Contemporary Managerial Challenges

: Contemporary Managerial Challenges

Course Information 

Required Textbooks and Other Course Materials: 

Whetton, D.A. & Cameron, K.S. (2016). Developing Management Skills, 10th Edition with MyManagementLab, Pearson Education.

Please read the Wall Street Journal daily for examples of leaders who demonstrate (or fail to demonstrate) the management skills under discussion. Go to Instruction to Access The Wall Street Journal | UTA Libraries for your free subscription.

Description of Course Content:

This course will provide students the opportunity to evaluate and provide solutions for some of the most challenging managerial issues facing organizations today. Students will engage in discussion, analyze cases, conduct verbal and written presentations, and participate in other experiential activities to explore topics that help organizations effectively manage people to meet these challenges. Some of the topics will include diversity and inclusion, team dynamics, and organizational change and development. Emphasis is on developing applied skills required in contemporary organizations.

Technology Requirements

Students will require digital access capability (for use both in the classroom and for remote learning activities) to various web-based learning technology platforms (e.g., Canvas, MyManagementLab). In addition, students will require access to collaboration platforms (e.g., Teams) and other software applications (e.g., Microsoft Office, webcam, and Respondus 4.0 software).

Expectations for Out-of-Class Study: Beyond the time required to attend each class meeting, students enrolled in this course should expect to spend at least an additional 6 to 9 hours per week outside of class in course-related activities, including reading required materials, completing personal skill assessments, creating team-based deliverables, presentations, and preparing for exams.

Course Design and Learning Outcomes

The Contemporary Managerial Challenges course is interactive and stresses a hands-on approach to developing and applying management skills – personal, interpersonal, and team. Each session is designed to allow you to sequentially “assess,” “learn,” “analyze,” “practice,” and “apply” skills critical to being successful in the workplace. The format of each week will consist of a combination of lecture/discussion, analysis, and practice using a variety of techniques. You will not only learn about management skills, but you will learn to apply those skills in class, at work, and at home to help you become a more effective employee and business leader.

The following is a description of the skill-development process:


Skill Assessment. In this step, you will assess your skills in the topic under discussion before class. Usually, these assessments will be discussed at the beginning of each class. The self-assessments will provide you feedback on where you stand relative to others, and the questions will provide a better understanding of the concepts covered.


Skill Learning. You will be expected to have read the section of each chapter called “Skill Learning” before class. Each chapter will be covered in one session that is primarily lecture based and includes class discussion. The entire chapter will not always be covered in class however, you will still be responsible for understanding the concepts in the entire chapter. The text is your resource and serves as the basis for understanding, class discussion, and reflection. Please do not attempt to take this course without the textbook.


Skill Analysis. For each chapter, you and your team will be analyzing the material using a case study. Some cases will be from the textbook, others will not. Students will be formed into teams at the beginning of the semester and given a list of cases from which to choose for analysis. Though teams will be responsible for leading the discussion of the case, all students will be responsible for awareness and understanding of the case components. Students should bring the textbook to every class to access the cases and supporting information.

Important: Students either abandoning their teams or demonstrating social loafing can be “fired” from their team after unsuccessful mediation within the group and proper consultation with the professor. In this case, students must complete all activities on their own. Participation grades will be capped at 50% of maximum score.


Skill Practice. For each chapter, your team will be provided opportunities to practice skills. A variety of approaches will be used throughout the course. Specific exercises and role-plays will be the primary approaches used. Each team member must actively participate in these activities. Feedback from peers and the instructor will provide insights to assist students in further development of the applicable skill.


Skill Application. For each chapter, assignments will be provided which are designed to allow you the opportunity to apply the skill in a real-life setting. Once completed, a feedback mechanism will allow you to analyze your own success in applying the skill outside the classroom. From here, you can develop an improvement plan.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Analyze a particular managerial situation and communicate the details in verbal and written form.
  • Identify the significant issues presented in articles and cases.
  • Propose and justify explicit solutions that are realistic, effective, and efficient.
  • Model skills and abilities of professional organization members.

