Course Syllabus

Welcome to BUS208: Principles of Management

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Course Description

Learn the fundamentals of modern business management as you explore how business management practices evolved from the rise of large corporations in the late 1800s to today. 

Course Introduction

Management refers to the organization and coordination of work to produce a desired result. A manager is a person who practices management by working with and through people in order to accomplish his or her organization's goals. When you think of the term manager, you may be imagining your supervisor as he or she hires and terminates employees and makes major decisions above your authority. However, although you may not view yourself in this way, you yourself may also be a manager. In fact, many of us practice management skills in the workplace every day. You may have a team of employees that you manage, or lead a project that requires management strategy, or demonstrate leadership qualities among your peers. These are all scenarios that require you to apply the principles of management. In this course, you will learn to recognize the characteristics of proper management by identifying what successful managers do and how they do it. Understanding how managers work is just as beneficial for the subordinate employee as it is for the manager. This course is designed to teach you the fundamentals of management as they are practiced today. 

Management began to materialize as a practice during the Industrial Revolution, as large corporations began to emerge in the late 19th century and developed and expanded into the early 20th century. Many large corporations during the early 1900s did not have any competition and thus dominated their industries. At the time, each employee was seen as a cog in a wheel - a useful yet expendable part of a business's operation. But the development of the assembly line in the 1910s and 1920s and the attendant automation of production processes drove changes in management strategy and required businesses to rethink how they managed their resources (i.e. their people, finances, capital, and tangible assets). The fundamental concepts of modern management were famously explored by Frederick Winslow Taylor, an American engineer who wrote The Principles of Scientific Management. Published in 1911 and based on research conducted by Taylor, the book's analysis aimed to couple the efficiency needs of a business with the specialized talents of its employees. Taylor's conclusion was that employees are almost always driven by the desire to earn money. Because businesses at the time had very little production capacity, the principles of management aimed toward driving sales by enticing employees with more money for increased production. As such, modern management's focus was on producing as much product as possible to meet consumer demand for goods and services. 

By the late 20th century, automation, higher educational levels, and the push for speed had changed management practices, and businesses had by and large moved away from a top-down, centralized direction style and toward leaner organization with less regimentation. Nevertheless, Taylor's theories and their lessons remain important as a foundation for understanding how to manage large projects that require a variety of skills and a large number of workers. 

This course will illustrate the ways in which the practice of management evolves as firms grow in size. Historically, middle managers have served as so-called "gatekeepers" who collect, analyze, and pass information up and down the management chain within an organization. But two recent developments at the turn of the 21st century - namely, low-cost data manipulation in computers and the emergence of widespread, real-time communication (in the forms of inexpensive, long-distance global calling, email, text messaging, and social media) - have reduced the need for these middle-manager gatekeepers, and companies have eliminated thousands of such positions. The goal? To speed the flow of information and decision-making and reduce the number of layers that separate the customer from the leadership of an organization. 

This course is based upon the idea that the essential purpose of a business is to produce products and services in order to meet the needs and wants of the marketplace. A manager marshals an organization's resources (its people, finances, facilities, and equipment) toward this fundamental goal. In this course, you will explore the tasks that today's managers perform and delve into the key knowledge areas that managers need to master in order to run successful and profitable businesses.

This course is comprised of the following units:

  • Unit 1: What Is Management?
  • Unit 2: Historical Development and Globalization
  • Unit 3: Organizational Culture, Diversity, and Ethics
  • Unit 4: Leadership and Teams
  • Unit 5: Managing Employees: Motivation, Empowerment, and Conflict Resolution
  • Unit 6: Human Resource Management
  • Unit 7: Planning and Strategy Formulation
  • Unit 8: Decision-Making
  • Unit 9: Organization Structure, Change, and the Future of Management

