The six prescribed concepts are core to the IB Business Management syllabus and explicitly examined in PAPER 2 SECTION C (SL and HL), where you have to answer a 20-mark essay question and it takes up 10% of the score. These core concepts are Change, Culture, Ethics, Globalization, Innovation and Strategy (CUEGIS). Concept-based learning is a three-dimensional model that frames facts (content) and skills with concepts specific to the contexts of organisations studied in IB Business Management course.
These concepts enable students to get to the bigger picture, the ability to think from different perspectives, and provide a framework for transferring knowledge and making deeper connections within and across disciplines. Concepts are used to give students the tools necessary to make sense of the world. This approach creates six conceptual lenses through which students investigate, analyse and evaluate factual content and skills to create a deeper understanding of business management. It consists of the content of the syllabus, integrated with business case studies to provide context for students, and is embedded in the six CUEGIS concepts to transcend understanding of business management.
Guiding Questions –
Concept based learning is about scaffolding thinking by investigating the relationship between two or more of the CUEGIS concepts.
- What are the reasons for the growth and evolution of multinational companies?
- In what ways have Internet technologies disrupted indigenous cultures?
- Why do nations desire to innovate?
- How does a multinational company impact the culture of a host country?
- At what time does a business decide to expand (grow)?
- Is all innovation beneficial to individuals and society?
- Does a country’s ability to develop depend on its willingness and ability to embrace globalisation?
- Does globalisation necessitate a change in values and traditional cultures?
Definition of the Concepts:
Change – Change refers to the modification or transformation in the way business is conducted as a response to internal factors or external influences.
Relevance in the content – Business organisations must adapt to their objectives, strategies and operations due to competition, new technologies and markets, and trends in consumer behaviour. Success emerges from the ability to research and respond to signals in both the internal and external environment. Examples of such factors include a new management structure in the workplace, the threat of new competitors in the industry, improved technologies and processes, and new trends in consumer behaviour.
Culture – Cultural refers to the norms, beliefs and values of an organisation or a collective group of individuals which shape its practices and characteristics.
Relevance in the content – Every organisation operates in a range of environments in which its role may be construed differently. Planning, decision-making, and strategy implementation are all impacted by these expectations. Values and backgrounds among stakeholders in an organisation affect its priorities and how they work. In essence, this shapes how and why things are done within a business organisation.
Ethics – Ethics refers to the moral principles and values that form the basis of how an organisation conducts its operations and business activities.
Relevance in the content – In the corporate world, every aspect of an organisation’s operations and its decisions is likely to have moral implications on both its internal and external stakeholders, as well as impact on the natural environment.
Globalisation – Is the growing integration and interdependence of the world’s economics causing consumers around the globe to have increasingly similar habits and tastes.
Relevance in the content – Business organisations are influenced by several international forces, such as the increasing social, cultural, technical and economic integration. In turn, business organisations shape these forces. Many business organisations operate internationally. Even local businesses and consumers are influenced by global forces. The increasing flow of goods and services, finance, employment and ideas around the world. The operations of multinational companies contribute to the growing integration of the world’s economies and cultures.
Innovation – Refers to the improvements of a product or processes to better meet the needs and wants of customers, in a profitable way.
Relevance in the content – Incremental or radical improvements to a business idea, or the generation of new ideas in relation to a final product, service or process, are the result of internal or external influences. For many business organisations, a key challenge is to bring “the new” and manage the process of improvement in a sustainable way. It alludes to something new and progressive in order to improve productivity and improve customer satisfaction. Ultimately, it helps a business to be more competitive and successful.
Strategy – Refers to planned actions designed to achieve the long-term goals or overall aims of an organisation.
Relevance in the content – Strategy refers to the significant long-term planning decisions that organisations make in order to meet the needs and wants of their various stakeholders. Strategy is about asking questions: What, Why, When, How, Where and Who? There are three stages to business strategy: 1 – Strategic analysis (where are we now?), 2 – Strategic choice (where do we want to be?) and 3 – Strategic implementation (how do we get there?).
