Employment Relations - BUSN8001

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 7 15 (7.5) Alexander Maxwell-Cole checkmark-circle


The curriculum will provide students with a range of theoretical and practical knowledge, providing them with the opportunity to think critically and evaluate the theory and practice of employment relations. This will enable students to develop and apply employment relations to specific organisational contexts and consider the implications of employment relations for employee commitment, organisational change and organisational performance in a competitive global economy.

Topics included may be:

• The context of employment relations: the employment relationship and the psychological contract, workplace decision making, the organisational context, the labour
market, the economy, European Union and historical background.
• Theories and perspectives of employment relations
• The actors in employment relations: the roles of managers, employees and the state. Issues to be discussed include: management styles and strategies, the role of
employer associations and trade unions, the role of the state as an economic manager, regulator and employer and the role of state agencies.
• Employment relations processes: employee involvement and participation, collective bargaining, individual bargaining and negotiation, joint consultation and the rise
of alternative forms of representation, non-union workplaces, industrial conflict and dispute resolution, pay determination, employee commitment and organisational
• Employment relations outcomes: the impact of employment relations on firm performance and national economic performance and employee commitment and
agreement types.
• Employment relations skills: grievances, disciplinaries, redundancies and termination of employment, negotiation, change and problem solving.
• Employment law: historical background, institutions of employment law, individual and collective employment law, implications of EU membership for employment law.
• Occupational health and safety: the legal framework, the rights and duties of employers and employees, safety management, the role and function of health and
safety committees and contemporary trends in health and safety


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 126
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Individual report (2000 words) (40%)
Examination, 2 hour (60%).

Reassessment method:
100% Exam

Indicative reading

Blyton, Paul, Turnbull, Peter, (2004), The Dynamics of Employee Relations, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Cully, Mark, (1999) Britain at work: As depicted by the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey, London: Routledge

Edwards, P. K, (2003) Industrial relations: Theory and practice, 2nd Edition, London: Blackwell Publishing

Hollinshead, Graham, (2003), Employee relations, 2nd Edition, London: FT Prentice Hall

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
- Critically evaluate the theory of employment relations and its links with organisational theory.
- Develop an understanding and knowledge of the underpinning rationale for employment relations and its strategic importance to an organisation.
- Critically assess the processes and skills, both existing and emerging in employment relations and their contribution to employee commitment and organisational performance.
- Understand and critically evaluate the wider environmental context within which 'employment relations' is located and the implications for competing in a competitive global economy.
- Understand the requirement to work with all appropriate stakeholders for mutual gains in the design, enactment and implementation of employment relations.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
- Set reward/performance management in the wider context of general organisational management.
- Develop abilities to critically assess and evaluate the impact of reward/performance management on management and the performance of organisations.
- Develop analytical skills by linking theoretical perspectives to contemporary organisational situations throughout the course of the module.
- Develop ability to develop relevant strategies and policies.
- Plan work and work independently.
- Develop ability to write coherently and write critically.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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