Spring Semester, 2009

Here are my classes for my final semester at Georgetown:

Comparative Democratization (GOVT-549)

This course will serve as an introduction to the vast literature on democratization in comparative politics. Democratization is studied here from the perspective of the transition and consolidation processes of the late 20th century. The principal goal of the course is to understand the social, economic, cultural, institutional and political conditions, both domestic and international, that help explain democratic development and, in particular, the multifaceted problems of transition and consolidation of democracy.  We shall also consider the reasons for the more recent resurgence of various forms of authoritarianism.

Policies for Poverty Reduction (MSFS-517)

How do governments, donors, and international organizations make decisions about development policies? Why does “slippage” often occur during implementation? How are policy reform initiatives introduced, expanded, and sustained (“scaled up”)? This course analyzes major policy and programmatic efforts that have been used reduce poverty in developing and transitional countries, including transfers, credit and land-based programs, and market development. It emphasizes ways that institutional and political analysis can improve policy analysis, particularly regarding decision making, implementation, and the management of reformist initiatives. It assesses how historical conditions, state capacity, stakeholder relationships, and bureaucratic influences shape policy decision making and the allocation of public resources. Assignments focus on the analysis of reforms as well as antipoverty programs selected by students and the strategic management of political conflicts related to policy change.

International Negotiation (MSFS-623)

The objectives of this course are to explore and discuss the various theories of and approaches to negotiation analysis; develop an understanding of the many factors that influence the international negotiation process (including power, domestic politics, culture); and integrate theory and reality by analyzing case studies. Students also will participate in a negotiation simulation over two class periods. The ultimate goal of the course is to enhance our ability to understand the factors that affect the process and outcome of international negotiations, and thereby enhance our ability to identify conflicts that are ripe for negotiation as well as assess the dynamics of on-going negotiations. A better understanding of the negotiation process and the factors that determine may even make us more effective negotiators.

Business Operations in Emerging Markets (MSFS-561)

The purpose of this course is to help the student transition from the consideration of high-level global business strategies to a focus on more “on-the-ground” implementation of these strategies in emerging markets, defined by the local conditions faced by the operating “subsidiary” of the global firm. It will commence with a presentation of concepts, in which we will look at the operational, marketing, strategic and investment challenges of subsidiaries of multinational corporations, as well as some large-scale local companies, confronting local market and non-market conditions. The next phase will use case studies of multinational corporations and some local corporations operating in the Middle East, China, India, Africa, Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Latin America, to assist in an understanding of the challenges of operating businesses in developing countries. The course’s last phase will involve a simulation exercise in which students will develop an operational strategy for a business unit operating in a developing market. Students will build the business skill-sets necessary for conducting situational analyses, making business recommendations, and developing an operation plan for firms doing business in developing country environments.

I’m also sitting in on two classes with people I met last semester:

Social Media in Business, Government, and Development
[Taught by Gaurav Mishra; class blog online]

The proposed course cuts across the International Business and International Development concentrations.

Social media technologies are disrupting power equations between consumers and businesses on one hand and citizens and governments on the other hand, especially in the context of developing countries. Therefore, it is essential that thinkers and practitioners in the areas of business, development and policy understand the use and impact of social media technologies.

The proposed course will first introduce students to the promise of social media technologies and the challenges in using them in the context of developing countries because of issues related to access, social dynamics and language. It will then analyze how social media technologies are changing power equations between individuals and institutions in developing countries, especially in the areas of civic engagement and consumer advocacy. Finally, it will delve deep into how mobile technology is multiplying the power of social media technologies in developing countries.

At the end of the course, the students will have a deep understanding of —
1. The value system embedded in social media technologies (collaboration, community and user generated content).
2. The impact of social media technologies in consumer advocacy and civic engagement in the context of developing countries.
3. The challenges in using social media technologies in developing countries.

CCTP-673 Creating a Culture of Innovation

Innovation is much more than just invention. It requires much more than just a good idea. It requires finding new ways to combine existing ideas, products, and services into something that customers (or citizens) will want. Organizations that foster innovation foster collaboration between employees with different backgrounds, skills, and viewpoints. They provide the information infrastructure and tools needed to “harness the wisdom of crowds” and tap into the knowledge scattered throughout the organization. They motivate employees, encourage life-long learning, and encourage them to take risks inherent in trying new things.

A number of writers are concerned that America may be losing its edge and that its “innovation engine” is sputtering. (Cf. The Gathering Storm from the National Research Council and Closing the Innovation Gap by Judith Estrin). What can be done to address these problems? What can organizations do to foster collaboration and innovative thinking? How can countries adopt policies that will provide the building blocks of innovation? What can individuals do to promote innovation among their co-workers and colleagues?

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