
[Week 10]
4Lecture poll 4
[Week 11]
 Quiz 2
(Units 3 & 4)
[Week 14]
Assignment 1
(Units 1–3)
[Week 12]

Lecture poll 5
[Week 15]

Lecture poll 6
[Week 17]

[Week 15]
Quiz 3
(Unit 5) (5%)
[Week 18]
6Lecture poll 7
[Week 19]
ABA 4 (5%)
[Week 21]
 Assignment 2
(Units 4–5)
[Week 20]
7Lecture poll 8
[Week 24]
 Quiz 4
(Units 6 & 7)
[Week 26]
1–7 ABA 5 (5%)
[Week 26]
 Assignment 3
(Units 1–7)
[Week 24]
Oral presentation
(Compulsory assignment)
[Week 26]


How to submit assignments

You must use word processing software (such as Microsoft Word) to prepare the assignments, and submit them via the Online Learning Environment (OLE). All assignments must be uploaded to the OLE by the due date.

Failure to upload an assignment in the required format to the OLE may result in the score of the assignment being adjusted to zero.


Assignment submission extension policy

The assignment policy of the University as stated in the Student Handbook should be observed. You are required to submit assignments for this course in accordance with the dates communicated by your Course Coordinator. You may apply for a submission extension on the grounds of illness, accident, disability, bereavement or other compassionate circumstances.

Applications for extensions must be submitted online via the OLE. Please note the following:

  • Supporting documents must be submitted to justify applications for extensions of over seven days.
  • Applications for extensions should normally be lodged before or on the due date.
  • Applications are considered by:
    • your tutor for extensions of up to seven days;
    • the Course Coordinator for extensions of 8 to 21 days; and
    • the Dean for extensions of over 21 days.

After an assignment is submitted via the OLE, it is your responsibility to check that the assignment has been successfully submitted. Extension applications due to any problem with uploading will not be accepted. The University cannot accept any responsibility for assignments that are not received by your tutor due to any problem with submission via the OLE. As a precaution, you are advised to keep a copy of each assignment you submit.

According to the University's policy, no extension of the due date will be allowed for the final assignment. This policy will be strictly enforced. Any late submission of the final assignment will result in the score of the assignment being adjusted to zero.


How to participate in online lecture polls and online quizzes

The online lecture polls will be available on the OLE and will be conducted during live online lectures. Students who join online lectures in real-time will complete the polls during the lecture time. Students who do not join the lectures in real-time could complete the polls during a set period of time (details will be posted on the OLE) after watching the recordings of the live online lectures.

The online quizzes will also be available on the OLE for a set period of time (details will be posted on the OLE), and students can complete the quizzes during that period.

Within the specified period, you can attempt the online lecture poll or online quiz one time and submit your answers before the poll or quiz closes. Once you have submitted your answers, you will not be able to change or re-submit them again. Also if you open a poll or quiz on the OLE but do not attempt it, you will get zero marks for that poll or quiz.

The following table gives a general overview of the course structure, including the number of weeks allocated to each unit, the assessment requirements and the learning support provided.


UnitWeeksAssessment itemLearning support
1The nature of business, the external environment of businesses,
and stakeholders
Weeks 1–3Lecture poll 1
Online quiz 1
Assignment 1
Lecture 1
Day school 1
Assignment 1 preparation surgery
Weekly Zoom surgeries
2Human resource managementWeeks 4–7Lecture poll 2
Online quiz 1
Assignment 1
Lecture 2
Day school 2
Assignment 1 preparation surgery
Weekly Zoom surgeries
3Accounting and financeWeeks 8–10Lecture poll 3
Online quiz 2
Assignment 1
Lecture 3
Day school 2
Assignment 1 preparation surgery
Weekly Zoom surgeries
4MarketingWeeks 11–14Lecture poll 4
Online quiz 2
Assignment 2
Lecture 4
Day school 3
Assignment 2 preparation surgery
Weekly Zoom surgeries
5The economic system and business- government relationsWeeks 15–18Lecture polls 5 & 6
ABA 3 & 4
Online quiz 3
Assignment 2
Lecture 5 & 6
Day schools 3 & 4
Assignment 2 preparation surgery
Weekly Zoom surgeries
6Business ethics and corporate social responsibilityWeeks 19–23Lecture poll 7
Online quiz 4
Assignment 3
Lecture 7
Day school 4
Assignment 3 preparation surgery
Weekly Zoom surgeries
7Globalisation and international business ethicsWeeks 24–26Lecture poll 8
Online quiz 4
Assignment 3
Oral presentation
Lecture 8
Day school 5
Assignment 3 preparation surgery
Weekly Zoom surgeries

