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(b) Discuss 12 mark Paper 1

Overview

TimingCommand Word% Final Grade
24 minsDiscuss12 %

Structure

There is one 12 mark (b) question on paper 1 section B, so that’s over  30% of the total marks for the paper or 12% of your final AS grade.

We’ve got nearly 25 minutes for this question, almost 10 minutes more than the similar (d) evaluation questions in paper 2. 

The command word is ‘discuss’. Usually, the question leads us to consider arguments for or against a viewpoint before reaching a final decision. Therefore, aim for at least one fully developed chain of analysis FOR and one AGAINST the view in the question. As there are 6 marks for evaluation in this question, a useful strategy is to add an evaluative comment at the end of each chain of analysis. This means we can score evaluation points throughout the essay in addition to the final paragraph.

As you have 25 mins for this question you can include further chains of analysis for and against, but make sure to leave enough time for an effective evaluation developed in context.

A useful strategy is to make a plan of our answer. Think through all the different possible points for and against, then include the points we can analyse in detail before adding evaluative comments. 

⭐⭐⭐Pro Tip – Add Evaluative Comments Throughout⭐⭐⭐

To ensure 6 marks for evaluation in this question, add an evaluative comment at the end of each chain of analysis. This means we can score evaluation points throughout the essay in addition to the final paragraph.

✍🏽 Exemplar Question and Solution 💡

(b) Discuss why the shareholders of a public limited company might not support corporate social decisions responsibility (CSR) as a business objective. [12]

Shareholders primary focus is for a business to make profits and provide a return on their investment in a PLC. Corporate Social Responsibility focuses the objectives of business not just on what is beneficial for shareholders but on the interests of wider society.  This means that a PLC must take responsibility for the impact of its decisions on the environment and other stakeholders in the business. As this may negatively impact profits shareholders may disagree with CSR.

CSR can increase costs. Netflix offers 52 weeks of paid parental leave to all its staff.  This will significantly increase labour costs as Netflix will have to pay for the staff who are spending time with their kids and hire a replacement.  The decreased profits could mean shareholders dividends are reduced and/or less retained profit to fund future growth.

However, this CSR policy could be beneficial to Netflix as it allows them to attract the best staff, reduce turnover as staff don’t want to motivate employees and will motivate employees as it shows Netflix care about the wellbeing of staff and their families.

Furthermore, CSR may distract the PLC leaders from focusing on their core objectives. For CSR to work effectively leaders throughout an organisation must consider the impact of all of their decisions on the environment and local community.  For example, Unilever’s aim to be “a force of change for the good in the world” will require managers to analyse each decision on the basis of CSR,  and they may miss profitable opportunities due to potential conflicts with other stakeholders.

However, if CSR is embedded in the corporate culture, Unilever can benefit from the enhanced reputation and decrease the exposure to legal action or corporate scandals – which can lead to stable long term growth.

Shareholders may be ethical investors. For example, only investing in companies that don’t pollute or treat workers badly. As CSR ensures a PLC’s activities contribute positively environmentally and socially it will be favoured by ethical investors.
This means these types of shareholders will support CSR and pressure the business to maintain high ethical standards.

CSR can build customer loyalty. For example, IKEA allows customers to sell back unwanted furniture to reduce waste. This means that businesses with CSR can reduce marketing costs for finding new customers. Furthermore, by building a strong relationship with customers will lead to repeat purchases and long term revenue growth.

If shareholders take a longer-term view the costs associated with CSR will be offset with higher longer-term growth. There is a growing agreement among CEO’s that thinking only in a corporations interests is damages society and the environment in the long term. Therefore, in order to secure the stability and prosperity of the business environment in the future, shareholders should adopt CSR as a business objective. Shareholders may disagree with CSR as an objective if they are seeking short term returns and high dividends.
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