Module Code: H9EMPRE
Long Title Employee Relations
Title Employee Relations
Module Level: LEVEL 9
EQF Level: 7
EHEA Level: Second Cycle
Credits: 5
Module Coordinator: COLIN WHITSTON
Departments: School of Business
Specifications of the qualifications and experience required of staff  
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
# Learning Outcome Description
LO1 Critically evaluate different theoretical perspectives on the management of the employment relationship and how they influence the roles of people professionals and line managers
LO2 Explain how external institutions can shape employment relations at organisational level
LO3 Discuss how people professionals can work with employees and trade unions to sustain mutuality and voice, and the implications for organizational justice, bargaining and productivity
LO4 Demonstrate the ability to analyse how people professionals work with employees and trade unions to mitigate organisational risks
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is required before enrolment on this module. While the prior learning is expressed as named NCI module(s) it also allows for learning (in another module or modules) which is equivalent to the learning specified in the named module(s).

69179 H9EMPRE Employee Relations
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed
Entry requirements

There are no additional entry requirements for this module.  The programme entry requirements apply.  No pre-requisites or co-requisites apply.   


Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Perspectives on the employment relationship
This chapter explains and define employment relations, which is fundamentally concerned with the way that employers, employees, Government and other third parties use a range of rules and processes to negotiate and regulate behaviour at the level of workplace and the work community. The roles played by the key employment relations actors and their interests are then outlined, and the main theoretical perspectives that have been developed to explain and understand employment relations are examined. Systems theory and the main frames of reference are explored, along with more radical approaches such as labour process theory and feminist perspectives of employment relations. The core processes used to regulate the employment relationship. ‘Market and managerial relations’ as dimensions of the employment relationship
The Context of Employment Relations
Examines the factors external to the organization – economic, political, economic, social and technological – that influence the nature of work and employment relations. We explore how the State shapes the corporate environment in its role as an economic manager, lawmaker and Ireland’s largest employer. We focus on related contemporary issues including Brexit, the problem of low British productivity and the globalization of economic activity. Explores changing social attitudes towards work, gender and trade unions with specific reference to the findings of the British Social Attitudes Survey. This is followed by an examination of the impact of rapid technological change on the way we work now and may work in the future. Provides an analysis of contemporary developments in the Irish labour market exploring the splintering of traditional modes of employment and the increased emphasis on ‘good work’ in the wake of the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. Looks at the origins and development of state intervention in the employment relationship. • Markets, labour markets, and market regulation • Origins and development of state intervention in the employment relationship • The neoliberal critique of the institutions of labour market regulation • The growth and character of state intervention in the employment relationship: impact and issues regarding market and managerial relations • Individual rights – pay; diversity, worker protection • Collective rights – bargaining and consultation • Debating labour market intervention within the EU.
Managing Employment Relations
The central role of the line manager in the effective management of the employment relations and, therefore, employment relations strategy and practice. How HR can better support the line manager in their role. An important development in recent years has been the greater devolvement of people management tasks to the line. This will form a central spine of the discussion in the chapter. The formulation of an organization’s strategy, concentrating on the main elements of business strategy, the levels at which strategic decision-making takes place – the corporate level, the business-unit level, and the levels appropriate to the different functions of the business – and the ‘fit’ between an organisation’s activities and its resources. The associated employment policies necessary to achieve strategic objectives Exploring the nature of employee engagement and particularly by asking with whom, and in what, employees are engaged? Representation at work -the way in which employee and workers interests are represented in employment relations and focuses on the changing role of trade unions, which, despite their declining influence, still provide the main source of representation in Irish workplaces.
‘Worker voice’ – control and productivity
The concept of ‘worker voice’ – from industrial democracy to ‘employee involvement’ Collective bargaining: theory, parties and practice Union purpose, development and change Productivity bargaining and the ‘frontier of control’ Direct and indirect employee participation and the institutionalisation of information and consultation Change and scope in management approaches to ‘worker voice’
The proceduralisation of employee relations
Managing discipline and grievances Equity, diversity, and inclusion Health and wellbeing Conflict and conflict resolution Mediation
Assessment Breakdown%


