Unit 1 Business and the Business Environment

Business environment

Unit 1 Business and the Business Environment

1.1 Introduction

The aim of this unit is to provide students with background knowledge and understanding of business, the functions of an organisation and the wider business environments in which organisations operate. Students will examine the different types of organisations (including for profit and not for profit), their size and scope (for instance, micro, SME, transnational and global) and how they operate.
Students will explore the relationships that organisations have with their various stakeholders and how the wider external environments influence and shape business decision-making.
The knowledge, understanding and skill sets gained in this unit will help students to choose their own preferred areas of specialism in future studies and in their professional career.

1.2 Learning Outcome

AnchorBy the end of this unit a student will be able to:

  • Anchor1 Explain the different types, size and scope of organisations.
  • Anchor2 Demonstrate the interrelationship of the various functions within an organisation and how they link to organisational structure.
  • Anchor3 Use contemporary examples to demonstrate both the positive and negative influence/impact the macro environment has on business operations.
  • Anchor4 Determine the internal strengths and weaknesses of specific businesses and explain their interrelationship with external macro factors.

1.3 Essential Content

LO1 Explain the different types, size and scope of organisations

Different types of organisations:

  • Differences between for profit and not for profit and non-government organisations (NGOs).
  • Micro, small, medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Different business purposes, objectives and supply of goods and services.
  • The range of legal structures associated with different forms of business: sole traders, partnerships and private limited companies.
  • Size and scope of organisations:
  • Differences between large, medium-sized and small organisations including objectives and goals, market share, profit share, growth and sustainability.
  • Global growth and developments of transnational, international and global organisations.
  • Differences between franchising, joint ventures and licensing.
  • Industrial structures and competitive analysis.
  • Market forces and economic operations e.g. scarcity and choice, supply and demand, income elasticity.
  • Stakeholders and responsibilities of organisations to meet different stakeholder interests and expectations.

LO2 Demonstrate the interrelationship of the various functions within an organisation and how they link to organisational structure

The various functions within an organisation:

  • The role of marketing, finance, human resource management and operations within an organisational context and the interrelationships.
  • How functions relate to overall organisation mission and objectives.

Organisational structure:

  • Different structures depending upon the size and scope of the organisation, including bureaucratic and post-bureaucratic, parent, strategic business units (SBUs), matrix and functional levels.
  • Organisation structures and complexities of transnational, international and global organisations.

LO3 Use contemporary examples to demonstrate both the positive and negative influence/impact the macro environment has on business operations

The context of the macro environment:

  • The application of the PESTLE framework and how organisations need to monitor and forecast external influences.
  • How the macro environment influences/impacts upon business activities: the impact of the digital revolution on production and consumption; the impact of social technologies; cyberspace security; emerging BRICS markets, the global shift in economic and social power and ethical and sustainable growth.
  • How organisations go through the transformation process and overcome resistance to change in response to the changing market environment.

LO4 Determine the internal strengths and weaknesses of specific businesses and explain their interrelationship with external macro factors

Frameworks for analysis:

  • Introduction to SWOT and/or TOWS analysis and how they can assist in the decision-making process within organisations.
  • Key external macro factors including the competitive environment and government intervention that influence organisations and business.

Recommended Resources

BARON, P. (2012) Business and its Environment. 7th Ed. London: Prentice Hall.
PALMER, A. and HARTLEY, B. (2011) The Business Environment. 7th Ed. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.
WEATHERLEY, P. (Editor) and OTTER, D. (Editor) (2014) The Business Environment: Themes and Issues in a Globalised World. 3rd Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Links
This unit links to the following related units:
Unit 2: Marketing Essentials
Unit 12: Organisational Behaviour
Unit 18: Global Business Environment
Unit 25: Principles of Operations Management
Unit 32: Business Strategy
Unit 34: Business Systems

1.4 Teaching Ethos

The college’s approach towards teaching and learning is simple and effective. The main aim of UKCBC is to assist learners in maximising their potential by ensuring that they are taught clearly and effectively. This will enable students to engage in the learning environment and promote success in both their academic studies and subsequent career.
The module tutor(s) will aim to combine lectures, workshops and tutorial activities. This environment will provide opportunities for the student to understand the course material through case study and text and to apply it in a practical way. The intent is to facilitate interactive class activities, and discussion about the significant role of research in a global and local business environment.

1.5 Methods of Delivery

LECTURES:
These will be developed around the key concepts as mentioned in the indicative course content and will use a range of live examples and cases from business practice to demonstrate the application of theoretical concepts. This method is primarily used to identify and explain key aspects of the subject so that learners can utilise their private study time more effectively.
SEMINARS:
These are in addition to the lectures. The seminars are designed to give learners the opportunity to test their understanding of the material covered in the lectures and private study with the help of reference books. This methodology usually carries a set of questions identified in advance. Seminars are interactive sessions led by the learners. This method of study gives the learner an excellent opportunity to clarify any points of difficulty with the tutor and simultaneously develop their oral communication skills.
CASE STUDIES
An important learning methodology is the extensive use of case studies. They enable learners to apply the concepts that they learn in their subjects. The learners have to study the case, analyse the facts presented and arrive at conclusions and recommendations. This assists in the assessment of the learner’s ability to apply to the real world the tools and techniques of analysis which they have learnt. The case study serves as a supplement to the theoretical knowledge imparted through the course work.
Purpose of this assignment
Students will examined on the different types of organisations (including for profit and not for profit), their size and scope (for instance, micro, SME, transnational and global) and how they operate.
Students will be expected to explore the relationships that organisations have with their various stakeholders and how the wider external environments influence and shape business decision-making.