Academic Year 2015-2016
Managing Personnel and Human Resources (Full year delivery)
Assignment 1: Essay
Assignment 1 is an essay. Students are required to answer the question:
“Critically evaluate how organizations in the UK today can use pay linked to performance to improve how employees undertake their work”
Your essay must be between 1500 and 2000 words and is worth 40% of the total marks for the module.
Students must familiarise themselves with the material in the Module Information Pack (available on MyUCLan) on plagiarism, penalties for late submission and extenuating circumstances. Students should include the following declaration in their work:
I confirm that this assignment which I have submitted is all my own work and the source of any information and material I have used (including the Internet) has been fully identified and properly acknowledged as required in the School guidelines I have received
Any electronic submission of work will in any event be deemed to have agreed to this declaration.
Before students attempt to answer this question, they should follow read the following brief notes to remind themselves what is required in an essay:
- Students should carefully read the question to make sure they are clear what they are being ask to do
- An essay is a structured piece of academic work that requires students to logically and rationally argue the issue that is the subject of the essay
- An essay should be a structured piece of work containing an introduction, the ‘body’ of the text containing the main arguments, and a conclusion summing up those arguments.
- The essay must be fully referenced using the Harvard system and contain a full reference list containing all material cited in the essay.
Material covered in the sessions related to the topics for the assignment should be used as a starting point. Don’t simply restate what was covered in the lecture or what you have read in the literature. Develop an analysis of the key issues using secondary material to support points or to forward the case that you are presenting.
Make a plan with key points outlined before you begin to write the full answer. Ask yourself, does the analysis flow? Tutors are able to discuss your plan and ideas with you, although they will not read through full assignments.
Simple statements of opinion or prescriptive assertions are not adequate to the task: you need to back up your arguments with evidence and examples, e.g. from case or survey studies.
If you need any further guidance, including locating or identifying secondary material, please arrange to see me or your seminar tutor.
The criteria for the assignment are as follows:
- Research and apply appropriate material;
- Show an understanding of relevant theories and concepts;
- Develop reasoned arguments and justified conclusions;
- Communicate effectively in terms of accurate written presentation and referencing.
For guidance on how work will be marked, please refer to the University Assessment Handbook:
Wherever practicable, students’ work will be marked anonymously.
The key to a successful piece of academic work is a student’s ability to ‘demonstrate’ that s/he understands the topic based on appropriate reading material that the student can then analyse and create into a discussion leading to reasoned conclusions.
Further reading and sources
In particular students can usefully look at the following text books from your Module Information Pack:
Beardwell, J. and Thompson, A., (2014), Human Resource Management: A Contemporary Approach, (7th edition), Harlow: Prentice Hall, chapter 13
Bratton, J. and Gold, J., (2012), Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice, (5th edition), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, chapter 11
The other text books in the Module Information Pack will have similar chapters on pay and reward. In addition to the material on reward management, students should also find it useful to familiarise themselves with the literature on performance management as reward and performance are usually linked.
There is also material you can read in:
Armstrong, M., (2012), Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, (12th edition), London: Kogan Page (there are a number of other editions of this material, both ‘hard copy’ and electronic to which students can refer)
Armstrong, M., (2002), Reward Management, (3rd edition), London: CIPD
CIPD, (2015), ‘Performance-related Pay’, available at http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/factsheets/performance-related-pay.aspx (access to this document can only be obtained through registering for a free account with CIPD)
Drucker, J., (2000), Wages systems, in Drucker, J. and White, G., (eds.), Reward Management: A Critical Text, London: Routledge, pp.106-124 (other chapters in this edited book collection will also be useful)
IDS HR Studies (various), (the library hold copies of these for consultation only)
Leopold, J. and Harris, L., (2009), The Strategic Managing of Human Resources, (2nd edition), Harlow: Prentice Hall, chapter 8
People Management – although the brief ‘snapshots’ in this magazine are never enough on their own to write a comprehensive essay, using the search facility will give some indication of the problems companies face and how they seek to resolve the issues
Shaw, J.D. and Gupta, N., (2015), Let the evidence speak again! Financial incentives are more effective than we thought, Human Resource Management Journal, 25:3, pp.281-293
Taylor, P., (2013), Performance Management and the New Workplace Tyranny – A Report for the Scottish Trades Union Congress, available at:
Torrington, D, Hall, L. and Taylor, S., (2005), Human Resource Management, (6th edition), Harlow: FT/Prentice Hall, chapter 28
Students are not restricted solely to these sources. The university library contains an extensive range of material on employee turnover, both in electronic form and in ‘hard copy’. Independent research, particularly through studying journal articles, is an important way of helping to achieve the assessment criteria for this module.
How much to read?
Students are often concerned about the number of sources they should read and reference. There is no exact answer to this. The wider the reading the greater the likelihood the student will understand the issues they are being asked to discuss. Essays must certainly be based on more than one source and it is recommended that students read a number of text books and a number of more specialist academic sources (journals, HR practitioner publications). Please remember using, reading and referencing material quoted in lectures is acceptable, but citing lecture slides is not!
Material drawn from Internet sources should be used with caution and care, and should NOT be used as an alternative for a properly researched and argued essay using academic sources. If students are unclear on the validity or reliability of specific sites, they should seek advice from the module coordinator or class tutor.
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