Comments on specific questions
(a) Most candidates were able to define strategy and tactics in terms of setting broad long term objectives and then taking decisions or making policies to achieve or implement those objectives.
(b) Many candidates found this part of the question challenging. Responses often lacked a business decision making model such as objective setting, planning, choice identification, option identification through to decision evaluation. Responses often did not include brief explanation. Product life cycles and leadership styles were not correct responses to this question.
(a) A majority of responses did not demonstarte knowledge of marginal costs as the additional cost of producing one more unit of output. This is a key financial concept and was expected to be well understood.
(b) This explanation of other business costs was also not answered well. As with Question 1(b) many candidates demonstarted limited understanding of key business studies terms. Candidates need to have a strong understanding of the limited number of financial cost terms and concepts as set out in the syllabus.
Candidates were more confident with this question. The term was generally accurately defined and many possible consequences of high labour turnover were identified and explained. Strong perceptive answers recognised that particular contexts might well determine the nature of the consequences and recognised that high labour turnover in, for example, food outlets is an expected and not necessarily negative feature of the industry.
(a) Inventory management was generally well understood although some answers did not fully define the term in terms of appropriate stock levels and did not include the word ‘management’ in this term.
(b) This was also well answered although some responses only explained one reason for high levels of inventory. The most common reasons given were to act as a buffer in case of future high demand, to insure against supplier difficulties, and to take advantage of bulk buying discounts.
(a) This was a popular option question. Most candidates had a basic understanding of equality and diversity, and most were able to discuss at a basic level why such policies are important. However there were a considerable number of relatively weak answers to this section where development and analysis of the terms was not strong, few examples were given and most significantly diversity and equality were not applied to the business workplace.
(b) Most candidates understood the concept of work-life balance, although many responses remained at a descriptive level and did not analyse why a work-life balance is important. Strong answers referred explicitly to the tertiary sector and discussed specific and potentially important consequences for employee welfare such as the reduction of stress and burn out.
There were some good answers to the provocative statement in this question. Strong answers analysed, and evaluated the tension between CSR and profit. Such answers often adopted a stakeholder analytical framework to distinguish between the short term and long term expectations of different stakeholders resulting in different attitudes towards CSR.
(a) This question proved challenging. Many responses demonstrated little or no understanding of elasticity generally or about price elasticity of demand in particular and simply listed general comments on demand factors. Those who understood elasticity were able to give good examples of how in a business context the concept could assist in the fixing or changing of a price to increase profits.
(b) Most candidates were able to discuss the 4 P’s, and most applied their commentary to a car manufacturer, gaining credit for application. However, many answers simply described the marketing mix in great detail with references to the car manufacturing industry. Strong answers focused on discussing the best ways and analysed and evaluated which specific parts of the marketing mix might be emphasised by a car manufacture and if alternative marketing frameworks or concepts might be applied.