Ivey honours a textbook case of success

Paul Mayne // Western News

Showing off the 40-year progression of the Business Decision Making textbook at Ivey Business School are some of its co-authors, including, clockwise from left, Ivey professors Ann Frost, Mary Crossan, John Haywood-Farmer (emeritus), Elizabeth Grasby, Michael Pearce (emeritus) and Lyn Purdy.

Michael Pearce remembers taking the Business Decision Making course at Western in 1964. So, 10 years later, when he took over as director of the Pre-Business program, who better to join a cast of co-authors in helping ‘write the book’ on the course.

Today, that book is celebrating 40 years of introducing students to business fundamentals.

“Early on, there had been simply a collection of loose materials printed, as needed, as an intro to business. We needed to do something different,” said Pearce, an Ivey professor emeritus. “We undertook this book, and continue to nourish it, because each co-author believes strongly in teaching; each co-author believes strongly in encouraging young people to study business administration. And almost all of us have taken and/or taught the introductory course and wanted to give back to it.”

First published in 1976, An Introduction to Business Decision-Making Texts and Cases has undergone a handful of title changes in its 17 editions. With the help of 14 Ivey Business School co-authors, and contributions from 100 business instructors, more than 100,000 students have studied this foundational text for Business 1220, a course that serves as an introduction to both business fundamentals and the Ivey case method.

Elizabeth Grasby, current Director of the Pre-Business program, said the book remains relevant today thanks to the passion of its co-authors.

“We are fortunate to have faculty from Ivey who are specialists in these topics, like finance, marketing, operations and general management,” she said. “Every few years, they take a peek at their chapters, look at what’s going on in the world and refresh it. I’m so grateful we have a great team that understands it has a much larger impact on university students outside the HBA and MBA programs.”

Grasby proudly referenced alumni whose children are now taking the same course using the same book.

“The more important contributions of the book have been to the students who have studied it,” Pearce said. “We are confident they have a better understanding of business as a consequence. The Business 1220 course is thriving and it encourages hundreds of students to apply to our HBA program for further study. Many of our Business 1220 instructors have pursued post-graduate studies to become university faculty members who have strong teaching skills.

“We believe this is one of the most, if not the most, enduring and successful publications in the Ivey Business School’s history. We are proud of what we have accomplished and hope for a long future for the book.”