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Session: 2021/22

Last modified: 22/10/2020 12:48:16

Title of Module: Critical Employment Relations

Code: HURM09005 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Andrew  Burnett

Summary of Module

This module critically examines the employment relationship, i.e. the relationship between employer and employees.  It begins by examining the context within which this relationship exists and the main parties to the employment relationship; management; the state; trade unions. It then goes on to consider the environmental influences on the relationship including sources of legislation and labour markets; it considers  different approaches to managing the employment relationship, concepts such as the nature of work, rights and responsibilities, power and authority and how the relationship may have changed and developed over time. The module then discusses the main processes used to regulate, maintain and develop the employment relationship; in particular employee involvement and participation, employee engagement, health and safety, conflict behavior, dispute resolution, discipline and grievance. The role of regulation within processes will be discussed where appropriate. The module concludes with an examination of the procedures and skills required in negotiating discipline, grievance, dismissal, and protest.

  • Critically examine the employment relationship

  • Identify and conceptualise the main parties in the employment relationship

  • Conceptualise the environments and contexts in which the employment relationship is located

  • Understand and differentiate between the main processes that regulate and maintain the employment relationship

  • Assess the principles and practices of conflict management

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully Online
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Critically assess the context of the employment relationship.

L2. Evaluate the role of the actors and parties involved in the employment relationship

L3. Critically examine the processes involved in regulating and maintaining the employment relationship

L4. Assess the principles and practice of conflict management

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Understanding of how the employment relationship has developed during the recent period and the context within which it exists
Understanding and critical appreciation of the roles of the main parties
Understanding and critical evaluation of the processes used to regulate and maintain the employment relationship

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Selection and retrieval of key sources of employee relations information for critical analysis
Interpretation and explanation of key concepts

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Critical analysis of the methods used to regulate the employment relationship
Critical evaluation of the main parties involved
Critical appraisal of the context, development and underpinning theory

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Interpretation of relevant statistics, e.g. trade union membership, unemployment rates
Debate and argumentation in face to face and online learning discussion fora
The use of ICT to produce word processed coursework submissions

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 7.

Working with others in collaborative learning situations facilitated through a VLE
Acting on feedback to improve performance

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The learning and teaching strategy is constructed as a synthesis of traditional teaching in lectures and tutorial sessions that are complemented by collaborative group learning
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Lecture/Core Content Delivery12
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Gennard, J et al (2016) Managing Employee Relations 6th Edition London CIPD

Williams, S and Adam-Smith, D (2006) Contemporary employment relations: a critical introduction, Oxford: OUP

Bingham C (2016) Employee Relations London. Sage

Rollinson, D and Dundon, T (2011) Understanding Employment Relations, England, McGraw-Hill

Details of further resources including textbooks, journal papers and online resources will be identified at the beginning of each delivery in the module handbook and be made available on Moodle where appropriate.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Attendance Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement and Attendance Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on Moodle, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement and Attendance Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement and attendance procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardManagement, Organisations & People
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelManagement, Organisations & People
External ExaminerDr Linda Buchan
Accreditation DetailsCIPD
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Case Presentation (40% of final mark)
Assessment (60% of final mark)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentationcheck markcheck mark  400

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck mark 6020
Combined Total For All Components100% 20 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
The Equality, Diversity and Human Rights policy underpins student engagement. We aim to make UWS a fair and equal place to study an institution which addresses specific issues covering all aspects of equality, diversity and human rights. Where required module assessment will be adapted to meet student requirements.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.