Business Decision Making

Category: Collaborative Objective Test & Team Performance (Role Play)
Type: Individual or Team


Two (2) parts: an objective test and interactive role play or presentation. A 60-minute objective test will be administered onsite at the NLC. Team competitors will take one (1) objective test collaboratively.

Objective Test Competencies: Business Plans; Ethics & Social Responsibility; Financial Management; Government Regulations; Human Resource Management; Legal Issues; Marketing Management; Principles of Business Ownership and Management; Taxation

Case: An interactive problem encountered by management in one (1) or more of the following areas: business planning, organizational design, economic environment, short- and long-term planning, human relations, financial management, or marketing management

Skills: This event recognizes PBL members who develop competency in management, decision making, and leadership quality, and who demonstrate knowledge of these key principles.


Collaborative Objective Test & Team Performance (Role Play)

Performance Guidelines—Final Round

  • Two (2) 4"x6" note cards will be provided to each competitor and may be used during event preparation and performance. Information may be written on both sides of the note cards. Note cards will be collected following the presentation.
  • No additional reference materials allowed.
  • Turn off all electronic devices.
  • Individuals/teams should introduce themselves, describe the situation, make their recommendations, and summarize their cases.
  • If participating as a team, all team members are expected to actively participate in the performance.
  • All questions raised in the case must be addressed during the presentation.
  • Objective test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Financial calculators may be used for accounting, finance, and analysis & decision making events; calculators will be provided for all other events.
  • Final performances are not open to conference attendees.

Penalty Points Deducted by Judges

  • Five (5) points are deducted if competitors do not follow the dress code.
  • Five (5) points may be deducted for not following guidelines.
General Performance/Demonstration

Performance Guidelines

Fifteen (15) competitors/teams—or an equal number from each section in the preliminary round—will advance to the final round. When there are more than five preliminary sections for an event, two competitors/ teams from each section will advance to the final round.

In the case of team events, all team competitors are expected to actively participate in the performance/demonstration.

Competitors cannot be replaced or substituted after the name change deadline of 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the first Friday in June.

All competitors must comply with the FBLA‑PBL dress code.

Prejudged materials and résumés will not be returned.

Technology Guidelines

  • Internet access will be provided for:
    • Computer Animation
    • Forensic Accounting
    • Global Analysis & Decision Making
    • Network Design
    • Social Media Challenge
    • Website Design
  • Internet access may not be WiFi, so competitors should plan appropriately when selecting laptops/tablets on which to present.
  • All competitors in accounting, finance, and analysis & decision making events may bring and use financial calculators.

Performance Competencies

  • Demonstrate excellent verbal communication.
  • Display effective decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  • Express self-confidence and poise.
  • Work well as a team when applicable.
  • Exhibit logic and systematic understanding.
  • Conduct a professional business presentation.
  • Answer questions effectively (when applicable).

Penalty Points Deducted by Judges

  • Five (5) points are deducted if competitors do not follow the dress code.
  • Five (5) points may be deducted for presentations over the allotted time.
  • Five (5) points may be deducted for not following guidelines.


  • Preliminary and final performances/demonstrations are not open to conference attendees.
  • Recording performances/demonstrations is prohibited.
  • All electronic devices must be turned off.
  • All attendees must follow the dress code and wear their name badges; however, the badge may be removed when presenting.
  • All attendees are requested to remain quiet while in competitive event areas.

The general event guidelines below are applicable to all national competitive events. Please review and follow these guidelines when competing at the national level. When competing at the state level, check the state guidelines since they may differ.


  • Dues: Competitors must have paid PBL national and state dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 15 of the current school year.
  • NLC Registration: Participants must be registered for the NLC and pay the national conference registration fee in order to participate in competitive events.
  • Deadlines: The state chair, or designee, must register each state competitor on the official online entry forms by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • Each state may submit three (3) individuals in all events requiring only objective tests and two (2) individuals or teams for all events that require a pre-judged or performance component.
  • Each competitor can compete in two (2) events.
  • Each competitor must compete in all parts of an event for award eligibility.
  • A team shall consist of two or three members. Exceptions are Parliamentary Procedure which must be a team of four or five members, and LifeSmarts which must be a team of two members.

