ou are reminded that under the SUAR Regulations governing your course, you are allowed two attempts ONLY to pass this module. If you should fail the first attempt then the resit submission date for written work is: Thursday 11th August, 2016, by 12.00 noon.

If a student has failed the in-class Debate, then special arrangements exist for re-sitting this – please see the detailed assessment briefing for these details. The resit for the debate will be conducted during the period 25July 2016 to 8th August 2016

You MUST pass the second attempt, if you have failed the first, as failing this module two times means that you will be deemed to have failed your whole course, and you will be required to leave the University.





Module Title BUS5009 Contemporary Business Issues
Level/Year Level 5 – Second Year
Assessment title Contemporary Business Portfolio
Weighting and marking The portfolio assessment contributes 100% to the overall marks for the module. See below for individual mark allocations
Hand-in Deadline date Group Debate element: date and time for presentation agreed with sub-groups, according to the class schedule.For the written elements: Friday, 6th May, 2016by 12.00 hrs. (mid-day)
Hand-back date Written work: 11/07/2016 from 10.30 hrs.Class Debate scores published via Moodle on 29/04/2016


Please note that there are slightly different rules for Class Debates and written work submissions:For the in-class Group Debate element, you will be assigned to a smaller group in your Seminar class, and given a date in a future seminar, for your group’s Debate. ALL members of the group must be present, and take part in your assessed debate presentation, on the day given to you for this.

You will be allocated to your group and given your day and time for this debate as soon as possible after the start of term.

If there is any issue with the date, YOU must speak to, or e-mail, the module leader (Richard Frost) as soon as possible, explaining what the issue is and notifying if there are any other dates which you are able to attend; the course team will then seek to find your group an alternative day and time. You will have ten working days, from the date we publish the slots, to make this appeal. Once this period has passed we will be unable to make any changes to the schedule.

Failure of any student to turn up for their group’s allocated slot, and take part in the debate, will result in them receiving a zero mark for this element of the portfolio and if they   subsequently fail the module overall, they will then have to resit the presentation. This resit will be arranged for a time and day during the resit period, which is to take place during the period 25July 2016 to 8th August 2016.

Because we cannot replicate the group debate for an individual, the resit for this element will be an individual presentation – the detailed briefing document will give details of this, when necessary, later in the year..

For written submissions: For full details, see the detailed briefing document. Written submissions can be accepted up to 5 (five) working days after the submission date given above, but will have their marks capped at 40%.

The only exceptions to this are:

  1. If you have a disability statement granting you extra time to complete the assessment.
  2. If you consider that you have exceptional extenuating circumstances that prevent you submitting your presentation and/or written assessment on time you may either:
    • Request deferral of your presentation and/or assessment attempt until the next time the module is assessed, which will be at the resit date in the summer
    • Request a presentation and/or coursework extension.


For either of these cases you must follow the University procedures for submitting a claim for Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances and make this claim at least seven working days before the assessment deadline.

You are advised to make yourself familiar with the Standard Undergraduate Assessment Regulations if you need to use this process.

Note on Plagiarism, Collusion and Cheating

When you conduct your Group Debate and when you submit the written tasks that make up your portfolio you declare that you:

  • Have read and understand the university’s guidance on plagiarism and cheating.
  • You confirm that it is solely your own, or your own group’s work.
  • That it contains no unreferenced material from another source.
  • That you keep a copy of both the Group Debate notes and your written tasks.

Failure to abide by the rules will result in disciplinary action against you.


  • In your Group Debate Don’t simply copy large parts of it directly from others’ work and Do acknowledge every source you use
  • For your Task reports and Reflective paper do not copy out large sections of work from printed material, the internet or another student.
  • Read carefully the marking proforma that relates to the written task you need to do: try to work through the small set of sub-tasks shown in each box in the LEFT HAND column in order to maximise your marks
  • Do not share an electronic copy of your work with anyone not concerned in its production.
  • Do Use the Business School standard for Harvard Referencing (http://www.bcu.ac.uk/essential/harvard.html)
  • Do Not leave the tasks until the end of the module – make a start as soon as you have selected your organisation.


