3co01 business culture and change in context

You work in the HR department of a medium-sized company and are studying for your people practice qualification. Your manager recently asked you about the importance of employees understanding the business environment. This is especially important for people practice professionals since their roles directly impact the policies, processes, and values of an organisation, which in turn impacts all the people within it.
You were asked to help prepare the development day by your manager due to this discussion. 

A team-based learning needs analysis has shown that as well as more knowledge about the business environment, the team would benefit from a deeper understanding of organisational culture and how humans behave in organisations. The team would also like to build their knowledge and skills in relation to change management.

3co01 business culture and change in context writing guide

Here’s how you can handle the case study:


  1. Understand the Learning Needs: Review the findings of the team-based learning needs analysis. This will tell you exactly what areas the HR team needs to improve on. Focus on the three key areas: business environment, organizational culture, and change management.
  2. Research the Company: Familiarize yourself with the company’s industry, competitors, current market trends, and any recent challenges they might be facing. This will help you tailor the development day to be relevant to the team’s daily work.
  3. Develop Learning Objectives: Based on the learning needs and company understanding, set clear objectives for the development day. These objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Development Day Structure

1. Introduction

  • Briefly introduce yourself and your role.
  • Explain the purpose of the development day and the learning objectives.
  • Highlight the importance of understanding the business environment and its link to effective HR practices.

2. Business Environment

Interactive presentation: Use a mix of presentations, case studies, or simulations relevant to the company’s industry to discuss factors like market trends, competitor analysis, and economic outlook.

  • Group discussion: Facilitate a discussion on how these factors impact the company’s strategy and decision-making.

3. Organizational Culture

  • Presentation: Explain the concept of organizational culture and its impact on employee behavior, engagement, and performance.
  • Activity: Use an assessment tool or a group activity to help the team analyze the company’s current culture.
  • Discussion: Guide a discussion on how HR practices can be used to shape and strengthen the desired culture.

4. Change Management

  • Presentation: Introduce different change management models and frameworks.
  • Case study: Present a case study of a successful or unsuccessful change initiative within the company (if possible) or a relevant industry example.
  • Group work: Divide the team into groups and assign them to develop a change management plan for a hypothetical scenario relevant to the HR department.

Introduction to 3CO01 New Assessment Brief

The first unit in the Level 3 Foundation Certificate in People Practice is 3CO01. The new brief investigates the internal influences that shape the business and the culture in which it operates. The unit investigates the behaviors of people professionals in managing change. The new brief asks students to answer the following questions in an estimated 2500 words. Students base their responses on their own organization or a familiar organization. I’ll use McDonald’s as an example in this guideline.
Assessment questions
1.1 An examination of the key external influences impacting or likely to impact the organisation’s activities

Here’s how to handle the introduction to the 3CO01 New Assessment Brief, specifically focusing on question 1.1: Examining Key External Influences:

Understanding the Focus

  • This section of the assessment asks you to analyze the external factors that impact the organization’s operations.
  • These factors are outside the organization’s direct control but can significantly influence its success.

Steps to Tackle Question 1.1

  1. Choose an Organization: Decide on the organization you’ll base your analysis on. It can be your workplace, a familiar company, or even McDonald’s (as used in the example).
  2. Identify External Influences: Research and brainstorm a comprehensive list of external factors that might affect the chosen organization. Here are some categories to consider:
  • Economic factors: Interest rates, inflation, economic growth, recessionary trends.
  • Market factors: Industry competition, customer trends, technological advancements, regulatory changes.
  • Social factors: Demographics, cultural shifts, social media influence, changing consumer values.
  • Political factors: Government policies, tax regulations, trade agreements, political stability.
  • Technological factors: Automation, digital transformation, data security concerns, emerging technologies.
  • Environmental factors: Sustainability concerns, climate change regulations, resource availability.
  1. Analyze the Impact: For each identified factor, explain how it can potentially impact the organization’s activities.
  • Consider both positive and negative influences.
  • Use specific examples to illustrate your points.

Example (using McDonald’s)

  • External Influence: Minimum wage increase (Economic factor)
  • Impact: Increased labor costs, potentially leading to menu price hikes or reduced employee hours.
  1. Prioritize the Influences: Not all external factors will have an equal impact. Analyze and prioritize the factors based on their potential severity and relevance to the chosen organization.

1.3 A discussion of the organisation’s products and/or services and main customers

1.3 A discussion of the organisation’s products and/or services and main customers

For section 1.3 of the 3CO01 assessment brief, you’ll need to discuss two key aspects of your chosen organization:

  1. Products and/or Services: Here, you’ll detail what the organization offers to its customers.
  2. Main Customers: This section identifies the primary target audience for the organization’s offerings.

Here’s how to approach this section:

1. Products and/or Services:

  • Clearly define the products or services the organization provides.
  • If the organization offers a variety, categorize them for better understanding. (e.g., McDonald’s offers various fast-food items like burgers, fries, and beverages)
  • Consider any unique offerings that differentiate the organization from competitors.

