Summary of course content
Throughout this course you will understand the business activities of entities in the public and private sectors. You will learn how different types of businesses are established, financed, run and regulated. Also, you will learn to appreciate the different economic players’ perspectives and the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship.
This course aims to enable candidates to:
- apply their knowledge and critical understanding to current issues and problems in a wide range of business contexts
- make effective use of relevant terminology, concepts and methods, and recognise the strengths and limitations of the ideas used in business
- distinguish between facts and opinions, and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data in order to help build arguments and make informed judgements
- appreciate the perspectives of a range of stakeholders in relation to the business environment, individuals, society, government and enterprise
- develop knowledge and understanding of the major groups and organisations within and outside business, and consider ways in which they are able to influence objectives, decisions and activities
- develop knowledge and understanding of how the main types of businesses are organised, financed and operated, and how their relations with other organisations, consumers, employees, owners and society are regulated
- develop skills of numeracy, literacy, enquiry, selection and use of relevant sources of information, presentation and interpretation
- develop an awareness of the nature and significance of innovation and change within the context of business activities
- acquire a foundation for further study of business or other subjects.
Candidates study the following topics:
- Understanding business activity
This section introduces the underlying ideas and concepts of business and includes the purpose and nature of business activity and how businesses can be classified. Enterprise and entrepreneurs, and why some businesses grow while others remain small are further important issues. How business size can be measured, types of business organisation, business objectives and stakeholder objectives are the concluding topics.
- People in business
The focus is the functional area of human resources and includes the importance and methods of motivating a workforce. How businesses are organised and managed and the methods of recruitment, selection and training of employees are also considered. Finally, the section covers the importance and methods of effective internal and external communication.
This section includes the role of marketing, the distinctions between niche and mass markets and the techniques of market segmentation. The methods and importance of market research are covered. The central role of the marketing mix, i.e. the four Ps, is made clear. Marketing strategies to influence consumer decisions at home and in new foreign markets are the final topics in this section.
- Operations management
The focus is the functional area of production and includes the meaning and methods of production and how productivity can be increased. The different costs of production and break-even analysis are covered. The section concludes with the importance and methods of achieving quality in the production process and location decisions of businesses.
- Financial information and decisions
This finance and accounting section covers the need for and sources of business finance, cash-flow forecasting and working capital. Simple income statements are covered as well as statements of financial position and the analysis of accounts including why and how accounts are used.
- External influences on business activity
This section focuses on different external influences on business activity and how these impact on a business. It includes government influences on economic, environmental and ethical issues and how they impact on the functional areas of businesses. In addition, the international economy including globalisation and its effects on businesses and governments, multinational businesses and exchange rates are important issues. Legal constraints are an external influence to be considered but these influences are covered in the relevant functional areas above, as well as in this last section.
How the course is assessedYou will be assessed at the end of the course using two components:
– Short Answer and Data Response
– Case Study
Guided Learning Hours
We design Cambridge IGCSE syllabuses based on learners having about 130 guided learning hours for each subject during the course but this is for guidance only. The number of hours a learner needs to achieve the qualification may vary according to local practice and their previous experience of the subject.
Cambridge IGCSE and O Level Business Studies Revised Coursebook, Mark Fisher, Medi Houghton, Veenu Jain, Et al, ISBN 9781108563987.
You can find the textbook here.
Course code: 0450