Steps to write CUEGIS Essay
- Choose a real-life business organisation
- Research on the chosen organisation
- Choose a specific concept to focus on
- Identify business management concepts, techniques and theories
- Develop a thesis statement
- Write an outline
- Write the first draft
- Edit and Revise
How to write CUEGIS Essay
1) Researching real-world organisations
In class, you are likely to have looked at many case studies about real organisations like Apple, Starbucks, Zara, McDonald’s etc. It is unlikely you will remember all the specific details. To ensure you build up knowledge about specific organisations, build a portfolio of information about several specific organisations you are interested in. It is nevertheless important to remember some key basic facts about the organisation, such as:
- Mission Statement
- Sales Revenue
- Key stakeholders
- Main competitors
- Range of products sold
- Market Share
2) Understand the assessment criteria
Without understanding the assessment criteria, it is very difficult to write an answer the examiner wants to read. Your answers becomes easier to write once you understand the criteria.The following is a useful framework for a good CUEGIS answer:
- Use an appropriate structure: introduction, main body and conclusion
- Ensure your paragraphs are fit-for-purpose, make sense and justified
- Show clear knowledge of the two CUEGIS concepts in question
- Give actual examples of what the organisation does and how it relates to the question
- Use appropriate tools, techniques and terminology
- Mention a range of stakeholders and how they are affected
3) Practice, Practice, Practice
You should have plenty of opportunities in and out of class to practise writing a CUEGIS essay under timed conditions. Sometimes, you’ll be told in advance what the question is, and at other times you’ll have to complete an unseen question. You should get hold of the assessment criteria so you can interpret it appropriately.
4) Time Management
Time management is a vital part for preparing for exam success and for scoring good grades.
- SL Paper 2 – 1 hour 45 mins – 50 marks
- HL Paper 2 – 2 hour 15 mins – 70 marks
Roughly, this means about 2 mins per mark. In theory that means students should take about 40 minutes to answer the CUEGIS question. To be able to write in enough depth and meet the assessment criteria, some students may need a little more time. However, you approach the essay, ensure you use your time effectively.
5) Concepts are interrelated
These key concepts are interrelated, which makes it easier for you to answer questions. For example, if McDonald’s introduces self-service kiosks at a cost of $150,000 per kiosk, this is an example of strategy but it clearly links to innovation and change too. Skillful students can link this to every unit of the IB Business Management syllabus. For example it is possible growth strategy but may make franchisees unhappy (Unit 1), it will have an impact on human resources as orders are customised (Unit 2), the cost of the kiosk may need to be financed and be subjected to an investment appraisal (Unit 3), it could be an extension strategy (Unit 4) and it is an example of mass customization or a form of job production (Unit 5).
The six CUEGIS concepts are not mutually exclusive. For example:
- Change can be innovative and ethical
- Culture drives innovation and the ethical stance of the organisation
- Ethics can be influenced by global factors and changes in social attitudes
- Globalisation is both affected by and impact on change and strategy
- Innovation causes change, and is affected by strategy
- Strategy is largely dependent on the organisation’s culture and its ethical stance
- Avoid writing pre-prepared responses. Instead address what the actual question is asking.
- Weak definitions produce descriptive and vague responses. Learn to write definitions for each of the six concepts.
- Don’t use “Organization X” – the essay requires the use of at least one real world organisation and application of real-world examples.
- Find out as much relevant information as you can about a small number of real organisations
- Identify the problems, successes and strategies of your chosen organisations
- Learn and apply the key concepts, using appropriate tools, theories and techniques
- For essay questions that ask for a discussion on the impacts of two concepts on Business Management content (such as the impact of globalisation and innovation on a firm’s marketing mix), it is acceptable to explain that one of these concepts may be of more significance to the organisation than the other.
- To achieve good marks, there must be evidence of critical thinking.
- HL students are expected to draw on their knowledge of HL topics in the syllabus.
- Make sure you understand the assessment criteria
- Provide actual real-world examples about the chosen organisation
- Practice writing CUEGIS essays (answers)
- Time management – ensure you can complete the essay in a timely manner.
- Accurate definitions of the concepts. Students are not expected to memorise the definitions. They should be able to communicate their own interpretation and understanding of these six concepts.
- Areas where the syllabus content links to the CUEGIS concepts
- Choose a real-world organisation
- In general, be mindful of the command term.
- Context links about the company you have been researching
- Consistently demonstrate a clear link between the title question and the content of the essay. Make relevant arguments that address the demands of the question.
- Structure your essay using an introduction, body and conclusion. There should be fit-for-purpose paragraphs throughout the essay.
- Answers must demonstrate a logical flow of ideas, arguments, justification and development.
- Opinions must be justified and substantiated
- It is essential that there is balance in your essay. This means you have to look at the concepts from both a positive and negative perspective.
- Examples of a real business organisation
- In Paper 2 Section C, you must answer one question from a choice of three which includes two of the six concepts. You must use actual real-world examples about the organisation in your answer.
