HR9707 - The Employment Relationship

What will I learn on this module?

There are a number of factors that can impact on the employment relationship; these include the attitudes of the parties involved, the socio-economic environment and business sector, the effects of globalisation and the level of collectivism within a workplace. It is vital for human resource professionals to have a detailed working knowledge of these factors.

This module aims to provide you with the relevant knowledge and competence to deal with employment relations and law issues at work. In doing this it aims to ensure that you are aware of the obligations of both employers and employees and are able to provide professional advice on basic employment and legal rights. Overall the module will ensure that employment relations and legal issues are taken into account in planning, preparing and implementing sound human resources policies.

One of the central themes of the module is to develop your ability to transpose theory into practice. In weeks 1 to 9 of the module you will be introduced to the theoretical underpinnings and legal framework of employment relations. Specifically, you will critically analyse such subjects as individual legal rights, employee voice at work, conflict resolution and be introduced to the UK employment tribunal framework. Subsequent sessions will see you put your theoretical understandings to good use by developing a response to a practical workplace issue culminating in a mock tribunal case in the University law court. Throughout the module you will also be given support from both the teaching staff and your peers to develop and verbalise effective, research-based arguments.

How will I learn on this module?

You will take part in three-hour sessions that are broken down into a short tutor led presentation and then chance for you to develop your knowledge with a set of interactive activities. Each week you will be introduced to the topic by your tutor and supported whilst developing your knowledge further through independent learning. In the student led parts of the sessions you will take part in a range of individual and group based activities that will develop your understanding of the topic area and contribute to your summative assessment. Also important are the session activities that support the final employment tribunal cases that students take part in. This will provide an acute awareness of what can happen if employment and legal requirements are not followed in a workplace.

The interactive nature of the sessions means that formative tutor and peer feedback will be received continuously throughout the module and you can incorporate this into your summative assessment(s) at the end of each semester.

Independent learning time has been set aside for learning activities, identified by you in which you will conduct research to gain a deeper and broader knowledge of employment relations. The module has a digital reading list that provides you with an opportunity to explore each area covered in the sessions in more detail to support the completion of your summative assessment.

Guest lectures will be incorporated into the module providing you with the opportunity to hear first-hand about research and practitioner experiences.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutor will be your main source of support on this module, providing guidance and advice in each sessions. Additional tutors who will lead sessions based on their experience and knowledge will also support you in those specific session activities. You will be provided with formative feedback throughout the module from both your tutor and your peers. In addition, the module tutor will respond to questions from students via the module’s discussion board on the University’s e-learning portal so that the whole group can benefit.

The module is supported by a teaching and learning plan that outlines the learning framework for the module and includes details on each week’s session activities, directed study and recommended reading. You will be provided with a wide-ranging digital reading list that includes core textbooks and academic journals to embed your theoretical knowledge, and surveys and podcasts that demonstrate practical application of this theory in modern organisations. This will be updated regularly throughout the module with topical articles from newspapers and new research from industry.

This module contains a number of activities which involve peer support these will not only allow you the chance to share the experiences of other students for differing business sectors but will also allow you the chance to develop your team working skills.

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 critically review the operation of employee relations policies and practices in light of overall business strategy and make recommendations for improvements (MLO1)
• You will be able to critically analyse the relationship between employee relations and elements of HR strategy (MLO2)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• You will develop the skills needed to be able to develop key human resource policy and procedures that not only meet but also exceed legal standards. (MLO3)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• You will be explicitly required to consider the ethical considerations employers must take into account when developing policies and procedures. MLO4)

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will take place within the contact sessions involving group work case study sessions, theory/practice related discussions and presentations.

There are two summative assessments for this module:
One is an individual piece of work in the form of a 3,500-word assignment the details of which will be provided in a separate assessment brief which will include the criteria for marking. This will assess MLO1, MLO2, MLO3, MLO4

The other is a group activity that involves students developing an employment law case over a number of weeks and presenting this to a mock employment tribunal in week 12 of the module. The hand in date for the written assignment is determined by the Portfolio Programme Office and will be communicated to students via notices and on blackboard.
This will assess MLO1, MLO2, MLO3,

Marking split
3,500 Word assignment 70%
Group employment tribunal case 30%





Module abstract

The Employment Relationship module will provide you with a systematic and coherent body of knowledge devised from both research and professional standards. These are required for HR professionals to understand, advise and deliver on the strategies, policies and practices of employee relations in a range of organizational contexts. It will allow you to develop your appreciation of alternative employment relations strategies, policies and practices, as well as providing you with the relevant knowledge and competence to deal with employment law issues. Overall the module will ensure that you are able to provide professional advice on basic legal rights and the obligations of both employers and employees. It will encourage you to reflect upon the types of beliefs, assumptions and material interests that underlie different approaches to employee relations and to consider the values that guide organisational choices and employee reactions within differing employment relations contexts.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years part-time

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2022

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.


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