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Types of Organisations Profit non-profit and non-governmental Sole Trader/Proprietors Partnerships Companies/Corporations Charities Cooperatives Franchises Private Sector and Public Sector

Learning Outcome

Analyse local organisations of different types and identify their main features. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type of organisation identified. Relate each type of ownership to the degree of control. Distinguish between organisations in the Private and Public Sectors.


Hall, Jones, Raffo, Business Studies 3rd Edition, Units 6 & 7. Stimpson, AS and A Level Business Studies, Chapter 1. Jewell, An Integrated Approach to Business Studies 4th Edition, Chapter 1. Barratt and Mottershead, AS and A Level Business Studies, Unit 3.

If you walk down any high street, you will notice that many of the shops display their names for all to see. It may be Robinson the butcher, Brown, Macy and Brown solicitors, as well as known chain stores such as Marks and Spencer plc or Hodson's Limited. All are businesses, but each with a different status in terms of how is operated, who the owner is and how any profit is shared.

The Private and Public Sectors of the Economy

The Private Sector comprises businesses owned and controlled by individuals or groups of individuals. In every country, most business activity is in the private sector. The Public Sector comprises Organisations accountable to and controlled by central or local government. These usually include: Health and education services Defense Law and order THE ECONOMY Some strategic industries.
Private Sector Public Sector

The Private Sector Legal Structure

Private Sector Businesses

Sole Trader


Limited Companies


Private LTD

Public LTD

The Sole Trader/Proprietor

This is the most common form of business organisation. One person provides the finances and in return, has full control of the business and is able to keep all the profits.

The Sole Trader/Proprietor



Easy to set up-no legal formalities. Owner has complete control not answerable to anybody else. Owner keeps all profits. Able to choose times and patterns of working. Able to establish close personal relationships with staff (if any are employed) and customers. The business can be based on the interest and skills of the owner rather than working as an employee for a larger business.

Unlimited liability all of the owners a assets are potentially at risk. Often faces intense competition from bigger firms, for example, food retailing. Owner is unable to specialise in areas of the business that are most interesting it is responsible for all aspects of management. Difficult to raise additional capital. Long hours often necessary to make business pay. Lack of continuity- as the business does not have separate legal status, when the owner dies, the business ends too.


Partnerships are agreements between two or more people carry on a business together, usually with a view of making a profit. The Deed Of partnership establishes the rights and privileges of the partners. This document includes issues such as voting rights, distribution of profits, The management role of each partner and who has the authority to sign contracts.



Partners may specialise in different areas of business management.

Shared decision making.

Unlimited Liability for all partners. Profits are shared.

There is, as with sole traders, no continuity and the partnership will have to be reformed in the event of the death of one partner. Al partners are bound by the decision of any one of them. Not possible to raise capital from selling shares. A sole trader, taking on partners will loose independence of decision making.

Additional capital injected by each partner.

Business losses shared between the partners.

Greater privacy and fewer legal formalities that corporate Organisations (companies)

Limited Companies
Characteristics of Limited Companies

Limited Liability Legal personality Continuity Capital is divided into shares Companies are run by directors

Question: Discuss the characteristics of a limited company and how these differ from the Sole Trader and Partnership forms of businesses.

Distinguish between the ownership and control of a Limited Company.

How Limited Companies are Formed

Memorandum of Association + Article of Association

Registrar of Companies

Certificate of Incorporation

Trading Begins

The Memorandum of Association

Name of the company Name and address of the companys registered office The objectives of the company and scope of its activities The liability of members The amount of capital to be raised and the number of shares to be issued

Note: A limited company must have a minimum of two members.

Article of Association

The The The The The

rights of shareholders procedure for appointing directors and scope of their powers length of time directors should serve before reelection timing and frequency of company meetings arrangement for auditing company accounts

The Private Limited Companies Characteristics

Tend to be relatively small companies. Their business name ends in Limited or Ltd. Shares can only be transferred privately and all shareholders must agree to the transfer. Private Limited Companies are often family businesses owned by members of the family or close friends. The directors of these companies tend to be shareholders and are involved in the running of the business. Many manufacturing firms are Private Limited Companies rather than Sole Traders or Partnerships
List the names of five (5) Private Limited Companies in your community?

Private Limited Companies



Shareholders have limited liability. More capital can be raised as there are no limits on the number of shareholders. Control of companies cannot be lost to outsiders. The business will continue even if one of the owners dies

Profits have to be shared out amongst a much larger number of members.

There is a legal procedure to set up the business. This takes time and costs money. Firms are not allowed to sell shares to the public This restricts the amount of capital that can be raised. Financial information filed with the Registrar can be inspected by any member of the public. Competitors could use this to their advantage.

