Agribusiness Management 308W: Strategic Decision Making in Agribusiness

  • Screen shot of the top section of the employee engagement infographic depicting a close view of the section on enablers of employee engagement.
  • Screen shot of the middle section of the employee engagement infographic depicting a close view of the section on employee engagement types.
  • Screen shot of the bottom of the employee engagement infographic depicting a close view of the sections on (1) Penn State perception, values, and plan and (2) the Penn State Vlaues and Culture Survey with feedback from the Ethics Resource Center.
  • <h4>Employee Engagement - It Matters</h4>

  This infographic provides information about why employee engagement matters to individuals. The infographic is displayed in four sections:
    <li>Enablers of employee engagement,</li>
    <li>Employee engagement types,</li>
    <li>Penn State perception, values, and plan, and</li>
    <li>Penn State Values and Culture Survey – Feedback from Ethics Resource Center.</li>

 <h5>Enablers of Employee Engagement</h5>

  The first section identifies enablers of employee engagement as:
    <li>Leaders are able to effectively communicate the mission statement and supporting strategies. Leaders accept employees as noble and employees are proud to be part of an organization that functions this way. When these qualities are implemented, employees feel connected to the organization’s goals and values. </li>
    <li>Managers in the organization care about people and their development. They provide clear objectives and the resources to get them done. </li>
    <li>Leaders are openly interested in listening to employees’ feedback and applying changes as needed. For example, Penn State has taken steps to listen to members of the Penn State Community by conducting a survey that was administered to faculty, staff, and students. The Penn State Values and Culture Survey was conducted by the Ethics Resource Center (ERC), an independent, nonprofit organization with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.</li>

 <h5>Employee Engagement Types</h5>

  This section identifies how employees are engaged in the workplace, identifies the types of employee engagement, and provides a real-life example, the Penn State Values and Culture Survey.

 <h6>Engagement in the Workplace</h6>

  Employees are empowered and feel comfortable expressing their opinion; they have a voice in decision-making. Employees feel appreciated and are recognized for their work. An employee’s level of engagement is affected by the degree to which he or she feels empowered and/or appreciated.

 <h6>Employee Engagement Types</h6>

  The types of employee engagement are
    <li> Engaged employees: Employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to the company. They drive innovation and move the company forward.</li>
    <li> Unengaged employees: These employees are “checked out” and go through the motions during the workday. They are putting in time, but not enough energy or passion into their work. </li>
    <li> Actively engaged employees: These employees are not just unhappy at work, but busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these employees undermine what their engaged counter-parts accomplish. </li>


 <h6>Penn State Values and Culture Survey</h6>

  Data from the survey indicated, “Community members feel a strong connection to Penn State and to academic life.”
 According to the Penn State Values and Culture Survey conducted in October 2013, Penn State has a strong and engaging culture. Of the 14,655 participants who completed the survey, 95% feel at least moderately connected to Penn State. A pie chart displays that
    <li> 39% feel strongly connected</li>
    <li> 56% feel moderately connected</li>
    <li> 5% feel not very connected</li>

  A recent article in <i>Fortune Magazine</i> states “The only true sustainable competitive advantage is the quality of your people.”

 <h5>Penn State Perception, Values, and Plan</h5>

  The third section provides the perception of senior administrators, a set of values to be shared across the Penn State community, and
 identifies a plan for the university to move forward.

 <h6>Perception of Senior Administrators</h6>

  The Penn State community agreed widely on a set of values to which everyone at the University should aspire, including
    <li>discovery (94%),</li>
    <li>community (92%),</li>
    <li>excellence (92%),</li>
    <li>responsibility (91%),</li>
    <li>respect (88%), and</li>
    <li>integrity (86%).</li>

 <h6>University Plan</h6>

  President Barron has announced a plan to enhance existing training and development programs in order to address challenges highlighted in the survey.

 <h5>Penn State Values and Culture Survey – Feedback from Ethics Resource Center</h5>

  Finally, the last section provides a statement from the Ethics Resource Center, who conducted the to Penn State Values and Culture Survey. “By conducting the survey, we believe that Penn State has set a new standard for higher education,” said Pat Harned, president of ERC. “To ERC’s knowledge, no other major university has conducted a survey of this type and scope and Penn State should be proud to be first to conduct a comprehensive survey of this kind.”
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Project Description

AG BM 308W utilizes real-world case studies to investigate strategic decision making among agribusiness firms. Students will also gain business research skills through the use of the University Libraries, including strategies to conduct company and industry research, completing external analyses of real-world companies, and utilizing research-based library databases in preparation for developing and evaluating an organization’s strategic plan.

Students in this course will research and analyze real-world agribusiness firms using the strategic decision-making skills they learn. Infusing innovative approaches to delivering course concepts and research-based content introduces learners to course material in an exciting and engaging online environment.

Through cased-based individual and team activities and virtual discussion sessions, students are provided with abundant opportunities to practice and master the decision-making process.

To provide an authentic learning experience, students will serve as market analysts who work for a mutual fund specializing in agribusiness firms. Students will present their findings and make recommendations to their supervisor—in this case the course instructor—on whether a firm should be added to their company’s portfolio.

Project Features

  • Engaging, research-driven content and presentation
  • Integrated visual elements

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