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University of Michigan

Making Successful Decisions through the Strategy, Law & Ethics Model

University of Michigan via Coursera


Successful decision making is based on three key pillars: strategy, law and ethics. After taking this course you will be able to use a practical framework based on these three elements to make successful business, personal and leadership decisions. This course opens with an example of a leadership decision: President Barack Obama’s strategic decision to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. The course then shows how the three elements can be used to prevent a tragedy when making a personal decision. The rest of the course focuses on making successful business decisions.  In essence, to achieve business and career success, you must create value (strategy) and manage risk (law) in a responsible manner (ethics). Because the Law Pillar plays a central role in the three pillar model, the course includes practical legal briefings (with many examples) on the key elements of business success. Specifically, the course shows you how to: • attract the best employees, • develop successful products, • create new business models, • protect intellectual property, • create contracts that achieve business goals, and • use dispute resolution processes that improve business relationships. Using a global perspective, the course also provides an introduction to international business culture for learners from the United States, and an introduction to the U.S. business culture for learners from outside the U.S.


  • Welcome to Making Successful Decisions through the Strategy, Law & Ethics Model!
    • This course will enable you to use the Three Pillar model to manage business risk and create value in an ethical manner. You will also be able to use the model when making personal decisions. After completing this introductory module, you will understand the course goal and game plan.
  • Use the Three Pillar Model for Personal, Leadership and Business Decisions
    • In this module you will learn the basic structure of the Three Pillar model and the importance of thinking globally in today’s business world. You will also learn a practical decision making tool that you can begin to use immediately for personal and business decisions. Suggestion: The videos are viewed by learners from around the world. English is not the primary language for many of these learners. As a result, when shooting the videos I have attempted to speak in a slow and deliberate manner. If English is your native language, I recommend that you increase the speed to at least 1.25x.
  • Use Employment Law to Attract and Retain the Best Business Talent
    • Your ability to attract and retain the best employees is essential to business success. This requires an understanding of employment law. The videos in this module cover two of the most important and controversial areas of employment law: the ability of a business to fire employees and sex discrimination. After watching the videos, you will be able to manage employment risks in these areas, while also attracting the best talent to your business.
  • Meet Your Customers’ Needs: Transform Product Liability into Product Innovation
    • In a fast-changing world, your ability to develop new products is an important source of competitive advantage. The videos in this module provide you with methods for managing product liability risks. You can use these same methods for consumer research and new product development.
  • Create Business Opportunities Through Government Regulation
    • Government regulation plays an important role in determining the success of businesses around the world. In this module you will learn how to manage government regulatory risk by shaping the law and through compliance. You will also learn how to create business opportunities by anticipating regulation (the Regulatory Frontier Strategy) and by developing business models based on gaps in regulation (the Regulatory Gap Strategy).
  • Use Your Intellectual Property to Create Shareholder Value
    • Whether you are an entrepreneur starting your own business or a manager in a major international corporation, intellectual property is one of your key business assets. In this module, guest lecturer Susan Kornfield, a leading intellectual property lawyer, will explain how to create, protect and use your intellectual property in the US and internationally. The module is divided into the four key areas of intellectual property: trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and patents. Although these areas can be technical and complex, she brings them to life with many fascinating examples. Each of the four sections concludes with a summary of a lawyer’s perspective on intellectual property (which tends to focus on risk management) and a business perspective (which focuses on value creation).
  • Develop Contracts that Create Value for Both Sides
    • Successful contracts are the key to value creation for businesses. This module provides a contracting checklist of the key elements anyone in business should understand when negotiating contracts. These elements are necessary to minimize risk by creating a “perfect” contract. However, because a legally perfect contract can also be harmful to business success, the module also covers how to focus your contracts on business objectives and how to visualize contract terms to increase your understanding.
  • Use Dispute Resolution Processes for Value Creation
    • This module focuses on the processes that you will use to resolve disputes and build relationships that are key to business success. Short videos demonstrate arbitration and mediation processes. The module includes discussion of practical management tools you can use immediately to manage risks relating to business disputes: a corporate pledge, screens, contract clauses, and online resources. The module also shows you how to dispute resolution for value creation, including using the power of apology and a life goals analysis.
  • Create and Lead an Ethical Business
    • This module focuses on the Ethics Pillar of decision making by addressing three questions that are important to your career success: (1) What decision-making process should you use when facing an ethical dilemma? (2) What guidelines should you consider when analyzing the dilemma? (3) How can your best serve as an ethical leader in you organization? In answering these questions, the module shows how you can use the Law Pillar and the Strategy Pillar to embed ethical standards into your business and create an ethical organization.
  • Final Examination
    • This module includes the final examination, including both the relevant instructions and honor code.

