module specification

HR5057 - People Management and Performance in Contemporary Organisations (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title People Management and Performance in Contemporary Organisations
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 20%   Group presentation of 20 mins
Coursework 80%   An analytical report of 2,000 words
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

The effective management of people is a vital aspect of any manager’s job, whatever their sector or specialism. Effective people management enhances the performance and well-being of team members, whilst contributing to broader organisational objectives.

This module introduces non-HR students to modern Human Resource Management (HRM) practices. We start by setting HRM in some historical context, charting the influences on its development. We consider the contributions and concerns of welfare reformers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as the impact of capitalism and those managers responsible for the industrialised production lines of the early 20th century. Early notions of managing people as a “cost” to the organisation are contrasted with more contemporary and nuanced perspectives on HRM, which are influenced by thinkers from disciplines including the fields of sociology, organisational behaviour and psychology.

The module turns its focus toward the evolution of contemporary organisations. We consider some theories of the organisation, as well as the key topics of organisational structure and organisational culture.

We explore some of the challenges faced by contemporary organisations, notably the increasing pace of change in the workplace, the significance of globalisation and related themes such as the “gig” economy and increasing diversity within the workplace. The module then adopts a more behavioural focus, considering how managers address such challenges, both at a personal level and in terms of the management of others.

We consider HR-related approaches to these challenges, exploring such themes as motivation, employee engagement and reward management. We also discuss the “war for talent” and the approaches adopted toward finding and retaining the best talent. Finally, we consider the value of learning and development in the context of the workplace.

The module also seeks to develop students in terms of the following skills:

• Academic and business communication
• Researching and referencing, using the Harvard system
• Constructing academic papers
• Working collaboratively and effectively in teams
• Presentation skills


The syllabus begins with an exploration of the historical context of work and then positions the module in relation to the fields of psychology and sociology. Specific topics include Scientific Management, Organisational Behaviour and the emergence of the Human Resource Management (HRM).
The module then covers some theories and perspectives on the nature of the organisation, focusing on the key themes of organisational structure, organisational change and organisational culture (Learning Outcome 1). 

We will also consider the evolution of employee relations, including the changing nature and role of trade unions and the emergence of issues such as globalisation and the “gig” economy. One aspect of globalisation is the increasing integration of people across borders. The syllabus therefore includes a study of cross-cultural management, looking at some of the challenges of managing in international environments and at the effective management of diversity in the workplace. In a more connected globalised workplace, the themes of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Ethics have also acquired increasing significance and these will be explored in the syllabus (Learning Outcome 2).

The module covers some of those specifically HR orientated topics that are significant to contemporary work setting: employee motivation; employee engagement; reward; recruitment selection and talent management; and learning and development (Learning Outcome 2).

Students will address people management from a behavioural perspective, considering aspects of managing oneself and managing others. The module will allow them to apply this learning by working collaboratively in teams (Learning Outcome 3).

Learning and teaching


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
• Identify and relate the key external challenges faced by contemporary organisations, including globalisation, the management of change and managing in diverse cultural contexts.
• Distinguish between a range of organisational cultures, structures and management styles and identify relevant HRM approaches to use in these, in terms of the acquisition, engagement, reward and effective management of people.
• Collaborate with team members to research and present on topics related to people management.

Assessment strategy

The module includes two assessments. The first is a 20 minute group presentation (20%) where students have to assess contextual factors affecting People Management & Performance in Contemporary Organisations. The main aim is for groups to each chose a different theme covered on the module and explore it. The presentations should seek to highlight the changes and challenges modern organisations have to face in terms of that theme, the influences on the organisations and how it impacts on those working in the organisations. Each group member must effectively contribute in a meaningful way and be present at the presentation. Presentations will take place in weeks 9-11 (the precise running order is decided by lots in week 8). The first assessment will correspond to the sixth of the stated learning outcomes. 

The Second Component is an individual 2,000 word analytical report (80%) plus a 500 word reflective commentary on your learning and experience on the module (2,500 words in total). This component requires students to critically assess a range of contemporary workplace practices and challenges. Students will be required to undertake one of the following: analyse a DVD or analyse a Case Study that will be provided in advance. You will be given a briefing for the assessment after the group presentations in Week 11. The assessment should be submitted in week 13. The second assessment will correspond to the first five learning outcomes. 

Assessment and feedback practices are informed by reflection, consideration of professional practice, and subject-specific and educational scholarship. The second assessment explicitly encourages the process of reflection. The module is split between lecture-orientated sessions and seminar sessions. This enables staff to present key concepts and for students to engage in dialogue to promote a shared understanding of the basis on which academic judgements are made. Throughout the module, students are provided with opportunities to develop an understanding of the topics discussed, and to develop the necessary skills to demonstrate, good academic practice.
The contrast between the two assessment and related timing will enable students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes. All feedback is provided within 2 weeks of submission in order to ensure that it is as constructive and developmental as possible. The processes for marking assessments and for moderating marks are clearly articulated in the module booklet and will be consistently operated by those involved in the assessment process.


Core texts:
Marchington, M. & Wilkinson, A. (2016) Human Resource Management at Work, 6th Edition, London, CIPD.

Further reading:
Armstrong, M. (2012) Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, (12th edition), London, Kogan Page.  (available as an e book at London Met)
Bloisi, W.  (2007)  An Introduction to Human Resource Management. Maidenhead, McGraw Hill.
Boxall, P. & Purcell, J. (2011) Strategy and Human Resource Management (3rd Ed.), Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
Huczynski, A. and Buchanan, D. (2010) Organizational Behaviour, (7th ed.), Pearson Education.
Korczynski, M. (2002), Human Resource Management in Service Work, Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan.
Mullins, L.  (2010)  Management and Organisational Behaviour.  (9th ed.) Harlow, Pearson.
Muller-Carmen, M., Croucher, R. and Leigh, S. (2008) Human Resource Management: A Case Study Approach, London, CIPD.
Noon, M. and Blyton, P. The Realities of Work, (3rd Ed.)Basingstoke, Palgrave.
Purcell, J. et al. (2009), People Management and Performance, London, CIPD.
Taylor, S. (2008) People Resourcing, (4th ed.) London, CIPD.
Torrington, D., Hall, L., Taylor, S., and Atkinson, C. (2009) Fundamentals of Human Resource Management; Managing People at Work. Harlow, Pearson.
Torrington, D., Hall, L., Taylor, S. and Atkinson, C. (2011), Human Resource Management.  (8th ed.) Harlow, Pearson
Woods, S. and West, M. (2010) The Psychology of Work & Organisations, Cengage Learning Business Press.

Selected Electronic Sources
Selected Journals
Harvard Business Review, Human Resource Management, Human Resource Management Journal, People Management, Personnel Review