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BMAN20050 and BMAN20621 - Employer relations

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University of Manchester MBS

Text of BMAN20050 and BMAN20621 - Employer relations


EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSBMAN 20050 Two Semester Course Unit




20 BSc Management and Management (Specialisms) BSc International Management with American Business Studies BSc International Management BSc Mathematics and Management


Dr Anne McBride, Office E.26 MBS East x65863 [email protected]


Dr Stephen Mustchin, Office E.2 MBS East x 68988 [email protected]




CONTENTS:This is the full course description. It contains:Learning Outcomes Course content and structure Employability Methods of Delivery Virtual Learning Environment Lecture Programme overview Seminar Programme overview Reading materials Assignments and Assessment (including formative assessment) Plagiarism: when synthesis of material becomes plagiarism Penalties for late or non-submission of assignments Feedback to students on progress Feedback from students/ course evaluation Lecture and Seminar Programme details p2 p2,3 p3 p3,4 p4 p5 p6 p7

p8 p9 p9,10 p10 p10 p11-20

Appendix 1: Marking and Grading Criteria Appendix 2: Essay Feedback Form

p21-23 p23


LEARNING OUTCOMES At the end of the course module students should be able to: 1. Identify the factors which shape the nature and content of the employment relationship, e.g. management strategies; government policies; trade union activities. 2. Appraise the nature of the objectives and methods adopted by the various parties who seek to influence the content and dynamics of the employment relationship. 3. Analyse and critically assess the policies and practices of various interest groups (e.g employers, unions and the state) with regard to employment, e.g. human resource management; collective bargaining; partnership; work-life balance 4. Examine and critically assess current trends in employment relations.

COURSE CONTENT AND STRUCTURE The Employment Relations course unit examines work and employment within the broad context of industrial society, focusing for the most part on the British experience, although the impact on Britain of developments within the European Union will also be assessed. The central theme of the course is the employment relationship, and the objectives and methods of the parties to employment relations; workers, trade unions, management/employers and governments/the state. The approach is both descriptive and analytical, and draws on some concepts that students will have encountered in first-year foundation courses. Assessment is split between a 2 hour exam following the first semester and a 2,000 word essay in the second semester. The first week starts by analysing the meaning and relevance of Employment Relations as a subject. This is followed by an overview of the content, expectations and learning outcomes of the course. The second week opens with an examination of the employment relationship. At a theoretical level, frameworks provide students with different perspectives for understanding the broader context of industrial relations. Students are also provided with a framework for analysing the wide range of managerial activity identified throughout the module. The third week highlights recent developments in the labour market. At an empirical level, particular attention is paid to the impact of recent shifts in employment on the participation of women in the labour market, the diminishing number of jobs with standard contracts, and shifts in employment from an emphasis on manufacturing to more service-based work. This is followed in week four by a lecture discussing the legal regulation of the employment relationship and exploring analytical frameworks for understanding worker representation. This is followed by a discussion of worker representation in practice, focusing on nonunion workplaces and representation within multinational corporations (week 5). After reading week (6), the next two lectures focus exclusively on trade union forms of representation. Week 7 investigates the structure, function and industrial relations objectives of trade unions, examining how unions are organised, the issues they address and the strategies they adopt within the employment relationship. Week 8 explores competing explanations of membership change and different trade union strategies for reversing the trend of decline: including attracting different membership groups and using partnership and organising models. The next lecture (week 9) is focused on preparation for the mid-course exam and by the end of week 9 students will have been provided with sufficient materials to support independent study. There are no lectures in weeks 10-12 as students are expected to prepare for the exam. During weeks 10-12 only, course tutors can be contacted by email and will be available in office hours to discuss any topics and materials students find particularly challenging. Semester 2 (week 13) begins with another context setting lecture, where attention is paid to the role of migrant labour in the UK workplace, including changes in the labour market driven by migration, and employer and union responses to these developments. The following two lectures explore issues around pay determination (including collective bargaining and individualised pay determination), and the systems and regulatory frameworks which determine how pay is set within organisations (week 15). In week 16, pay determination is explored in practice with reference to empirical findings, including the influence of industry; sector; occupation and demographic effects on pay. In week 17 the focus is on working time and work-life


balance, including the legislative and regulatory framework around these issues. The next lecture (week 18) focuses on industrial action, strikes and conflict at work, with an assessment of the theoretical background to industrial conflict along with discussion of case studies of significant disputes in the UK. In week 19 the focus is on changing working practices within organisations, including analytical frameworks for understanding these changes, the role of regulation and legislation, and the impact of globalisation. In week 19 processes of changing working practices are assessed with regard to the public sector in the UK, including notions of public sector modernisation and new public management. The final week (20) is devoted to the course review and assignment surgery. Students are given their final face-to-face opportunity to ask specific questions about the assignment. This session assumes that students have made some progress in selecting and thinking about their chosen assignment title. After this time, students may raise questions through an on-line essay discussion forum which will be available until 1pm on Tuesday 23 April. After this date the electronic session will close and no staff engaged on the course will answer ANY questions on the assignment.

EMPLOYABILITY Students will develop the ability to: apply frameworks to analyse situations; critically evaluate employment policies and practices; work as part of a team; and present focused arguments orally, and in writing.

METHODS OF DELIVERY: There is a two hour lecture session and a one hour seminar each week. Students are expected to attend all lectures and seminars. The attendance of seminars will be monitored. Seminars are related to the previous weeks lecture and readings to allow students to prepare. The seminars have been designed to facilitate maximum discussion and develop transferable skills of analysis, presentation and debate. A number of seminars will be in two parts, and include a Talkpiece Debate by way of introducing the topic. Talkpiece debate When appropriate, a newspaper article/online video/ news item related to a key element of the lecture topic will be made available on blackboard or in the previous lecture for subsequent discussion in the seminar. These talk pieces will be selected to enable everyone to read them and have a view of their contents, thus enabling full discussion by all. Group Presentations The second part of the seminar will be a short presentation by at least a pair of students, followed by discussion. Presenting students are expected to read at least two articles and prepare a PowerPoint presentation based on the seminar questions. This develops presentation skills, increases learning of the subject by the presenters and enables informal feedback. Two key readings are given for each week to enable students to compare and contrast the different articles and arguments and present these to others. PDFs of these readings are available on Blackboard. When students prepare their presentations, they may find it helpful to reflect on the marking criteria (see Appendix 1) of Introduction; Argument and Structure; Conclusion; Use of Sources; Presentation and Language and Bibliography and Referencing as a way of getting into good habits which will aid assignment preparation. Every student is expected to participate in seminar discussions. Article review and seminar discussion is a good foundation for the essay assignment and exam preparation, so all students will benefit from reading and participating in seminars. When reading articles students may find it helpful to reflect on: 1. What is the aim of the article? 2. What are the different arguments in the article 3. What evidence is used to justify each argument?


4. Are you convinced by these arguments? Would you use any of these arguments in an assignment? Why/Why not? Additional readings are also suggested for students wishing to expand their reading in this subject.

Lecture Hours: 32 (2 hours per week, over 16 weeks) Seminar Hours: 14 (1 hour per week