module specification

MN7161 - Human and Ethical Perspectives in Organisations (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Human and Ethical Perspectives in Organisations
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
155 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 30%   Group Presentation
Coursework 70%   3,500-word Written Coursework
Running in 2024/25

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

Module summary

This module addresses the important role that effective and ethical people management practices can have in supporting and sustaining successful CSR strategies. Indeed the thematic argument of this module is that successful CSR needs and requires an approach to human resource management that places the individual person at the heart of the employment relationship. The module argues that CSR strategy cannot be divorced from our internal people management strategies.

The module discusses issues which are highly pertinent and timely. In recent times, there have been a number of high profile cases presented in the media which have highlighted unethical and exploitative practices. Furthermore there is empirical evidence demonstrating an increasing tendency towards job insecurity, precarious work, stagnating wages, controversial employment contracts such as the growth of part-time and zero hours contracts (which are often not in the interest of employees). Even those in full-time and secure employment are often experiencing work intensification, declining terms and conditions and greater levels of stress.

The module challenges learning partners to reflect on how our organisations can embrace and adopt people management practices which encourage and engage our employees within the framework of responsible and ethical management.

Module aims

  1. To highlight the theoretical intersection between corporate social responsibility, business ethics and people management practices (HRM).
  2. To demonstrate the mutually reinforcing and symbiotic relationship between CSR initiatives and HR practices.
  3. To develop awareness of the importance of the outer and inner contexts of organizations, emphasizing the importance of internal stakeholders to successful CSR outcomes.
  4. To assess what we mean by ethical people management practices and what it means to put ‘the human back in human resource management’.
  5. To facilitate an understanding of concepts around power, leadership, voice, organizational citizenship and equality. 
  6. To equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to develop and implement strategic interventions aimed at enhancing ethical people management practices with organizations.


1. Contextualizing and conceptualizing HRM and the intersection with CSR.
2. Examining the external political, economic, social and environmental factors affecting approaches to people management.
3. Losing the human from our organizations: the profit maxim; short-termism; neo-liberalism.
4. Interrogating organization culture.
5. Power, leadership and management.
6. Putting ethics back into people management: rhetoric or reality
7. Well-being, non-financial rewards, equality diversity and inclusion.
8. Autonomy, voice, involvement and participation.
9. Organization citizenship.
10. Employee engagement as a route to improved outcomes.
11. Resource based view of strategy and Organization capabilities.

Learning and teaching

Delivery of the module is based on a mix of lectures, seminars, and discussion groups supported by weblearn materials and 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, 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, learners will be able to:

  1. Critically understand the concept of HRM and the role of HRM and people management practices in supporting CSR initiatives.
  2. Explain the theoretical, empirical and philosophical connections between CSR, HRM and Ethics.
  3. Design and undertake an analysis of the relationships, causal or correlational, between ethical people management practices and CSR outcomes.
  4. Develop strategic approaches to people management practices which are shown to foster and build employee engagement.
  5. Identify and critically evaluate the organisational blockages and barriers which prevent us placing the ‘human at the heart of the workplace relationship’. 
  6. Understand the relationships linking employment relations, reward practices, equality and wider organisational outcomes such as engagement and performance.


Camilleri, M (2017) Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Springer

Bakker, A. and Leiter, M. (2010) Work Engagement: A handbook of Essential Theory and Research, Psychology Press: Hove and New York.

Bakker, A.B., Hakanen, J.J, Demerouti, E., & Xanthopoulou, D. (2007) Job resources boost work engagement particularly when job demands are high. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 274-284.

MacLeod, D & Clarke, N. (2010) Engaging for success: A report to Government.

Bloisi, W. (2007) An Introduction to Human Resource Management, Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.

Brown, W. et al. (2009), The Changing Workplace, Cambridge, CUP, Ch. 1

Buckingham, M. & Coffman, C. (2001) First , break all the rules: what the world’s greatest managers do differently. London: Simon and Schuster.(contains detailed review of the Gallup Q12 diagnostic instrument for measuring levels of employee engagement in organisations)

Colgan, F., Creegan,C., McKearney, A. & Wright, T. (2006) Lesbian, gay and Bisexual Workers: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, COERC.
available at

Corby, S. Palmer, S., & Lindop, E. (2009) Rethinking Reward, Palgrave Macmillan

Karatas-Ozkan , M. Nicolpoulou, K. and  Özbilgin, M. (2014) Corporate Social Responsibility And Human Resource Management

Kramer, R. and Syed, J. (2012), Human Resource Management in a Global Context: a critical approach. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan (Chapter 5)

Perkins, S.J. and White, G. (2008) Employee Reward: Alternatives, Consequences and Contexts.  Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

Wellin, M. (2007) Managing the Psychological Contract – Using the personal deal to increase business performance, Aldershot: Gower.

Williams, S.& Adam-Smith,D. (2010) Contemporary Employment Relations- a critical introduction, 2nd edition, Oxford: OUP.

Global Corporate Governance Institute, home page: