COMMGMT 2503 - Small and Family Business Perspectives II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

The course aims to enhance students' understanding of the characteristics, contributions, and issues surrounding the management and growth of small firms and family businesses. Topics include small firm and family business characteristics and significance, developing a business plan, choice of organisational structure and implications, financing start-up and growth, principles of sound financial management, managing ownership/management/business transitions, role of advisors such as accountants, role of government policy, emerging issues in small firm and family business research. The course will appeal to those who are interested in starting up their own business, as well as those interacting with small firms and family businesses as advisors, managers and policy-makers.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMMGMT 2503
    Course Small and Family Business Perspectives II
    Coordinating Unit Business School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites ACCTING 1002
    Restrictions Not available for first year students
    Course Description The course aims to enhance students' understanding of the characteristics, contributions, and issues surrounding the management and growth of small firms and family businesses. Topics include small firm and family business characteristics and significance, developing a business plan, choice of organisational structure and implications, financing start-up and growth, principles of sound financial management, managing ownership/management/business transitions, role of advisors such as accountants, role of government policy, emerging issues in small firm and family business research. The course will appeal to those who are interested in starting up their own business, as well as those interacting with small firms and family businesses as advisors, managers and policy-makers.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Chris Graves

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    This course consists of a 1x2 hour weekly lecture (Wednesdays 12noon – 2pm) and a 1x1 hour weekly tutorial. Lectures commence in week one of the semester while tutorials commence in week two.

    For a detailed outline of the course timetable by dates and topics, please refer to page 11 of this course information booklet.

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from the Course Planner at https://access.adelaide.edu.au/courses/details.asp?year=2014&course=107431+1+3410+1
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    Small firms and family businesses make a significant contribution to the economic development of national economies around the world. According to latest statistics, 96 percent of Australian private sector enterprises are small firms while approximately 67 percent are family-controlled businesses. Just as a small firm is not a little ‘big’ firm, an unlisted privately-owned family business is not a ‘clone’ of a publicly-listed business. Therefore it is important to have an understanding of the issues faced in growing and managing a firm from the small and family business perspectives.

    As a consequence, the overarching objective of this course is for students to understand how business-related issues (such as marketing, management, finance, law and accounting) are applied and / or addressed in the small and family business contexts.

    COMMENCEMENT
    Common pathways in which an individual becomes a small firm or family business owner
    GROWTH
    Issues that owners need to address when growing a small firm or family business
    EXIT
    Ways in which an owner of a small firm or family business ceases to be an owner
    Topic 2: Getting into business: new ventures, franchises, and purchasing or inheriting a business







    Topic 3: Strategic planning and business plans
    Topic 4: Marketing: product, price and promotion decisions
    Topic 5: Financing the business
    Topic 6: Legal issues
    Topic 7: Managing growth & transition
    Topic 8: Accounting issues
    Topic 9: Taxation issues

    Topic 10: Exit – part 1 (succession & next gen)
    Topic 11: Exit – part 2 (decline & closure or turnaround and/or sale)




     

    F O U N D A T I O N: TOPIC 1 - Definition, characteristics and significance of small firms and family businesses
    By the end of this course, students should be able to:
    1. Define and differentiate between what is meant by the terms ‘small firm’ and ‘family business’ and describe their significance and contributions to national economies;
    2. Describe the alternatives to commence working in (or owning) a small firm or a family business and identify their relative advantages and challenges;
    3. Formulate a business plan which outlines a firm’s objectives, business and marketing strategy, management structure, sources of finances and projected financial results.
    4. Identify the family, ownership and business issues that need to be considered when developing a strategic plan for a family business;
    5. Evaluate the appropriateness of a range of interrelated decisions associated with managing an growing a small firm and a family business;
    6. Identify the alternative legal structures available to small firms and choose the most appropriate form according to the objectives and needs of the owners;
    7. Evaluate the appropriateness of a firm’s management structure and processes in place based on its stage of development and growth;
    8. Identify the issues that need to be addressed when planning for succession to the next generation;
    9. Describe common reasons why firms become financially distressed and identify what steps can be taken to enact a turnaround;
    10. Develop an ability to apply the course concepts, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. ALL
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 5
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3, 4, 5 & 9
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 5
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 5
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. ALL
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 3, 4, 5, 7 & 8
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 3, 4 & 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There are three primary resources which are required for this course:

