Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module BUSI5C315: Employee Relations

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI5C315: Employee Relations

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap
Tied to N2P109
Tied to N2P409
Tied to N2P609
Tied to N2P809


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop students’ ability to master the knowledge and understanding at an advanced level of key issues relating to trends in the modern employment relationship, and how relations between managers and employees are conducted;
  • To provide students with the opportunity to critically understand the reasons and explanations behind such trends as well as understand how they differ in a multinational, i.e. global, context.


  • Theoretical perspectives on the employment relationship
  • Key actors in employee relations, including unions, managers, and employer assocation
  • Management-workforce relations and negotiations
  • The role of collective bargaining and negotiation in the employment relationship
  • Participation and involvement at work – engaging employees in workplace and strategic decision-making
  • Workplace conflict in all its manifestations, and means of resolving these
  • Employee relations in multinationals, and the relationship between national business systems and employee relations

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Have an advanced knowledge and understanding of the contemporary and historical context in which employee relations occurs.
  • Have a thorough understanding of the role, character, and functions of key actors in employee relations.
  • Have an in-depth understanding of the determinants and outcomes of employee relations practices and policies at individual, organisational, and societal level.
  • Have a critical understanding of the causes for conflicts, its various manifestations, and mechanisms for resolving these.
  • Have an advanced understanding of the impact of local, industry, national and global contexts shaping employment relations.
  • Have a critical appreciation of the importance of employment relations instititutions, procedures and practices that impact organisational risk, including the design and implementation of policies and practices in the areas of discipline, dismissal, redundancy, and (vocational) training.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to critically analyse issues, policies, and practices in various areas of employee relations, including employee voice, collective bargaining, conflict and its resolution, and the role of trade unions.
  • Be able to critically review and understand theories and debates in employee relations.
  • Be able to reflect upon the personal implications that might arise from insights encountered during the module, such as how one may wish to manage, and to be managed.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication;
  • planning, organising and time management;
  • problem solving and analysis;
  • using initiative;
  • computer literacy.
  • Written communication; planning, organising and time management; problem solving and analysis; using initiative; computer literacy.

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

  • Through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and guided reading addressing key topics in employee relations, students will acquire the advanced skills and knowledge to enable them to develop a thorough understanding of this specialist field of study.
  • The assessment of the module, by written examination, is designed to test students' knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter and their ability to reflect upon, and apply it to the analysis of specific issues relating to the study of employee relations.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 18 2 per week 1 hours 18
Seminars 3 fortnightly 1 hour 3
Workshop 1 4 hours 4
Preparation & Reading 125
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Practice speciman exam question with individual written feedback

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