Saturday, December 7, 2013

One Last Hoorah

I must say, when signing up for this course I had no idea what the class truly entailed.  From the class description I gained a small insight of what topics the course might cover, but still, there was no indication of the extensive, in-depth material that we would touch base on throughout the year.  I would say that the subject matter discussed in this course was far more interesting than anything I have touched base on thus far in Economics.  As a result, I learned an incredible amount about Organizations that I had no knowledge of previous to my undertaking of the course.

To be honest, i possessed an unquestionably meek education of organizational processes prior to this course.  Now I can proudly attest to the fact, that although I am by no means master of organizational schematics, I have achieved a greater discernment of many facets discussed throughout this course.  First off, I had no idea there were so many transaction costs behind a single, ordinary negotiation.  From search and information costs, to bargaining costs, there contains a multitude of hidden costs that occur during any given exchange.  Many of which are unseen and often unaccounted for by the average individual.

One particular topic I perceived to be interesting was from one of the book readings.  It is known as the Ratchet Effect.  To briefly summarize this effect, when manager's exceed production in one period, they are "rewarded" with higher quotas in the next.  It was fascinating to me since I am still torn by how this might affect performance in a particular workplace.  In one sense this is great for the organization.  Management has discovered means to surpass the desired performance set in a specific period, and as a result, the company attempts to pursue extended future performance.  If a company wishes to grow, then elevated performance is dire to this pursuit.  However, if managers notice such a pattern of increased quotas, the stress induced on them may deter motivation to keep increasing workplace production.  This is just one topic from the course that perplexed me and induced myself to critically think about how organizations manage their staff, employees, and production capabilities.

Obviously the vast information introduced in the course can fill pages upon pages.  A great deal more than needs to be touched upon in this blog.  Yet, all the intelligence this course has to offer provides a fortified structure for an increased understanding or organizational procedures.

Now to turn to the class format.  I was particularly fond of the way the course was structured.  The way the class revolved around the blogging and assigned readings was paramount.  It facilitated understanding of the course material, and made it very easy to grasp a lot of the mathematical concepts that I was not as familiar with anymore.  I feel the pedagogic approach should persist in future class formats, especially since the structure of the class made learning easier than many classes I have partaken in thus far.  Additionally, the blogging portion was awesome!  Many times in a college classroom, interaction between students is meager relative to the interactions between students and the professor.  Commenting on each others' posts allowed us to  familiarize ourselves with our fellow classmates, and provided a solid basis for the level at which our writing should strive to attain.  I have not had a lot of chances to expand upon my writing knowledge since setting foot on this university, but the blogging has given me this opportunity to practice my writing and hopefully increase performance.

Writing the blogs and completing the excel files was somewhat time-consuming, but incredibly straightforward.  In regards to blogging, after about a half hour of preparation, it was easy to let the words flow and complete the prompt.  I would usually start by thinking about how I was going to go about introducing the context of my blog.  From there I pinpointed what topics I would discuss and from there everything just seemed to fall into place as I wrote.  For the excel homework, it usually took me about an hour to complete.  I typically was very anal about reading everything on the homework, and this contributed much to the time consumption.  Other than that, similar to the blogs, the excel homework was very straightforward.  The proper equations always seemed to be readily available in the text.  The comments posted on the class website also facilitated the completion of the homework,  especially since Professor Arvan always made himself available to assist struggling students.  I felt that not finishing the homework was inexcusable because of this.

I particularly wouldn't change much about the course.  My only complaint would be that I feel there should be more material covered on the exams.  I wasn't a fan that there were only three problems worth a substantial amount of points.  I felt this way, because if you did not understand one part of a particular problem, it would lead you astray for the rest of it.  In this type of occurrence, messing up one problem would lead to a huge disparity in grades achieved by different students on the exam.  Other than this I would not change much else.  I was a huge fan of the class format induced by Professor Arvan.


  1. Thanks for your comments. I resisted saying this all semester but let me say it here, meant as assistance for you in future writing projects. Some of your word choice and phrases employed are a bit stilted, as if you are trying to be more professional in the writing than you are ready for. It would be better to be more plain spoken, say what you mean that way, and then re-read and ask if you are getting your message across. The reader prefers things to be easily understood and doing that shows you have confidence as a writer. It is okay to try alternative approaches, which is why I didn't steer you away from that at the outset of the course. But now you have and I'd say what you've produced could be improved upon by making it simpler.

    On the content of your post, I appreciate your comments about the class format and your providing some detail about how you went about doing the course work. I liked your little story of the ratchet effect. There is a corollary to Murphy's Law that is similar - do somebody a favor and you're obligated for life. It is what makes me wary of fund raisers.

    On the exams, I both agree and disagree. I want students to show some depth of understanding. That means sampling of course topics, not a comprehensive coverage of them on the exams. But if you didn't "get it" on the problems, the results were rather drastic and I think that discouraged some students. Part of the issue for me is that "getting it" should be the norm in my view, but the operative word here is "should." In fact many students didn't get it and then the issue is what to do about it. I'm still not sure.

    1. Your stance on participating in fundraisers made me chuckle. I feel this similar correlation in my time at my part-time job. The more I agree to pick up extra shifts, the more they ask me to do so. It has become increasingly stressful, and sometimes I wonder if I am the first person they call now when it comes to filling in for someone's absences.

      I did not know what the word stilted meant when you were referring to my writing, so I looked it up. The part of the definition that stood out most to me was "pompous." I will admit, at first glance I was slightly offended since I do have an understanding of what pompous means. However, after a little thought I completely agree with you. I do feel as if I attempted all semester to write above my actual skill level. One reason for this was that your writing was very skillfully composed and I wanted to show that I could write at a higher level as well. In doing so I agree that I may have contorted the actual message I was trying to convey in my posts. Thank you for not calling me out on this earlier in the year, because I might have been demoralized on future posts. This sort of feedback was extremely well-timed.

      I also appreciate that you considered my criticism about the exams, and you didn't make me feel foolish about the exam styles. A lot of professors I've talked to in the past got upset about student critiques regarding their exams. I agree with you when you say you want us to possess comprehensive knowledge of the course, but maybe there should be a couple more problems that aren't necessarily dependent on the previous questions.

  2. I kind of agree with your opinion about exams. On the last exam, I did pretty well in question 2 and 3; however, the first question screwed up my entire exam. So I do think it might be better to include more questions in an exam. However, I also think find it might be difficult to have many deeper-level questions as well due to time limitation. For me, mathematical parts in the course were hard but concepts were useful and interesting. Maybe I am just not a "math" guy.

    I enjoy writing my own blogs as well as reading your blogs. Your perspectives are often different from mine; therefore, I learned a lot from your writings. A nice semester reading your posts and interacting with you online.

    1. I agree with you about the math. I sort of had to be re-introduced to math, since my first 3 years here focused strictly on psychology. With that sort of major it was a lot more conceptual than mathematical. I too did find the math portions interesting in beneficial, but I was also very grateful that Professor Arvan spared us the extensive calculations when it came to the midterms.

      Thank you for the kind words at the end. I have to say I agree. I apologize if I may have bored you a bit, for a lot of my writing did stem from the same experiences. Yours on the other hand was extremely refreshing. Like you said, we had many different perspectives. so I was fortunate to learn some new things from your comments and writing.

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