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Supporting Learning

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Understanding the learning programme and how it fits together!

Even if you miss a week in school, you will know what has been happening in the subject.

AS Study Plan


Unit 1


The nature of business activity

The role of the entrepreneur

Social enterprise

Business Structure

Primary, secondary and tertiary sectors

Features of the legal structure e.g. liability

Advantages and disadvantages of each 

Size of Business

Measures of size

Significance of small businesses

How businesses can grow internally

Business Objectives

Corporate, departmental and individual levels

Corporate social responsibility

Mission statements, objectives, strategy and tactics

Stages of business decision making

How they change over time

Communicating to workers

How ethics affect business objectives


Unit 1 and Unit 2

Stakeholder influence on business activity (Unit 1)

Owners, shareholders, managers, employees, customers, suppliers, government and local community

Role and rights of stakeholders

Impact on decision making


Management and Leadership (Unit 2)

Mintzber´s roles of management

Functions, roles and styles of leadership


Goleman´s four competencies of emotional intelligence


Oct 10

Unit 2 

Motivation Theorists 

Maslow, Taylor, Mayo, Herzberg, McCelland, Vroom

How can it be used as a management tool

How can it be used to motivate staff, financial and non-financial

Motivators, training, induction, opportunities for promotion, status, job re-design, team working, empowerment, participation benefits, fringe benefits and perks


Unit 2 cont.

Human Resource management (HRM)

How HRM link people to the objectives

Workforce Planning

Recruitment and selection

Contract of employment

Staff morale and welfare (work life balance)

Diversity and equality

Development of skills


Oct 10

Unit 3


Role of marketing and how it links to business activities

Supply and demand theory

Price elasticity

Product vs customer orientation marketing

Measuring share and growth of business

Mass vs niche

Segmentation, geographic, demographic and psychographic

Market Research

The purpose and types of

Sample sizing, random, stratified and quota



Interpretation, including drawing graphs

Cost effectiveness


Unit 3 cont.

The Marketing Mix

4 P´s, Price, Product, Place and Promotion

Building relations with consumers and business

Product attributes


Product Life Cycle

Product Portfolio Analysis

Pricing Strategies, competitive, penetration, skimming, price discrimination and cost based

Above and below the line promotions


Distribution channels

The internet

Getting The Mix right


Unit 4

The Nature of Operations

Product and services



Effectiveness and efficiency

Productivity and how it is measured

Value added decisions

Benefits and limitations of capital and labour intensive processes

Operations Planning

Technology, CAD, CAM, EPOS

Automation and robotics

Location and re-location

Differences between local, regional, national and international decisions

Economies and diseconomies of scale

Inventory Management

Purpose of stock, buffer, reorder and lead times

Just in Time


Unit 5

The need for Business Finance

Why businesses need finance

Sources of Finance

Sources of internal Finance, retained earnings, sales of assets, sale and leaseback, non-current assets

Sources of external finance, share capital, new partners, venture capital, overdrafts, banks, mortgages, debentures, micro-financing, crowd funding, government grants

Revenue vs capital expenditure

The relationship between finance and legal structure

Short term vs long term

Examine Internal vs external sources of finance


Need for accurate data

Types of costs, fixed, variable, marginal, direct and in-direct

Using as decision making tools

Using to monitor performance

How it is used to make pricing decisions

Break even analysis

Accounting Fundamentals

Income Statements

Ratio Analysis

Main uses of accounts including limitation

Historical data 

Forecasting and managing cash flow

Difference between cash and profit

Constructing forecasts

Reducing costs

Improving efficiency


Exam Preparation


Exam paper practice

A2 Business Studies

Cambridge International AS and A Levels prepare students well for university because they’ve learnt to go into a subject in considerable depth. There’s that ability to really understand the depth and richness and the detail of a subject. It’s a wonderful preparation for what they are going to face at university

Christoph Guttentag, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Duke University, USA

The Subject now gets tactical and strategical!

