May 5, 2009
Source: Piedmont 2005

Metters, Richard
Goizueta Business School


Project Summary

My goal is to further incorporate the three foci of the Piedmont Project into my courses:
(1)Environmental Sustainability,
(2)Social Justice, and
(3)Connection to Place.

Rather than constructing a new course along these lines, I have sought to include these issues in the four courses I currently teach. I started to educate myself on the first two topics last year and found that there is a large amount of teaching material available in my field.

Pedagogically, approximately one-third of the class time in business schools is spent on “case studies” of particular business situations. The BELL project (Business-Environment Learning and Leadership, bell.wri.org) has approximately 50 class-length case studies available for use. Additionally, I came across Interface Corp. personnel who agreed to be guest speakers for my class. A case study has also been written about Interface by Harvard Business School.

The incorporation of these themes are listed by each class. The syllabi for the classes are attached. Piedmont Project related material is listed in bold type.

Course: Supply Chain Management
“Supply chain” refers to the common business practice of one company buying parts from another company, who in turn buys parts from another company, etc. The companies are linked together in a “chain” of supplying each other.

While virtually all students come into the course believing that their particular firm should not promote spoiling the environment and causing social injustice, they draw the line at supply chain partners. The typical response is, “that’s a different company in a different country, who are we to say what they can or cannot do?”

To engage students in a discussion of what responsibility a supply chain partner has in changing policies in a different company, I now use the following case studies and guest speaker:

Green supply chains: Guest Speaker Jim Hartzfeld, VP – Sustainable Business
Strategy, Interface Research Corp.
Case study: Interface’s Evergreen Services Agreement

Birth to death product design case study: Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (A)

Supply Chain Ethics case study: Levi Strauss & Co.: Global Sourcing

The Interface speaker and case study discuss the transformation of Interface into one of the world’s leading environmentally friendly manufacturers.

The case Bayerische Motoren Werke concerns the requirement of the German government that auto manufacturers be responsible for the entire life cycle of their products. Under laws established in the early 1990’s each car manufacturer is responsible for the dismantling and final disposal of their cars. The case discusses how cars should be designed differently up-front with sustainability in mind. '

The Levi Strauss (denim jeans) case examines social justice. As a company, Levi Strauss has policies against using suppliers that use various forms of forced labor or operate in countries with policies that assist forced labor. At the time, the Chinese policy of making employers force employees to obey the “one child” rule, as well as various human rights abuses, causes Levi Strauss to withdraw from the Chinese market.

Course: Service Operations
This course is concern with how service sector companies deliver services to the customer. In general, service sector firms do not cause much pollution, nor do they face many international issues. However, I have endeavored to create a “connection to place” in this course. The majority of my MBA students stay in the Atlanta area. Consequently, to ground these students in the Atlanta area, and to make them feel a connection to more than the bars, I have incorporated the following:

Guest speakers: Vega String Quartet and Will Ransom, Music Department
Class will be held at the Schwartz Performing Arts Center.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Guest: John Sparrow, Vice President and General Manager,
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Visit to ASO

All of these components of the course represent the “hidden curriculum.” The official pedagogical reason to incorporate them is to examine the operations of providing customer experiences. The actual reason is to provide students with a connection to Emory and the Atlanta area.

Will Ransom of the music department has partnered with me to provide my students an experience in the Schwartz Center. Although the Schwartz Center is contiguous to the business school, 95% of my students have never set foot inside it. Using a concert in the Center as a ruse, the magnificent architecture and sound qualities of the Schwartz Center are presented to the students.

For the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), once again the case discussion is a ruse to get them to go downtown and attend the symphony. The ASO has been kind enough to provide my students with free tickets to the symphony. In class, the General Manager of the symphony, who is also the main decision maker in the case study the students prepare, speaks to my class about the role of the ASO in Atlanta and the value of the arts.

Class: Offshoring and Outsourcing
This class is concerned with offshoring, the movement of U.S. jobs to other countries, and outsourcing, the hiring of other firms to do the work formerly done within a company. The following aspects of the class are relevant:

Ethics, Governmental Policy, The Western Backlash
“International Sourcing in Athletic Footwear: Nike and Reebok” case study

Social justice issues are explored in the comparison of Nike and Reebok. Each footwear manufacturer has a different policy regarding social justice regarding their offshore suppliers.

Class: Management Science in Spreadsheets
This is largely a math class. The point is to demonstrate how a special type of mathematics called “linear programming” (an advanced matrix algebra topic) can be used to solve practical business problems.

One particular business problem that was solved by this method is displayed in the course:

Case Study: Armco and the “Bubble Policy”

Armco was the 8th largest steel manufacturer in the U.S. This case discusses a landmark decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to deal with companies with a “bubble” policy. That is, prior to this policy, each particular smokestack was specifically regulated by the EPA. With this case the EPA decided to regulate Armco as a “bubble.” That is, to regulate the overall level of pollution that Armco emitted. Linear programming is used to create the best joint solutions between the EPA and Armco to find optimal policies that both minimize pollution while maximizing profits.

Course Syllabi attached

Download: Metters_2005.pdf (304.7 KB)

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