Module code: MANM346

Module Overview

The module explores the employment relationship from a socio-economic perspective. It is one of the specialist units on the programme and analyses the relationship at the heart of the employment connection. It gives a broad appreciation of the role of the human resources professional and the line manager in managing employment relations. Our focus is on the dynamic and varied nature of the employment relationship, focusing on the role of management, employees, and the state in both national and international perspectives.

The module is broadly divided into three sections:

(1) Contemporary Employment Relations actors,

(2) comparative and international Contemporary Employment Relations and

(3) applied Contemporary Employment Relations issues.

Module provider

Surrey Business School

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 84

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

In eleven sessions that add to a total of three hours we will cover the following topics:

1. Introduction to Employment Relations (ER)

2. ER Actors I: Management

3. ER Actors II: Employees

4. ER Actors III: The State

5. Comparative ER I: ER Systems and International Influences

6. Comparative ER II: ER Systems Across Countries

7. Applied ER I: Dispute Resolution Case Study

8. Applied ER II: Employee Voice and Involvement

9. Applied ER III: Equal Opportunities

10. Applied ER IV: Contemporary ER Issue

11. Consolidation Session


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • Critical application of course materials

  • Knowledge of key employment relations components and systems and how they vary

  • Knowledge of the evolution of employment relations

  • Ability to present solutions to problems and assess their suitability in a given context

  • Assessment strategy involves more than exam technique (e.g. presentation, teamwork, and research skills).

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework; an individual assignment assessing learning outcomes 1-4.

Formative assessment and feedback

  • Verbal feedback in Lectures/tutorials

  • Clear explanation of marking scheme

  • Discussion boards and an FAQ section on SurreyLearn

  • Feedback on draft assignments.

  • Written feedback on coursework within three weeks of submission (by course tutors)

  • Office hours held will be held bi-weekly should further feedback be required

Module aims

  • To provide students with an understanding of the evolution of employment relations and the shifting roles and nature of management, employees, and the state, focusing primarily on the UK, Europe, North America, and China.
  • To enable students to understand contemporary ER issues in an applied manner, teasing out their wider implications for organizations and society.
  • Articulate the main trends in employment relations, provide accurate advice on frameworks of collective and individual employee relations in national and international contexts, and evaluate how contemporary issues and proposed developments are likely to affect management policies and procedures.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically apply the key components of employment relations theory and demonstrate a sound overarching knowledge of how each one contributes to employment relations climate. K
002 Evaluate the roles of the key actors in employment relations KC
003 Interpret theoretical models and empirical trends in the evolution employment relations nationally and internationally KPT
004 Be knowledgeable in applied contemporary employment relations issues (e.g., collective bargaining, industrial disputes, employee participation, the role of technology in the changing nature of work) KPT
005 Meet the learning outcomes contained in the CIPD's advanced diploma syllabus for Managing Employment Relations KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The teaching and learning strategy is designed to enable students to gain knowledge and understanding of key theories and concepts in the field of HRM, and to critically analyse the links between theorical approaches and organisation practice. Classroom activities begin to develop cognitive, professional and transferable skills, such as critical analysis, evaluation and use of evidence, plus the generation of insight and independent inquiry as is practiced in the field of HRM. This prepares students for higher-level competencies such as argumentation, justification and providing timely and appropriate advice to a range of stakeholders

Most of the learning will be tutor-facilitated independent study. Tutor-centred delivery will be in the form of lectures and seminar exercises (e.g. case studies, mini-quizzes, open discussions, and critical evaluations of texts).

Teaching and learning methods include:

•              Lectures

•              Seminars

•           Digital content

•           Case study discussions

•              Self-directed learning

•              Reading

•              SurreyLearn


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MANM346

Other information

This module promotes all of the main five Student Competency Framework Pillars in the following ways.

Global and Cultural Capabilities

One of the core themes of this module is to internationalize the application of theory in order to be able to critique its generalizability. Students acquire global and cultural capabilities by problematizing seemingly-accepted managerial norms that may not translate to international labour markets; for example how to get construction work undertaken in Qatar or fast fashion manufactured in Bangladesh. Additionally, students undertake discussion in groups in seminar time meaning that all students, including those who are working in their second language, have the opportunity to contribute.


Taking a broad understanding of sustainability as embedded in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, this module develops student learning on the ways that employment relationships contribute to decent work and economic growth, reduced global inequalities and gender inequality, Labour market economics, global employment relations and institutional theory, global trade unions and gender inequality assist students to appreciate ways that forces that sustain global growth can have deeply unequal effects. We review pan-national bodies with a mission to overcome global inequalities such as the International Labour Organisation.


The assessment in this module requires students to develop an understanding of labour markets both in the UK and globally in order that they can evaluate the competitiveness of jobs markets for both themselves and others. The module is part of a programme that supports students to gain membership of an accredited professional body for human resource management that is globally recognized.

Digital capabilities

As part of the syllabus, students will evaluate ways that technology is changing labour markets, and, where it is replacing workers, how that will alter the balance of power between employers and employees.

The module is designed to meet the Learning Outcomes of the CIPD unit 7HR01 Strategic Employment Relations

1. Understand different perspectives on employment relations and how they influence the roles of people professionals and line managers

- critically evaluate different perspectives on employment relations

- contrast examples of cooperation and conflict within the employment relationship in different organisational contexts

- critically evaluate employer strategies towards trade unions and whether they are fit for purpose

- review ways in which people professionals can foster positive employment relations at work

2. Understand how external institutions can shape employment relations at organisational level

- critically evaluate the extent to which globalisation and other international influences have shaped and transformed employment relations within organisations

- review the practice of employment relations at organisational level, including how it is being shaped by short-term competitive pressures

- critically appraise the advice that external bodies can provide in order to help people professionals make appropriate decisions for their organisation

- analyse the changing nature of work in different parts of the economy

3. Understand how people professionals can work with employees and trade unions to sustain mutuality and voice

- review evidence of external sources of advice that contribute to people management decisions, including which forms of voice are appropriate for different types of organisation

- critically analyse how different forms of indirect/informal/direct voice could contribute to improved levels of organisational performance and employee outcomes

- evaluate how people analytics and research supports the fact that voice enhances both organisational performance and employee outcomes

4. Understand how people professionals work with employees and trade unions to mitigate organisational risks

- critically analyse the role of collective bargaining in determining pay and other contractual issues in organisations

- assess the impact of negotiations between employers and employee associations/trade unions aimed at problem resolution

- review the advantages and disadvantages of third-party options in resolving disagreements at work

- examine the design and implementation of grievance, disciplinary and other procedures and their fitness for purpose in the organisation.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Human Resources Management MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.