Employee Relations

Employee Relations

Aims of Module: (maximum of 5)
1. Have knowledge and understanding of employee relations in the UK.
2. Understand some of the dynamic processes within the employment relationship.
3. Have an understanding of the nature, objectives and methods adopted by the various parties (including government, employers, employees, trade unions and the state) seeking to influence the nature of employment relationships.

Intended Learning Outcomes
Knowledge and Understanding (maximum of 5)
On successful completion of this module will be able to:
1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of employee relations by being able to describe, explain and analyze developments in the main topic areas.
2. Critically evaluate the employment relationship from a number of different theoretical perspectives, reflecting the different interests, objectives and viewpoints of the various parties involved.
3. Critically analyze and interpret the dynamics of employee relations within its broader societal context with reference to both historical and international dimensions.
4. Take responsibility for engaging in wide-ranging, in-depth independent based research utilizing material from textbooks, journals, periodicals newspapers and websites.
5. Synthesize analytical frameworks, research findings and other sources of material within the field of employee relations in the service of an original viewpoint and set of arguments.
Transferable/Key Skills and other attributes (maximum of 5)
On completion of this module students will have had the opportunity to:
1. Manage their own learning by planning their work, finding and using relevant material and managing their time in order to meet agreed deadlines.

  1. Operate effectively with others in small students teams in analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating a range of contemporary employee relations issues and problems.

  2. Provide ‘real-life’ practical advice about good industrial relations practices in the workplace and society generally.

  3. Demonstrate a high level of written and verbal communication skills together with IT related competencies.
    Write in a clear, precise and unambiguous manner.
    Module mark calculation: Method A / Method B:              Method A
    Assessment components (in chronological order of submission/examination date)
    Denote final assessment component in box marked final assessment component (99)
    Type of assessment (identify which ILO is met by number)    Weighting%
    Duration
    Word count
    Component pass required
    E Submission

