Here is the Unit 4 specification I recieved for my Unit 4 A Level.
3.4 Unit 4 BUSS 4 The Business Environment and Managing Change
This unit is designed to be synoptic and draws upon all other units of the specification in cluding the AS units.
It considers the relationship between businesses and external factors. It examines how external factors can impact upon businesses, and the responses they may take. The unit also examines a number of themes which are important in the strategic management of businesses, for example, leadership and corporate culture. Candidates should consider how businesses can manage change successfully.
This unit should be studied through a variety of real business contexts to allow candidates to understand how the impace and response to change varies.
Corporate Aims and Objectives
This section considers what the organisation is attempting to achieve, and how this helps to determine its strategies.
Understanding Mission, Aims and Objectives
- Mission statements
- Corporate aims and objectives
- Corporate strategies
- Differing stakeholder perspectives
Candidates should understand the purpose and nature of corporate strategies and their relationship with aims and objectives. They should understand differing stakeholder perspectives and the potential for conflict and the pressure that stakeholders may bring to decision making.
Assessing Changes in the Business Environment
This section examines the relationship between organisations and their external environment. Candidates should understand the opportunites and threats created by changes in the contemporary business environment. The importance of acquiring and managing information and of communicating effectively should be considered throughout.
The Relationship between Businesses and the Economic Environment
- Assessing the effects of the following factors on business organisations:
- Impact of economic factors
- Trends in key economic variables
- Globalisation of markets
- Developmentents in emerging markets
- Evaluating the strategies businesses might deploy in response to these changes
Knowledge of the determinants of marcoeconomic factors is not required.
Candidates should be familiar with the following economic factors: the business cycle, interest rates, exchange rates, inflation, unemployment and economic growth.
The Relationship between Businesses and the Political and Legal Environment
- Assessing the effects of:
- Government intervention in the economy
- Government economic policies
- Political decisions affecting trade and access to markets
- The impact of legislation relating to Businesses
- Evaluating responses of businesses to a changing political and legal environment
Consideration might be given to the provision of products by the government, government regulation and legislation and other forms of intervention such as tax and subsidy. Monetary, fiscal policy and supply side policies should also be considered.
Political decisions should include issues such as: the enlargement of the European Union and moves towards greater freedom of trade.
Legislation affecting businesses should include: employment law, consumer protection, environmental protection and health and safety legislation on businesses. A broad understanding of scope and impact is all that is required.
The Relationship between Businesses and the Social Environment
- Assessing the effects of:
- Changes in the social environment
- The changing nature of the ethical Environment
- Evaluating responses of businesses to a changing social environment including corporate social responsibility.
Changes in the social environment might include demographic factors and environmental issues.
Candidates should be aware of the actions that businesses can take to demonstrate corporate social responsibility and consider whether these reflect genuine values or are just a form of public relations.
The Relationship between Businesses and the Technological Environment
- Assessing the effects of technological change
- Evaluating responses of businesses to technological change.
The impact of technological change should be considered in terms of a range of issues including: marketing opportunities, the culture of the business and the processes and systems used within the business.
The Relationship between Businesses and the Competitive Environment
- Assessing the effects of changes in competitive structure
- Evaluating responses of businesses to a changing competitive environment.
Changes in the competitive structure might include: new competitors, dominant businesses (eg. through takeover or merger), changes in the buying power of customers and/ or changes in the selling power of suppliers.
Organisations operate in a chaning environment and change creates opportunities and threats. Candidates should understand how businesses plan for and manage change, and how external and internal change is linked.
Internal Causes of Change
- Change in organisation size
- New owners/ leaders
- Poor business performance
Changes in organisation size may come about due to mergers, takeovers, organic growth and retrenchment.
Planning for Change
- Purpose of corporate plans
- Assessing internal and external influences on corporate plans
- Assessing the value of corporate plans
Corporate planning should include contingency planning
Key Influences on the Change Process: Leadership
- The meaning of leadership
- The range of leadership styles
- Assessing internal and external factors influencing leadership style
- The role of leadership in managing change
- Assessing the importance of leadership
Candidates should consider the difference between the role of leaders and managers.
Key Influences on the Change Process: Culture
- Types of organisational culture
- Reasons for and problems of changing organisational culture
- Assessing the importance of Organisational culture
Types of organisational culture might include: power, entrepreneurial and task.
Making Strategic Decisions
- The significance of information management
- The value of different approaches to decision making
- Assessing influences on corporate decision-making
Influences on corporate decision-making include ethical position (real or perceived), resources available and relative power of stakeholders.
The range of management approaches to decision making from scientific to intuition.
Implementing and Managing Change
- Techniques to implement and manage change successfully
- Assessing the factors that promote and resist change
Techniqies to implement and manage change might include: project champions, project groups. Factors that promote and resist change might include: clear objectives, resources and training.
I was issued this specification for my A2 Unit 4 exam in Business Studies with the exam board AQA by my Business Studies teacher.
– Esjae x
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