- Read the questions very carefully. Did you choose and or on question? These require a different approach.
- Take 5-6 mins to create a plan because it is essential.
- There is no stimulus material provided for the CUEGIS essay questions, there are merits in adopting a concept-based learning and inquiry approach. Do not memorise the essay.
- This essay does not have a specific word or page limit.
What is the calculus of innovation? The calculus of innovation is really quite simple: Knowledge drives innovation, innovation drives productivity, productivity drives economic growth. —William Brody
Students need to understand the assessment criteria in order to write an answer that scores high marks. Many students ignore the assessment criteria, and write almost everything they know about their chosen organisation, without paying much attention to the demands of the essay question. Such an approach only leads to marks being lost unnecessarily.
The assessment criteria consists of 5 parts, each worth 4 marks as follows:
Criterion A – Knowledge and Conceptual Understanding
Students need to show clear knowledge of the two CUEGIS concepts in the essay question and use appropriate Business Management tools, theories, techniques and terminology.
Criterion B – Application
Students must use actual examples of what the chosen organisation does and how it relates to the essay question.
Criterion C – Reasoned Arguments
This assessment criterion assesses the extent to which students explain their answers and provide substantiated responses. Students need to ensure their answers are coherent and provide justified reasons in their answers.
Criterion D – Structure
Students need to use an appropriate structure in their essay. There is one mark for each of the following:
- Introduction – This includes a definition or explanation of the two concepts, plus the introduction to the chosen business organisation.
- Body – It consists around 3 to 5 paragraphs that address the demands of the question. Students must address concepts, content and context to be awarded full marks.
- Conclusion – All good essays end with a justified and substantiated conclusion that answers the question. The conclusion must be based on the evidence or arguments presented and should not include new material.
- Fit-for-purpose paragraphs -students need to ensure each of their paragraphs addresses the essay question. They can use the PEELS (Point, Explain, Examples, Link, Stakeholders) framework on writing these paragraphs.
Criterion E – Individuals and Societies
This assessment criterion assesses the extent to which students consider alternative perspectives of different stakeholders, written in the context of the demands of the essay question. There are two parts to this assessment criteria:
- Reference to an Individual Stakeholder – CEO, Marketing Director
- Reference to Group Stakeholders – Customers, Employees, Managers, Local community
Students should mention how various stakeholders of their chosen organisation are affected, both in positive and negative ways.
HOW TO EARN FULL MARKS
A: Knowledge and conceptual understanding
- You need to define both of the concepts.
- You need to identify the course knowledge/business theories that relate to the question
- You need to explain the course knowledge/business theories thoroughly and accurately
- Make sure you provide a succinct definition and explanation of relevant concepts in the introduction of the essay.
- Make correct links to what the company does related to the different concepts.
- Impress us with your knowledge of the company. A little bit of description is okay, if it can impress us with how much you know about the company.
- Avoid making superficial connections to the business organisation; you should avoid writing vaguely with use of concepts and subject content; use real-world examples, not hypothetical ones.
C: Reasoned arguments
- Make some statements about the company and back them up with course theory and case links (facts about the company).
- Tell us both sides of the argument. Just show the reader (using facts), for example, the ways they have been ethical and how they haven’t been ethical. And then what the overall effects have been, for example on stakeholders.
- Well justified arguments are supported not just by knowledge of the case, but also by knowledge of the course theories and concepts involved.
- Also, don’t forget to link back to the question 2 or 3 times during your writing.
- The worst CUEGIS answers will make vague, one-sided claims, not really convincing the reader that they are experts on this company or that they are experts on any kind of business theories.
- Discussion and evaluation are expected in the CUEGIS essay; counter arguments must be used to guide judgement and a balanced response; provide two relevant and justified arguments for and against for a balanced answer.
- Do not allow the examiner to have the reason to ask “Why?” or “How is this relevant?”
- You will get the marks if you have an introduction and a conclusion and a body section with proper focused paragraphs.
- Write “fit-for-purpose” paragraphs. This means that you must write with clarity, with each paragraph clearly addressing the essay question.
- You might lose marks by having a conclusion that doesn’t seem to really sum things up, or if your introduction is not really explaining the terminology or the concept involved, or if your paragraphs are not focused on certain thoughts.
- Each sentence is a complete thought. But a paragraph is a group of related thoughts. If your paragraphs are about a lot of unrelated thoughts then you will probably lose marks here.