Role-play exercise
(K & U ILO 2 & 4, TS ILO 1,2 & 4)     40    2 Hours        Yes 0 No 1
Yes 0 No 1Final assessment
component (99)
Written Research Assignment
(K & U ILO 1, 3, 4 & 5 TS ILO 1, 3 & 4)    60        3000
(+ or – 10%)    Yes 0 No 1
Yes 0 No 1Is ethical approval required?     Yes       0
No     1Learning, teaching and assessment strategies:
(a) There will be a programme of small group lectures, team-based seminars and presentations, group activities, role-play exercise preparation, guest speakers and videos.
(b) Lectures are intended to provide an overview for the substantive areas with the field of industrial/employee relations. Short video clips and guest speakers are included within the submissions.
(c) Seminars cover topical and controversial areas of social policy interest and are based on small group student presentations, role-play exercise preparation, extensive discussion, debate and argument. The seminars will help to develop case study analysis, critical analysis and evaluation skills. The seminars will develop students evaluative and application of theory to practice skills.
(d) Use will be made of Moodle and the internet to supplement and enhance the students learning experience.
The assessments will be:
–    A role-play exercise which will require students to negotiate an outcome between specified parties in their allocated roles. (K&U ILO 2 & 4, TS ILO 1,2 & 4)
–    A written assignment which require students to critically evaluate the relevant frameworks including current developments in employee relations. (K&U ILO 1,3,4 & 5, TS ILO 1,3 & 4)
Syllabus outline:
Introduction to Employee Relations
The nature of the employment relationship and its main actors (employees, employers and managers, trade unions, and the state). Introduction to the different theoretical vantage points of analysis in employee relations – unitary, pluralist and radical perspectives – and the wider contextual and historical relations within which such theories have developed. The relevance of such approaches to modern day employee relations.
Historical Context of Employee Relations
The changing economic, political and legal environment of IR; legacy of 19th century ‘voluntarist’ tradition; post-second world war Keynesian economic management; rise of the shop steward and the Donovan Commission recommendations; 1970s union power; 1980s and 1990s neo-liberal Conservative policy and transformation of IR; the rise of HRM; New Labour government policy and the current state of IR in both the union and non-union sector.
Employers and Management
Definition of terms ‘employer’ and ‘manager’; organisational and broader context; role of people management; different management styles and strategies; relationship between strategic choice and contextual constraints; human resource management (HRM) and trade unionism.
Trade Unions
Origins and development; rationale for unions; function and role; structure and organisation; Trades Union Congress (TUC); union membership and density; different union strategies; future challenges and prospects.
Collective Bargaining
Current pattern of collective bargaining; purpose and nature of bargaining; objectives of the parties involved; structural framework – multi-employer and single-employer arrangements; historical development; recent moves towards decentralisation; contemporary challenges.
The State
Theoretical overview; role of the state; political ideologies and government approaches to employee relations; market individualism; liberal collectivism; bargained corporatism; Thatcherism and Conservative government neo-liberalism 1979-97; New Labour’s ‘Third Way’ 1997-2008.
Public Sector Employee Relations
Traditional ‘model employer’ approach; 1970s public sector industrial tensions; Thatcher government ‘wind of change’; contemporary trends – ‘marketisation’, decentralisation, privatisation, contracting out, performance and flexibility; pay review bodies; confrontation with trade unions in 1980s, 1990s and 2000s; the public sector under New Labour; case studies of the civil service, NHS, local authorities, fire service, and schools.
Managing Without Unions
Growth of non-unionism; management strategies towards unions; economic and political background to non-unionism; managerial benefits of union recognition; managerial opposition to union recognition; typology of managerial styles in non-union settings; employee representation in non-union enterprises; implications for trade unions.
Employee Voice
Definition of terms; nature of ‘involvement and ‘participation’; historical overview; different perspectives of management and union; variety of forms of involvement and participation (including, collective bargaining, worker directors, works councils, joint consultation, communicative involvement, task-centred involvement, and financial involvement); European influences on employee voice (European Works Councils and the Direction on Information and Consultation).
Conflict
Different theoretical perspectives on conflict; character and forms of industrial action; management and industrial action; strike statistics and measurement; historical patterns of strike activity; international comparison; current trends; explanation for strikes; industrial action and the law.
Discrimination
Nature of gender and ethnic discrimination in employment; explanation for inequalities; the ‘equal opportunities approach’, ‘managing diversity approach’ and ‘radical approach’ to tacking inequality; management responsibilities to provide equal opportunity policies; problems in practice; role of trade unions.
Multinational Corporations
The growth and influence of multinational corporations (MNCs) within the process of globalisation; extent and nature of foreign direct investment in Britain; MNC approaches to the management of their subsidiaries; the impact MNCs have upon and within the British industrial relations system; the activities of American and Japanese MNCs; trade union responses and future prospects.
Indicative texts and/or other learning materials/resources:
Core Texts
Hollinshead, G. Employee Relations, (2nd Ed.), (2002), (Pearson Education)
Blyton, P. The Dynamics of Employee Relations, (3rd Ed.), (2004), (Palgrave Macmillan)
Williams, S. Contemporary Employment Relations: A Critical Introduction, (2nd Ed.), (2010), (Oxford University Press)
Rollinson, D. Understanding Employee Relations, (2007), (McGraw Hill Education)
Rose, E. Employment Relations, (3rd Ed.), (2008), (Prentice Hall)
Lewis, P. Employee Relations: Understanding the Employment Relationship, (2003), (Prentice Hall)
Further reading
Armstrong, M. A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, (12th Ed.), (2012), (Kogan Press)
Colling, T. Industrial Relations: Theory and Practice, (2010), (John Wiley & Sons)
Gennard, J. Employee Relations (4th Ed.), (2010), (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development)
Gilmore, S. Human Resource Management, (2009), (Oxford University Press)
Kavanagh, D.  Thatcherism and British Politics: The End of Consensus?, (1987), (Oxford University Press)
Kersley, B. Inside the Workplace: Findings from the 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey, (2006), (Routledge)
Journals
Human Resource Management Journal (On-line), (Wiley)
Date of completion of this version of Module Specification:
9 September 2013
Date of approval by the CPPARC:

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS:
•    The Manchester College aims to be professional and ethical in all academic activities and requires that students engaged in academic activities are aware of the ethical implications of such activities and are committed to undertaking these in an ethical manner and demonstrating good practice which meets a high professional standard of conduct. That commitment to this ethical practice is supportive and not to act as a barrier to any academic activity.
•    The Manchester College has a responsibility to maintain suitable standards of propriety whilst carrying out academic and other activities in a respectful and ethical manner without compromising welfare or morality of staff, students and the wider public.
•    A Research Ethics Approval Request Form is available to download on The Manchester College website in the University Level/University of Salford section.
•    This should be completed and submitted by email to the Module Tutor.  No activity must commence until an approval decision has been granted.  Projects that would be deemed eligible for ethical consideration include:
o    Major independent research projects
o    Any projects involving human subjects
o    Any projects which raise any questions of legality
o    Any projects analysing sensitive data