Grading Information

Exercise  Percentages    Description  
Skill Assessments and Evaluations (Individual Grade)  15%Each chapter contains self-assessments that will either be taken before the relevant chapter is discussed or as assigned. You will score your assessment and, based on your score, evaluate how your score relates to chapter or section content. No late submissions.
Team Case Analyses (Team Grade)20%In teams, students will analyze the assigned case for the week and be prepared to facilitate the classroom discussion. The case will either be from the textbook or another source.   Teams are established at the beginning of the semester and will remain a unit for weekly case analyses and the final team project explained below.   No late submissions.
Content Exams (Individual Grade)35%There will be two exams throughout the semester. Exams will cover the content in the assigned cases and material covered in the lecture, including lectures and additional readings. Each exam will only available during the scheduled class period. Make-up exams will not be given. Exams in this class will be difficult and detailed. Each exam is closed-book and closed-notes. Respondus 4.0 software will be used.
Final Team Project (Team Grade)25%The final team project will consist of a team skill development project that will provide an opportunity for you to identify one or more management skills, research its importance and application, and develop and present a paper and presentation.   The final product will include a 10 to 12-page double-spaced paper with 12 pt. font and cited using APA formatting plus cover page. Teams will also present a 15 to 20-minute presentation to the audience at the end of the semester. All team members must actively participate in the presentation.    Group meetings outside of work will be required. Microsoft Teams is available for group collaboration activities.  No late submissions accepted.
Attendance and Participation (Individual Grade)5%  Class attendance and participation are vital to your success in this course. Your attendance and participation grade is based on your actual presence in class, verbal contribution to the class discussions, general attitude, involvement in the exercises, skill performance improvement, and attendance. See instructions for Attendance and Class Participation Quiz

Attendance and Class Participation Quiz

For most chapters, you will complete an Attendance and Class Participation (ACP) self-grading quiz in Canvas based on the ACP Grading Rubric. Self-grading quizzes consist of 1 question. Self-grading quizzes will open at 12:00 pm after the 2nd class session for each chapter and will close at 12:00 pm two days following the end of the session. There is no time limit on the self-grading quiz, but it does need to be submitted by the deadline. You can complete the quiz multiple times during the period it is open (in case you need to correct an error or make an update). Your final completion (attempt) will be kept as your grade for the discussion.

If you forget to complete a self-grading quiz, you will receive zero (0) points for the quiz, even if you participated in both classes. No make-up options are available. Upon arrival in the classroom, you must sign-in on the attendance sheet. Your attendance and class participation will be tracked by the professor. Any student submitting an inflated or inaccurate quiz score will receive a grade of zero.


Grading in this course is designed to help you to develop in a few key areas that matter to

potential employers:

1. Subject matter expertise: measured by exams and quizzes

2. Personal responsibility: including showing up for work/class, turning in work, and meeting deadlines

3. Teamwork ability: developing people skills and contributing to team task performance


Grades are determined by the point system shown above, rather than by Canvas calculations which are sometimes incorrect. The final grade will be based on the requirements explained above. All grades will be assigned at the discretion of the professor. Grades are non-negotiable.

Note: I want you to do well in this class, and it will require time outside of class to achieve that goal. You should anticipate spending at least three hours outside of the classroom for every hour you spend in the classroom.

Course Schedule                                            (AS – Normal Class Period; Alternate Approach)


Note: 1st day of UTA classes is August 25th. Census date is September 10th. Last day to drop classes is November 5th   

As the instructor for this course, I reserve the right to adjust this schedule in any way that serves the educational needs of the students enrolled in this course. – Dr. Thomas Brill

Course Policies

Extra Credit: The Management Department sometimes offers opportunities for students to participate in research activities during the semester for extra credit. If this occurs, your participation will be voluntary. I will notify you in class or via email of these approved participation opportunities if they become available. Otherwise, no extra credit assignments/points will be available.

