Critically discuss the extent to which Human Resource Management can improve organisational performance?

Essay 1:-Critically discuss the extent to which Human Resource Management can improve organisational performance?
Generic Assessment Marking Criteria

You will be marked according to five criteria:

• Quality of Presentation
• Understanding and use of Theory
• Quality of Analysis
• Structure and Argument
• Conclusions

The examiners will be looking for the following elements for each of these criteria.

Presentation

• All material is thoroughly and correctly referenced.
• Citations are given in the Harvard format, unless specifically specified otherwise in the assignment brief.
• Direct quotations from sources are referenced with page numbers.
• Appropriate use has been made of tables, diagrams, graphs and pictures.
• The use of formatting (line spacing, font, justified margins etc) is consistent throughout.
• The text is clear and readable, without typographic errors and spelling mistakes.
• The assignment is within the maximum word length suggested.
• The bibliography contains only the works cited in the assignment, is presented in author alphabetical order and is complete, accurate, and consistently formatted.

Theory

• Evidence of wider reading i.e. not relying on a textbook or single text source, but engaging with specialist texts, journal articles and reports.
• A demonstration of an understanding and awareness of a range of theoretical positions or technical options.
• The ability to place a particular text’s argument within a range of positions evident in the literature and to recognise its strengths and limitations as an explanatory framework.
• Direct quotes, paraphrasing or other evidence of active engagement with theory and/or technique is apparent throughout the assignment.

Analysis

• The assignment demonstrates an ability to understand different perspectives i.e. the student can evaluate different options, engage critically with theory and practice and can justify their analysis above other available solutions or viewpoints.
• The analysis results from the use of judgement and discernment in selecting theory and applying it to the situation or problem.
• The selection of techniques and viewpoints are justified by the problem or issue outlined.
• Reflection and observation are integrated in the analysis in an appropriate way i.e. a supported argument illustrated with observation rather than a statement of opinion.

Structure and Argument

• An essay assignment will normally include an introduction, several sub-titled sections in the main body, a conclusion and a bibliography. Alternative formats may be specified by the assignment brief and, if so, have been used.
• A coherent argument is evident, which clearly links the different elements of the assignment together and leads the reader through to a justifiable conclusion.
• The argument is logically constructed with each section building on the insights of preceding sections i.e. different perspectives are not simply thrown together without an understanding of how they contribute to the overall argument presented.
• Theory is integrated into the analytical and/or practical elements of the assignment where appropriate
• Meaning is not obscured by poor grammar, paragraph or sentence construction.

Conclusions

• The conclusion summarises the whole of the assignment and not just the analysis i.e. conclusions relate questions posed, adequacy of the theory, empirical issues explored and reflect on the student’s approach to the work.
• The conclusions refer to the argument presented to that point and do not introduce new ideas or arguments “at the last moment”.
• The conclusion demonstrates the ability of the student to justify their theoretical and analytical approach.
• Conclusions have been drawn and follow, and are justified by, the analysis in the main body of the assignment. Where required, practical recommendations are feasible and follow on from the conclusions, addressing the issues identified.
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Essay 2:-‘Global economic developments provide constraints and opportunities for workers and trade unions in newly emerging economies.’ Discuss with reference to EITHER China or India, using examples from MNCs and/or New Industrial Zones/Special Economic Zones and/or informal/migrant labour.
The essay could be placed in the broader debate on the nature of globalisation (differential in its impact on workers and unions); how states mediate globalisation (deregulate to weaken labour and unions or extend support to attract investment); and the strength of labour and unions.

The essay should explore both opportunities and challenges of globalisation for workers and trade unions in India/China.

Opportunities for workers and trade unions could include more employment through flow of FDI and MNCs; new kinds of business/HR practices; new technology, research and skills; emphasis on international standards on wages, working conditions, health and safety rules being ensured through ILO, activists, NGOs and international unions. For unions, it could mean new linkages, new strategies. Elaborate through examples.

Challenges to workers and unions could include transfer of low paid, low skill jobs being transferred (NIDL theory); exploitation of a weak labour e.g. rual, migrant workers in China and informal labour in India; decline of trade unions; strong position of MNCs vis-a-vis weak states that could weaken position of labour and unions through labour reforms, especially in SEZ, NI Zones. Again use examples.

For India, Industrial Relations Journal (2010), 41:2, Special issues on employment relations in India, and Hammer, A. (2010) Trade unions in a constrained environment: workers’ voices from a NIZ in India, Industrial Relations Journal, 41:2, 168-183, and the tutorial case study on IT sector are a good starting point. For China, Smith, C. and N. Pun (2006) ‘The Dormitory Labour Regime in China as a Site for Control and Resistance’ International Journal of Human Resource Management, 17, 8: 1456–1470, as well as one of the Gamble articles is a good starting point.

Core reading:
Hammer, A. (2014) Employment Relations in Emerging Economies: China and India’, in Beardwell, J. and Thompson, A. Human Resource Management: A Contemporary Approach, Pearson, ( Chapter 16) (seventh edition)
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