The Group Debate and written assignment briefs start on the next page.


1.0 Introduction

The module’s purpose is to investigate current issues that impact upon business organisations. On completion of this element of the module you should be able to:

  • Have greater awareness of critical business issues.
  • To be able to discuss knowledgeably current business issues.
  • Refine investigative skills.
  • Source contemporary business issues debating forums.
  • To be able to participate in the discourse of contemporary issues.
  • Apply the issues in a critical analytical way; as to the effect of contemporary forces have on business success and economic growth.

Exposure to the module should have the outcome of raising your awareness of current business issues, their management, rational modelling and effect upon business; whilst forming effective Business Relationships.


2.0 Organisation of the Assessment

2.1 Overview

Your assessment for this module has FOUR parts that make up a portfolio of work. The following section details the parts, but briefly, these are:

  1. TASK 1: a detailed description of the selected firm’s business (maximum 800 Words)
  2. TASK 2: ONE report of maximum 800 words in length, selected from ANY ONE of the ten topics covered in class, about your selected firm
  3. TASK 3: A reflective paper, of maximum 1,200 words, about your experience of the module.
  4. An in-class debate, in a small group, on an aspect of your selected firm, that will be assessed in class.


These elements will make up 100% of the marks for the module assessment, but each element will contribute to the final mark, as shown:


  1. Task 1 – Firm’s Description 20%
  2. Task 2 – Report 20%
  3. Task 3 – Reflective paper 25%
  4. Task 4 – Group Debate 35%






2.2 Selecting your Organisation and Working on the Written Assessment Elements


In week 2 you will select an organisation that is listed in the Fortune Magazine Global 500 list of the world’s largest firms. This will be done by blind ballot in your Seminar Groups, so it is important to attend this seminar!

The organisation you select in the ballot will be the company you must research and report on for tasks 1 and 2 of the elements of this assessment (NOT the reflective paper).

2.2.1 Task 1 A detailed description of the firm’s business

You must research your firm and we suggest you look closely at the tasks and sub-tasks that make up the marking proforma for Task 1, as these guide what you need to include in your report. This should be a MAXIMUM of 800 words long. It is very easy to write a very long answer (2,000 words or more) and also very easy to write a very short one – but if you do not actually write about the tasks then your answer will likely fail. Similarly, it is easy to write an excellent answer in 2,000 words, but you have to think more and work smarter, to get the job done in the limit here.

2.2.2 Task 2 A report on any one of the ten topics covered in the lectures

The Schedule indicates ten lecture topics, which will form the basis of seminar discussion and debates:

Week 02: The problems facing managers and The Lugus Principles

Week 03: Analysis of your Firm’s global spread

Week 04: Analysis of aspects of your firm’s technology approach and use

Week 05: Financial Analysis of your firm

Week 06: Report on your firm’s green credentials

Week 07: Report on the firm’s HR Policies

Week 09: Analysis of your firm’s activities in the field of globalisation, such as off-shoring, outsourcing, migration, etc

Week 10: Report on one aspect of your firm’s management of mass media

Week 11: Report on your firm’s Structure, Systems and Process: its position in the ‘Best to work for’ League

Week 12: Report on your firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility and its Ethical behaviour

You should select ONE of these topics, and research it for your firm. Again, we advise you to look at the Marking Proforma that relates to the topic you have selected, and particularly the tasks and sub-tasks that are shown in the left hand column, and try to do exactly what they ask of you, in order to maximise your marks for this task.


2.2.3 Task 3 A reflective Paper

The third task is to produce a report that reflects on your learning and experience of the module. You MUST look at the marking proforma for this task, and ensure that you reflect on the tasks indicated. You should download the marking grid as soon as you can, and read it carefully, THEN, each week, make notes under each category, to help you write the final paper. When completing your task, you should CLEARLY divide up your reflective paper into the four parts shown on the marking proforma, and note the relative weighting of each part.


