NBS8691 : Employee Relations: Principles and Practice (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1.To develop a critical understanding of some of the key factors that impact upon and influence the practice of employee relations in both unionised and non-unionised workplaces and address ethical, corporate social responsibility and sustainability issues associated with these factors whilst doing so.

2.To develop an awareness of the approaches and concepts which underpin the differing theoretical and practical perspectives employed for understanding how to manage and influence the employment relationship.

3.To enable you to understand your own and others’ employee relations knowledge and skills and roles more effectively.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus will be organised in five thematic units (workshops) each covering a different area of theory and practice of relevance to employee relations:

1.Introduction to Employee Relations: Definitions and induction to study; what is employee relations? Key actors in the employment relationship; unionised and non-unionised working environments.
2.The Nature of the Workplace: How we understand and interact with the working environment; regulation; unitarism and pluralism; participation and involvement.
3.Communication and Engagement: How we engage and interact with each other in the workplace; employee voice; conflict; negotiation.
4.Influence in the Workplace: How can we impact effectively on the organisation and its aims; Individualism, collectivism and collective bargaining; international labour standards; legal issues.
5.Enacting Change: Adapting and transforming the workplace; drivers of change; globalisation; Europeanization; divergence and convergence of employee relations.

Each area for study will consider the assumptions, approaches and implications of the organisational issue considered, focusing on issues from an employee relations academic perspective, and the emphasis of units and areas of study will be tailored to take account of current issues and emerging trends in organisations and employee relations. The same thematic areas (with different content will form the basis of the co-requisite module Leading in the Workplace). Issues of ethical and sustainable approaches to people work and organisations relevant to the areas studied will be addressed through the module. Employability skills of self-awareness, negotiation, influence, self-management, team working, and problem solving will also be addressed as part of the module’s studies.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1164:00164:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops66:0036:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module will be delivered through a series of thematic workshops that will be delivered in parallel with those for Leading in the Workplace. The workshops will explore principles, practices, concepts and theories and will provide students with information to develop an understanding of employee relations challenges in an organizational setting. Workshops will also provide students with opportunities to develop skills of analysis through discussion with academics and practitioners, case studies and videos, to practise skills in group exercises and role-plays, and undertake self-assessment using established instruments and will aid the development of skills of analysis and evaluation with respect to issues concerning the employment relationship in organizations, including ethical concerns (1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d). Oral and informal feedback will be given as part of workshops.

Directed study will be linked to workshops and supported through distance learning to encourage you to extend your understanding of practice, research and theory in the areas addressed, as well as its implications for your own practice and employee relations in organizational settings more generally (1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b). Assessment is through two pieces of individual coursework focusing on the application of module principles to your workplace. The second of these will be a synoptic assessment that will seek to explore issues from this module in parallel with those explored in Leading in the Workplace. These will address all the module learning outcomes and ensure that students integrate their learning across these two core modules.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M50Individual coursework; 2000 words
Essay2M50Synoptic individual coursework; 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Coursework is the appropriate way to apply evidence-based arguments and knowledge to problems in the employment relationship. It also helps students to thoroughly apply theoretical and conceptual knowledge to address employee relations issues. The synoptic individual coursework is useful as it enhances links between modules and reduces "compartmentalised" learning approaches. It encourages deep learning through its emphasis on vertical and horizontal integration of the subjects being studied.

Reading Lists