Case studies are a useful and increasingly popular form of learning and assessment in HKMU's School of Business and Administration. In this section we will look at why case studies are used and then suggest some learning strategies that you can use to approach case studies. We will also briefly discuss some problems that you may encounter as you learn from case studies.


What is a case study approach to learning?

One main purpose of a case study is to explore an issue or a number of issues in relation to an organisation. The intention is to get you to carefully diagnose an organisation; to focus on key problems, and to suggest how these might be resolved. Often the case is a real-life account of an organisation which you are required to analyse in order to focus on a problem. Usually, the information that is provided is incomplete and you are often expected to observe developments in the organisation over a period of time. The case study approach is an excellent opportunity to actively apply material that you have read and conceptual knowledge to the reality of an organisation.

At HKMU, case studies may be used as part of assignments, exams, study units, or day school exercises. You normally are given some information about a company (this could be both text and graphical information, such as figures and tables). You are then asked to think about some problems related to the company and to use concepts and apply theories that you have learned in your course to propose possible solutions for the company.

Let's have a look at two kinds of case study questions that you might be asked to work through in your courses. The first example is quite structured, while the second is much more open-ended.


Two examples of case study questions

  1. Read the case study entitled 'ABC Consultants' and consider the following issues:
    • Using your understanding of the resource-based model, what measures could be taken to improve ABC's returns?
    • Drawing on your broad understanding of the consultancy industry, assess ABC's relative competitiveness and its profit potential.
    • To what extent do internal factors account for ABC's financial weaknesses?
    • Based on your assessment of ABC's financial weaknesses, formulate a new strategic intent and develop a mission statement for ABC.
  2. Read the case study entitled 'XYZ Industries'.
    • Identify the key problems that are currently faced by XYZ's management.
    • Propose viable solutions to these problems.

Why case studies?

As you can see from the above examples, a case study approach to learning requires a great deal of thinking and often will not easily yield a quick 'wrong' or 'right' answer. However, case studies are also good preparation for dealing with real-life business problems. Cases may be short and relatively simple, or longer and complex. The purpose is the same for both types: to give you an opportunity to develop your skills in analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation under examination, to consider the processes at work within the organisation, and to make decisions about future actions.

Case studies are not meant to replace textbooks, but rather to ask you to draw connections between theories and practice and to apply abstract ideas, concepts, and principles to specific concrete situations. Consequently, case analysis develops a number of skills that are crucial in business. In particular, they help you to:

  • analyse complex, unstructured, sometimes ambiguous situations;
  • identify critical issues and problems;
  • question your own and others' assumptions;
  • improve your problem-solving skills;
  • develop your ability to find alternatives and make informed decisions;
  • make decisions with incomplete information and think strategically;
  • self-educate yourself and draw on a broad range of resources and knowledge; and
  • present and justify recommendations in writing.

You may find that there are many possible 'right' answers to the questions in a case study. This illustrates that there is often no single best way to responsibly manage and solve real-life business problems.


Some guidelines for analysing case studies

The following strategies should help you to successfully analyse case studies:


1 Read the case and become familiar with the facts

First, skim read the case to obtain a general understanding of the main point(s). Highlight or underline the pertinent points as you read.

Read the case again, and this time note down critical facts (such as names, time sequences, and where events occurred). Try to understand how events have influenced decisions. Identify the important individuals or stakeholders, and try to assess the importance of supporting information in the case. How reliable is this supporting information? Are there any gaps in the information that is given?

Make a note of any questions that you have as you read the case.