    a) Prescribed text book: Schaper, M., Volery, T., Weber, P. & Lewis, K. (2014), Entrepreneurship and Small Business (4th Asia-Pacific Edition), Wiley, Milton, Qld.
    Textbooks will be available for purchase from the University’s Unibook store. Alternatively you can purchase an e-book version of the text at a significantly discounted rate. The e-book version has the following features: b) Additional readings: some of the readings for this course have been taken from alternative sources. These are listed in the detailed course timetable. Rather than students having to purchase these texts (or borrow and photocopy the relevant sections from the library), electronic copies of these readings will be made available for download from the course’s MyUni website.

    c) Mikes Bikes (Intro) – in order for students to get a realistic ‘experience’ in managing a small business, this course uses an online business simulation game. Each student will be provided a licence (at no cost as it has been paid by the University) to the online game and will be allocated to a group where together students will manage their company and compete with other groups in the class. More details about this online simulation game will be provided under assessment summary (section 5.3 of this course information) and during the semester via lectures and MyUni.

    Recommended Resources
    Other reading resources which students may find useful include: 
    • Burns, P. (2011), Entrepreneurship & Small Business: Start-up, Growth and Maturity (3rd Ed), Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
    • Hatton, T. (2011), Small Business Management: Entrepreneurship and Beyond, South-Western.
    • Mazzarol, T. (2011), Small Business Management: An Applied Approach (2nd ed.), Tilde University Press, Prahran, Victoria.
    • Longenecker, J.G., Petty, J.M., Palich, L.E. & Moore, C.W. (2009), Small Business Management (15th Ed), South-Western.
    • Scarborough, N.M. (2012), Effective Small Business Management: An Entrepreneurial Approach (10th Ed), Pearson, New Jersey. 
    Online Learning
    Please make sure to check the course’s MyUni website regularly as this will be the main method in which I communicate to students and make additional information and resources available.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course contains three main avenues for learning (apart from assessment). These are:

    1. The weekly two-hour lecture (commencing week 1): Lectures provide students with an overview of how business-related issues (such as marketing, management, finance, law and accounting) are applied and / or addressed in the small and family business contexts. The material covered in lectures will be discussed in tutorials held in the following week. The format of the lectures will vary from week to week as we will also have guest presenters from industry, DVD case studies of small business start-ups, as well as the course tests (see assessment summary for more information). At the end of some of the lectures, there will be opportunities for students to meet up with their allocated group members to work on the Mike’s Bikes online simulation game (see point 3 below).

    2. The weekly one-hour tutorial (commencing week 2): tutorial class discussion provides students with the opportunity to clarify concepts and principles introduced in the lectures. Students should come prepared for each tutorial class. This includes undertaking the prescribed reading and attempting the discussion questions for that topic.

    3. Mikes Bikes online simulation game: – a weekly activity to give students to get a realistic ‘experience’ in managing a small business in a competitive environment. Students will be allocated to a group of 4 students and collectively will manage a virtual business and compete with other groups in the course.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The university expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours (for a 3 unit course) of private study outside of your weekly three hours of classes (i.e. 9 hours private study + 3 hours of lecture & tutorials = 12 hours per week).

    A role will be taken at each tutorial class, and student participation at these classes will form part of the overall assessment as outlined in the assessment summary below.

    Learning Activities Summary
    Please refer to the detailed course timetable on page 11 for an overview of the topics covered in this course.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
     Assessment item  % of Total Mark  Objectives Due or scheduled date
    Tutorial participation  10% To encourage and build confidence in students to make constructive contributions to class discussion
    Continuously assessed
    Tests (3 in total)
    50%
    Understanding of topic material
    • Test 1: Topics 1 to 3 ( 15%)
    • Test 2: Topics 4 to 6 (15%)
    • Test 3: Topics 7 to 10 (20%)

    2nd April
    7th May
    4th June
    Mikes Bikes Online Simulation Game
    30%

    Understanding of a range of issues associated with managing a small business based on Mike’s Bikes simulation; build group work skills.

