module specification

PY7197 - Well-Being and Work (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18, but may be subject to modification
Module title Well-Being and Work
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
4 hours Placement / study abroad
151 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   Client report (max 4000 words)
Unseen Examination 40%   2 hour unseen exam
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

A critical examination of the theory and practice associated with worker well being including the relationship of wellbeing being models to health outcomes in the workplace.  A critical examination of the theory and practice of well being initiatives including work-life balance, stress reduction programmes, and initiatives to address bullying, harrassment and conflict.  The module turns to interventions used in the workplace to promote psychological well-being

Module aims

Students will gain a critical understanding of a range of theories, models, applied research and application within work and organisational contexts. They will work with organisational case studies and problem-based contexts, and thereby develop skills in applying psychological knowledge to the understanding of client needs and learn to provide solutions to address work problems, taking into account aspects of ethics and safety. In covering the eight core areas of occupational psychology, as defined by the BPS, students will have an enhanced opportunity to enter related postgraduate studies – business psychology and/or occupational psychology.  To enhance employability skills, students are presented with mini project based learning opportunities followed by group presentations.  Specifically business related case studies are provided necessitating self-managed problem solving within groups. Students are thus given the opportunities to take effective and appropriate action,  work effectively with others and develop self-management skills.

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.


A critical examination of the theory and practice associated with wellbeing in the work context including consideration of health and safety legislation, historical and contempoary work related stress trends, physical and emotional implications from physical hazards and work related stress including harrassment, bullying and conflict.  A critical examination of the theory and practice of positive psychology including resilience.   A thorough analysis of workplace interventions to include mindfulness-based interventions (e.g., MBSR and ACT), cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT), stress management training, and interventions that have emerged from positive psychology

Topics to include:

The employment lifecycle and its management, including unemployment, outplacement, retirement and post-paid employment

  • Traditional and new work patterns including work-life balance
  • Occupational health psychology
  • Stress in the workplace: causes and symptoms, assessment, prevention and management
  • Bullying, harassment and conflict management
  • Positive psychological perspectives
  • Promoting resilience and well-being
  • Emotion in the workplace; recognising the importance and impact of affective responses

Learning and teaching

The module follows the course learning and teaching strategy. It follows the community of practice philosophy and the scientist-practitioner model. Therefore the module adopts a strong experiential learning focus and consists of seminars, practical workshops, presentation, class discussions and lectures.  There is a strong use of web based learning to support learning. In order to benefit  from the module, students will be expected to prepare work in advance for many of the sessions. Thus their time management, commitment to their studies and demonstration of professionalism with staff and colleagues will be a key to successful completion of this aspect of their course.

As part of this module, students complete a self-learning log to include an evaluation of how this module has facilitated personal development  and how they have developed occupational psychology practitioner skills and the competencies within the BPS National Occupational Standards Framework. This results in directed personal and professional development in line with their stated PDP objectives.

Learning outcomes

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

  1. Critically analyse theory and practice of how work is structured and continues to evolve including the interface of work and non-work,
  2. Know and critically evaluate any negative effects of work including various theories of stress and pressure and the role of emotions,
  3. Develop a critical understanding of positive and preventative paradigms in relation to mental and physical health
  4. Understand and critically evaluate the psychological evidence base for relevant interventions including mindfulness-based interventions and cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT), stress management training, and interventions that have emerged from the positive psychology movement.  
  5. Know and understand the legal and ethical framework of workplace health and safety in relation to statutory regulatory bodies
  6. Understand the employment lifecycle and its management, including unemployment, outplacement and retirement.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy has a strong focus on developing both academic skills like critical thinking and problem solving, and the development of professional and applied skills.

Students will be expected to submit one significant piece of coursework to enable them to demonstrate achievement of the learning aims. It will contain two sections: Part A will contain a critical academic review of the literature considering evaluation of theories, models and research in relation to well-being that should then inform Part B.  Part B will consist of a client report specifically written having conducted a practical piece of work within the client context.  This section aims to assess the student ability to select and implement appropriate interventions in accordance with the client context and evaluate the implementations proposed.

There is also one unseen examination weighted at 40% and will assess all learning outcomes.  The applied coursework is weighted at 60% and is designed to assess outcomes 1 -4. The module can be passed on aggregate of both the exam and coursework.


Bhattacharya,A and McGlothlin, J. D  (2012)  Occupational ergonomics : Theory and Applications, 2nd edition .CRC Press

Biron, B., Karanika-Murray, M and Cooper C.L (Eds)  (2012)  Improving organizational interventions for stress and well-being.  Addressing Process and Control.  Routledge

Chen, P.Y and Cooper C.L (2014)  Wellbeing:  A complete Reference Guide. Volume III.  Work and Wellbeing.  Wiley Blackwell

Dewe, P and Cooper, C (2011) Well-being and Work: Towards a Balanced Agenda. Palgrave Macmillan (Core)

Donaldson, S.I., Csikzentmihalyi, M and Nakamura, J.  (2011) Applied positive psychology.  Improving everyday life, health, schools, work and society.  Routledge

Glendon, I., Clark, S and McKenna, E (2006)  Human Safety and Risk Management.  Second Edition.  Taylor and Francis

Grandey, A.A., Diefendorff, J.M and Rupp, D.E (2013)  Emotional labor in the 21sst century.  Routledge

Hofacker, D (2010) Older Workers in a Globalizing World: An International Comparison of Retirement and Late-career Patterns in Western Industrialized Countries. Edward Elgar Publishing

Holt A. St. J and Allen, J (2014), Principles of Health and Safety at Work, 8th Ed. Routledge

Korham, O (2010)  Work-related musculoskeletal disorders due to computer use.   Lambert Academic Publishing

Kossek, EE., and Lambert, S.J (2005)  Work and life integration.  Organizational, cultural and invdividual perspectives.  LEA

Lautsch, B and Kossek, E.E (2010) CEO of me:  Creating a life that works in the flexible job age.  Prentice-Hall

Leka, S and Houdmont, J (2010) Occupational Health Psychology.  Wiley-Blackwell. See chapters 2, 3. 5

Marsh, T (2014)  Total safety culture:  Organisational risk literacy.  Ryder Marsh Safety Ltd.

Peters, B.J and Peters, G.A (2013)  Human Safety  Volume One.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 

Reason, J (2013)  A life in error.  Ashgate Publishing

Robertson, I and Cooper, C (2011) Well-being: Productivity and Happiness at Work.   Palgrave Macmillan

Indicative Journals:
Annual Review of Psychology
European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Journal of Applied Psychology
Journal of Organizational Behavior
Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology
Occupational Health