Grade Grievances: It is the student’s responsibility to check graded assignments / exams when they are returned. I will always review an assignment when a question or possible error is brought to my attention in written format (i.e., by email). To ensure fairness, I reserve the right to review and re-grade the entire assignment / exam. As a result, your grade may increase, decrease, or remain the same. Grades will not be reviewed or changed after a week from the date graded assignments are returned. Any appeal of a grade in this course must follow the procedures and deadlines for grade-related grievances as published in the current undergraduate / graduate catalog.

Conduct: Professional class conduct, and appropriate dress is expected of each student. I will not allow my class to be disrupted by inappropriate behavior. Please be courteous and show proper respect to the instructor and your peers. Disrespectful language will NOT be tolerated. You may disagree with some views. However, you may NOT make personal remarks or attacks at anyone in the classroom, verbally or through email.

Additional Information

Attendance:  The University of Texas at Arlington does not require that attendance be taken but attendance is a critical indicator of student success. Each faculty member is free to develop his or her own methods of evaluating students’ academic performance, which includes establishing course-specific policies on attendance. As the instructor of this section, I will take attendance. However, while UT Arlington does not require instructors to take attendance in their courses, the U.S. Department of Education requires that the University have a mechanism in place to mark when Federal Student Aid recipients “begin attendance in a course.” UT Arlington instructors will report when students begin attendance in a course as part of the final grading process. Specifically, when assigning a student, a grade of F, faculty report must the last date a student attended their class based on evidence such as a test, participation in a class project or presentation, or an engagement online via Canvas. This date is reported to the Department of Education for federal financial aid recipients. Thus, for this class, attendance will be taken each day and work will be tracked to meet the Federal recording requirements.

Emergency Exit Procedures: Should we experience an emergency event that requires us to vacate the building, students should exit the room and move toward the nearest exit, which is located as follows: Exit the classroom to the left hall, exit the building through Level 1 exit doors. When exiting a building during an emergency, one should never take an elevator but should use the stairwells. Faculty members and instructional staff will assist students in selecting the safest route for evacuation and will plan to assist handicapped individuals. Please also consult the evacuation schedule by visiting:

Student Success Programs:  UT Arlington provides a variety of resources and programs designed to help students develop academic skills, deal with personal situations, and better understand concepts and information related to their courses. Resources include tutoring by appointment, drop-in tutoring, etutoring, supplemental instruction, mentoring (time management, study skills, etc.), success coaching, TRIO Student Support Services, and student success workshops. For additional information, please email, or view the Maverick Resources website.

The IDEAS Center ( (2nd Floor of Central Library) offers FREE tutoring and mentoring to all students with a focus on transfer students, sophomores, veterans and others undergoing a transition to UT Arlington. Students can drop in or check the schedule of available peer tutors at, or call (817) 272-6593.

The English Writing Center (411LIBR):

The Writing Center offers FREE tutoring in 15-, 30-, 45-, and 60-minute face-to-face and online sessions to all UTA students on any phase of their UTA coursework. Register and make appointments online at the Writing Center ( Classroom visits, workshops, and specialized services for graduate students and faculty are also available. Please see Writing Center: OWL for detailed information on all our programs and services.

The Library’s 2nd floor Academic Plaza ( offers students a central hub of support services, including IDEAS Center, University Advising Services, Transfer UTA and various college/school advising hours. Services are available during the library’s hours of operation.

Librarian to Contact:

Each academic unit has access to Librarians by Academic Subject that can assist students with research projects, tutorials on plagiarism and citation references as well as support with databases and course reserves.

Emergency Phone Numbers

In case of an on-campus emergency, call the UT Arlington Police Department at 817-272-3003 (non-campus phone), 2-3003 (campus phone). You may also dial 911. Non-emergency number 817-272-3381

Library Information

Research or General Library Help

Ask for Help