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Students learn business administration concepts using a multimedia mix

Business prof Steve Dunphy’s innovative approach to teaching management concepts encourages a modern interpretation of traditional business theories

Dr. Dunphy works with a student prior to presenting her multimedia presentation.

IU Northwest File Photo
Dr. Dunphy works with a student prior to presenting her multimedia presentation.

Ten years ago, Veronica Simms moved from Argentina to Northwest Indiana. Her life, as she knew it, changed drastically. She was introduced to a new culture and with that came a greater understanding of diversity.

Simms, currently a junior at IU Northwest’s School of Business and Economics, recently had the opportunity to express her thoughts regarding diversity, and specifically what that means in the workplace, to a group of her peers in a nontraditional but innovative way, using a creative mix of music and images.

The end-of-semester project, part of a course taught by Associate Professor of Management Steve Dunphy, Ph.D., focuses on an integration of business administration behavior and organization theories.

Dunphy explained the exercise as “developing a slide show illustrating a concept, theme, theory or idea from the management textbook by mixing a piece of popular music synchronized to representative images.”

Using the pop song “This Time for Africa” by Shakira, Simms brought to life a section of chapter six, which focuses on incorporating diversity programs into the workplace. Her presentation, “Unity in Diversity,” paired the tone and words of the South American-born musical artist with images evoking the themes of inclusion, cultural diversity and globalization.

While the project is nontraditional in nature when compared to a typical term paper, Dunphy believes such an exercise can be more relevant, realistic and didactic in terms of elucidating the concepts from the textbook.

Simms explained that one of the lessons she learned through the textbook, and which became ever more apparent to her while doing research, is the necessity of workplace diversity programs.

“These programs promote respect, participation and inclusion amongst co-workers and lead to an increase in job satisfaction and creativity,” she said.

The chapter and concept hit close to home for her.

“I picked this topic because, being from a different country, I realize the importance of diversity,” she explained. “Diversity is so important to promote.”

Hearing this was music to Dunphy’s ears. In fact, he said one of the main reasons he teaches in this innovative way is so that students have an opportunity to research and express something that is meaningful to them.

“When built into a multimedia mix, the student creates themes that are both personally important to them and rife with meaning for the general audience, because, more often than not, the mix contains moving messages for these difficult times,” he said.

Albeit not as upbeat as Simms,’ Chris Fuller’s presentation was just as enlightening. His multimedia mix focused on destructive, defiant behavior in organizations by peering into the unethical and illegal behavior of corporate executives.

The title of the presentation matched the featured song, “Gone,” by Switchfoot, and told the story of intelligent and resourceful corporate executives who, in the end, succumbed to greed.

A junior in the School of Business and Economics, Fuller said it’s never too early for him, or his peers, to learn this lesson.

“This applies to the ethical side of business and as business students we need to learn from their mistakes and take those stories forward with us,” he said. “I’ve learned the credibility of business leaders and doing things ethically.”

Additional class topics ranged from job dissatisfaction and workplace conflict to a lack of corporate creativity -- stressors that have been a part of workplaces for decades.

“In the business world, there are the smiling faces that co-workers put on that everything is wonderful in the organization, but the fact is, people are under stress and their inner soul might be very different then the face they are presenting,” Dunphy said. “As a result, we should probably increase our ability to accommodate that inner face.”

Dunphy presented his teaching approach at the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences conference in Las Vegas in February 2011.


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Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications

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