Study Schedule 

September to early October

Business structure, size and activity

• how a government might use the law to seek to control: employment, conditions of work (including health and safety), minimum wage, marketing behaviour, competition, location decisions, particular goods and services

• how international agreements might have an impact on businesses

• how the state might intervene to help businesses (small and large)

• how the state might intervene to constrain businesses (small and large)

• how the state might deal with market failure

• the key macroeconomic objectives of governments: low unemployment, low inflation, stable exchange rates, growth, transfer of wealth

• how these macroeconomic objectives can have an impact on business activity

• how a government might place a different emphasis on macroeconomic objectives from time to time

• policy instruments used to achieve macroeconomic

objectives, e.g. monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies

• how changes in macroeconomic performance and policies may affect business behaviour

• the impact of and issues associated with corporate social responsibility (CSR), e.g. accounting practices, paying incentives for the award of contracts, social auditing

• why businesses need to consider the needs of the

community including pressure groups

• problems of introducing technological change

• how businesses are constrained by and rely on other


• how a business might react to a given demographic change

• how (physical) environmental issues might influence

business behaviour

October to early November

People in Organisations

Human resource management

• the difference between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ HRM

• flexibility e.g. advantages and disadvantages of temporary contracts or flexible contracts, e.g. zero hours contracts and part-time against full-time workers

• the measurement, causes and consequences of poor

employee performance

• strategies for improving employee performance

• Management by Objectives (MBO) – implementation and usefulness

• the need for labour legislation and the broad principles that often underlie it

• how cooperation between management and the workforce can be of benefit to both

• reasons for and role of a workforce plan

• the benefits to employers and employees of trade union involvement in the workplace including their role in collective bargaining

Organisational structure

• purpose and attributes of an organisational structure such as flexibility, meet the needs of the business, permit growth and development

• advantages and disadvantages of the different types of structure

• why some organisations are structured by product and others by function or geographical area

• the reasons and ways structures change e.g. with growth or delayering

• features of a formal structure: levels of hierarchy, chain of command, span of control, responsibility, authority, delegation/accountability, centralised/decentralised

• relationship between delegation and accountability

• processes of accountability in a business

• advantages and disadvantages of delegating

• the impact of delegation on motivation

• relationship between span of control and levels of hierarchy

• difference between authority and responsibility

• conflicts between control and trust that might arise when delegating

• advantages and disadvantages of centralisation for


• examples of and distinctions between line and staff

management; conflict between them

Business communication

• situations in which communication is essential

• standard methods of communication: interpersonal, general to and within groups; spoken, written, electronic, visual

• strengths and weaknesses of the different methods of communication

• how communication works within an organisation

• difference between one- and two-way communication; difference between vertical and horizontal communication

• problems associated with different channels of


• barriers to communication: attitudes, perceptions, noise, language, inappropriate medium, etc.

• the role of informal communications within a business

• ways in which communication can influence the efficiency of a business

• ways of improving communication in a given situation



Marketing planning

• the detailed marketing plan; associated benefits

• income elasticity, promotional elasticity, cross elasticity; usefulness of the concept of elasticity in its various forms

• product development as a process from original conception to launch and beyond

• sources of new ideas for product development

• the importance of Research and Development

• the need to forecast marketing data

• calculation and use of moving average method to forecast sales

• the need for and development of a coordinated marketing mix

• development of marketing strategies that are focused towards achieving specific marketing objectives

Globalisation and international marketing

• economic globalisation within the context of the broader concept of ‘globalisation’

• the implications for marketing of increased globalisation and economic collaboration, e.g. BRICS

• the importance of international marketing for a specific business/situation

• international markets – identification, selection and entry

• whether a business in a given situation should develop an international market through pan-global marketing or maintain local differences

• choosing a strategy, in a given situation, to develop a global market

• factors influencing the method of entry into international markets


Operations Management

Operations planning

• main features of an ERP programme

• how ERP can improve a business’ efficiency in relation to: inventory control, costing and pricing, capacity utilisation, responses to change, management information

Capacity utilisation

• how capacity utilisation can be measured

• implications of operating under or over maximum capacity

• choosing methods of improving capacity utilisation (e.g. through rationalisation, sub-contracting)

• benefits of outsourcing in a given situation

Lean production and quality management

• links between lean production and inventory control, quality, employees roles, capacity management and efficiency

• Kaizen (continuous improvement) in the context of lean production

• JIT in the context of lean production

• implications and justification of adopting a JIT approach

• quality in terms of what the customer demands

• the importance of quality assurance

• methods of quality control: inspection, testing, random sampling, involving the workforce in quality control

