module specification

HR7146 - Managing Employment Relations in Contemporary Organisations (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Managing Employment Relations in Contemporary Organisations
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
20 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
144 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay (3000 words)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

The module builds upon the “Contextualising Management” and the “Leading, Managing and Developing People” modules, adding a more in-depth and integrated appreciation of Employment Relations to the field of human resource management. It examines both individual and collective aspects of this relationship and explores in depth the various ways in which relationships are managed in both unionised and non-union settings.  In this it reflects the thinking within the CIPD, that 'the cornerstone of all human resource activity is the employment relationship’.

The module explores the choices available to organisations in managing the Employment Relationship, what influences these choices and how the choices are experienced by those working in organisations. It examines the effects that employment relations practice has within these organisations.  The module considers shifting priorities in managing employment relations and the diversity of employment relations and practices found in organisations, by making extensive use of case studies and case scenarios.  In doing so, it adopts a critical orientation and encourages participants to reflect upon practices. Participants will also be prompted to consider the motivation for evolving practice in employment relations, and evaluate some such changes to practice.

Module Aims

1) To enable students to understand and analyse contemporary employment relations theory and practice.
2) To develop awareness of the importance of the contexts of organisations (both internal and external) and the factors which impact upon employment relations strategies and policies.


The employment relationship; what is it?  How is it regulated and managed?  Frames of reference and the nature of “structured antagonism”.

Legal aspects of employment relationships - individual and collective.

The employment relationship and employment relations; actors, processes, outcomes.

The employment relationship in changing historical perspective; contexts; globalisation, structural economic and social change, disadvantage in employment, equality and diversity, social class.

Employment relations in contemporary organisations - fragmented organisations, networks, outsourcing.

Management and the employment relationship: strategies and styles.

Representation and voice at the workplace: unions and the employment relationship.

The state and the employment relationship.

Managing employment relations (1) – strategic choices - with and without unions, collective bargaining, consultation and organisational performance

Employment relations in public and private sector organisations, international and domestic, large and SMEs.

Employee involvement, participation and engagement.

Substantive employment relations issues ; regulating pay and working time.

Procedural issues in employment relations: regulating employment relations, conflict management, organisational justice and managing organisational risk.

Emerging issues and priorities; diversity, engagement, changing forms of regulation.

Regulating, experiencing and contesting the employment relationship.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Delivery of the module is based on a mix of lectures, seminars, and discussion groups supported by Weblearn materials and a variety of directed learning activities. Students will be issued with a module handbook, and guidance on readings, most of which will be available through the Learning Centre, and others through Weblearn.  All participants will be required to read relevant materials in advance of seminar sessions in order that these can be student-led.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, you will be able to:
LO1. Describe and explain the organisational, regional, national and international political, economic, social, and legal contexts of employment relations and their impact on contemporary policy, issues and practice.
LO2. Evaluate the effectiveness and utility of a range of organisational strategies and policies (e.g. participation, discipline and grievance, consultation and bargaining), for achieving good employment relations.
LO3. Function as a skilled employment relations practitioner in the processes of conflict resolution, negotiations, consultation and communication.


Here is the link to the electronic reading list (see module menu in Weblearn).