Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Essential Business Studies, 2nd Editon

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Essential Business Studies, 2nd Editon

Article excerpt

Essential Business Studies, 2nd edition, Stephen Barnes, Collins Educational, 1997 paperback, 402 pages, 13.99, phone 0141 306 3484, ISBN: 0-00-3278581

The best measure of the worth of a textbook is how much it is used. So often, textbooks are ordered because they are so long that it is felt they must have THE ANSWER.

Everything the student needs to know must be there. If the students have a heavy textbook then if we, the teachers, don't know all the answers, the book will.

However, just because a textbook is weighty, it doesn't necessarily follow that teachers or students get great value from it. Will students bother to put it in their bag? Do they ever read it on the bus? Does the daunting size of the thing create its own disincentive? A textbook can sit unread all year.

Those who use Stephen Barnes' `Essential Business Studies' do not have this problem. The book is less than two thirds of the weight of another popular text; its content is pared down to the essentials.

Though the book is relatively lean it is not slight. Its 402 pages cover the syllabus requirements of all the Advanced Level Business Studies courses and GNVQ Advanced. The second edition is now divided into bread and butter parts entitled Marketing Operations, Finance, Accounts, Human Resources and Economic Environment. The first part, `Business in Action' sets the business firmly within the context of the market economy and considers the varieties of business organisations. The last part, Management Challenge, offers not only organisational theory but also useful discussions about business ethics and managing change.

The section on exchange rates could have been longer, bearin in mind the importance of exchange rate values and volatility to business and the difficulties students have with handling the effects of exchange rate changes. I was surprised not to find references to globalisation, information technology and the Internet in the index. The growth of contract working and the latest legislation on Disabilities Discrimination have not been included. In general the second edition has revised material and updated figures to 1996.

There is a short but stimulating booklist at the back of the book. Some textbooks do not contain booklists. This may mislead students into thinking that there is nothing else to be known. On the other hand, a long booklist is as offputting as a heavy textbook. Mr. Barnes strikes the right balance here as in most parts of the book. …

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