2. Main Customers:

  • Identify the primary target audience for the organization’s products or services.
  • Consider demographics like age, income level, location, and interests.
  • If there are multiple customer segments, differentiate them and explain how the organization caters to each. (e.g., McDonald’s targets families with young children, young adults, and busy professionals seeking a convenient meal option)

1.4 A short review of different technologies available to people professionals and how these can be, or are, used to improve working practices and collaboration. You might consider for example, technologies relating to communications, information sharing, record keeping, learning, wellbeing, productivity, or security

Briefly discuss how technology helps HR professionals in various areas:

  • Communication & Collaboration: Platforms for instant messaging, video conferencing, and project management software.
  • Information Sharing: Cloud storage solutions, internal wikis, and knowledge-sharing platforms.
  • Record Keeping: HR information systems (HRIS) for employee data and performance management.
  • Learning & Development: Online learning platforms, eLearning modules, and performance management tools with development plans.
  • Wellbeing & Productivity: Employee assistance programs (EAPs), fitness trackers with incentives, and time management apps.
  • Security: Access control systems, data encryption tools, and cybersecurity awareness training.

2.1 What is meant by organisational culture and why it is important to foster an appropriate and effective workplace culture

Answering Question 2.1: Understanding and Fostering Effective Organizational Culture


  1. Define Organizational Culture (1-2 sentences): Briefly explain what organizational culture is. You can use an analogy like “unwritten rules” to make it relatable.
  2. Importance of Effective Culture (3-4 points): List 3-4 key reasons why a strong organizational culture is important, using in-text citations and references in APA format. Briefly explain each point.

Example Answer

Organizational culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that define how a company operates. It’s like the unwritten rules that influence how employees interact, make decisions, and approach their work (Schein, 2010).

A strong organizational culture is crucial for a company’s success. Here’s why:

  • Attracts and retains top talent: A positive culture fosters a sense of belonging, purpose, and motivates employees. This makes the company a more attractive workplace for high performers and helps retain them (Society for Human Resource Management, 2023).
  • Boosts employee engagement: Employees who feel valued, supported, and aligned with the company’s values are more likely to be engaged and productive. This translates to better performance and innovation (Towers Watson, 2024).
  • Improves decision-making: A clear set of values acts as a guiding principle for employees at all levels. This helps ensure everyone is aligned when making decisions, leading to greater consistency and efficiency (Harvard Business Review, 2021).

By fostering an effective workplace culture, organizations can create a more positive and productive work environment, ultimately leading to better results.


Harvard Business Review. (2021, December 16). Why company culture matters: Our favorite reads. https://hbr.org/2021/12/why-company-culture-matters-our-favorite-reads

Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership (4th ed.). John Wiley & Sons.

Society for Human Resource Management. (2023, February 15). Workplace culture matters. https://www.shrm.org/topics-tools/news/hr-magazine/workplace-culture-matters

Towers Watson. (2024). Employee engagement. https://www.wtwco.com/en-us/solutions/services/employee-engagement

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2.2 How organisations are whole systems, in which different areas and aspects such as structure, systems and culture, are all inter-related, and how people professionals work and actions could impact elsewhere in the organisation

Answering Question 2.2: Organizations as Interconnected Systems and People Professional Impact


  1. Organizations as Whole Systems: Briefly explain the concept of organizations as whole systems, emphasizing the interconnectedness of areas like structure, systems, and culture. (1-2 sentences)
  2. People Professionals’ Impact: Discuss how the work and actions of people professionals can influence different areas of the organization due to this interconnectedness. (3-4 points with examples)

Example Answer

Organizations function as whole systems, meaning various aspects like structure, systems, and culture are intricately linked (Clegg et al., 2011). This interconnectedness implies that actions within one area can have ripple effects across the organization. People professionals play a crucial role in shaping these areas, and their work can significantly impact various aspects of a company.

Here’s how people professionals’ actions can influence other parts of the organization:

  • Recruitment & Selection: Choosing the right people with skills and values aligned with the company culture can enhance team dynamics, improve performance, and ultimately impact customer satisfaction. (Society for Human Resource Management, 2023)
  • Training & Development: Investing in employee development programs can lead to a more skilled workforce, foster innovation, and contribute to the organization’s competitive advantage. (Harvard Business Review, 2020)
  • Performance Management: Implementing fair and effective performance management systems can motivate employees, improve decision-making through objective feedback, and ultimately influence overall organizational productivity. (Armstrong, 2014)


Armstrong, M. (2014). Performance management in practice: Strategies for employee development (5th ed.). Kogan Page.

Clegg, S., Kornberger, M., & Rhodes, M. (2011). Managing organizations: An introduction to theory and practice (5th ed.). Sage Publications.