    Continuously assessed
    Reflective learning journal
    10%

    Reflect on what was learnt about group work when undertaking the Mikes Bikes game.

    Learning journal due 14
    th May
    Assessment Related Requirements
    • To pass this course students must achieve 50% of the overall course assessment.
    • All assessment tasks are compulsory and none are redeemable.
    • The tests are conducted under closed book conditions and no materials whatsoever will be permitted to be taken into the test (with the exception of a calculator that cannot store text). Dictionaries of any kind are NOT permitted. 
    Assessment Detail
    • Tutorial Participation (10%)
    • In order to encourage class discussion and give students the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of the prescribed readings and the discussion questions, 10 percent of assessment will be based on class participation. Participation will be continually assessed throughout the semester. 
    • Tests (50%)
    • The in-class tests are an opportunity to assess your understanding of the concepts taught throughout the course. The timing of the tests are indicated in the topic schedule (page 11) and will be held at the start of the LECTURE [so please ensure you arrive on time for this class session]. The first two tests will be 50 minutes in duration while the final test will be 70 minutes in duration (as it covers more topics). The test will be conducted under closed book conditions (no material or dictionaries permitted). Further details regarding the tests (including format) will be communicated via MyUni.
    • Mikes Bikes Online Simulation Game (30%)
    • This online simulation game provide a ‘real-world’ hands-on experience of some of the issues that owners face when managing and growing a small business in a competitive environment. This assessment is undertaken as a group exercise which will run throughout the semester. In the third week of tutorials, students will be allocated into groups of four. Mikes Bikes Online Simulation Game is a general business simulation developed to suit those with little, to no prior business experience. Each group will compete against others in their ‘world’ (total of 7 groups per world) under a business name of their choosing. Initially groups are given the responsibility of Pricing and Promotion for a single product. As the simulation progresses, more decisions and additional products are added. Eventually each group is given full control (as CEO) over their own Bicycle Manufacturing Company. The challenge is to build their firm into the leading player in the market. As part of this online competitive game, students will analyse real market and financial reports, and collaborate with each other to create their own cross-functional strategic plan. As MikesBikes uses a dynamic-competitive marketplace, students must adapt to the changing market and demands of consumers, while also considering external forces - reinforcing the importance of planning and evaluation. 
    This assessment piece is conducted over a total of 8 weeks and is marked out of 30 as follows:
    • 8 marks awarded for participation in each week of the game (8 weeks x 1 mark per week = 8 marks) – this involves meeting with your group each week, reviewing past performance, deciding on what decisions to take to improve your company performance relative to others in your ‘world’ and entering these decisions into the online simulation software;
    • 14 marks awarded for improving the shareholder value of your company. Assessed from the 2nd week of the game, 2 marks will awarded each week for improving the value of your company (7 weeks x 2 marks per week = 14 marks).
    • 8 marks awarded according to the final position (at the end of the game) of your company relative to others in your ‘world’. Team with the highest shareholder value in the world your group has been allocated to will receive 8 marks, second highest team will score 6 marks, third highest 5 marks and so on.
    Last year, some groups started poorly but enacted a significant turnaround by the end of the course. Such groups were awarded (at the course co-ordinator’s discretion) bonus marks (to a maximum mark of 30 / 30). So, even if you group starts poorly, significant turnarounds may attract bonus marks.

    More information about how to play the game will be made available to students during the semester.

    Reflective journal (10%) (1,000 words)
    The Mikes Bikes Online Simulation Game gives students the opportunity to learn about working effectively in a group over a period of time. The reflective journal assignment provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their group work experience (strengths / weaknesses, contributions to group dynamics) and identify the underlying principles of effective group work.

    More guidance relating to this assignment will be made available on the course websit
    Submission
    The personal reflective journal should be submitted online by the due date using the MyUni ‘Turnitin’ function. For more details, please visit the Myuni website. Assignments should be completed using the assignment proforma (available from course website) which includes an assignment cover sheet.

    Students are expected to submit their work by the due date to maintain a fair and equitable system. Extensions will generally only be given for medical or other serious reasons. All requests for extensions must be emailed to the lecturer in charge of the course before the due date. Each request will be assessed on its merits. A late assignment (without prior arrangement) will be penalised by a 5% mark reduction for each day that it is late.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.