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Business and management

The IB Diploma Programme business and management course is a rigorous and dynamic subject in group 3, individuals and societies.  The course explores how business decision-making processes impact on and are affected by internal and external environments.  It is perfectly placed as a group 3 subject since it is the study of both the way in which individuals and groups interact in an organization and of the transformation of resources. 

The Diploma Programme business and management course is designed to develop an understanding of business theory, as well as an ability to apply business principles, practices and skills.    As a course it aims to encourage a holistic view of the world of business by promoting an awareness of social, cultural and ethical factors in the actions of organizations and individuals in those organizations.

Developing international mindedness and an awareness of different cultural perspectives is at the heart of the course – enabling students to think critically and appreciate the nature and significance of change in a local, regional and global context.

Business and management syllabus outline

The curriculum model for Diploma Programme business and management is a core curriculum for higher level (HL) and standard level (SL) students consisting of five topics with common content and learning outcomes.  In addition to the core, HL students are expected to complete extension areas of study, in all five topics, adding both breadth and depth to the course.  HL students also study one extension topic (topic 6 – business strategy).



  •  Business organization and environment
    • Nature of business activity
    • Types of organization
    • Organizational objectives
    • Stakeholders
    • External environment
    • Organizational planning tools
    • Growth and evolution
    • Change and the management of change (HL only)
    • Globalization
  •  Human resources
    • Human resource planning
    • Organizational structure
    • Communication
    • Leadership and management
    • Motivation
    • Organizational and corporate cultures (HL only)
    • Employer and employee relations (HL only)
    • Crisis management and contingency planning (HL only)
  •  Accounts and finance
    • Sources of finance
    • Investment appraisal
    • Working capital
    • Budgeting
    • Final accounts
    • Ratio analysis
  •  Marketing
    • The role of marketing
    • Marketing planning
    • Product
    • Price
    • Promotion
    • Place (distribution)
    • International marketing
    • E-commerce
  •  Operations management
    • Production methods
    • Costs and revenues
    •  Break-even analysis
    • Quality assurance
    • Location
    • Innovation (HL only)
    • Production and planning
    • Project management (HL only)
  •  Business strategy (HL only)

       Stage 1:  Strategic analysis

       Stage 2:  Strategic choice

       Stage 3:  Strategic implementation

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models

  • The course is available at HL and SL.
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 240 for HL and 150 for SL.
  • Students are assessed both internally and externally.
  • External assessment for HL and SL students consists of two written examination papers.  Paper one is based on a pre-seen case study issued in advance and Paper two consists of structured questions based on stimulus material.
  • Internal assessment for HL students is a research project and for SL students a written commentary.  These are internally marked by subject teachers and then externally moderated by IB examiners.


Find out more

Order IB publications relating to group 3.

Read about similar studies in the Middle Years Programme and Primary Years Programme.

"IB history students have jumped at the opportunity to do internal assessment pieces about colonialism, the civil rights movement, and the African-American experience. That their own history and interests are validated in an academic programme has been essential to their success."

Adam Man, Diploma Programme coordinator, Baltimore City College, Maryland