module specification

HR6P02 - Contemporary and Comparative Issues in Work, Organisations and Employment (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Contemporary and Comparative Issues in Work, Organisations and Employment
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
252 hours Guided independent study
48 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 15%   1000 word critical review
Coursework 15%   1000 word reflective review
Coursework 20%   1000 word draft proposal
Coursework 50%   3000 word final proposal
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Thursday Morning

Module summary

The module is the final, project-based module of the course, acting as a culmination of the students’ studies. It is deliberately designed to move the student away from reliance on tutor “expertise” and to develop an understanding of the ability to use a range of resources in the completion of projects, including a wide range of “authorities”, colleagues and fellow students and an ability to question those resources. While initially there is deliberate tutor input followed by in-class development, much of the students’ development is carried out remotely through Weblearn in developing drafts of the final project proposal. On that basis, the module is designed to:

1. Enable students to integrate and develop your learning from related modules through an in-depth study of a current issue
2. Develop critical awareness of current issues and controversies in the field of HRM
3. Develop skills in searching appropriate literatures, analysing information and assessing arguments
4. Develop considered responses to differing approaches to research, argue what is appropriate within a given context, design appropriate research methodologies and tools appropriate to the chosen field of research in HRM

Students will be encouraged to work individually and collectively to develop responses to the multiple challenges of the module in collaboration with tutors allocated according to their research expertise in the students’ chosen areas of investigation.

This ultimately leads to the production through a series of drafts of a fully justified, argued and supported project proposal, developed from discussion of creating a literature review and from considering research philosophies and methodologies through choosing and developing research tools.

Module aims

The module aims to provide the opportunity for students to synthesise, integrate and develop their learning from related modules through an in-depth exploration of a current issue in HRM and the development of a substantiated research proposal into that issue.  It develops students’ critical awareness of issues and controversies in the field of HRM linked to possible approaches of further academic research into that field.  It develops their skills of identifying, formulating and analysing problems and issues, develops their familiarity with a range of data and resources and provides an opportunity to engage with the practical concerns of researching a chosen field.  Above all, its aim is to develop student skills in independent study, and in formulating and presenting their own ideas and conclusions in a coherent and persuasive style.


The module is designed to be as flexible as possible and available to as many of the students’ research and career interests as possible. Much will therefore be developed by the students themselves in conjunction with their allocated tutors, work colleagues and fellow students and be based on their own chosen areas of interest. The development of the proposal will be the focus of the second half of the module and will be carried out with other students and allocated tutors online through Weblearn, where drafting, feedback and reflection will take place between small groups of students moderated by the tutor. In helping to develop the skills and understanding required to develop the proposal, the first part of the module will, to an extent, have a more traditionally taught approach, with tutors presenting some formal sessions, linked to work prepared in advance by students and developed in class as a result of critical discussion of the ideas presented.

Those suggested areas of syllabus that will be covered by the whole class are:
● The nature of research
○ Research philosophies
○ Research methodologies
○ Considering methods in context
○ Developing research tools
○ Considering analysis of data
● Conducting a literature review
○ The locus of research
○ Refining the search
○ Sources
○ Understanding levels of data
○ Considering“authority”
○ Developing a critique and fashioning a response to the chosen area
● Project planning
○ Scoping a project
○ Setting aims and objectives
○ Force-field and stakeholder analysis
○ Time management and Gantt charting
○ Evaluation of milestones and project flexibility
● Personal reflection
○ Formal/informal learning
○ Contextualising learning – how can it be applied?
○ Identifying learning and presenting it within a career plan

Learning and teaching

The learning and teaching approach is very much understood as flexible and adaptable to the needs of the student and our ability to support them through the variety of research specialisation 256.8within the subject groups.

The support also borrows from concepts of Action Learning, although this is not explicitly explored in the module itself, where activity, production, testing and reflection are seen as the focus of learning over traditional didactic methods.

The need to develop reflection on learning into become an independent learner is also encouraged through the development and drafting process with the allocated tutors and student support groups on Weblearn.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1.  Conduct an independent survey of literature in the field of HRM, drawing on a range of  appropriate sources in order to  formulate a subject of study

2. Respond critically to research perspectives and practices in developing a methodology  appropriate to chosen subject of study

3.  Develop appropriate research tools from the methodology through piloting, reflection and  redrafting as necessary

4.  Demonstrate the ability to construct a project plan for the research proposal within set  budgetary and other contextual constraints

5. Construct a compelling, persuasively argued rationale throughout the proposal, fulfilling both  academic and professional standards

6. Reflect critically on the series of activities involved in developing a research proposal and  consider what has been learned and could be developed further as a graduate.

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed using three elements.

1. The identification and critical review of an academic journal article published within the last year relevant to the student’s chosen field
2. The development , testing and review of a research tool, reflecting on its effectiveness in the light of a chosen research philosophy
3a. The development of a draft proposal
3b. The presentation of a final proposal taking into account feedback from the draft.


Given the nature of the module, the bibliography will be generated by the student as a part of the development of the literature review based on their own choice of HRM focus. However, there are additional suggested classic texts to support those generic areas of research, literature review, project planning and reflection:
Bryman A, Bell E (2011) Business Research Methods, Oxford, OUP
Burrell, G & Morgan, G (1979) Sociological paradigms and organisational analysis:  elements of the sociology of corporate life, London, Heinemann Educational
Cameron, E & Green, M (2012) Making Sense of Change Management - A Complete Guide  to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organisational Change, Kogan Page, London
Cockman, P, Evans, B & Reynolds, P (1992) Client-Centred Consulting, New York,  McGraw Hill
Guirdham M (2005) (2nd ed) Communicating across Cultures at Work, Basingstoke,  Palgrave Macmillan
Horn R (2012) Researching and Writing Dissertations: A Complete Guide for Business and Management Students, London, CIPD
Jankowicz, D (2005) Business Research Projects, London, Thomson Learning
Saunders M et al (2007) Research Methods for Business Students, Harlow, Prentice Hall
Schon, DA (1983) The Reflective Practitioner, New York, Basic Books
General texts
Boxall P, & Purcell J (2011) Strategy & Human Resource Management, Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan
Legge, K. (2005) Human Resource Management: Rhetorics and Realities, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
Storey, J. (2007) Human Resource Management: A Critical Text, London, Thompson
Maybey, C., Salaman, G. and Storey, J. (1998) (eds) Strategic Human Resource Management: A Reader, London, Sage
Redman T, & Wilkinson A (2013) Contemporary Human Resource Management: Text and Cases, Harlow, FT/Pearson
Salaman G, Storey J, & Billsbury J (2005) (eds) Strategic Human Resource Management: A Reader (2nd edn), London, Sage
Saunders M, Lewis P, & Thornhill A (2009) Research Methods for Business Students, Harlow, Pearson Education
Winstanley, D. & Woodall, J. (2000) (eds) Ethical Issues in Contemporary Human Resource Management, Basingstoke, Macmillan

Selected Journals

British Journal of Industrial relations
Equal Opportunities Review
European Industrial Relations Review
Human Resource Management Journal
Gender, Work and Organization
Industrial Relations Journal
International Journal of Human Resource Management
Journal of Management Studies
Labour Research
Management learning
Organization Studies.
Personnel Review
Work, Employment and Society

In addition, the CIPD publishes its useful magazine, People Management.