ASSIGNMENT BRIEF
Module Title    Employee Relations    Level  6
Title of Assignment    Role-play exercise (Assignment 1)
Programmes undertaking the assignment
BSc (Hons) Human Resource Management with Development
Hand-out date     23rd February 2014
Hand-in date    16th March 2014
Submission details    Evidence of individual research in addition to Tutor observed/video recorded group work in assigned roles on 16 March 2014.
Feedback date
W/C 30th March 2014.
Weighting within the module    40% of overall total mark.
Word limit/presentation criteria    Preparation for role-play in assigned roles based on a given brief.
Negotiate a desired outcome between the parties in the role-play.
Provide evidence of independent research.
Learning Outcomes to be assessed
(from module spec.)     On successful completion of this module will be able to:
1.    Aim: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the role and function of the key players in employee relations
2.    Negotiate an outcome between specified parties (K&U ILO 2 and 4, TS ILO 1,2 and 4)

Knowledge and Understanding
1.    Critically evaluate the employment relationship from a number of different theoretical perspectives, reflecting the different interests, objectives and viewpoints of the various parties involved. (K&U ILO 2)
2.    Take responsibility for engaging in wide-raging, in-depth independent research, utilizing material from textbooks, journals, periodical, newspapers and websites. (K&U ILO 4).
Transferable key skills (from module spec.)    On completion of this module students will have had the opportunity to:
Transferable key skills and other attributes
1.    Manage their own learning by planning work, finding and using relevant material and organize self to produce work to an agreed deadlines
2.    Operate effectively with others in small student groups. Analyze and evaluate information in role-play briefing
3.    Provide ‘real-life’ practical advice about good industrial relations practices in the workplace and society in general
4.    Demonstrate a high level of written and verbal communication skills together with IT related competencies.
Details of the task
Task Details:
To complete this assignment you will need to:
a) Research and understand both your own respective role in preparation for the role-play together with those of the other key players involved in negotiations in relation to the key theoretical perspectives.  (40%)
b) In your respective roles you will need to develop your bargaining position and desired outcome together with a ‘fall-back’ position if necessary, outlining your key arguments and outcomes you wish to achieve taking responsibility for your independent research.  (30%)
c) During the role-paly in your assigned roles seek to achieve your desired outcome based on the bargaining position established in your preparatory work while remaining responsive the position of the other parties involved. (30%)
A video recording will be made of the Role-play for assessment verification purposes. Academic theory of employee relations should be applied where appropriate and cited in Harvard referencing style.
Total Marks Awarded 100%

ASSIGNMENT BRIEF/RESIT ASSIGNMENT
Module Title    Employee Relations     Level  6
Title of Assignment    Written Research Assignment (Assignment 2)
Programmes undertaking the assignment
BSc (Hons) Human Resource Management with Development
Hand-out date    19th January 2014
Hand-in date    18th May 2014
Submission details    Individual written assignments are to be submitted at reception along with an electronic copy (RWD, Memory stick or email direct to tutor) by 1600hrs on 19th May 2014.
Feedback date
W/C 1st June 2014.
Weighting within the module    60% of overall total mark.
Word limit/presentation criteria    An individual written assignment of 3000 words (+ or – 10%)
Learning Outcomes to be assessed
(from module spec.)     On successful completion of this module will be able to:
•    Have knowledge and understanding of employee relations in the UK.
•    Understand some of the dynamic processes within the employment relationship.
•    Have an understanding of the nature, objectives and methods adopted by the various parties (including government, employers employees, trade unions and the state) seeking to influence the nature of employment relationships.