Formation of Public Limited Companies

Memorandum of Association + Article of Association + Statutory Declaration

Registrar of Companies

Certificate of Incorporation
Publish of Prospectus


Public Limited Companies

A plc cannot begin trading until it has completed these tasks and has received at least 25% payment for the value of shares. It will then receive a Trading Certificate and can begin operating. The shares will be quoted on the Stock Exchange or the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

The Stock Exchange is a market where second hand shares are bought and sold. A full Stock Exchange listing means that the company must comply with the rules and regulations laid down by the Stock Exchange. The Alternative Investment Market (AIM) is designed for companies which want to avoid some of the high costs of a full listing.

Going Public is Expensive

The company needs lawyers to ensure that the prospectus is legally correct. A large number of publications have to be made available. The company must use financial institutions to process share application. The share has to be underwritten. A fee is paid to an underwriter who must buy any unsold shares. The company will have advertising and administrative expenses. The company must have a minimum of $50,000 share capital.

Exiting the Stock Market

Sometimes a business operating as a Public Limited Company is taken back into private ownership. Why does this happen?

Exiting the Stock Market

Sometimes the business lose favour with the stock market.

The business may be bought outright by a private individual.

The people running the business might no longer be willing to tolerate interference from the external shareholders.

Question: Suggest why Richard Branson decided he wanted to buy back all the shares of his company after going public.

Public Limited Companies


Setting up costs can be very expensive.

Huge amounts of money can be raised from the sale of shares to the public. Production costs may be lower as firms gain economies scale.

Since anyone can buy shares, its possible for an outside interest to take control of the company.
All company accounts can be inspected by member of the public. Because of their size they cannot deal with customers at a personal level. The way they operate is controlled by various company acts which aims to protect shareholders. There is divorce of ownership and control which might lead to the interest of owners being ignored to some extent. Plcs inflexible due to their size.

Because of their size, plc can often dominate the market.

It becomes easier to raise finance as financial institutions are more willing l to lend to plcs.

Questions: What are the limitations of being a limited company in a highly competitive market?


This is a common form of business organisation in some countries, especially in agriculture and retailing. Features

All members can contribute to the running of the business, sharing the work load, responsibilities and decision making. All members have one vote at important meetings. Profits are shared equally among members.



Buying in bulk. Working together to solve problems and make decisions. Good motivation of all members to work hard as they will benefit from shared profits.

Poor management skills unless professionals are employed.

Capital shortages because no sale of shares to the non-member general public is allowed.
Slow decision making if all members are to be consulted

Research and writing in your book Task


What are charities?. How are they different from Cooperatives in relation to the following: Characteristics Role in community development. Advantages and Disadvantages

This is a contract between two firms. The contract allows one of them, the franchisee, to use the name, logo and marketing methods of the other, the franchiser. The franchisee can separately, then decide which form of legal structure to adopt.


For each of the following forms of business identify their:

Definition Characteristics How they are organised Advantages and disadvantages Workers Cooperatives Consumer Cooperatives Building and Friendly Societies Charities

1. 2. 3. 4.

Factors Affecting the choice of Organisations

Age: Many businesses change their legal status as they become older. The Need for finance: A change in legal status may be forced on the business. Size: The size of a business operation is likely to affect its legal status. Limited Liability: Owners can protect their own personal financial position if the business is a Limited Liability company. Degree of control: Owners may consider retaining control of the business as important. The Nature of the Business: The type of business activity may influence the choice of legal status.

Public Sector Organisations

The Public Sector is made up or organisations which are owned and controlled by central or local government or public corporations. They are funded by government and in some cases from their own trading surplus or profit. Public Sector businesses still have important roles to play in certain areas of business activity.

Which Goods and Services Does the Public Sector Provide?

Public Goods

Non- Rivalry

Non- Excludable

Consumption of the good/Service by one individual does not reduce the Amount available for others

It is impossible to exclude others From benefiting from their use

Merit Goods

These are services which people thing should be provided in greater quantities Examples of merit goods are: Education, Health Services, Public Libraries

If the individual is left to decide whether or not to pay for these goods, some may choose not to, or may not be able to.

Research and Writing Task


Identify five businesses within the Public Sector of your country and discuss the their nature in terms of the following: Features Role in the community Their Inter-relationship

2. Assess the reasons for Privatisation of some Public Sector entities. 3. What are the main arguments for and against privatisation of such entities.

Maxi Case Studies

Case: James Hull Associates Source: Jones, Hall, Raffo, Business Studies 3rd Edition, Unit 6, page 51. Case: Network Rail Source: Jones, Hall, Raffo, Business Studies 3rd Edition, Unit 6, page 60.


Dave Hall, Rob Jones, Carlos Raffo, Business Studies, 3rd Edition, Causeway Press Ltd, 2005.

Stimpson Peter, AS and A Level Business Studies, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Barratt Michael, Mottershead Michael, AS and A Level Business Studies, Pearson Education Ltd, 2000. www.bized.ac.uk