Taught by

George Siedel


4.7 rating, based on 45 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 417 ratings

Start your review of Making Successful Decisions through the Strategy, Law & Ethics Model

  • Anonymous
    Consider it as a research question. How would you operationalize the phrase "best course" such that it could be measured? You may use a Likert scale to ask pupils how they felt about their teacher. You may inquire about what relevant information or…
  • Anonymous
    Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity and such a course, my intention for taking this course , it is to settle Yemen war peacefully, during the study the course material gave me many dimensions how to solve and view the conflict of int…
  • Lileath Claire
    I found this course 'true' to its course description and outline. The 'Three key pillars' - Strategy, Law and Ethics were meticulously addressed through involvement of experts in the areas, with the use of literature and practical experiences. The…
  • Steven Stein
    This is a great course for many reasons. It gives a special emphasis on employment and employer issues. It also has a unique framework that is important for Decision Science professionals that can be used in negotiation, contracting and decision q…
  • Anonymous
    I read Mass Communication and am also into business. This course helps you to understand legal aspects of business. It elucidate on how best to use law in meeting your business strategy to maximise best outcomes. You become legally savvy. You are…
  • Anonymous
    I really like the way Prof. Seidel uses real life examples to illustrate the points he makes. If I haven't derived full benefit I would blame myself for long gaps between sessions and also perhaps enrolling in too many courses simultaneously.
    I really found the grounding in negotiating, ADR useful and interesting. If I have a suggestion it would be too provide some similar grounding in English and perhaps European laws in a little detail - many emerging markets, former colonies, have legal systems based on these.
    Thank you again, and all the best!
    Rohan Jacob
  • Anonymous
    El curs es recomanable per tots aquells que hi tinguin interès.
    El professor es un grandíssim comunicador i fa el curs molt agradable.
    Els vídeos son molt clars i les lectures molt interesants.
    Certament ara puc prendre decisions a nivell personal i professional amb molts mes instruments que abans.
    Estic content d haver fet el curs i el recomano a tothom .
    Gracies Coursera i a la Universitat de Michigan per donar aquesta oportunitat d aprenentatge de manera massiva i gratuïta.
  • Anonymous
    Buenas tardes , los temas tratados en el curso tomando decisiones Exitosas, a través del modelo de Estrategia, Derecho y Ética , Sobre La formulación de la estrategia en una organización se puede nutrir con las experiencias adquiridas por otras compañías que han aplicado modelos similares, se encuentran en la misma industria o simplemente han realizado procesos disruptivos diferenciadores que las han llevado a ser exitosos a través de la estrategia ejecutada, gracias .-
  • Anonymous
    Great course, great Professor. This course aided me greatly in my preparation for an interview for a Compliance Officer position. Based on the knowledge gained about the Compliance and Ethics trending topics such as the VW diesel scandal(diesel gate), I was able to secure the job and make a successful transition from the Operations side of the business into the Strategic side. I therefore recommend this course to students or professionals with interest in Law, Strategic or Ethics.
  • Anonymous
    The program was exceptional and I recommend it.

    I am a Facilities Management Professional and the course assisted me with filling gaps in both my personal and professional development on the subject matters. I successfully completed the Strategy, Law & Ethics Model course in 2016 on Coursera. It's a excellent compliment to Georges other course on Negotiations.
  • Anonymous
    The course is very interesting and provides views from different fields on the area of business. The way you take decisions and handle tough situations are crucial for your success as a leader/manager. In this course you could find tons of useful information, ideas and expert advices. All of this is delivered in an understandable way with lots of practical examples.
  • Anonymous
    It was so beneficial and informative. The whole curriculum was thoroughly to the point. The techniques I have learned in this course enabled me to do some progress in my coversion monthly rate. I only wish the course would have some visual illustrations rather than having the tutor talk all the time because I lost him in many times.
  • Anonymous
    For the general discussion and decision, the course introduce us better idea to review the current status and to set a goal to proceed with the issue.
    Further to this, if more case studies with risk and opportunity have been provided then it will be helpful for our understanding and achieving of proper decision.
  • Anonymous
    Professor Siedel provides an engaging course with practical information to employ the three pillars in making decisions. I found that the course provided not only business-related decision making tips, but things that are useful in daily life as well. I highly recommend the course!
  • Anonymous
    Over all the course is good , but it would be better if a few sustainability bases strategy and case studies are discussed .

    How does the mission and vision, over all the value system of an organization impact decision making and strategy would be great incoorporations.
  • Anonymous
    O curso é maravilhoso, muito bom o nicho debatido no presente curso.
    Em minha estimada opinião seria muito apreciável colocar em novos formatos contemporâneos levando a uma visão social de acordo com a circunstância presente do aluno.

    Andro Vyeyra
  • Anonymous
    I think this course should be the starting point, the pillar, for every study cause it can be applied to business as well as to family decisions. It as also clearly teached and therefore easily comprehensible. Well done Prof. Seidel.
    Gianfranco Pinzagli
  • Anonymous
    The instructor provided various practical approaches that I could apply in my work. His strategic thinking was brilliant, bringing value to all parties involved. I would take this course again, and recommend it to others.
  • Anonymous
    This is a great course given by a real master of négociations. He knows the deal to perfection and he knows how to teach it in an easy and simple way as well, so everybody can understand it and practice it in an every day life
  • Profile image for Nilton Souza
    Nilton Souza
    Um curso excelente pois demostra muito bem as estratégias a serem abordadas nos negócios. Muito recomendo par outras pessoas e candidatos excelente para todos que pretende conhecer mais sobre o assunto e como atuar.

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