Repeat Competitors

Competitors are not permitted to compete in an event more than once at the national level unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • Modified Events: A competitor may compete in the same event when the event is modified. Note, if the only modification is a name change, competitors may not compete in the renamed event.
  • Team Events: One (1) competitor of the team may have competed in the same event at one (1) previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice in the event at the national level.
  • Chapter Events: Competitors may compete in a chapter event more than once (Community Service Project).
  • Individual Entry: A competitor who competed as an individual entry in a team event at the national level may compete in the same event a second time as part of a team, but not a second time as an individual.
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Two (2) competitors of the team may have competed in this event at a previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice at the national level.
  • Pilot Event: Competition in a pilot event does not disqualify a competitor from competing in the same event if it becomes an official competitive event. The participant may compete in another event as well as a pilot event.

Breaking Ties

  • Objective Tests: Ties are broken by comparing the correct number of answers to the last 10 questions on the exam. If a tie remains, the competitor who completed the test in a shorter amount of time will place higher. If this does not break the tie, answers to the last 20 questions will be reviewed and determine the winner.
  • Objective and Production Tests: The production test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Objective Tests and Performances: The objective test score will be used to break a tie based on the tie-breaking criteria of objective tests.
  • Reports/Projects and Performances: The report/project scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Performances: Judges must break ties and all judges’ decisions are final.

National Deadlines

  • State chair/adviser must register all competitors for NLC competitive events online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All prejudged components (report PDFs, resume/letter of application PDFs, and project URLs) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All URLs and PDFs for prejudged projects and reports will be submitted by the state adviser via the competitive events registration form.
  • All production tests must be received at FBLA-PBL by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May.
  • Desktop Publishing—the finished product must be uploaded in PDF format by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May. Label all documents with the event title, competitor’s name, state, and school.
  • All production tests must be uploaded online.
  • State chair/adviser may make name changes only (no additional entries) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the first Friday in June. Competitor drops are the only changes allowed after this date and onsite.

National Awards

The number of competitors will determine the number of winners. The maximum number of winners for each competitive event is 10. Only one (1) award is given to the schools competing in chapter events (Community Service Project and Local Chapter Annual Business Report).

Additional Materials

  • Financial calculators may be brought to objective testing and used for any accounting, finance, or analysis & decision making events.
  • Certain events may allow the use of additional materials. Please refer to event guidelines.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

FBLA‑PBL meets the criteria specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act for all participants who submit a special needs form.

Recording of Presentations

No unauthorized audio or video recording devices will be allowed in any competitive event. Participants in the performance events should be aware the national association reserves the right to record any performance for use in study or training materials.

Graduate Students

Graduate students may compete in all PBL events.


General Competitive Events Tips
Event Tips
Sample Practice Materials
    Video #1

