Teaching Business Concepts Through Movies(1)

This blog entry is the first of a series focused on the use of multimedia in the Business Management classroom.

Business Management is quite complicated subject and often teachers wonder how to make it more interesting and engaging to students. One way to bring some variety and diversity in the teaching methods used in the Business Management classroom is to use movies and video clips to provoke discussion and enhance students’ learning experience in a fun way. Movies tell us a lot about human nature and greed. Some of the titles I will offer here are most likely familiar to many teachers of Business Management and teachers can add to these in the comments below.

Here is a list of some movies and the lessons they teach:

Inside Job (2010) – the movie is about the most severe global economic crisis in decades and reveals the shared responsibility for it of financial institutions, governments and business leaders.

House of Strangers(1949)- the movie shows how microfinance worked in the ghettos of New York in the 1920s and 1930s. The success of the main character is based on lending money to people from the neighbourhood and sealing the deal with just a handshake.

The Social Network (2010)- The movie takes a look at the start of Facebook and social media, some real-world entrepreneurial challenges and how bumpy the ride from rags to riches can be.

Photo by Merrick Morton - © 2010 Columbia Tristar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo by Merrick Morton – © 2010 Columbia Tristar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wall Street (1987) – this is the story not only about dealings on Wall Street and the rules behind those but also about the struggle between moral and ethical upbringing that the character received from his family and the allure of wealth and power as embodied in the character of Gordon Gekko.

Up in the Air (2009)- this movie is a reminder to leaders that organizations are about people, not about things, no matter how advanced and developed they might be. The story focuses on the policies of ‘downsizing’ and the use of technology in cutting costs even when laying off people in companies.

Other people’s Money(1991) – this comedy looks at some of the finer points of taking over and asset-stripping strategy as a way to wealth. The traditional manufacturing is opposed to the new breed of capitalism represented by Larry the Liquidator (Danny DeVito) who buys companies not to create products or jobs but to sell them for money.

Too Big to Fail (2011)- another movie about the financial meltdown in 2008 based around the ‘too big to fail’ theory which asserts that some corporations or financial institutions are so big that their failure will be a disaster to the economic system and therefore they must be supported by the government.

These are just a few of the movies that can be used at one point or another in the teaching of Business Management concepts. The approaches to their usage as a teaching tool can vary, teachers can  create simple questionnaires as worksheets, or guiding questions to provoke discussions around important business topics. Movies can also be used as a way to start an inquiry-based project of real-world examples of similar business issues. The options are infinite and depend on the style of teaching of individual teachers and their preferences, as well as the need of their learners.

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