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Business studies and the future focus principle

Business studies students are potential business leaders of the future. The skills that they learn in business studies will help them succeed throughout their lives.

The New Zealand Curriculum strongly advocates for an education that is future-focused. Four particular issues or themes are identified under this heading, all of which are potentially rich sources of learning for business students.

The section He Toi Mātauranga, He Mana Tangata in Te Marautanga o Aotearoa similarly advocates for future-focused learning and for participation at a global level, based on a strong foundation in mātauranga Māori.

Future-focused learning is not only relevant to students’ futures; it can also help them make connections across learning areas, the values, and the key competencies.


Exploring issues of sustainability in business involves exploring the long-term impact of social, cultural, scientific, technological, economic, and political practices on society and the environment. Students need to learn about sustainability issues and how these affect the economy and the ecological environment. In the future, ethical considerations, lifestyle choices, health awareness, and energy efficiency will all play a much greater role in business decision making.


Exploring issues of citizenship in business studies involves exploring what it means to be a citizen and contributing to the development and well-being of society.


Exploring issues of enterprise in business studies involves exploring what it is to be innovative and entrepreneurial. People enter business at different points in their lives (as can be seen in the growth of 'third-age' and 'lifestyle' entrepreneurs). Students of business need to be aware of why people start businesses after retirement or to support an alternative lifestyle. They also need to understand the importance of what Dr Howard Frederick (New Zealand director of The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) calls “high-aspiration entrepreneurship”. (For more, see Gem Consortium.)


Exploring issues of globalisation in business studies involves exploring what it means to be part of a global community and to live with people who are members of cultures that differ from one’s own. Global boundaries are changing. Futures thinking, and the ability to navigate effectively through different cultural spaces, is critical to success in the global economy.

For more on the importance of globalisation in our community and the business community, see the Building Conceptual Understandings in the Social Sciences book Being Part of Global Communities (Ministry of Education, 2009) and Business New Zealand’s Taking New Zealand to the World: Why Exporting Matters. (See Resources.)

General future-related issues/themes affecting business

All four of the above issues can be related to business studies themes and contexts. For example, studies of Asia and the Pacific rim can be used to develop understanding of current social, political, and economic shifts, or by developing students’ financial capability, students learn to make well-informed financial decisions.

A future focus also means keeping up with changing technologies, for example, by discovering how business can be conducted in virtual workplaces. Students learn that, as information and communications technology develops, new skills are required. To be successful in business, students need to commit to lifelong learning.

Last updated July 11, 2012