Rating Sheet

Format Guide

Website Resources
Business Plans
1. Describe the planning process.
2. Explain the types of plans and give examples of each: strategic, tactical, operational, and contingency.
3. Explain the purpose, list the parts of a business plan, and develop an effective business plan.
4. Identify major management tasks involved in implementing the work of an organization.
5. Use planning tools (e.g., business and action plans, company goals and objectives, SWOT and benchmarks) to guide organization’s activities.
6. Organize business activities related to company’s vision, mission, and values to achieve established action plans.
7. Identify the steps involved in the data gathering process and determine and authenticate relevant information
8. Discuss benchmarking and discuss the importance of benchmarking in evaluating company performance.
9. Adjust growth projections impacting facilities and equipment to foster profitable operations.
Ethics & Social Responsibility
1. Define ethics and explain the role of business ethics..
2. Differentiate social, ethical, and environment issues facing business.
3. Identify characteristics of an acceptable work ethic (e.g., attendance, and attire).
4. Demonstrate knowledge of ethical behavior in a business environment (e.g., confidentiality of information, employee right to know, hiring practices, plagiarism, copyright violations, sexual harassment, mission statement, and code of ethics).
5. Identify the impact of unethical behavior on a business.
6. Identify ethical considerations resulting from various situations (e.g., technological advances, international competition, employer-employee relationships, and consumer relation).
7. Identify ways in which a business organization demonstrates social responsibility (e.g., providing jobs, paying taxes, and contributing to special community projects).
8. Recognize ethics versus morals.
9. Explain theories of ethical decision making.
10. Explain the various ethical dilemmas facing employees.
11. Explain whistle blowing.
12. Define conflict of interest.
Financial Management
1. Describe methods of obtaining capital and explore differences among various sources of capital.
2. Discuss investment instruments and the stock market and their impact on business decisions.
3. Compare the types of financial service providers and describe common banking services.
4. Monitor results of revenue and explain its impact on inventory, personnel, insurance, and promotion.
5. Manage the cash flow of the business including identifying the cost of operations, the ways that companies can control costs, and sales/production records.
6. Describe types of financial reports and their uses.
7. Analyze basic financial statements and reports (e.g., cash flow, income statement, and balance sheet) and apply to business decisions.
8. Describe types of records needed and implement suitable internal accounting controls to ensure the proper recording of financial transactions.
9. Identify and assess business risks, select risk-management strategies, and develop and evaluate a risk-management plan.
10. Forecast future budgetary needs and prepare a budget to include short-term and long-term expenditures.
11. Describe credit plans, credit cards, credit policies, credit ratings, credit agencies, collection procedures, and credit analysis.
12. Analyze the components of a financial plan.
13. Prepare a Financial Analysis.
Government Regulations
1. Analyze the impact and relationship of government regulations and community involvement on business management decisions.
2. Examine and determine the impact of laws and regulations governing global business.
3. Discuss the role of the S. E. C. and identify potential consequences of violating S. E. C. regulations.
4. Explain a business’s responsibility to know, abide by, and enforce laws and regulations that affect business operations and transactions (e.g., anti-trust laws, organized labor, and regulatory agencies).
5. Identify, apply, and keep current with laws and regulations such as those that affect business practices like financial and accounting records and storage and retention of records.
6. Identify trade regulations and unfair trade practices regulated by the Federal Trade Commission.
7. Identify legislation that regulates employee rights (e.g., employment interview, testing, laws affecting minors, and collective bargaining).
8. Identify legislation that regulates employment conditions and worker benefits (OSHA, Workers’ Compensation, and Unemployment Compensation).
9. Identify legislation (e.g., civil rights, right to privacy, and ADA) affecting personnel practices (e.g., compensation, promotion, recruitment, selection, termination, training, and development).
10. Explain the differences between local, state, and federal government and the powers and limitations of each.
11. Explain the requirement for verification of employability under Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).
12. Discuss the requirements of the ADEA and its impact on early retirement programs.
13. Explain the basis for unemployment compensation.
14. Explain the purpose and provisions of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
15. Discuss the role of federal regulatory agencies (e.g., Food and Drug Administration, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Environmental Protection Agency).
Human Resource Management
1. Examine methods of conducting a needs analysis to determine human resource needs and requirements
2. Develop a staffing plan and prioritize staffing needs to minimize costs while maximizing business contribution.
