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Business & Management

Course Description

Business management is a rigorous and dynamic discipline in the individuals and societies subject group. The course places emphasis on decision-making in contemporary contexts of strategic uncertainty. It examines how business decisions are influenced by internal and external factors, and how these decisions impact upon its stakeholders. The course also explores how individuals and groups interact within an organization, how they may be successfully managed and how they can ethically optimize the use of resources in a world with increasing scarcity and concern for sustainability, thereby encouraging the appreciation of ethical concerns (issues of corporate social responsibility).

Emphasis is also placed on the operational business functions of human resource management, finance and accounts, marketing and operations management. Links between the topics are central to the course, as this integration promotes a holistic overview of business management. Through the exploration of six concepts underpinning the subject (change, culture, ethics, globalization, innovation and strategy), the course allows students to develop their understanding of interdisciplinary concepts from a business management perspective.

The course is designed to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of business management theories, as well as their ability to apply a range of tools and techniques. Students learn to analyse business activity covering a range of organizations from all sectors, as well as the socio-cultural and economic contexts. Through the study of topics such as organizational growth and business strategy, the course aims to develop transferable skills relevant to today’s students. These include the ability to: think critically; make ethically sound and well-informed decisions; appreciate the pace, nature and significance of change; think strategically; and undertake long term planning, analysis and evaluation.

Difference between HL and SL

The HL course in business and management differs from the SL course in business and management in terms of the:

  • extra depth and breadth required (extension units for HL)
  • nature of the examination questions
  • nature of the internal assessment task

Syllabus Outline

The following six concepts underpin the IBDP business management course: change, culture, ethics, globalization, innovation, and strategy. These concepts are explored through real-world resources and are closely linked to subject specific concepts, tools and theories, as outlined in the five modules of the syllabus below:

Topic 1: Business organization and environment

The first module is about business organizations as legal entities, organizational objectives and the different environments in which organizations operate. It also introduces fundamental strategy tools (SWOT, STEEPLE) related to business decision-making.

Topic 2: Human resource management

The module focuses on the way people influence, and are influenced by organizations in order to achieve organizational objectives. Topics covered include recruitment and appraisal methods, organization structure and communication, motivational and leadership theories, industrial relations.

Topic 3: Finance and accounts

This module explores how organizations manage their financial resources and how accounting and financial information is used to aid decision-making. Topics include investment appraisal, break-even analysis, cash flow forecasts, interpretation and construction of financial accounts (profit and loss statements, balance sheets).

Topic 4: Marketing

This module emphasizes the formulation of marketing strategies to achieve organisational objectives and in response to the changing environment. Topics covered include the role of marketing and market research in a national/international context, sales forecasting, the development of marketing strategies regarding the product, its price, distribution and promotion

Topic 5: Operations management

This module focuses on production and explores issues of quality improvement, crisis management, different methods of production and stock control and the importance of research and development for businesses.

Course Objectives

Having followed the business and managementcourse at HL or SL, students will be expected to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of business terminology, concepts, principles and theories
  2. apply knowledge and skills to real-world situations and analyze business strategies and practices, selecting and interpreting data, and applying appropriate tools and techniques
  3. demonstrate synthetic and evaluative skills
  4. select and use business tools and material, in order to produce well-structured, written material using business terminology

Course Assessment

STANDARD LEVEL

Internal Assessment: Written assignment (25%)

A 1500-word commentary demonstrating the application of business and management tools, techniques and theory to a real business situation or problem. Candidates must select a real situation or problem and must answer a question stated as a title.

External Assessment: Written Examination (75%) - Total response time 3 hours

Paper 1: Questions based on a pre-seen case study, along with new stimulus material

Paper 2: Two unseen data-response questions based on the five modules of the syllabus. In addition, students answer an extended response question, in relation to a real-world organization, and based on two concepts that underpin the course (change, culture, ethics, globalization, strategy, innovation).

HIGHER LEVEL

Internal Assessment: Research project (25%)

A 2000-word written report based on a research question, which either addresses an issue facing an organization, or analyses a decision to be made by an organization. Candidates must select a real organization and investigate a real issue or decision.

External Assessment: Written Examination (75%) - Total response time 4.5 hours

Paper 1: Questions based on a pre-seen case study, along with new stimulus material

Paper 2: Three unseen data-response questions based on the five modules of the syllabus. In addition, students answer an extended response question, in relation to a real-world organization, and based on two concepts that underpin the course (change, culture, ethics, globalization, strategy, innovation).

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