Knowledge and Understanding
•    Demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of employee relations by being able to describe, explain and analyze developments in the main topic areas.
•    Critically evaluate the employment relationship from a number of different theoretical perspectives, reflecting the different interests, objectives and viewpoints of the various parties involved.
•    Critically analyze and interpret the dynamics of employee relations within its broader societal context with reference to both historical and international dimensions.
•    Take responsibility for engaging in wide-ranging, in-depth independent based research utilizing material from textbooks, journals, periodicals newspapers and websites.
•    Synthesize analytical frameworks, research findings and other sources of material within the field of employee relations in the service of an original viewpoint and set of arguments.
Transferable key skills (from module spec.)    On completion of this module students will have had the opportunity to:
Transferable key skills and other attributes
•    Manage their own learning by planning their work, finding and using relevant material and managing their time in order to meet agreed deadlines.
•    Operate effectively with others in small students teams in analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating a range of contemporary employee relations issues and problems.
•     Provide ‘real-life’ practical advice about good industrial relations practices in the workplace and society generally.
•    Undertake research and demonstrate a high level of written and verbal communication skills together with IT related competencies.
•    In a clear, precise and unambiguous manner critcally analyze research material and justify conclusions.
Details of the task
Task Details:
To complete this module the student should prepare a three part research paper. The report should be 3000 words (+ or – 10%) in total and comprised of three distinct sections.
Part 1 – Historical context, the post-war period (30%)
a) Discuss the changing economic, political and legal environment of employee relations making reference to the post-war consensus and Keynesian economic management, the Donovan Commission recommendations, 1970’s trade union power, 1980’s neo-liberal Conservative policy and the transformation of industrial relations, the rise of HRM, New Labour government policy and the current state of employee relations.
Part 2 – Theoretical perspectives (30%)
b) Critically evaluate the different theoretical vantage points of analysis in employee relations – Unitary, Pluralist, Systems, and Marxist, Feminist, Comparative and Postmodernist theories – and discuss both the wider contextual and historical relations in which such theories have developed and their relevance for modern day employee relations.
Part 3 – Employee relations in practice (30%)
c) Demonstrate an understanding of the definitions and roles of employers, managers, trade unions and the state. Analyse the nature and purpose of collective bargaining its current pattern including industrial action and recent trends toward decentralization and its challenges. (10%)
d) Critically analyse and interpret the different management styles, including human resource management (HRM) and the nature of discrimination in employment and approaches to tackling inequality. (10%)
e) Demonstrate knowledge of international influences such as the rise of globalization, the impact of Multinational Corporations (MNC’s) and European legislation on industrial relations in the UK. (10%)
Assessment Presentation (10%)
Every piece of written work submitted for assessment will, subject to it satisfying the basic tests of written communication, be awarded up to 10% of the marks available on the basis of its style, meaning and conciseness and on the accuracy of spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax and the standard and appropriateness of its presentation.
Academic theory of employee relations should be applied where appropriate and cited in the Harvard referencing style.
Total Marks Awarded 100%

1.        Grading Criteria
Generic criteria are given on page 19 of this document.
Specific criteria is as follows:
Written Research Proposal (45%)
Responses in the third class will provide an acceptable overview of the key elements requested in respect of the research design and the research proposal. The emphasis of such responses will be on describing factors with limited evidence of secondary data to support proposals being made.  Responses in the lower second category will make reference to the main aspects of the research design and proposals and will use secondary data to support proposals being made.  Responses in the upper second will use secondary data sources to structure and justify proposals being made.  Responses in this category will also demonstrate an appreciation of the operational implications of the proposal outlined in the planned research design and proposal.  Responses in the first class category will build on those in the upper second class category by providing evidence of the integrated nature of strategy and operations related to research design methodology and actual research programme proposed.
Written Research Design and Data Evaluation (45%)
Responses in the third class will provide an acceptable overview of the key elements requested in respect of the research design and the research proposal. The emphasis of such responses will be on describing factors with limited evidence of secondary data to support proposals being made.  Responses in the lower second category will make reference to the main aspects of the research design and proposals and will use secondary data to support proposals being made.  Responses in the upper second will use secondary data sources to structure and justify proposals being made.  Responses in this category will also demonstrate an appreciation of the operational implications of the proposal outlined in the planned research design and proposal.  Responses in the first class category will build on those in the upper second class category by providing evidence of the integrated nature of strategy and operations related to research design methodology and actual research programme proposed.
Assessment Presentation (10%)
Every piece of written work submitted for assessment will, subject to it satisfying the basic tests of written communication, be awarded  up to 10% of the marks available on the basis of its style, meaning and conciseness and on the accuracy of spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax and the standard and appropriateness of its presentation .

Level 6 Assessment Criteria