module specification

HR5005A - The Contemporary Workplace: Change and Challenges (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title The Contemporary Workplace: Change and Challenges
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 30%   Group Presentation
Coursework 70%   Essay (3,000 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

The module is designed to enable intermediate level students to understand the key developments of the contemporary workplace environment both within and beyond the organisational context. Given the focus on the contemporary workplace, the module particularly explores the changes and challenges modern organisations have to face in regards to human resources, performance management, employee relations and psychology within the changing organisational environment.

Module aims

The module aims to enable students to gain a deeper understanding of the contemporary workplace outlining its key changes and challenges. It explores the underpinning theories and practices that contextualise and develop the contemporary workplace.
Subject-specific Skills:

  • Critically assess a range of contemporary workplace practices
  • Demonstrate independent thinking and the ability to work both individually and in a group
  • Critically reflect on the issues discussed in the module

Key Skills:

  • Academic writing/literacy
  • Oral communication
  • Researching skills
  • Application of knowledge and presenting data
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Enterprise skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Self-assessment and reflection


Contemporary Changes and Trends in Work and Employment

  • Global context:  society, economy and organisation
  • Changing structure of work and employment
  • Evolving role of HRM: New innovative approaches
  • Flexible  work patterns for competitive advantage

Employee Relations

  • Contemporary employment relationships and trade unions
  • Employee engagement, empowerment and involvement
  • The case of diversity: trends and challenges
  • Ethical issues and challenges in HR

Learning and teaching

The learning and teaching strategy will encompass a combination of lectures, seminars workshops and online work. This will include tutor led lectures, student class discussions, case studies, individual and group exercises to enable students to enhance their understanding of the themes and topics as well as developing their ability to look at and analyse the wider context of HRM. Sessions will be supported by web based resources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of business and external contextual factors affecting the contemporary workplace and the HR function.
  2. Broader theoretical and practical knowledge of the dynamics of work re-organisation, psychological contract, employee engagement and employment relationships.
  3. Appropriate research, analytical and communication skills.

Assessment strategy

The module will have two formal assessments:

  1. Group presentation
  2. Written coursework – 3,000 word essay (online submission)

The group presentation will provide an opportunity for students to assess contextual factors affecting the contemporary workplace and the HR function using evidence from a variety of organisations. The main aim is to explore the changes and challenges modern organisations have to face, what influences them and how these are experienced by those working in these organisations (learning outcomes 1 and 3).

The essay will allow students to explore in-depth a specific question focused on contemporary employment relations issues (learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3).


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Diversity & Inclusion
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Human Resource Management Journal
Industrial Relations Journal
International Journal of Human Resource Management
Journal of Management Studies
Journal of Organizational Behavior
Journal of Organizational Change Management
Labour Research
Personnel Review
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Work, Employment and Society