Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module BUSI3281: Work, Organisation and Society

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI3281: Work, Organisation and Society

Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to N201
Tied to N203
Tied to N207
Tied to N509
Tied to N510
Tied to N511


  • BUSS1141 People, Management and Organisations AND BUSS2211 Human Resource Management


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of key issues relating to both historical and contemporary features of work and organisation.
  • The module in particular provides students with a critical understanding of developments relating to interactive service work.
  • The module seeks to provide students with a critical appreciation of key organisational issues relating to the process and practice of interactive service work.


  • [1] Historical and Contemporary Developments in Work and Organisation
  • Representations and meanings of work
  • Power and control at work
  • Dignity and discrimination at work
  • Time and work
  • Knowledge work
  • Identity at work
  • Surviving work
  • Organisational misbehaviour
  • [2] Interactive Service Work: Processes and Practices
  • The nature of interactive service work
  • Work skills and routines in interactive service work
  • Managing interactive service workers
  • Forms of labour within interactive service work: emotional labour; aesthetic labour and sexualised labour
  • [3] Interactive Service Work: Language, Communication and Rhetoric
  • Interactive service work and communication
  • Communicative labour
  • Rhetoric and persuasion in a service context

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Appreciate a range of different theoretical perspectives for understanding changes in work and organisations
  • Development of advanced knowledge relating to key contemporary issues related to understanding changes in work and organisation
  • Gain advanced knowledge and understanding of the nature and forms of interactive service work
  • Critically appreciate key developments related to issues of communication within interactive service work
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to apply critical thinking to contemporary work issues
  • Critical appreciation of alternative perspectives to understanding developments in work and organisation
  • Understand the interaction between macro and micro level phenomena in work and organisation
  • Critical appreciation of how the work dynamics within interactive service work
Key Skills:
  • Written communication
  • Verbal communication
  • Persuasion and argumentation skills
  • Time management
  • Critical assessment

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Learning will occur through preparation and attendance at lectures and seminars, together with private self-directed study
  • Seminar classes will provide a series of structured activities including case/journal article analysis and group exercises in order to provide support, reinforce knowledge and encourage independent private study.
  • Formative assessment will involve a group presentation and case analysis of 1000 words. This will assist students with the development of the summative project.
  • Summative assessment will involve a project and individual written assignment. The project will involve critical analysis of an aspect of interactive service work which will involve collection and analysis of primary or secondary data by the student. The individual assignment, in the form of an essay, is chosen from a list of questions focused upon contemporary issues within work and organisation.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 1 per week 1 hour 22
Seminars 8 4 in both terms 1 and 2 1 hour 8
Preparation and reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One individual project 3,000 words max 100%
Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One written assignment 2,000 words max 100%

Formative Assessment:

This will be based on contribution to a group presentation and case analysis.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University