2 Assess the context of the case

Try to understand the environment of the organisation and the wider context of the case. Ask yourself questions about:

  • The state of the organisation: What is the state of this organisation: good, bad or in-between? Usually this involves thinking about interpersonal relationships, and assessing production or financial problems.
  • Key players and systems: How do systems and people operate in this organisation? Why do they operate like this? Are the systems undergoing change? How successful are the changes? Is there someone who could sabotage any future strategy? Is there someone who can ensure the success of a future strategy?
  • Significant trends: How does this industry operate? What are the main or unique characteristics of the industry? What were they five or ten years ago, and what are they likely to be in the future? What impact are trends likely to have on the organisation under investigation? How does this organisation's performance compare with that of competitors?
  • Constraints: Clearly identify all constraints in the case. A constraint may be viewed as anything (usually beyond the control of the organisation) that may prevent an otherwise feasible course of action from becoming a success. What is outside the control of individuals in the case study? For example, it is unlikely that any company or individual in Hong Kong could prevent a foreign government from imposing tariff barriers on imports.

A SWOT analysis is a good way to get a better understanding of the organisation and the context or environment in which it is operating. A SWOT analysis considers the Strengths and Weaknesses of the organisation, and the Opportunities and Threats which the organisation faces in the external environment.


3 Recognize the case's symptoms

Read the case again and as you read, try listing all the symptoms of the case. The symptoms of a case are not the problems, but they may help you to identify the problems. Symptoms are all the things that are undesirable or that are not as expected. For example, falling sales could be a symptom of several problems such as poor market segmentation, poor product quality, or problems in a supply chain. At this stage of your analysis, you should just try to observe all the symptoms, and avoid prematurely identifying problems or suggesting solutions. Like a doctor who consults a patient, you first need to observe and note all the symptoms before you can give a definite diagnosis of the problem. Think about how the symptoms may be interrelated. Relationship diagrams, like the one below, may help you to see the relationships between symptoms.




4 Diagnose the case's problems

After you have a good sense of the symptoms, you're ready to determine key issues that need to be analysed more closely. You are now diagnosing the situation, like a doctor diagnosing a patient's symptoms. Ask yourself 'what seems to be the trouble in this organisation?' and make a list of what you now perceive to be the key problem(s). You will probably need to go back to the details of the case and as you do this, you may add to or refine your list of potential problems.

If there are several problems, you need to order and prioritise them. You might want to number problems according to how you perceive their importance, or make a matrix, like the one below, which shows relationships between various criteria and each problem.


CriteriaProblem #1Problem #2Problem #3
Importance: What will happen if the problem is not addressed?   
Urgency: How quickly must this problem be solved?   
Centrality: To what extent does this problem cause other problems?   
Solvability: Can this problem actually be solved?   


Also try to establish if there are relationships or themes in common among the various problems. Perhaps different problems in your list are actually variations of a broader central problem.

Ask yourself what assumptions you have made about the case. Are these assumptions reasonable, and are they supported by the facts? Would other people objectively suggest the same problems, based on the facts that you have? Are you suggesting problems that are not supported by the facts of the case?

After you have considered and put into order the possible problems and questioned your assumptions relating to these problems, you should write a statement of the problems as you perceive them. Avoid suggesting solutions at this stage.

Once you have a problem statement, you need to find evidence in the case to support your problem diagnosis. Also, try to identify ideas, concepts and theories from your textbook and course units which help to explain what is happening in the case.


5 Formulate criteria for a 'good' solution and identify possible constraints to solutions

Before you propose a solution, you need to consider the characteristics of a 'good' solution. Obviously, your solution should bring benefits such as improved productivity, reduced costs or greater profits. However, it also needs to be viable and to accommodate the constraints that you have already identified, i.e. Is the solution legal? Is there a budget for this solution? Does it conflict with the organisation's culture?

Try to brainstorm alternative solutions. Aim to generate a broad and creative range of options and then try to rate each according to various criteria.

The following matrix demonstrates how this can be done.


 CostEase of implementationImpact on organization cultureImpact on profits
Option 1*******
Option 2*********
Option 3*******


Also refer to ideas, concepts and theories from your course materials as you consider and assess each possible solution.

It's often wise to propose a solution that allows for plausible alternatives if it should fail. Managers use the term satisfice when they are considering acceptable alternative solutions, that is, the solution is able to satisfy the situation while also making some realistic sacrifices to existing constraints. Therefore, it is a satisficing rather than a maximising solution.

