Business Management Assessment

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Business Management
Assessment task
This is the assessment task for the assignment Component of Higher
Business Management assessment.

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It is never too early to start the process of planning your Higher Business Management
The assignment requires you to research an organisation and a business issue. The
organisation chosen can operate in the PRIVATE, PUBLIC or THIRD SECTOR of the
economy. The issue should be directly related to a topic and/or concept studied as part of
the mandatory Course coverage of Higher Business Management. You will gather, select
and analyse information relating to the issue chosen, from primary and/or secondary
sources, in order to produce the report.
You also have to provide conclusions and recommendations relating to the business issue
in terms of how this might meet the purpose of the report and/or the future needs of the
organisation’s internal and/or external stakeholders.
The Assignment will take the form of a report. An issue will be identified and, following
market research, conclusions drawn will be identified and,
recommendations made.
This Assignment counts for 30% of the overall SQA mark
and therefore it is vital to secure high marks if you hope to
achieve a good grade in Higher Business Management.
Assignments are submitted to the SQA for marking towards
the end of March, but the SQA have made the marking
scheme quite clear and so by following some general
principles a high mark can be achieved.
The Course will be graded A–D. Marks for the completed assignment will be awarded as
 Introduction 2 marks
 Research 4 marks
 Analysis and Interpretation 12 marks
 Conclusion and Recommendations 10 marks
 Collating and Reporting Findings 2 marks
The Assignment has 2 stages:
 Planning and Gathering Evidence— this should take about 6.5 hours
 Producing the Report — this should take about 1.5 hours (under exam conditions)
Your teacher will let you know how this assessment will be carried out and any required
conditions for doing it.
The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to work independently to demonstrate your
planning, research, use of sources, analysis and decision making skills.
You will use these skills to produce a business report.
Make sure you use the section
headings in your report as marks are
allocated for the appropriate use of

 Name of the business
 Start by stating the purpose of the investigation
Also justify why you are investigating this issue
 Provide details of the analytical technique used in the Analysis and
Interpretation section – you MUST say what it is.
Reference should be made to Appendix 2, where full detailed notes
should be held
 Justify the use of this analytical technique in investigating the issue
 Provide a MINIMUM of 3 sources of information.
Market research can be primary, secondary or a combination of both.
 You should assess the suitability of the research method / source and
explain why you used it.
Remember: make the value relevant to your situation
 Reinforce the reasons for and against the suitability of each source
And explain why each source is suitable
 Reference to sources of research should be made to Appendix 3

 Marks will be credited for each interpretation you make but it must
be linked to the market research or the analytical technique used.
 You MUST link each point made to the purpose of your report (as stated in the
 Referencing is very important here “from my questionnaire (appendix 1)…”
 No marks awarded for recommendations here! Only facts and findings.
 You will be awarded marks even if you state your research was
inconclusive, as long as it is justified.

 One mark will be given per conclusion and/or recommendation that is
directly linked to the research undertaken.
 Always give a reason for each recommendation.
 Concise, conclusive statements are best here!
 Do not write anything here that is not already featured in your

Appendix 1
Synopsis/setting the scene:
 Provide a brief summary of the history of the business and location(s)
 Give a short description of the activities the enterprise is engaged in,
along with a statement of the business structure,
for example, public limited company, social enterprise etc
Appendix 2
 Include details of the analytical tool used.
You might, for example, show a SWOT analysis.
Appendix 3
 Include details of research gathered.
For example, questionnaires and/or
URL of websites used.
Appendix 4
 You can include one more Appendix of your choice.

 One mark will be awarded for the use of the headings
 One mark for business terminology being correctly applied
 Remember to stick to the page limit – excessive length will be penalised!
While an Appendix will not receive
any marks in your report, it is
normally the first place the SQA
marker will look to get an outline of
the business.

