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One of the Honours Classes for the Human Resource Managemnt Management degree is HR402 ‘Perspectives on Work and Employment’. Professor Taylor took over co-ordination of the class for academic year 2014-5. As the class content and modes of assessment had not changed for several years, it was decided to undertake a thorough revision. While maintaining the theoretical emphasis that had characterised and was an undoubted strength of the module, innovation involvd involved a lecture programme more focused on the application of theory to the empirical domain. For example, in the first section of the course on the theme of ‘The Global and the Local’, lectures on globlisation globalisation and the varieties of capitalism were accompanied by case study examples of Transnational Corporations’ (TNCs’) activities and HR and employment relations’ policies and practices in a number of different countries.

Another example of this inter-relationshop relationship of theory and practice forms the subject of this particular ‘‘Sharing Effective Practice’ case study. In the last section of the class on ‘Trade Unions and Employee Representation’ change consisted first of a reconfiguration of the lecture programme and second of innovation in respect of the related assigmentassignment. A formal lecture on ‘Trade Unions and Representation’ was followed by a session entitled ‘What Do Trade Union Reps Actually Do?’. At this session, six trade union officers and reps were invited to attend. The idea was that each of the reps/officers sit at a desk and students in turn, for a set time, sit opposite the rep and ask questions of them. Students then visit another table and so on. On the basis of the notes taken, students were obliged to complete a report which answered that general question. This report constituted the final assessed assignment of the class. 


Department of Human Resource Management

Faculty of Business

Contact Details

Professor Philip Taylor




  • Consistent with the overall aim of the class to seek to apply theoretical knowledge, based on an understanding of the relevant literature,to appropriate concrete ‘real world’ examples;
  • To facilitate active learning, encouarging encouraging students to undertake their a novel investigation based upon questions asked of relevant stakeholders;
  • To develop an innovatory form of assigmentassignment, complementary to the other assigments assignments used in the class (group report and presentation, essay, final exam);


Perhaps the biggest challenge was re-assuring students in advance that this exercise would stretch them positively but would not prove over-demanding of them. This trepidation was exacerbated by the fact that this was an assessed assigmentassignment. Once the session was underway under way students’ fears were allayed. Thus, it was important for the lecturer to clearly communicate in advance what the session and the assignent assignment would consist of.



Suggestions for Transferability

There is no qustion that no question that the introduction of the ‘real world’ into the classroom is of enormous benefit for students. The testimony of informed stakeholders with a wealth of expereince is of experience is an invaluable learning resource, particularly when it allied to the onus being placed upon students to inquire and inevtigateand investigate.