Finally, don't forget to consider the possibility of taking no action. What will actually happen if no action is taken? Are any (or all) of the solutions less viable than taking no action at all?


6 Recommend a viable solution

After you have assessed the merits and pitfalls of each alternative solution, select the best solution for the situation.

Remember that the solution needs to be viable. Can the recommended solution be introduced? Are there the resources and the willingness to implement it? Be realistic about what may work. Explain why it is the best solution within the constraints of the existing context and explain how it can be applied to the organisation. Suggest a time-frame for the solution's implementation.

Outline possible strategies for implementing your solution, either partially or completely. As many feasible courses of action as possible should be considered before you choose the one that seems the most likely to succeed. The more ideas you have, the greater your chance will be of finding a solution that will work well. The complexity of most organisational problems means that it is highly unlikely that one idea alone will correct the situation. Usually a combination of actions is required, and these need to be funded differently, timed carefully and staffed as necessary.


7 Present your solution as a written recommendation

Review your final solutions and then prepare a set of written recommendations. These should clearly outline your proposed solution in relation to the problems that you have identified. Your recommendations should also include details of why these solutions are the most appropriate given the circumstances and constraints of the case. Finally, you need to clearly state how and when your proposals will be implemented.

Your tutor and your course Assignment File can provide some guidelines on how to present your recommendations.


Some mistakes to avoid as you analyse cases

When you first tackle case studies, you should be careful to guard against the following mistakes:

  1. One of the most common mistakes made in case analysis is repeating or simply summarising the facts of the case. Your tutor is already very familiar with the case details, so you do not have to restate them. You are required to use and analyse the facts, not repeat them. Your analysis should contain only enough case material to support your arguments. Therefore, be analytical!
  2. You may often be tempted to just deal with symptoms and ignore the causes of the problem. It is very important to analyse the background of the case (and the climate in which the events of the case unfold).
  3. Avoid discussing problems in isolation and do not overlook their interrelatedness. If you try to think in terms of 'systems' rather than in terms of individual problems, you are more likely to avoid this pitfall.
  4. Students often fail to state the assumptions underlying their analysis. If any important assumptions have been made, have you questioned them and are they reasonable and appropriate? Avoid selectively using and interpreting case material in order to justify a preconceived solution.
  5. Practical limitations and constraints may sometimes be overlooked. For example, a recommendation that a whole team be fired is probably unrealistic.
  6. A very common mistake is poor integration of the facts in the case with the concepts, principles, and theories in the textbook. Such integration is vital. Ask yourself if relevant theories from your course have been fully and constructively applied.
  7. Finally, recommendations are too often not spelled out in detail or are unrealistic. A timetable for implementing them is also often not given.

Analysing cases poses many challenges, and this is one reason the case study method is so rewarding. It is a very active form of learning. It offers you a risk-free opportunity to gain managerial and organisational experience and should greatly increase your confidence to make informed decisions in the real world.

Good luck and we hope you enjoy working through the cases that you encounter!

BUS 1000BED Introduction to Business and Management is an important foundation course that equips you with a basic understanding of business and management. This course aims to develop your cognitive, practical and professional skills for your studies and work situation. It focuses in particular on the effective use of academic and business language, some quantitative skills, information search and digital literacy skills, and critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

BUS 1000BED covers the following topics: the nature of businesses and organisations, the main business functions (including human resource management, accounting and finance, and marketing), some elements of the external environment in which businesses and organisations operate (mainly the economic, political and global context), and business ethics.

The course is presented through a blend of written and multimedia materials which can all be accessed on the OLE. As you work through BUS 1000BED, you will need to refer to your study units and course readings, and you are provided with support through regular learning sessions.

The course is assessed through polls, quizzes, application-based assessments, four assignments and one oral presentation (compulsory assignment).

We hope you find BUS 1000BED stimulating and valuable for your professional development.

If you wish to defer your studies of this course until a later date, you should apply for deferment of studies. For the regulations governing deferment of studies, please refer to your Student Handbook. If you have applied for deferment of studies you should continue with your studies of this course and submit the required assignments until formal approval is given by the University.

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