2.2.4 General Advice

You are advised to begin work on researching the organisation, preparing for your two submission papers, preparing for your Group Debate and making notes that reflect upon your learning on the module FROM WEEK ONE onwards – DO NOT leave it until the last minute to try and compile your work, as experience tells us that if you leave it late you will have about a 90% chance of failing the module and a 100% chance of achieving a very low grade for it.

This is a year two module and so you will be required to do more than make simple comments. Each element requires you to do a number of things:

  1. Some research on your selected company – this should go beyond just reading the first few pages of their website, if you wish to be successful
  2. Reading around the subject areas and paying attention to the lecture given on the topics that you will use to make your reports, and presentation
  3. Ensuring that you read, understand and follow the guidance given on the proforma instruction sheets
  4. Ensure that you make use of appropriate theory in your answers
  5. Ensure that you use the theory in an applied way
  6. Make sure that your reports are clearly structured, using appropriate headings, etc. and are understandable – marks are given for appropriate use of diagrams, use of English, etc.
  7. Reflect on your learning experience. This may be something new to you. You are advised to Read the instructions and look carefully at the marking criteria shown in the Reflective Paper Marking Proforma, to get an idea of what is required, then write some notes EACH WEEK about the things you have learned, under each heading.


ABOVE ALL ELSE: for Task 1 and for the chosen subject area report Task 2 on your firm, download the marking proforma for each one, and MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW THE GUIDANCE IN THE LEFT-HAND COLUMN, if you wish to try and maximise your marks.



2.3 Detailed briefing for each element

The Module will be assessed by ONE Portfolio of work, containing FOUR elements.


  1. Task 1: A short report on your Selected Firm

The first element is to be a short report (800 words maximum: we take this to mean that the maximum word count should be 800 words. We recommend you DO NOT write less than 750 words – there is a skill [which you will need to develop for the workplace] in writing concise and precise reports, and this is meant to be learned/practised here), based on the marking Proforma for “Task 1, Introduction to the chosen Organisation”.

You should closely examine and think about the details shown in the marking proforma for Document 1, “Introduction to the firm” and – if you want to do well on the element – pay particular attention to the comments shown in the left-hand set of boxes on the page: this is what would get you a 1st-level answer, if done properly.

How to do this will be addressed in the Seminar in WEEK TWO – make sure that you are there!


  1. Task 2: A Report on your selected firm, based on a theme from ONE of the week’s lecture

You should then select any ONE of the 10 weekly Lecture subjects that were listed above and for this topic produce a report on your firm’s activities, policies, behaviour, etc., that relate to the chosen topic.

Word length for this should again be a MAXIMUM of 800. We also recommend that you do not write less than 750 words.


You should use not just your selected firm’s own website, but other appropriate websites to help you gather information, such as magazines and newspapers like: the New York Times (US companies) and for example, Le Figaro or Le Monde for French companies (French newspapers, great if you read French, or go to their websites in English if you don’t [almost every major newspaper in every country around the world, publishes an English version of its newspaper on its website, so there is always a source for information this way]), Financial Times, Times, Guardian or Telegraph or in a suitable magazine like the Economist, Fortune, Forbes, and websites like BBC News, which are searchable.

Also, by all means use Wikipedia as a START point for your research, as it is very informative – but DO NOT cite Wikipedia as a reference, and DO NOT use it as your only source of information. Wikipedia is not academically reviewed and is not peer assessed and is open to anyone to edit, so it cannot be regarded as a legitimate source for reliable information – you should always check out what it tells you.


  1. Task 3: A reflective Paper

Finally, for the written work, you must write a reflective paper. This article should have a maximum length of 1200 words. Again, you should pay particular attention to the details of the marking proforma for Task 3: Marking Grid for Reflective Paper”. This asks you to comment and reflect upon, four specific areas:

  1. Thoughts on the course’s subject matter [specifically on themes, theories and so on you found more useful/less useful, more enjoyable/less enjoyable, and so on].
  2. Summary of what you think you have learned from studying the module – this might be new knowledge about a subject, some new theory, a new insight into some aspect of running a business
  3. How knowledge of these subject areas and the knowledge you have gained will make you a better manager
  4. A brief summary of your feelings for the module

You are advised to keep notes on your reflections in these four areas, after EVERY session – lecture and seminar. When working on your document, note the marks allocation for each section and relate this to your word count – you should use up the most words for part (b), and the least for part (d), for example. Note also the specific points made under each section heading and try to ensure that you cover adequately EACH of these, if you want to maximise your mark.


