Contemporary Developments in Employee Relations and Employment Law

Instructions To Students for Submission of This Coursework
Submit online to two destinations:
Ensure all work submitted is your own work (follow policies on authenticity/plagiarism)
a) Submission to Blackboard Assessment Submission tab
b) Submission to TURNITIN

Assessment Task 1 Details

Using a key case study of your choice develop a written assignment (report style) to critically analyse the following question:

To what extent can employees influence the balance of power in contemporary employment relationships?

Instructions to students:
The word count for this assignment is 2500 (+/- 10%). This does not include citations and references. To help you develop your assignment please include the following elements:

  1. Introduction: Outline which key organisation you have chosen to develop your analysis on.
  2. Evaluate the current context of employment relations. These are issues which impact on your chosen organisation and should include areas such as the UK economic, political, legal, and social issues which contribute to emerging and growing employment issues that may affect this corporation.
  3. Outline the key concepts (i.e., unitarist, pluralist, and radical HRM). These are employment relations concepts which determine how the employment relationships in this corporation are managed.
  4. Evaluate the role of key actors and stakeholders in the employment relationship. These are different stakeholders whose role will impact on the employment relations environment in your chosen organisation. This may include the role of trade unions, employer and other work-related associations or wider diverse communities. Draw attention to, and critically discuss, any issues of conflict or recent collective struggles which exist in this corporation. This may include systemic issues of precarity, pay and diversity (i.e., gender, race etc) where there is some form of employee resistance. Ensure that you discuss this in relation to relevant UK/EU legislation which add possible conflicts to the employment relations environment in your assignment.
  5. Recommendations and Conclusion. In the final part you must discuss how as a lead HR or Management specialist you would advise an employer to address the key major workplace inequalities that you have noted in your discussion. Please address how you would you recommend the chosen organization to address this issue to ensure they create a fairer, engaged, healthier and productive workforce.

To support these sections, you must use peer-reviewed journal articles, relevant government or recognised statistics, current EU/UK law and wider professional reports to develop your argument.

Word count: 2500 (+/- 10%).
You may use appendices. Keep this light touch. We are not asking you to write a thesis.

Suggested structure / word count breakdown:

We have been asked to provide a guide on how to break the assessment down.
Below I offer the following brief advice, which may be adapted, as I have below. This is how I may approach this. Please note we do not read drafts.
Remember – You are the lead author. Ensure that in each section you set out the parameters of the discussion (TELL US WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO WRITE ABOUT!). Use key academic journal articles as a guide/template. They often use phrases like “In this section I will focus on X, Y and Z”.

• Introduction: 150 words
This section should introduce the case study organisation (i.e., NHS, Amazon, etc). You should give a brief overview of the organisation, the sector they operate in (i.e., retail, service, etc) and some idea of how successful they are (REFERENCE THESE). You then need to lead into answering the overarching question – HOW MUCH CAN EMPLOYEES INFLUENCE THE BALANCE OF POWER, in this case organisation. Thus, the following sections need to draw back to this point.
If I was approaching this, I would then outline how this case organisation integrates employee relations approaches and would start with the main key concepts at this point.

• Employee Relations key concepts: 650 words
This section should set out the key ER concepts. i.e., Define what is the employment relationship (reference definitions), what perspective is adopted in your chosen organization (Unitary, Pluralist, Radical HRM) and how this affects the balance of power – you could include management styles models here (see lecture 2).

• Current context of Employment Relations affecting your chosen organization: 650 words
This section should focus on the current context and how this affects the case corporation (use STEEPLE).
The key impact is an issue that has implications for the workforce, internally and externally – we have covered the UK exit from the EU (Brexit) and Covid-19 as key issues/concerns.
Please try to address one impact and may focus narrowly on a few key areas of the S, T, E/E, P, L, E models or you will rapidly run out. We would rather have a fuller discussion in a few key areas than a shallow description across them all.
Some examples:
a. SHELL PETROLEUM: affected by Brexit – (political /legal issues) … impact lack of hauliers which affects profit/ costs (economic).
b. AMAZON: recruits agency/temporary/ zero hours workers – pays low wages – pays little tax in the UK – gains profit during Covid- did not enhance workers’ pay during this period (society/economic/ethical)
c. NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE: talent pool gaps (political/Brexit issue), pandemic, lack of frontline staff – rising CV19 cases/winter = under resourced/pressure (political/ethical/legal/economic) can argue this from many areas!
PLEASE DRAW REFERENCE TO: good quality news or academic journal articles to support credible discussion on these impacts.

• Roles of Key Actors & Stakeholders: 650 words
This section should set out where the balance of power lies in relation to the key concepts (i.e., unitarist, pluralist, radical HRM); Role of state/trade union responses to these impacts/ worker resistance/ management controls etc. This should really develop who has the power in the relationship and how this affects the case organisations.

• Recommendations/conclusion: 400 words
This should set out how you, if a leader/manager/HR practitioner would address the above issues to resolve issues or enhance working / pay conditions.
e.g., AMAZON – stop ad-hoc contracts – and set out why and what this would give AMAZON and workers simultaneously in return.

• Don’t forget your reference list, using the APA 7 referencing style (see referencing guide: Your reference list is NOT included in the word count.

Submission must include:

• A cover page: Clearly state your full name, student number, the title and word count.
• A contents page: Clearly include the page numbers, headings and subheadings using numbered sections.
• A reference section: which must be in alphabetical order (surname of academic/site/report). This must be included when you submit via Turnitin. Please use the SHU APA reference format.

We expect you to remain within the required wordcount (+ or – 10% of this figure). WE STOP READING IF YOU GO OVER this Word Count limit.

Aiming for a good grade

• Statistics over the past decade show that students who attend all lectures and seminars are fully prepared and enabled to develop their written assessment and to pass the online exam.
• Ensure you make every effort to participate.
• Engage in the pre-reading and come prepared to discuss the key topics each week. This will enable you to flourish.

We will not read drafts prior to submission. In each seminar we will discuss the approaches, concepts, and legislation etc. This will link to how you may use these materials in preparation for the assignment / exam structure.

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