• the link between quality and training

• aims and effectiveness of TQM

• the potential of Kaizen in TQM

• the importance of benchmarking in quality control

Project management

• projects as a response to the need for change

• reasons and impact of project failure, including examples

• main elements of a network diagram: activities, dummy activities, nodes

• construction of a network from given data

• finding the minimum project duration and the critical path

• calculation of total and free float

• interpretation of the results of the analysis of a network

• how minimum duration and floats might be used in project management

• CPA as a management tool

February to early March

Finance and Accounts


• differences between full and contribution costing

• uses and limitations of the full costing method

• the nature of the technique of contribution costing

• the difference between contribution and profit

• limitations of contribution costing

• situations in which contribution costing would be and would not be used

• solution of numerical problems involving costing methods

• using contribution costing to help with ‘accept/reject’ order decisions


• measuring performance

• benefits and drawbacks from the use of budgets

• how budgets might be produced

• use of flexible budgets and zero budgeting

• purposes of budgets for allocating resources, controlling and monitoring of a business

• role of budgets in appraising business

• the meaning of variances

• calculation and interpretation of variances [but not price/volume variances]

Contents of published accounts

• amendment of an income statement from given data

• the impact on the income statement of a given change

• amendment of a statement of financial position from given data

• the relationships between items in the income statement and the statement of financial position

• the impact on the statement of financial position of a given change in valuing non-current assets or inventories

• the difficulties of valuing inventory

• the net realisable value method [Note: LIFO and FIFO will not be examined]

• the role of depreciation in the accounts

• the impact of depreciation (straight line method only) on the statement of financial position and the income statement

Analysis of published accounts

• return on capital employed

• inventory turnover, days’ sales in receivables

• all the usual definitions of gearing are acceptable, e.g. Debt/

Equity and Debt/(Debt + Equity). It is the interpretation of the calculation that is important when selecting a source of finance

• dividend yield, dividend cover, price/earnings ratio

• how each of these ratios is used

• reasons for the results obtained

• strategies that businesses might adopt to improve ratio results

• comparison of ratios results between businesses

• limitations of these accounting ratios

Investment appraisal

• the need for investment appraisal

• the significance of risk in investment decisions

• the meaning, calculation and interpretation of payback and ARR

• the meaning, calculation and interpretation of discounted payback and NPV

• the meaning and interpretation [but not the calculation] of IRR

• qualitative factors that might influence an investment decision in a given situation

• comparison of the investment appraisal methods, including their limitations

March to early April

Strategic management

• the meaning of corporate strategy, tactics and strategic management

• the need for strategic management

• Chandler’s assertion that strategy should determine

organisational structure

• how business strategy determines competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive world

Strategic analysis

• undertake and interpret SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis in a given situation

• development of the outcome of a SWOT analysis into

strategic objectives

• undertake and interpret PEST (political, economic, social, technological) analysis in a given situation

• evaluation of the role of business vision/mission statements and objectives in strategic analysis

• undertake and interpret Boston Matrix analysis on the product portfolio of a business

• use Porter’s Five Forces analysis as a framework for

business strategy

• use Prahalad and Hamel’s Core Competencies analysis as a framework for business strategy

Strategic choice

• the structure of the Ansoff Matrix and how it analyses the link between business strategy and risk

• use of the Ansoff Matrix to analyse and evaluate different business strategies in a given situation

• the use of simple Force Field Analysis as a means of making strategic choices in a given situation

• construction of simple decision trees from information given

• calculation of the expected monetary values from decision trees and use of the results to assist in selecting the most appropriate strategy

• the usefulness of decision trees including an assessment of the accuracy of the data they contain

Strategic implementation

• key elements of business plans

• the value of business plans for large and small, established and start-up businesses

• different types of corporate culture such as power,

entrepreneurial and task

• importance of corporate culture in strategic implementation in a given situation

• importance of developing a change culture to allow effective implementations of new strategies

• the importance of leading and managing change

• techniques to implement and manage change successfully

• development of a strategy to manage change in a given situation

• importance of contingency planning and crisis management

Preparation for final exams