Introduction to Business Fundamentals

Learn business, global economic, legal environment, ethics, marketing, accounting, finance & operations.

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This Introduction to Business course develops students’ understanding of business fundamentals with learning design structured around timely, real-world case studies and examples. Key topics include the role of business, the global economic and legal environment, ethics, marketing, accounting and finance, and managing processes and operations. Enriched content (text, video, simulations, etc.) orients students to the shifting business landscape and prepares them for success in business program curriculum and the workplace.



Introduction to Business Fundamentals

Learn business, global economic, legal environment, ethics, marketing, accounting, finance & operations.

Module 1: Role of Business

Discuss the role of business in society, the primary functions within a business, and external forces that affect business activities

  • Explain the concept of business
  • Distinguish between for-profit and nonprofit businesses
  • List and explain the four factors of production required to sustain a business
  • Identify the primary functional areas within a business and describe their contribution to the organization
  • Identify business stakeholders and describe their relationship with business organizations
  • Identify the external forces that shape the business environment

Module 2: Economic Environment

Explain fundamental economic principles and describe how they shape the business environment

  • Define economics and explain the difference between macroeconomics and microeconomics
  • Identify the forces that drive supply and demand within an economic system
  • Illustrate the relationship between supply and demand using supply and demand curves
  • Compare and contrast different economic systems (capitalist, planned, and mixed)
  • Describe the methods economists use to evaluate the health of an economy, such as GDP, unemployment rate, and CPI
  • Explain the effect that the four stages of an economy (expansion, peak, contraction and trough) have on business operations
  • Identify and explain the four stages of an economy (expansion, peak, contraction, and trough), and describe their impact on business operations

Module 3: Global Environment

  • Describe the characteristics, opportunities, and challenges of the global business environment
  • Explain why nations and U.S. firms engage in global business
  • Describe how nations measure global trade
  • Evaluate common strategies used to reach global markets
  • Identify and describe forces that affect global trade
  • Describe global trade agreements and economic organizations that regulate and promote global trade
  • Describe ethical challenges that businesses face in a global environment

Module 4: Financial Markets and Systems

Explain the institutions and markets that comprise the financial system, and explain how they impact the economy and the money supply

  • Explain what money is and what makes it useful
  • Explain the role of banks in the U.S. monetary system
  • Describe common ways in which businesses obtain financial capital (money) to fund operations

Module 5: Legal Environment

Summarize the role of the legal system in governing and shaping the climate for business

  • Explain the meaning and purpose of law
  • Differentiate between statutory and common law
  • Define tort law, and explain the role of product liability in tort law
  • Explain the purpose and characteristics of intellectual property law
  • Describe warranties
  • List and describe the elements of a legally enforceable contract, and explain the consequences of breach of contract
  • Summarize consumer protection and antitrust laws

Module 6: Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Explain the importance of business ethics and corporate social responsibility

  • Differentiate between ethical and legal behavior
  • Explain the concept of business ethics, and outline the steps companies take to encourage ethical behavior
  • Identify common ethical challenges faced by organizations
  • Explain the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Module 7: Business Ownership

Distinguish among the forms of business ownership

  • List and explain the important factors in choosing an organizational type
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of sole proprietorships
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of partnerships
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of corporations
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid forms of business ownership
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of franchises
  • Describe the two types of mergers and acquisitions

Module 8: Entrepreneurship

Discuss the role of entrepreneurship in small business

  • Discuss the contributions of small business to the U.S. economy
  • Identify the common traits of successful entrepreneurs
  • Discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and important considerations of starting a small business
  • Describe the steps to starting a business
  • List and describe the key components of a business plan

Module 9: Management

Describe the primary functions, responsibilities, and skills of effective leadership and management

  • Describe the three levels of management and the key skills needed by managers
  • Summarize the development of management theory and the key functions of management today
  • Identify the types of planning and decision making managers engage in, and explain how these help organizations reach their goals
  • Describe the organizing function of management and common types of organizational structure
  • Describe common management and leadership styles, and identify the circumstances under which they are most effective
  • Explain why control is an essential part of effective management, and outline the steps of the control process

Module 10: Motivating Employees

Explain common motivational theories and apply them to business.

  • Describe the Hawthorne effect, and explain its significance in management
  • Explain need-based theories of worker motivation
  • Explain process-based theories of motivation
  • Differentiate between Theory X, Theory Y, and Theory Z managers
  • Explain how managers can use job characteristics and goal-setting theory to motivate employees

Module 11: Teamwork and Communication

Explain the importance of teamwork and effective communication in a business environment.