  1. Group Debate: The Group Debate will comprise 35% of your overall portfolio mark

On the day and at the time specified, your sub-group must take the class for a MINIMUM of 40 minutes and lead a debate on the given subject. There is a separate, detailed briefing for this activity, which you should read and act upon, in good time to be ready for your group’s debating slot. Your debate can make use of appropriate visual aids, but there is no prescribed format for this.


Your debate will be assessed on both Content and Process. By these terms we mean:

CONTENT the actual material presented, including appropriate information about the subject of the debate, clear rendition of arguments for and against the subject, the use of, and dealing with, questions; appropriate selection and use of relevant course theory and the discussion of issues as they relate to the theme of the debate.

PROCESS the physical process of staging and running the debate – How clear is the presentation of the basic arguments for and against, to the audience, in terms of its flow and the speaking abilities of the presenter, the style of the session (animated, lively and interesting or incomprehensible, dull and boring?), and how well any visual aids have been used?


Marking of the debate

For each debate the seminar tutor will give feedback to the individuals debating, about their presentation, content, and process.

The “Module Information and Assessment” block on our Moodle page also contains a copy of the formal Debating Assessment sheet that will be used to do this, so it will be worth your time and effort to download this and take into account the marking criteria, when you make your presentations.

As indicated, over five of the last six weeks of the course, each sub group will have to run their formal, assessed debate. Each debate will be videoed and your tutor will mark it according to the criteria shown on the marking sheet. Their mark for the debate will be the one entered for the “Task 4 Debate ” element of the assessment.

If a group makes a mess of the formal debate there is no opportunity to do it again (but see the important conditions, specified in the section below).

Instructions for Debates

Your seminar sub-group has to make a debate about one aspect of the themes listed for the lectures in weeks 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12 of the contemporary business issues module . This debate must be based on course material, but you should also do a lot of your own research and presentation for the task.

7 Global Demographic trends
9 Work and Person Migration
10 Press Management
11 Work Slavery
12 CSR and Ethics


For these themes a suggested general outline approach is also listed in the Module Information and Assessment tab for BUS5009 on Moodle, and you should look closely at the general outline, which will inform you about the expected content and level of detail, in order to inform the structure, flow and content of your debate.

You will be dealing with several aspects of a theme. Construction of an argument, counter-argument and questions around the theme, analysis and composition of the debate, requires logic and a structure to your approach to the task, and your thinking about the issues arising around it. This is what your employer will also expect you to do when analysing real life situations in your future employment.

In the debate it will be important to not simply put in some theory or other, or tell the audience about that theory, but to show that you understand what that theory is about and how it works ‘in the real world’ by the use that you make of a particular theory to help structure your argument and to help you make the points necessary and deal with questions.

TIME The debates should each last for a maximum of 45 minutes, including time for posing and answering questions, so the debates must be sharp, focused and punchy in their delivery.

CONTENT Must be related to the selected topic and the indicators given in the assessment grid. We expect students to make reasonable and appropriate use of relevant theory, concepts frameworks and models as a part of their debate.

3.0 The marking scheme for each written piece is:

  • < 40% – little effort and no originality or lack of focus on the specified subject
  • 41-50%– simple listing of facts; evidence of research only from your firm’s website
  • 51-60% – some facts and a reasonable structure; evidence of research beyond your firm’s own website
  • 61- 70% – well-structured and thoughtful piece, and some original discussion of material contained within the report
  • >70% – well-structured, thoughtful, with original material and insight into firm’s activities, making good, practical use of appropriate theory to help inform and guide discussion, analysis and conclusions.

If you have any concerns about this work then raise these in the seminar, or contact:

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