Strategic Corporate Research

Understanding and researching corporate ownership structure, corporate finance, and the sources of corporate power

Date: June 9-14, 2013
Location: Cornell University Campus, Ithaca, NY

The Strategic Corporate Research program is offered by the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations and co-sponsored by the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Research. The course is intended for undergraduate and graduate students interested in working in the labor movement.

This course is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the nature and structure of corporate ownership, finance, and power in today's economy. Through lectures, readings, case studies, research training and exercises the class will provide students with the tools to pose and answer basic questions on the operations, structure, and industrial relations strategies of corporate America. In particular this course will focus on how these company characteristics, structures, and practices impact the firm's labor relations policies and strategies, and how unions can best respond to and capitalize on these characteristics in union strategic organizing and bargaining campaigns.

The course will also provide in-depth hands-on training in the online and library research tools required to conduct strategic corporate research. As part of this course students will work through a series of case studies dealing with diverse firms and industries, as well as have an opportunity to conduct in-depth research on an actual firm in the context of union organizing or bargaining.

Because of the limited time available while students are here on campus, they will be sent books and a course pack several weeks before the class takes place to give them an opportunity to complete a significant amount of the reading before they arrive. In addition to reading assignments, there will be short written exercises and class presentations to be completed while the class is in session. Students taking the course for credit will be required to conduct independent research and write a 25-30 page paper summarizing comprehensive corporate research and analysis for a designated company. The final paper will be due six weeks after the class and will count for 50 percent.

The course will be available as either a non-credit course or as a 1.5-credit undergraduate course with an additional research and writing assignment. Those interested in pursuing strategic corporate research positions within unions are strongly advised to take the course for credit so that they will have the additional experience of researching an actual corporation, and have a completed strategic research report to show prospective union employers.