“What I really love about ‘The Wire’ is that it illustrates business theory in a very straightforward easy-to-follow way,” said Tracy Fulce, who teaches business management at Oakton Community College near Chicago. To explain the concept of organizational design, she asked students to figure out the structure of the Barksdale drug gang. Who reports to who?
“When they see these characters jockeying for position, trying to get promoted, and no one has ever explained the concept in this way, they suddenly get it,” she said.
Writing instructor Will Crawford uses “The Wire” to teach analytical and writing skills, often assigning supplemental readings with a business slant.
The two teach in tandem, sometimes disagreeing with each other to illustrate healthy debate.
When Fulce criticized the “managerial authority” of Avon Barksdale’s right-hand man, Stringer Bell, Crawford defended Bell’s leadership abilities.
Few students signed up for the class, perhaps because many haven’t heard of the show, which ended its five-season run in 2008. In addition to police and drug dealers, “The Wire” looked at the city’s politics, schools, newspaper and seaport.