Unit 6 Business Decision Making

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The aim of this unit is to give learners the opportunity to develop techniques for data gathering and storage, an understanding of the tools available to create and present useful information, in order to make business decisions

Unit abstract

In business, good decision making requires the effective use of information. This unit gives learners the opportunity to examine a variety of sources and develop techniques in relation to four aspects of information: data gathering, data storage, and the tools available to create and present useful information. ICT is used in business to carry out much of this work and an appreciation and use of appropriate ICT software is central to completion of this unit. Specifically, learners will use spreadsheets and other software for data analysis and the preparation of information. The use of spreadsheets to manipulate of numbers, and understanding how to apply the results, are seen as more important than the mathematical derivation of formulae used. Learners will gain an appreciation of information systems currently used at all levels in an organisation as aids to decision making.

Learning outcomes

1 Be able to use a variety of sources for the collection of data, both primary and secondary

  • Primary sources: survey methodology; questionnaire design; sample frame; sampling methods; sample error
  • Secondary sources: internet research; government and other published data; by-product data
  • Storage: security of information; data protection issues; ethical issues

2 Understand a range of techniques to analyse data effectively for business purposes

  • Representative values: mean, median, mode; calculation from raw data and frequency distributions using appropriate software; using the results to draw valid conclusions
  • Measures of dispersion: standard deviation for small and large locusassignments. typical uses (statistical process e.g. control, buffer stock levels)
  • Calculation: use of quartiles, percentiles, correlation coefficient

3 Be able to produce information in appropriate formats for decision making in an organisational context

  • Creation and interpretation of graphs using spreadsheets: line, pie, bar charts and histograms
  • Scatter (XY) graphs and linear trend lines: extrapolation for forecasting (reliability)
  • Presentations and report writing: use of appropriate formats; presentation software and techniques

4 Be able to use software-generated information to make decisions in an organization

  • Management information systems: computers and information processing tools for operational, tactical and strategic levels of the organisation
  • Project management: networking and critical path analysis, Gantt and Pert charts
  • Financial tools: net present value; discounted cash flow; internal rates of return


  • BPALMER, A. and HARTLEY, B. (2011) The Business Environment. 7th Ed. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.
  • ARON, P. (2012) Business and its Environment. 7th Ed. London: Prentice Hall.

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