- There must be a proper introduction to the essay (include a brief introduction to the organisation, and definitions of the two concepts in the essay), a body with fit-for-purpose paragraphs, and a conclusion that answers the question.
E: Individuals and Societies
- Explain the perspectives of different stakeholders in a balanced way.
- You must mention both an individual stakeholder and a group of stakeholders.
- There should be some depth to this. Don’t just say “being ethical reduces profits, which owners don’t like.” Go deeper than that. Give us a new insight, beyond the obvious. In fact some owners might really appreciate investing in a very ethical company. They might want to be associated with a company like that. So this could help them grow.
- You should integrate stakeholder perspectives throughout the essay, rather than in a single paragraph towards the end of the essay. Too often, this is done as an afterthought and superficially applied.
CUEGIS Essay Structure
- Key terms
- Business Information
- Identify course content focus
- Thesis statement
Paragraph 1 –
- Main Point (Positive and Negative)
- Relevant concept
- Relevant content
- Stakeholder impact (individual – Entrepreneur /group – employees)
- Supporting examples and evidences
Paragraph 2 –
- Main Point (Positive and Negative)
- Relevant concept
- Relevant content
- Stakeholder impact (individual/group – internal and external)
- Supporting examples and evidences
Paragraph 3 –
- Main Point (Positive and Negative)
- Relevant concept
- Relevant content
- Stakeholder impact (individual/group)
- Supporting examples and evidences
- Summary of main points
- Final view (substantiated)
- Answer the question
The first paragraph is one where you start off with the name of the company. You also introduce the company in terms of the work they do, the business they have, and the scale that they operate at. Then you need to define the main terms that you will be explaining here, after which you give your hypothesis, which is a single statement that gives an answer to your question.
- Provide a brief description of the chosen organisation, even for large multinationals as they are franchised businesses and operate differently in various parts of the world.
- Define and demonstrate understanding of the two CUEGIS concepts – whilst there is no explicit requirement to define any concepts, there are two benefits in doing so:
- It helps the student to clarity their interpretation of the two concepts
- It demonstrates understanding of these concepts to the examiner, and sets the parameters within which the student will discuss the concepts throughout the essay.
- Make the connection between the relevant Business Management content (tools, theories or techniques if mentioned in the essay question).
These paragraphs are the main ones where you address the question directly and also elaborate on the points that you have in mind. You link all of this to certain examples that you have, with the main idea being first to link an experience to one concept and then to the next. You need to use at least three keywords here and then explain the effect on one stakeholder. Then you need to do the exact same things for another example and another concept. The key terms you use here can include words relevant to your course and related business. These can have a strong impact on the examiner.
- Explain just one point / issue per paragraph – this will make it easier for the student to focus on the argument and to enable their essay to flow better.
- Answers should be well explained and analytical – students must avoid writing descriptive answers and unjustified responses or knowledge claims.
- Use real-world examples. facts, figures and/or evidence that justify the arguments effectively for each point made.
- Apply relevant content from the syllabus, based on the demands of the question. They must avoid oversimplifying or generalising – each point should relate specifically to the chosen business organisation and address the essay question.
- Relevant tools, theories, techniques should be used throughout the essay. By contrast, content that is generic or unrelated to the demands of the essay question will not add value.
In the last paragraph, you need to address the company’s stakeholders. You can explain some conflicts and agreements between their interests. You need to do so by using very clear words so that you can make it very clear to the examiner what you are really trying to say. Then you need to summarise what you said in the main part in a very cohesive and summarised form. After that, you need to talk about the end result of the company, evaluating their success or their failure related to the concept.
- Begin with “In conclusion…” – this helps the student to focus on writing a conclusion to the essay.
- Present a balanced response by using trigger words such as, “However”, “On the other hand”, “Nevertheless” or “Alternatively…”
- Consider alternative perspectives of various groups of stakeholders in a balanced way – remember to include the views of an individual stakeholder or several individuals.
- Provide a judgement, recommendation or opinion – depending on the essay question – rather than avoiding a succinct answer or response to the demands of the question.
- Conclusions should be presented clearly and supported by appropriate examples, data, information, or evidence presented in the essay.
Unit 1 – Business organisation and environment
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine the impact of change and ethics on the organisation.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how change has influenced business strategy.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, discuss how globalisation and innovation create both opportunities and threats.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how culture and ethics impact both internal and external stakeholders.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how innovation has influenced its growth strategy.
