Subject content

Students of this course should study business in a variety of contexts (eg large/small, UK focused/global, service/manufacturing) and consider:

  • the importance of the context of business in relation to decision making
  • the interrelated nature of business activities and how they affect competitiveness
  • the competitive environment and the markets in which businesses operate
  • the influences on functional decisions and plans including ethical and environmental issues
  • the factors that might determine whether a decision is successful eg the quality of data and the degree of uncertainty
  • how technology is changing the way decisions are made and how businesses operate and compete
  • the impact on stakeholders of functional decisions and their response to such decisions
  • use of non-quantitative and quantitative data in decision making (including the interpretation of index numbers and calculations such as ratios and percentages). See Annex: Quantitative skills in Business

Strategic decision making (A-level only)

The study of strategic decision making should build on the study of decision making in the functional areas.

Students should consider:

  • the impact of technology on strategic decision making
  • the influences of Corporate Social Responsibility, ethical and environmental issues on strategic decisions
  • the difficulties in forecasting future trends
  • the importance of assessing feasibility  and risk when making strategic decisions
  • the impact on stakeholders of strategic decisions and their response to such decisions.

The topics lend themselves to studying and engaging with the business world. The specification and assessment should encourage students to follow business developments and think critically about contemporary business issues. Most of the assessment material is based on real business situations. By examining and thinking critically about real business situations as they study the subject, students will gain an insight into different contexts which will help them to understand the key issues in any situation and compare and contrast this with other situations and apply their understanding.

Subject content areas