Business organizations involve complex interactions of economic and social forces. We observe and analyze organizations using a combination of economics, ethics, sociology and systems theory.


Let’s start by observing that “The Foundations of” doesn’t mean “An Introduction to”. It means going back to first principles, aiming to understand something more deeply. Many university courses require the student to discover the foundations of a subject familiar from school, or from real-life.
Whether you have taken previous courses in Business Studies, or read books by management gurus; worked in a family business or simply followed business stories in the media, you will already have some knowledge and awareness of business. Studying the foundations of business at university level should take your knowledge and awareness forwards in two ways:
  • help you to pay closer attention to business phenomena, and give you additional insight
  • help you engage purposefully and reflectively with the business environment
Business can be regarded as a social system that creates value. This indicates four founding disciples for business studies.
  • Sociology - the study of social phenomena
  • Systems theory - the general study of systems
  • Economics - the science of value
  • Ethics - the philosophy of value
At a higher level, the study of organizations also draws upon Psychology and Anthropology
Finally, note that business is essential a practical activity, and cannot be reduced to abstract theory. Even when studying the foundations of business, we need to remain connected to the practical implications. The course therefore includes practical examples and case studies.