Choose a business and identify an issue or problem with the enterprise that you wish to base
your investigation and conclusions or recommendations on. This is the crucial stage of your
whole Assignment will rest on choosing an appropriate business venture.
Higher Business Management focuses on large businesses, so choose an enterprise that has a
medium-to-large operation. There is no need to be concerned about the structure of
ownership, although a sole trader might not be able to provide enough sources of
information for you to build a report on. It can be any of the following:
 Private Limited Company (LTD)
 Public Limited Company (PLC)
 Charity
 Social Enterprise
 Local or National Government Organisation
Decide on some aspect of the enterprise to report on. At this point you should do some
background research to see if there is data out there that links your business with the
Suitable topics could be:
 Quality measures to be adopted to ensure customer
 Pricing strategies
 Benefits of social responsibility
 Sources of finance to support expansion
 Developing product/service ranges
 Mergers or takeovers
Examples of issues/analytical techniques could include:
How effective is the product portfolio of xxxx?
Should xxxx create a website for online selling?
Should ‘The Fenwick Hotel’ expand to include Spa and Leisure Facilities?
Are the quality measures used by xxxx providing appropriate customer satisfaction?
‘Do Kellogg’s maintain an efficient quality checking process for their corn flakes’
‘Does Nestles product portfolio provide customer satisfaction for their consumers’
‘Has the extension strategies used by Smarties been effective in maintaining their sales
‘Would it be viable for Thornhill Golf Club to open a pro shop’
‘Should FUN Leisure Facility increase the size of it’s gym’.
‘Should Station 49 create a website to allow online sales.’

Choose a business analytical tool that will be most suitable for your chosen issue. An
analytical tool is simply a formal process used by businesses to firstly gather data, draw
conclusions and then make recommendations from.
It would be advisable to start – as early as possible – to gather articles, news reports,
press releases, government statistics etc on your business and the topic you are going to
investigate. Some of these will be refined into the analytical model of your choice while
others sources of data can be used for your next stage of research. The final version of
your analytical tool should be included as an Appendix.
Your teacher will give you advice on the different types of analytical techniques that can
be adopted and what would be most suited for your investigation.
Examples of analytical tools are:
 SWOT analysis
 Analysis of production processes
 Product life cycle extension strategies
 Product portfolio analysis (Boston Matrix)
You will be expected to explain what your chosen tool shows and how it will be used to
support your conclusions and recommendations.

Decide on the sources of information you will need to use and how you will collect the
information. You need to use a minimum of 2 research sources.
You will be expected to identify the sources used, but the important aspect is why
you used them.
EXPLAIN why you chose the source:
 Why the information found would be of use in terms of your report
 The credibility of the source
Do not simply repeat a list of common phrase like reliable, relevant, up-to-date,
objective, accurate, but link it directly to your investigation and say why in this case
it was (for example) relevant. Here is an example:
 The first research source I used was the business website
I chose this website as it was entirely relevant to my report because it is the
business’ own website. I used the website to gather details of the wide range
of products that Tesco has for sale, to help me identify the extent of their
product portfolio. The information was accurate as it is constantly being
updated and it gave me prices as well. However, some information about the
business could be biased, such as the “price promise” in order to attract
potential customers.
 The second research source I used was the BBC news site

Source How is it appropriate? Is the source reliable? Why is the source of
Advantages and
Source 1 –
Gives me relevant
information on the
products they sell and also
gives me background
Yes as it is coming from
the companies main
website the information
is also always being
I used this website
because it is the official
website for coca cola
and I thought this would
give me information
about the business and
what type of products
they sell.
An advantage of using
the company website is
that you can access the
information instantly
and 24/7. A
disadvantage of using
the company website is
that the data may be
Source 2
Source 3
Source 4

Here you will analyse and interpret the research sources and information gathered.
You should report on your findings in relation to the issue you are investigating, and the
analytical tool you are using. Your findings should be in-depth and comprehensive. It
would add weight to your findings if different sources supported the same conclusions.
Here are some examples:
 From my research source 1 (the business website) I found out that:
Pricing strategies used vary from one season of the year to another according to
customer demand for certain products. For example, in Summer there is more
demand for cold drinks and ice-cream, therefore these products were not
selected for promotional pricing strategies.
 From my research source 2 (survey) I found out that:
60% of customers had complained in the last three months
45% of customers had complained in the last two months
30% of customers had complained in the last month.
This is shown in the graph/pie chart. This suggests to me that the business is not
meeting their needs and must address the issues they are complaining about
quickly, in order to restore customer confidence in the business.:
Here are some other sample phrases you can use to demonstrate that you have analysed
and interpreted your findings:
 I noticed that the business … this therefore means that …
 It was clear to me from the pictures/graph/table on the website that …
 From the feedback page on the website I found out that customers said … this
means that …
 My survey results show that X% of respondents are unhappy … I feel this means that
the business will have to …
 The article in the newspaper proves to me that …
 Overall my evidence shows me that …
 I am confident that these figures mean that …

