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«2010 Assessment Report 2010 Business Management GA 3: Written examination GENERAL COMMENTS The VCE Business Management Study Design (effective from ...»

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2010 Business Management GA 3: Written examination


The VCE Business Management Study Design (effective from 2010) and other relevant documents are available on the

VCAA website on the Business Management study page. It is important that students are familiar with the requirements

and the vocabulary of the study design.

The more successful responses incorporated specific details to answer the questions asked, rather than providing answers to questions that had been asked in past examinations. It was evident that many students had consulted previous Assessment Reports and used the advice provided to prepare for the examination. It is good examination preparation to practise by using past examination questions; however, students must also be able to adapt their knowledge to questions that ask for information in a different way or with a different emphasis.

Students also need to be aware of changes to the course, such as the inclusion of specific theories of motivation (Maslow, Hertzberg and Locke).

Examples of the front page of the examination (which provides students with instructions for completing the examination) are published by the VCAA at the start of Term 4 and it is important that students are familiar with these materials. The examination consisted of a question and answer book and students needed to answer all questions.


Note: Student responses reproduced herein have not been corrected for grammar, spelling or factual information.

For each question, an outline answer (or answers) is provided. In some cases the answer given is not the only answer that could have been awarded marks.

Question 1a.

Marks 0 1 Average % 0.7 Performance indicators are specific criteria used to measure the achievement of success of an organisation.

Generally, this question was well answered, although a number of students did not mention that a performance indicator is a tool to measure how well an organisation is achieving its objectives. Students are reminded that it is important when defining a term to use words other than the term itself to explain the meaning.

The following is an example of a good response.

A performance indicator refers to a measure which highlights how well (or how poorly) an organisation has been in achieving its objectives. These indicators can be financial, for example, ‘number of sales’ or non-financial, for example ‘number of customer complaints’.

Question 1b.

Marks 0 1 2 3 4 Average % 3.1 Relevant stakeholders include customers, suppliers and creditors, competitors, staff and shareholders. Shareholders lose dividends and staff lose jobs.

This question was generally answered well. Some students did not explain how the stakeholder had been adversely affected by the Global Financial Crisis, as required by the question.

The following is an example of a good response.

A stakeholder is an individual or group who has a vested interest in the activities and the performance of the organisation. Two stakeholder groups are shareholders and employees. Shareholders have a vested interest in the business’ profits, dividends, return to owners as well as asset values. Due to the fall in customer levels, it is likely that the company would have suffered from a decrease in revenue thus profits. This will reduce the value of shares or dividends, which ultimately reduces the income of shareholders. Employees or the workers of the organisation have a vested interest in pay, job security and working conditions. A Business Management GA 3 Exam © VICTORIAN CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT AUTHORITY 2011 1 Assessment Report decrease in profit as a result of reduced customers is likely to have caused many workers to be made redundant. Redundancy will cause a loss of income for employees as well as a reduction in job security for those who remained.

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The less successful students were unable to identify two management functions or did not explain a strategy that could be used to overcome the problems caused by decreasing customer numbers.

The following is an example of a good response.

Typical management functions include, Operations, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing etc. Finance department is responsible for managing all monetary aspects of the organisation and determining how much money needs to be made in order to breakeven. To overcome the problem of decreasing customer numbers, finance could determine how a lower airfare ticket can be available. This may involve finance determining where costs could be cut and where savings can be made. A lower airfare may promote customers to use Flyalot Airlines even in this Global Financial Crisis.

The Marketing department is responsible for managing promotions and determining the needs of the customers. The marketing function can combat decreasing customer numbers by taking a new approach to the way the organisation is being marketed. It can now be marketed as a budget airline. This should promote Flyalot Airlines as an organisation that is helping its customers.

–  –  –

The following is an example of a good response.

The finance functions decision to lower airfare prices while still being able to breakeven needs to be measured in order to determine its success. This can be measured by the level of ticket sales prior to the strategy being implemented and after. The higher level of ticket sales may indicate the strategy is successful as more customers are using the service as was intended. A lower level of sales may still indicate people aren’t using the service due to the Global Financial Crisis adding extra pressure to a customer’s disposable income.

The success of the marketing function decision to promote the company as a budget friendly airline, helping customers and their hip pocket nerve can be measured by the percentage of the total market they control in comparison to their competitors. A high amount of market share identifies the marketing strategy is successful and the customers are in favour of the companies new image. A low amount of market share in relation to its competitors may indicate the strategy was unsuccessful and marketing the organisation in a different manner is unlikely to alter customers spending habits.

–  –  –

Generally, most students recognised that the autocratic management style was the most appropriate style in this situation. However, students did not identify the specific characteristics of the style well, despite giving good justifications for their choice of style.