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • explain the roles and responsibilities of managers;
  • discuss and analyze the purpose of management;
  • identify the significance of how historical theories have shaped management;
  • describe and assess the effect of globalization on operating, growing, and managing a business;
  • explain the importance of corporate culture in the business environment;
  • assess the impact of a culturally diverse workforce on businesses;
  • identify ethical practices in business;
  • apply the essential principles of quality leadership;
  • recognize and apply the skills necessary for carrying out effective management decision-making and strategic management planning;
  • discuss the importance of effectively managing teams in the workplace, and identify the roles teams play;
  • analyze the importance of an effective, qualified, and cohesive workforce;
  • examine the importance of effective teamwork as it relates to productivity;
  • assess the impacts of conflict in the workplace;
  • identify ways to attract, hire, and retain high-quality employees;
  • examine the importance of developing clearly identified goals and objectives;
  • distinguish ways in which organizational structure impacts strategy, performance, and operations;
  • analyze the significance of properly planning and executing change in an organization; and
  • determine ways in which technology can be used to advance an organization.

Throughout this course, you'll also see related learning outcomes identified in each unit. You can use the learning outcomes to help organize your learning and gauge your progress.

Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are readings, lectures, video tutorials, and other resources.

All course materials are free to access, and can be found through the links provided in each unit and subunit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will instruct you as to what specifically to read or watch at a given point in the course, and help you to understand how these individual materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also access a list all of the materials used in this course by clicking on Resources in the course's "Activities" menu.

Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you may take it again as many times as needed, following a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Saylor Certificate of Completion.

There are also 9 unit assessments in this course. These are intended to help you to gauge how well you are learning and do not factor into your final course grade. You may retake all of these as many times as needed to feel that you have an understanding of the concepts and material covered. You can locate a full list of these sorts of assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course’s “Activities” menu.

Earning College Credit

This course is eligible for college credit via Saylor’s Direct Credit Program. If you are seeking to earn college credit, you must opt to take and pass the Saylor Direct Credit final exam. That exam will be password protected and require the presence of a proctor. Upon passing that final exam you will receive a Proctor Verified Course Certificate, and will be eligible to earn an Official Transcript. For more information about applying for college credit review the “Guide: College Credit Opportunities”. Be sure to check the section on proctoring for details (fees, technical requirements, etc.)

Note: There is a 14-day waiting period between attempts of the Direct Credit final exam. There is no imposed wait period between attempting the non-credit certificate-bearing exam and the credit exam. Some credit exams have a maximum number of attempts allowed, which will be detailed on the exam’s instructions page.

Tips for Success

BUS208: Principles of Management is a self-paced course in which you the learner determines when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or predetermined schedule to follow. While learning styles can vary considerably and any particular student will take more or less time to learn or read, we estimate that the "average" student will take 89 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular (daily, or at least weekly) progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so below we've compiled a few suggested study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Pay special attention to Unit 1, as it will lay the groundwork for understanding the more advanced, explanatory material presented in the latter units.
  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories as you read. This can help you differentiate and contextualize concepts and later provide you with a refresher as you study.
  • As you progress through the materials, take time to test yourself on what you have retained and how well you understand the concepts. The process of reflection is important for creating a memory of the materials you learn; it will increase the probability that you ultimately retain the information.
  • Although you may work through this course completely independently, you may find it helpful to connect with other Saylor students through the discussion forums. You may access the discussion forums at

Technical Requirements

This course is delivered fully online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one, free of charge, here. Although you can access some course resources without being logged into your account, it’s advised that you log in to maximize your course experience. For example, some of the accessibility and progress tracking features are only available when you are logged in.
  • Occasionally, Flash may be required to run certain multimedia and/or interactive applications in the course. Should you be prompted to enable Flash, click the option to allow or follow these instructions for enabling Flash on your computer or laptop.
  • If you plan to attempt the optional credit recommended final exam that accompanies this course, then you will also need access to a webcam enabled computer. A webcam is needed so that our remote proctoring service can verify your identity, which will allow Saylor Academy to issue an official transcript to schools on your behalf.

For additional technical guidance check out Saylor’s tech-FAQ and the Moodle LMS tutorial.


There is no cost to access and enroll in this course. All required course resources linked throughout the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, activities, etc are accessible for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

This course does contain an optional final exam that will provide students an opportunity to earn college credit. Access to the exam itself is free, though it does require the use of a proctoring service for identity verification purposes. The cost for proctoring is $25 per session.

Last modified: Thursday, March 28, 2019, 7:10 PM