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B. Greimel-Fuhrmann

Vienna University of Economics and Business (AUSTRIA)
Empirical studies on young people’s knowledge and understanding of business and economics have consistently shown that a considerable portion of the respondents have low levels of economic literacy. They lack knowledge and understanding of basic economic concepts and of business matters. Therefore, many young people do not understand in which way they are and can be an active part of the economy and how their economic decisions influence and are influenced by the economic system they live in. However, most introductory textbooks on business and/or economics consist of hundreds of pages and are too comprehensive to be read and understood by young students. They are likely to be overwhelmed by the abundance of information and probably get lost between the information, graphs, cases, statistics and definitions.

It is the aim of this paper to present the didactic concept and the content of a recently published introductory textbook that covers the most important basic concepts of business and economics on not more than 80 pages. Its main purpose is to foster a thorough understanding of these concepts and the ability to apply them to everyday problems. It also intends to motivate readers to learn more about these concepts and to continue their studies of business and economics. The didactic concept is based on a model of clear explanations that has been empirically tested as well as on two very different cases of businesses that are linked but can be analysed separately. These cases are used in all chapters of the textbook in order to illustrate the concepts and make the interrelationships between these concepts clear and understandable for the readers. In addition to the two cases there are many other examples that illustrate the application of the concepts of business and economics to everyday business problems and tasks. Explanations – though brief and concise – do not only address the WHAT and HOW, but also the WHY of the contents of the textbook: the basic idea of exchanging goods and services, supply and demand meeting on the market, competition and prices, types of households and of businesses and the circular flow of the economy, of money and its functions, forms of business ownership and sources of finance, marketing, accounting and personnel management.