The CUEGIS essay

Key terms

There are no universally accepted definitions of concepts, as they are transdisciplinary by nature. The following provides an example for each concept, from the perspective of IB Business Management:

  • Change is the adaptation of the organization to accommodate for the external business environment, e.g. organizations need to adapt what they do in relation to new technologies, social and cultural factors, changing demographics, different government laws, economic trends and globalization.
  • Culture describes an organization’s traditions and norms, i.e. the way in which things are done within the organization. Culture can also refer to the customs and norms within a certain area, region or country, which can have a direct impact on all aspects of an organization’s operations.
  • Ethics are a set of moral values and guiding principles that influence how individuals, organizations and societies behave. Different stakeholders may have different perspectives on what is considered ethical business behaviour.
  • Globalization is the ongoing process of interaction and integration between people, firms and organizations trade is conducted over widening geographical boundaries, offering opportunities and threats.
  • Innovation refers to the incremental or radical process of improving business, such as introducing new or adapting existing technologies to supply improved goods or services.
  • Strategy is the long term plan and decisions which allow an organization to achieve a particular organizational goal.

Summary

  • Find out as much relevant information as you can about a small number of real organizations – use the V CRAMPS acronym to organize your findings
  • Learn and apply the key concepts, using appropriate IB Business Management tools, theories and techniques
  • Investigate the problems, successes and strategies of your chosen organizations
  • Provide actual examples about the organization
  • Practice writing CUEGIS answers under timed conditions, ensuring you can complete the essay in a timely manner
  • Make sure you understand the assessment criteria for Section C of Paper 2.

    Frequently Asked Questions about the CUEGIS Essay

    FAQ 1 Can students use the organization in Paper 1 as the basis for their CUEGIS essay?

    No, the organization must be a real-world business. Students will be penalized on the assessment criteria for failing to disclose the name of the business (such as Organization X) or using the name of any of the businesses in the Paper 1 pre-issued case study (such as P&S Trawlers, As Fair As, Accord, Radeki de Dovnic Manufacturing, Medimatters etc.)

    FAQ 2 How long should the CUEGIS essay be?

    There is no prescribed word or page limit. Unlike internal assessment, the externally marked CUEGIS essay does not impose a word count or maximum page limit. Instead, students need to fine-tune their exam technique and time management. It is common for students to spend about 30 - 35 minutes writing the CUEGIS essay in the examination. Importantly, they should construct their essay with an introduction, body and conclusion (Criterion D - structure). They must also use relevant tools, theories and techniques from the Business Management syllabus. Finally, they must address the demands of the question. Doing all of this typically creates an essay of between 2 to 3 sides of A4 (handwritten). But, remember, the emphasis is on the quality of the contents of the essay, not the quantity of words.

    The IB recommends the following format for the CUEGIS essay:

    Teachers may want to consider developing a precise protocol or plan for candidates to follow when answering Section C, something along the lines as follows:

    • Paragraph 1: Introduce essay
    • Paragraph 2: Define and explain theoretically concepts and any specific Business Management content required by the question
    • Paragraph 3 and possibly 4: Apply the concepts to the company
    • Paragraph 4 (or 5): Consideration of stakeholders
    • Final paragraph: Conclusion

    Subject Report, M19, page 36 (Recommendations and guidance for the teaching of future)

     FAQ 3 How many stakeholders need to be considered in the CUEGIS essay?

    Criterion E (Individuals and societies) refers to consideration of both individual stakeholders and group stakeholders. Therefore, students are strongly adviced to name an individual from the organization (such as the name of the CEO, COO, CFO, Marketing Director etc.) for the individual stakeholder(s). Group stakeholders can include employees, customers, managers, trade unions (labour unions), owners (shareholders), and financiers (such as banks or other lending institutions). It is not possible to score 4/4 marks for Criterion E without consideration of both an invididual stakeholder and group stakeholders. The analysis must be relevant to the context of the essay question, rather than superficially applied.

    FAQ 4 Can students use the organization in their Internal Assessment for the CUEGIS essay?

    Yes. There is no rule against this, and it is not considered as double dipping as the assessment criteria for the IA and the CUEGIS essay are drastically different. Students may need to draw on their knowledge of other relevant content, concepts and contexts to answer the question, which includes reference to the organization in their IA. Of course, this may not always be relevant, such as a HL student who chooses to write about a sole trader business in the IA but struggles to apply this in a CUEGIS question about globalization and innovation.

    FAQ 5 Do students have to define the key concepts in their CUEGIS essay?

    No. There is no formal requirement for students to define key concepts in the essay. However, I have made a strong recommendation to my own students to do so, for two reasons:

    1) it helps them to focus on the concepts as anchors for constructing their essays, and

    2) it addresses the Criterion A rubrics - the extent to which the student demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the given concepts and relevant Business Management content (theories, techniques or tools, depending on the requirements of the question).

    FAQ 6 How many organizations should students research / prepare for the CUEGIS essay?

    Many schools choose one organization - which is (strategically) based on the past exam questions in Paper 2, Section C. It may also enable students to explore the concepts in depth. However, other schools choose a minimum of two organizations. Reasons for this approach include:

    • Pedagogically, focusing on more than one organization enable students to gain greater breath of understanding of the CUEGIS concept, with different contexts, rather than just the depth gained from focusing on one organization. As IB educators, we are not (supposed to be) teaching to the exams.
    • The broader variety also helps to keep students interested / engaged, so avoids saturation in their
      learning.
    • Having more than one organization to rely on also helps students to compare and contrast - which can be useful for demonstrating skills of analysis and evaluation.
    • In the unlikely and unfortunate event that the IB uses the same organization in Section B of Paper 2, students are not premitted to use this organization in their CUEGIS essay, despite the student having researched the same business.
    • Some case studies / organizations are better suited to certain questions, e.g. a HL student who focusing on using the organization for his/her Internal Assessment might struggle with questions about globalization and innovation, although could probably engage with questions about culture and strategy.
    • Similarly, getting students to prepare two different organizations gives them more options / opportunities in the actual examination, when they see the actual exam questions for the first time. It provides students with a better range of ideas / examples that they can use.
    • It puts contingency planning into practice!

    The IB recommends the following regarding this matter:

    "Enable students to research more than one company while preparing for Section C questions."

    Subject Report, M19, page 32 (Recommendations and guidance for the teaching of future)

    But do not despair if you are worried about workload in getting students to research an additional business organization. A default 'second' organization they can use is the business chosen by the student for their Internal Assessment (for both SL and HL students). It is unlikely (especially for HL students) to have chosen this same business organization (for their IA and CUEGIS research) if they start the CUEGIS concepts right at the beginning of the course.

    FAQ 7 Is it a good idea for students to pre-prepare their CUEGIS essays?

    No, this is not a good idea, both from a teaching and learning perspective. The IB states the following about this issue:

    "Candidates should answer questions directly as asked and not use pre-prepared responses which may not answer the question"

    Subject Report, M19, page 32 (Recommendations and guidance for the teaching of future).

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