Unit 2 – Human Resources
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how ethics and culture impact on human resource planning.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how culture and change influence the organisational structure of the business.
- Discuss how globalisation and cultural differences may influence leadership styles in an organisation.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, discuss how culture influences its organisational strategy.
- With reference to an organisation you have studied, examine how change and culture have influenced employer-employee relations.
Unit 3 – Finance and Accounts
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how sources of finance influence change and strategy.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how innovation and globalisation have influenced its costs and revenues.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, discuss the role of profitability and liquidity in formulating business strategy and change.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, discuss how innovation and globalisation have influenced its use of finance.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how ethics and globalisation have influenced the organisation’s investment decisions.
Unit 4 – Marketing
- With reference to a multinational company you have studied, discuss the importance of innovation and globalisation in the company’s product strategy.
- With reference to one organisation that you have studied, discuss how marketing strategies may different in two cultures that you are familiar with.
- With reference to an organisation you have studied, discuss how change and ethics have influenced the role of marketing.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how innovation affects its ability to change and evolve.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine the role of globalisation on its above-the-line promotional strategies.
Unit 5 – Operations Management
- With reference to one organisation that you have studied, compare and contrast the importance of innovation and of culture for research and development.
- With reference to an organisation that you have studied, examine how change has impacted on its sustainable business strategy.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how change and ethics have influenced its production methods.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, examine how culture and globalisation have influenced its location decision.
- With reference to an organisation of your choice, discuss the role of change and innovation in production planning.
McDonalds regularly changes its strategy to keep up with the market demand and also to remain competitive in this large market. Over the last year, it has made many changes, for example, making major changes to its menu. Adding and removing various dishes all around the world. They also plan to add more dishes for breakfast and begin serving ‘healthy’ breakfast, every day of the month!
McDonalds has changed their company a lot according to the culture here in India. Before they decided to enter the market in India, they had decided to omit beef and pork from the menu to aid in preventing the Indian citizens from being offended. Research shows that in 2003, of 100 meals that people ate in a month, only three were eaten out. They introduced a 20 rupees burger called Aloo Tikki Burger, a burger with a cutlet made of mashed potatoes, peas and flavoured with Indian spices. It’s something you would find on Indian streets; it was essentially the McDonald’s version of street food. The price and the taste together, the value we introduced, was a hit. It revolutionised the industry in India. Now eating out has gone up to 9-10 times per 100 meals and McDonald’s in India has more than 320 million customers a year. The entire menu has been customised after extensive market research. Now over 70% of the menu has been changed to vegetarian to cater to customers. Even competitors such as burger king and subway have followed by dropping beef and pork. They have greatly changed the way they plan, make decisions and implement strategies because of the country they are entering.
In ethics, CSR comes into play, which every business must do as part of its social responsibility. In India specifically, to remain ethical, McDonalds has begun investing in an eye care hospital, to create an image that is socially responsible, thus making it stand out from its competitors. However, there are ethical issues with McDonalds as well. People have been fighting for their working rights due to cases such as wage theft, poor management and bad working conditions. Ethical issues with the food also come in. There have been cases where McDonalds have given the cows steroids to make more beef. All of these worsen the image of McDonalds.
McDonalds is a prime example of globalisation. Originating in the USA, and slowly expanding into markets and regions where the concept of fast food was not yet discovered. It targeted the middle class segment since it saw a niche, and kept the same interior design, service, and quality of food throughout the world, generating its amazing brand image. These things allowed seamless globalisation to take place! Making it one of the largest MNC running today.
Innovation is key to remaining competitive. Nearly all the dishes in the menu of McDonalds have been innovated and designed completely by them. Many trends have begun just by McDonalds.These trends aid in creating the brand image of McDonalds, which highly compliment the sales. Back in 2012, McDonald’s in the UK rolled out Happy Meal Play Zones to enhance interaction with customers walking in the outlets. Aimed at making children at the restaurant more active, the system combined projection of images & characters on floors with infra-red technology and cameras for tracking movements. Though with time, such experiences have become common McDonald’s was one of the early adopters of this innovative technique.
They deal with competition by using aggressive marketing strategies. You will never go a day without noticing a sign that leads you to McDonalds or viewing an ad about it. In the 3rd quarter, Steve decided to re-franchise all the franchises in Hong Kong and China covering more than 4000 restaurants in a year. This added more stability in terms of income and revenue while increasing higher returns on the capital invested. Another benefit came in the form of lesser operating expenses and better predictability of rent and royalties.