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Playing the boss

Promote pupils to board members and have them run a multinational company. Ellen Clarkson talks business.


Challenging your pupils to pretend they're running a multinational company can help them understand globalisation. It's a great activity at key stage 4.

Discuss what a multinational company actually is, using big-brand websites, many of which will offer a map of their store locations worldwide. Explain leaders of large corporations have many decisions to make. Their main aim is to expand and make the largest profit.

They must consider in which locations their businesses will fulfil a demand, how much employees will expect to be paid, the cost of importing materials and the impact on local communities and the environment.

Assign each group a company: a coffee shop, a fast food restaurant, a sportswear brand, a computer firm and a chocolate factory. One in each group becomes chief operating officer and the others are directors.

Each group gets a world map and the locations of potential new stores, including local information about demand, wages, the cost of imports and the impact of their company on the local community and the environment. Figures are estimates to reflect differences across the globe.

Each group will report back, explaining where their product would make the most profit and why, and discuss the effects their company would have on a local, national and global scale. The lesson develops decision-making skills, presentation skills and conveys the impact of globalisation.

Ellen Clarkson is a geography teacher at George Salter Collegiate Academy in West Bromwich.

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