3. Analyze the impact of outsourcing on businesses.
4. Identify methods/procedures for recruiting employees, publicizing job openings, and interviewing and selecting applicants for employment.
5. Recognize the benefits and challenges in managing a diverse workforce.
6. Discuss factors and outline the procedures used in employee performance documentation, promotion, and termination including grievance processes.
7. Investigate and evaluate the elements of an employee compensation package and benefit plan.
8. Explain the purpose and characteristics of orientation programs for new employees, staff development, and other training and continuing education programs.
9. Resolve staff issues/problems to enhance productivity and improve employee/employer relationships.
10. Explain the role of labor unions and management, the collective bargaining process and advantages and disadvantages of union membership.
11. Compare various motivation theories and explain their importance for understanding employee behavior including job rotation, job enlargement, and job enrichment.
12. Develop, interpret, and explain written organizational policies and procedures to help employees perform their jobs according to employer rules and expectations.
13. Organize work teams and schedule employee work assignments.
14. Develop company health and safety programs to ensure compliance with regulations and employee protection.
15. Define job analysis, job descriptions, and job specifications.
Legal Issues
1. Identify current laws and regulations affecting the establishment and operation of businesses.
2. List and explain components of a legally enforceable contract.
3. Review legal issues (e.g., harassment, employee rights, privacy, drug testing, labor disputes, discrimination, and substance abuse) and the potential impact to the business.
4. Analyze the relationships among contract law, law of sales, consumer law, agency law, and environmental law.
5. Describe legal reason for terminating employees (e.g., employment at will, embezzlement, and violation of company policy).
6. Identify the legal issues and agencies related to managing a business in the global environment.
7. Define conflict of interest.
8. Identify how the legal system works.
9. Define contracts and torts and identify common business torts.
10. Identify types of intellectual propertY.
11. Identify pertinent EEO legislation.
12. Analyze contracts and company’s position to assist management in labor contract negotiations and monitor implementation of contract for compliance.
Marketing Management
1. Explain the role of marketing in the economy.
2. Analyze marketing information/research to make informed decisions.
3. Explain marketing concepts and identify and apply the components of the marketing mix.
4. Describe promotional strategies (e.g., telemarketing and e-commerce).
5. Analyze the impact of e-business on profitability.
6. Describe different pricing strategies and the importance of price.
7. Discuss ways to maintain product and service quality and customer satisfaction.
8. Explain the importance of packaging and branding in relation to customer/sales satisfaction.
9. Discuss the channels of distribution, distribution transportation, and product handling.
10. Explain the nature and scope of product/service management.
Principles of Business Ownership and Management
1. Compare the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of different types of business ownership and organization in both service-based and product-based businesses.
2. Identify management levels and describe the interaction between and among management levels.
3. Identify kinds of managers, the basic management functions, and fundamental management skills.
4. Explain the importance of the history of management to include the Classical, Behavioral, and Quantitative Management perspectives.
5. Recognize the importance of the Systems Perspective and the Contingency Perspectives.
6. Identify contemporary management challenges and opportunities.
7. Analyze ownership change transactions (e.g., mergers, acquisitions, hostile takeovers, and restructuring).
8. Describe how to create, sustain, and change an organizational culture.
9. Distinguish between management and leadership.
10. Describe work teams and their functions.
11. Define control and show the role and importance of control.
12. Describe formal and informal, centralization and decentralization, and line and staff structures.
13. Describe the role of organized labor and its influences on business.
1. Identify reasons for taxes, types of taxes, and the effects taxes have on business decisions.
2. Identify the manner in which tax law is formulated.
3. Describe the influence of economic, social, equity, and political considerations on the development of the tax law.
4. Compare the taxation of individuals and corporations.
5. Identify fundamental considerations involved in tax planning and research tax laws and resources.
6. Determine the role that earnings and profits play in determining the tax treatment of distributions and dividends for shareholders.
7. Identify differences in tax accounting methods and financial accounting methods.
8. Compare the tax consequences corporations, partnerships and entrepreneurs.


PBL Program of Study


States may submit up to 2 entries.
Competitors must be registered for NLC and pay registration fee.
Competitors must pay dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 15.


The top fifteen (15) scoring individuals/teams advance to the final round.


Test: 1 hour
Prep: 20 min
Equipment Setup: N/A
Performance: 7 min
Warning: 6 min
Time Up: 7 min
Penalty Over Time: N/A
Q & A: N/A