Analysis Interpretation Recommendation Concluding Point
E.g. From my survey I noticed that
2/10 (20%) had seen the borders
advert on TV due to timing of
when the adverts are on tV and
the programs they are advertising
This shows me that Borders must
think about when they advertise
as they are not reaching enough of
their target audience.
E.g. I suggest that the business
must change when they advertise
and also expand their product
range to appeal to an older
segment of the market e.g. 65-75
age groups.
I feel by doing so, this would
address the lack of sales to
customers in this segment of the
From question 1 of my survey … This is significant as I was able to
discover …
From question 2 of my survey … I feel this means that the business
will have to …
From question 3 of my survey … This demonstrates to me there is

From use of the company website

This shows me that …
From use of the competitors
website …
This shows me that …

Identify conclusions and recommendations based on your evidence and the analysis you
have undertaken. These should relate to the overall purpose of the report but also
how they might meet the needs of internal or external stakeholders. Sample phrases:
 I have come to the conclusion that XXX business should …
 I suggest that the business does …
 Summing up my evidence, the conclusions I can make are …
 I would recommend that the business does the following …
 The business should think about doing …
 The course of action the business should now take is to …
 The business should offer …
However, each conclusion or recommendation should be based on your evidence and
have justification or explanation of the effect it will have, for example,
Based on the findings from the business website I suggest that the business conducts
training for its employees on customer service. This should mean that the number of
complaints reduces, and that customers will be happy to return and shop there again.
The course of action that the business should now take is to expand their product
range to appeal to an older segment of the market, for example 65-75 age group. This
will address the lack of sales to customers in this segment of the market.
I recommend that they business employs more staff in the Operations department to
carry out quality assurance. Quality assurance checks will mean that fewer problems
are identified at the end of the production process and there will be no need for
product recalls in the future.

Recommendation Concluding point
E.g. I suggest that the business must expand their product range to
appeal to an older segment of the market e.g. 65-75 age groups.
By doing so, this would address the lack of sales to customers in this
segment of the market.
I recommend that the business … This would address the lack of …
I also propose that from my evidence, the business … This will positively impact the business as …
The course of action that I feel the business should take is … This would mean that …
I have come to the conclusion that Coca Cola’s business would benefit
from lowering their price …
By doing this they would get a greater amount of sales and customers
would return more often than usual.
I would recommend that by offering more discounts such as BOGOF to
their customers as many people feel that their prices are too high …
This would prevent them from buying their products regularly.
I have also come to the conclusion that having a more variety of
flavours of each brand such as a tropical flavour of Coca Cola …
This would benefit the business as you are reaching a wider market.

The assignment report should be arranged under the following headings:
 Introduction
 Research
 Analysis and Interpretation
 Conclusions and Recommendations
 Appendix
It should be word-processed formatted in 1.5 line spacing and, depending on font and
line spacing should be about 6-10 pages long (marks will be deducted if the report is
not concise).
Include graphs, charts, tables, statistics and images that will enhance the quality and
presentation of the report.
There should be no more than 4 Appendices. They can include notes, pictures, tables,
graphs, charts, questionnaires as well as lists of website, books and articles. Make sure
that you reference the appendices so that it is clear what research you are referring
Use the following checklist to mark your Assignment report against the criteria used by
the SQA. Ensure that you are meeting the minimum standards and then try to exceed
the criteria by providing more than the minimum.
Use appropriate business
terminology throughout the
Report as marks are awarded
for appropriate business terms.

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