The following is an example of a high-scoring response.

I believe an Autocratic management style would be most appropriate in this situation.

An Autocratic management style is one where management make all decisions with no/little (very little) input from employees. It has a strict top down, one-way communication where managers make the decisions and pass them down to employees. Authority and control are also centralised where management have all the control and power over employees and employees strictly follow their manager’s rule. This management style would be most appropriate for the situation at the ‘Wonderful Toys Company’ because the lead paint can be poisonous to children and therefore a quick decision needs to be made before anyone is harmed which best suits the autocratic management style. Also, all employees will therefore know exactly what is expected of them, their role and responsibilities in the recall of the products. This ensures that without question, the company is able to immediately fix the crisis as efficiently and effectively as possible by using the autocratic management style.

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Generally, this question was not answered well. Most students simply described two management structures without comparing and contrasting them. If students had a weak recommendation and justification, they scored very low marks for this question.

Comparing and contrasting is different to describing. This question required students to compare two management structures and to contrast those two structures. Students needed to select one management structure to recommend and state why they recommend that particular structure in relation to the case information provided.

The following is an example of a high-scoring response.

A management/organisational structure is the way in which managers, employees and functions are arranged within an organisation. One management structure is a functional structure, this is where employees are divided by function (Human Resources, Financial management, Marketing etc) and each function has a manager. A different management structure is a matrix structure, this is a horizontal and vertical structure where teams are formed across functional/departmental lines to work on a project or solve a problem. The two structures are similar in that they both have functional departments with managers at the’ top’ of the structure. They are also similar as they have functional departments which allow for specialisation.

The two structures are different in that a matrix structure involves teams across functions, where a functional structure does not.

A matrix structure will also have more managers than a functional structure as there will be a manager for each team as well as each department.

I would recommend that Ms West use a ‘matrix’ structure at her designer clothing company. This is because a matrix structure is more flexible than a functional structure, it also has a greater organisation focus, rather than purely a functional focus, which means employees, will strive to achieve both function specific and organisation –wide objectives. Additionally, Ms West could form a team to discuss the expansion of the company and a team to focus on how and where the company should export. For any problem that arises, or any new venture Ms West would like to do, Ms West can for a team to work on specifically that task.

–  –  –

Low-scoring answers were those that did not show that an operations management system involves inputs, processes and outputs, or those that confused the elements with operations management strategies. Other responses did not give an example of each of the key elements as required.

The following is an example of a high-scoring response.

The Operations System of an organisation consists of inputs, the transformation process and outputs. Inputs refer to the resources used to create the final good or service. They can include raw materials, labour, capital, time, money and information from a variety of sources.

The inputs at The Charity Foundation are its volunteers, managers, the goods donated and the money raised.

The transformation process is the process of converting the input resources into the final output good or services. Since The Charity Foundation is a service providing organisation, its transformation process is likely to be more labour intensive, as staff and volunteers need to carry forward the service. The transformation process would involve giving the children who have been affected by natural disasters the goods and money donated earlier.

Finally, outputs are the final product that the organisation sells or provides. In the case of The Charity Foundation, the output is a service. The output at The Charity Foundation is improving the living conditions of the children affected by natural disasters.

–  –  –

Generally, this question was answered poorly. Many students identified a general strategy (quality, technology), but did not provide more detail linking it to a specific strategy (total quality management or computer-aided design). Many students selected appropriate operations management strategies, but then did not address how adopting an ethically and socially responsible approach in these areas would benefit the organisation. Students discussed why the organisation should adopt an ethically and socially responsible approach from the community’s perspective; however, this was not what the question required. Some students discussed adopting an ethical and socially responsible approach in general and did not mention operations management strategies.

The following is an example of a high-scoring response.

Ethical management is the application of moral standards to an organisation’s activities. Social responsibility is the extra efforts an organisation undertakes to provide for the wellbeing of its stakeholders, particularly the community and the environment. One operations management strategy is the management of quality. This can involve quality control in the form of inspectors, quality assurance adopting the ISO 9000 standard and/or Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM is the most effective of these as it is an ongoing organisation wide approach to maintaining quality. It involves three main aspects, continuous improvement, customer focus and employee empowerment. TQM is a continual and collective commitment to aspiring to achieve perfection.

Adopting an ethical and socially responsible approach can be beneficial regarding quality. If employees are empowered, this improves their morale and they feel ethically respected. If customers’ needs are a top priority, and quality is of its highest possibility, then customers will be more likely to purchase the products as they appreciate the good quality products. If they have purchased products or received service or high quality this is being socially responsible as the interest of the customers is respected. This benefits the organisation as repeat sales are likely to be made.

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