At the recent A2 business studies revision workshops we centered on the need for students to use independent research evidence to aid support the lines of analysis their essay points.
One analogy we used was thinking about examples (evidence) while the seasoning in an essay hot-pot or casserole. The seasoning can there be to help make the meal taste great; but you also need the raw ingredients! An essay point that is developed to a depth that is good always score better with the examiners than answers which are plagued by way too many examples.
In March 2012, tour operator and travel agent Thomas Cook announced that its 16,000 UK staff would no longer be able enjoy discounts all the way to 75pc off their holidays. The move was section of a cost-cutting strategy because of the tour operator which has a target to cut operating costs by Ј35m a year in order to improve cash flow and minimize its substantial bank debts.
So, we have a typical example of a piece that is recent of news. This is what we call evidence – and it’s really easy to get hold of by simply reading the business news regularly.
You should not research whatever you possibly can about Thomas Cook. You don’t have to memorise Thomas Cook’s recent results that are financial have detailed knowledge of the cost-reduction plan. You just need some examples that are good. It is how they are used by you that really matters.
How could the evidence is used by us about Thomas Cook’s decision to create savings by restricting the staff discount scheme?
The data may be beneficial in several contexts. For example, it could be used by you in an essay on strategic retrenchment, or approaches for profit improvement. You could make use of it as a example of how board-level decisions designed to achieve corporate objectives may have effects at a functional level. You could make use of it in an essay on culture (new management taking a decision for financial motives without necessarily considering most of the HRM & operational implications)
The thing that is important remember is that the evidence should be used to support the line of analysis in each paragraphpoint. Use the example and explore the implications. Think about the significance of the example and people implications.
An effective solution to repeat this is by using «connectives» – words and phrases that help develop a logical chain of argument.
So, let’s see a good example of that for action. We’ll utilize the Thomas Cook staff discount evidence/example thereby applying it to a paragraph point which explores the potential negative effects of a cost-cutting strategy.
Consider the paragraph below. See how the evidence is used by it and then builds onto it. Underline the connectives used – exactly how many can you spot? It’s also advisable to note how the example uses relevant business terminology – this can help build credibility because of the examiner.
Firms that require to improve their profitability and cash flow will inevitably have a look at reducing operating costs where possible. However, you can find potential dangers with a cost-minimisation strategy. For example, Thomas Cook has set itself a corporate objective of reducing annual operating costs by at the least Ј35m p.a. as it seeks to enhance cash flow in the short-term to aid it reduce high gearing levels. It is implementing a variety of measures shop that is including, redundancies and in addition reducing the cost of financial benefits (such as for instance generous discounted holidays) paid to Thomas Cook staff. Into the short-term, reducing staff discounts should lead to a significant cost saving since TC has tens of thousands of staff, although that may depend regarding the extent to which TC staff take advantage of the discount scheme. However, there are a few downsides that are potential your decision, for instance the odds of reduced morale and motivation of staff who value their holiday discounts, which could indirectly lead to worse customer support or lower productivity, leading to lower revenues and profits which for that reason may actually lead to lower cash flows in the long-term. The choice to limit staff discounts may initially seem quite attractive to management, however as described, there are potential hidden tangible and intangible costs which would reduce the impact of this decision on TC’s cost-reduction strategy.