Full Time

Assessment Type: Continuous Assessment % of total: 100
Assessment Date: n/a Outcome addressed: 1,2,3,4
Non-Marked: No
Assessment Description:
This module will be 100% continuous assessment with individual work to be submitted on at the end of teaching. The module assessment requires that students show their appreciation of the concepts and theories covered in the module and their application in a real-life situation. Details of this are provided in a separate assignment brief. Formative Assessment will be through analysing case studies and structured seminars. During each seminar, students will be required to draw a concept map in class to represent their understanding of a topic. They will also submit one or two short paragraphs identifying the main point of a lecture/seminar. Students will receive early feedback on the concept maps and main points of the lecture/seminar. One-to-one clinics (where appropriate) will also be run to support the completion of the continuous assessment for this module in addition to lecture content. The summative assessment will examine all learning outcomes.
No End of Module Assessment
No Workplace Assessment
Reassessment Requirement
Repeat examination
Reassessment of this module will consist of a repeat examination. It is possible that there will also be a requirement to be reassessed in a coursework element.
Reassessment Description
Feedback on work submitted will be given and the Repeat Assignment will involve reflection on that feedback and improving and reworking the original submission. In some instances, an alternative new assignment may be given. 

NCIRL reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Module Target Workload Hours 0 Hours
Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture Classroom and demonstrations 24 Per Semester 2.00
Directed Learning Directed e-learning 24 Per Semester 2.00
Directed Learning Independent learning 77 Per Semester 6.42
Total Weekly Contact Hours 10.42

Module Resources

Recommended Book Resources
  • Budd, John. (2017), Labour Relations: Striking a Balance, 5th Edition. McGraw-Hill Education.
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Townsend, K. & Wilkinson, S. (2014), Guest editors’ note: time to reconnect the silos? Similarities and differences in employment relations and human resources human resource management, 53 (2), 203–210.
  • Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). (2019), Irish Employment Law Explained,
  • Van Beek, I., Hu, Q., Schaufeli, W.B., Taris, T.W. & Schreurs, B.H. (2012), For Fun, Love, or Money: What Drives Workaholic, Engaged, and BurnedOut Employees at Work?. Applied Psychology, 61(1), pp.30-55.
  • Maccorrone, V., Erne, R. and Regan, A. (2019), Ireland: Life after Social Partnership. Chapter 15 in Müller, T, Vandeaele, K. and Waddington, J, Collective Bargaining in Europe. Brussels: ETUI.
  • Wilkinson, A. & Barry, M. (2016), Pro-social or Pro-management? A Critique of the Conception of Employee Voice as a Prosocial Behaviour within Organizational Behaviour, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 54, 2: 261-284..
  • Teague, P., Roche, W.K., Gormley, T. & Currie, D. (2015), he Changing Pattern of Workplace Conflict in Ireland, Ch. 2 of Managing Conflict in the Workplace: Alternative Dispute Resolution in Ireland, Dublin: Institute of Public Administration..
  • Roche, William K. (2016), The Development of Conflict Resolution Practices in Irish Workplaces, Administration, 64, 3.
  • Roche, B. (2015), A Summary of grievance handling in various firms, In Managing Workplace Conflict – Alternative Dispute Resolution in Ireland by Teague, P. et al. (2015), IPA, Dublin.
  • Kmec, J.A., O’Connor, L.T. & Schieman, S. (2014), Not ideal: The association between working anything but full-time and perceived unfair treatment. Work and Occupations, 41(1), pp.63-85.
  • Tailby, S. & Moore, S. (2014), Collective bargaining: building solidarity through the fight against inequality and discrimination, Journal of Industrial Relations, 32(2): 361–84.
  • The following CIPD Factsheets available at: (Note:  You must be a CIPD member to access these resources)..
This module does not have any article/paper resources
Other Resources
  • [Journal], British Journal of Industrial Relations.
  • [Journal], Economic and Industrial Democracy.
  • [Journal], Economic and Social Review.
  • [Journal], Employee Relations.
  • [Journal], European Journal of Industrial Relations.
  • [Journal], European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO)/European Foundation for the.
  • [Journal], Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.
  • [Journal], Gender, Work and Organization.
  • [Journal], Human Resource Management Journal.
  • [Journal], Industrial Relations (Berkeley).
  • [Journal], Industrial Relations Journal (UK).
  • [Journal], Industrial Relations News.
  • [Journal], International Human Resource Management.
  • [Journal], People Management (formerly Personnel Management).
  • [Journal], New Technology, Work and Employment.
  • [Journal], People Management (formerly Personnel Management).
  • [Journal], Quarterly Economic Commentary.
  • [Journal], Transfer – Quarterly of the European Trade Union Institute.
  • [Journal], Work Employment and Society.
Discussion Note: