HR9615 - Compensation: conflict and cooperation

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn a critical and practical approach towards the management of employee rewards and the employment relationship. By the end of the module you will have designed a comprehensive reward system and negotiated its implementation in the face of opposition – you will not be able to get everything you want, you will learn to bargain and compromise.
You will learn about the strategic role of employee rewards, and how important rewards are in the employment relationship. This will lead you to understand that organisations and their employees will often seek different rewards sometimes resulting in conflict.
You will be introduced to a wide range of reward practices, both traditional and modern, understanding how each of these may have very different meanings for each side of the employment relationship.
You will learn the principles and skills of negotiation and compromise: finding your way to agreement through a complex mix of cooperation, consensus, power play and shrewd bargaining.

How will I learn on this module?

Activity and simulation are the main features of learning on this module. Employee rewards and employment relations are fascinating, complex games of power and conflict, with astonishing influence and reach across organisations. You will experience this complexity through a module-long simulation in which you will take on a key role in the design and negotiation of a new reward system for an organisation. You will learn by doing – creating a comprehensive reward system with all of the features and complexity that you would find in a real-life organisation. Along the way you will be responsible for pursuing the interests of either employer or employee, making use of power resources and negotiating skill to maximise the benefits for all, but particularly for ‘your side’.
You will experience a fully ‘flipped’ classroom – tutors will be on hand to assist, guide and advise, but you will find your own solutions to the challenges that you face, supported by a wide range of technologies.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

In order to provide as much space as possible for you to explore the facets of this module, most of the academic support will be provided outside of the classroom. High quality, short-form videos will largely replace the traditional lectures in order to signpost the key areas of theory and insight that will enable you to succeed. Cooperation and collaboration are important features of the module both within and without the classroom, you will be supported to do this through the use of appropriate technologies. The core of the module will be concerned with making realistic choices about strategy, policies practices and tactics – utilising simulated organisational and labour market data in order to model the effects of your decisions, to argue for and achieve your objectives, and to compromise where necessary.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• You will learn a systematic and coherent body of knowledge concerning the role and function of employee rewards in the context of the employment relationship. (MLO1)

• Design, implement and critically appraise rewards and relations strategies, matched by the consideration of competing imperatives: from labour and product markets; and from the interests of the parties to the employment relationship. (MLO2)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Develop and critically assess skills in bargaining and negotiation as part of your team work. (MLO3)

• Critically reflect on your individual engagement with the subject and rewards process. (MLO4)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• You will be explicitly required to consider competing values, interests and objectives and to find imaginative solutions to conflicts and dilemmas. (MLO5)

How will I be assessed?

You will receive near constant feedback throughout the module. All of the workshops are entirely focussed upon the main module project. Tutors are on hand throughout to facilitate, guide and support you towards this goal. As you work in your teams you will test your understanding by making choices and taking decisions – the activity will, itself provide feedback. At key points you will informally present your progress in role play to tutors acting as your bargaining ‘principals’. They will challenge you to defend your decisions and, particularly, your compromises – this will require you to develop sophisticated bargaining skills and capabilities.

The main project is a group report. At one level this report will detail the creation of a new reward system for a simulated organisation, but it’s not just about what you decided to do, it’s about how and why you decided. We are interested in how you negotiated the complexities and conflicts of rewards and the employment relationship. You will present this as a long group report, which draws upon the activities and feedback from the workshops.
There will also be a smaller, individual reflective report to consider what you have learned from your engagement with the module.

MLO1, MLO2, MLO3 and MLO5 will be addressed by the group report

MLO4 will be addressed in the reflective report





Module abstract

Employee rewards and the employment relationship are at the heart of the life of all organisations. Rewards are why we come to work, a fundamental source of motivation and a subtle and powerful lever to alter employee behaviour. However, rewards are also the fundamental cause of conflict at work, the central objective of the employment relationship.

In this module you will build a reward system in the face of opposition: setting objectives, pursuing interests, overcoming resistance, finding creative resolutions and compromises to conflict. You will develop valuable skills in the crafting of rewards and in bargaining and negotiation. You will think strategically and tactically, and consider opposing values and interests. You will manipulate data and evaluate outcomes supported by innovative and accessible technologies.

The skills learned here have had a direct impact on graduate employment opportunities and provide access to career paths in the most lucrative area of people management.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 2 years

Location Hong Kong

City Hong Kong

Start September or February

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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