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Eastern Academy of Management 2018 Annual Meeting

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Introduction to Global Supply Chains: A Mapping Exercise

Understanding where and how things are made is often an eye-opening experience for undergraduates. In a freshman course entitled Business and Society, students participate in an experiential learning activity to better understand global supply chains and their potential challenges. This exercise introduces the idea of global supply chains in a visual way by plotting the supply chain of a simple product on a world map. Though a seemingly simple exercise, it slows down learning and allows for more fundamental understanding of the topic. The learning activity provides a basis for a broader discussion about ethics and social responsibility in supply chains. It also integrates basic ideas of globalization and its challenges. The exercise was adapted from a National Geographic teaching and learning project. Pedagogically, this is a low stakes, in-class exercise that supports a more complex graded assessment and sets the stage for a deeper discussion of suppliers as stakeholders.

Laura D'Antonio
George Mason University
United States


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