Identify and analyse an individually chosen topic of Employee Relations introduced throughout the module.
Order description: Assignment Brief
You are required to identify a specific focus (topic) from the programme and critically analyse the employee relations issue as they are manifest in your topic of choice.
You should identify and evaluate the ways in which the relevant actors*, that is, the state, employers and employees (including the trade unions) play a role in the employee relations issue that you have identified. It will also be appropriate and important to critically evaluate the way that these three sets of social actors impact on and influence the balance of power in the employee relations issue you have identified.
Your answer should draw on relevant theory and you should illustrate your work with appropriate organizational examples. You may if you wish draw on more than one national context to illustrate your answer.
*which of the specific ‘actors’ you should mostly focus on will depend on your choice of topic.
Guidance on the process of identifying a specific topic for your assignment
Try to identify an area/ topic of interest from the menu of topics in the programme. The topic may be something specific that we have not addressed directly in class but your answer will address the roles played by each set of social actors (the state, employees and their representatives and the employers) and will thus rely on the material that we have addressed throughout the module programme.
To get you thinking about possible topics these are some choices made in previous years:
• To what extent is it desirable and practical that statutory measures be used to curb strikes in key industries/occupations?
• Employee Relations in contemporary work settings (eg call centres, knowledge intensive firms)
• Diversity issues in Employee Relations
• Changing patterns of representation.
• The analysis of a current or recent industrial dispute? (Post Office Workers, Fire service, Morrisons, Prison officers, Local Government workers, British Airways workers, Teachers)
• What future is there for collective bargaining or collectivism in general?
• Changing patterns of pay determination
• Impact of Working Time Directive on working patterns
• Changing Trade Union agendas and priorities.
• An analysis of the situation of Chinese construction workers
• A critical evaluation of the role of the state in employee relations in China
• A critical evaluation of the role of Trade Unions in China
• An analysis of the labour market position of Eastern European migrant workers in the UK
In addressing your chosen topic please note the following assessment criteria
1 Demonstration of critical understanding of Employee Relations issues
2 Analysis of the roles of the state, employers and employees (and their trade unions) with regard to your identified topic as appropriate
3 Analysis of the balance of power between the actors (employees & their trade unions, employers and the state) as relevant to your topic
4 Integration of theory and practice (include examples of organizational or government policy and practice where relevant)
5 Effective written communication
6 Appropriate referencing to academic texts and journals
The assignment shall be submitted in the form of an extended essay with appropriate sub-headings.
Assignments shall be 4,500 words in length. Good referencing should be evident throughout.
It is important to start early with this assignment as it constitutes 100% of the module marks. The submission of a 250 word synopsis in class on 26th October and the Assignment support sessions w/c 16th November are designed to enable you to keep ‘on track’ with these assessment requirements.
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