While the accounting class addressed, arguably, the most fundamental aspects of “business”, there is not much from the class that will leap to mind in general situations. The management class, on the other hand, addressed the social role of individuals and teams within an organization. These types of issues come up almost every day.
Reading the Economist, or other business publications, I may possibly come across recently learned accounting concepts. The “soft skills” that we studied in the management class can be tied to religion, politics, and anything else involving organizations. Basically, if I open a paper or wander the internets for a couple of minutes, I can find something relevant to general management concepts.
There was a lot of terminology from psychology, and the more specialized field of “organizational behavior.” I think that the most broadly relevant (most commonly seen in action, at least) term from the first management class is “fundamental attribution error.” Basically, when someone has succeeded or failed in any situation, observers will see the outcome as a result of the individual’s actions. However, the ability of an individual to determine organizational outcomes is generally not as strong as others perceive it to be. Often, the outcome of a situation should not be attributed to the individual as much as the fundamental nature of the situation itself. Hence: fundamental “attribution” error.
It’s one of those psychology concepts that sounds obvious, once you hear it or see an example. Before thinking about it, though, I never would have imagined the concept as being frequently relevant. The term, “scapegoat”, is used a lot, in a wide variety of contexts. Scapegoating may be more specifically explained by another psychological concept, but the relief that the general public feels from it can be explained as a fundamental attribution error. Any time an individual is blamed for systemic failure, in a way that is blown out of context in regards to his/her actual levels of responsibility, it is an example of this concept at work. Scapegoating allows people to stop worrying about the failed system, though. It can be a relief. On the other hand, if a single person is lauded for a company’s turnaround, when economic or business trends made the process nearly inevitable, then it’s also a fundamental attribution error.