  • Differentiate between groups and teams, and describe the characteristics of different types of teams
  • Explain the stages of team development and the factors that contribute to team success
  • Explain the importance of, and barriers to, effective communication within an organization
  • Describe typical communication flows, channels, and networks within an organization, and explain when different channels are appropriate
  • Describe the ethical issues, risks, and challenges associated with electronic communication in business

Module 12: Managing Processes

Explain how operations management contributes to organizational success.

  • Define operations management in manufacturing and production businesses
  • Describe four major types of facility layouts: process, product, cellular, and fixed position
  • Identify existing and emerging technologies that are changing the way goods are produced and delivered
  • Define operations management in service businesses
  • Explain the scheduling tools (Gantt and PERT) used to increase operations efficiency
  • Explain the importance of logistics and supply-chain management
  • Identify the techniques that are available to ensure high-quality goods and services (Six Sigma, TQM, SPC) and describe the costs of poor quality

Module 13: Marketing Function

Explain the key components of the marketing function.

  • Explain the role of customers in marketing
  • Explain the role of segmentation and targeting in marketing
  • Explain the marketing mix

Module 14: Marketing Mix

Explain how organizations use the marketing mix to market to their target customers.

  • Explain common product marketing strategies and how organizations use them
  • Explain common pricing strategies and how organizations use them
  • Explain common product distribution strategies and how organizations use them
  • Explain how organizations use integrated marketing communication (IMC) to support their marketing strategies

Module 15: Human Resource Management

Recognize the role of human resource management in planning, recruiting, and managing a workforce.

  • Explain how the functions of human resource management contribute to business success
  • Summarize and discuss key laws affecting human resource management
  • Discuss how organizations can effectively recruit and hire employees
  • Discuss effective approaches to training, developing, and rewarding employees
  • Describe the different HR management options for employee termination
  • Discuss the challenges facing today’s HR managers

Module 16: Accounting and Finance

Recognize sound accounting practices, and use financial statements and accounting principles to make informed judgments about an organization’s financial health

  • Define accounting, and explain its role as a form of business communication
  • Identify key financial statements and their components, and explain the primary use of each type of statement
  • Calculate the break-even point, where profit will be equal to $0, using information from financial statements
  • Use financial statements to calculate basic financial ratios to measure the profitability and health of a business
  • Discuss the importance of ethical practices in accounting and the implications of unethical behavior

Module 17: Using Technology to Manage Business Information

Recognize the roles of data and information technology in supporting business operations

  • Discuss the role of technology in business
  • Discuss ways in which information is used in business
  • Compare the ways that businesses can manage information
  • Identify security, privacy, and ethical issues affected by information technology

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Course Includes

  • 19 Lessons
  • 1 Quiz
  • Course Certificate

Learning Outcome


Introduction to Business Fundamentals

Learn business, global economic, legal environment, ethics, marketing, accounting, finance & operations.

The content, assignments, assessments and exams have been designed to achieve the course learning outcomes.

+4 enrolled

Not Enrolled

Course Includes

  • 19 Lessons
  • 1 Quiz
  • Course Certificate



Introduction to Business Fundamentals

Learn business, global economic, legal environment, ethics, marketing, accounting, finance & operations.

This course was written by Linda Williams (Tidewater Community College) and Lumen Learning, with contributions from Nina Burokas (Mendocino College, Saddleback College) and Robert Danielson (Saint Mary’s College of California), and is supplemented by content from OpenStax Principles of Economics, Boundless Business, and videos from multiple sources. Additional contributions were created by Tina Lance at Germanna Community College, Wendy Wright at Cerritos College, Betty Fitte at Tidewater Community College, Bob Carroll & Andrea Foster at Montgomery Community College, and Charlene Barker at Spokane Falls Community College.

Provided by Lumen Learning with License: CC BY: Attribution.

+4 enrolled

Not Enrolled

Course Includes

  • 19 Lessons
  • 1 Quiz
  • Course Certificate

Degree Credits

By completing this course you will earn 5 study credits which you can be applied towards your B.A. Degree.

Accreditations & Certificates

A course certificate of attendance will be provided.

Admission Requirements

This course is open to all Bachelor’s Degree students.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Contact us for a detailed overview of the course tuition including potential credits, financial aid and sponsorship options.

+4 enrolled
Not Enrolled

Course Includes

  • 19 Lessons
  • 1 Quiz
  • Course Certificate