2 Understand current and short- term developments in the people management business environment.

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7CO01 Work and working lives in a changing business environment


About this unit

This unit extends understanding of the interaction between the commercial business environment and likely future developments in the world of work, employment and the management of people. It discusses the range of people practices that are growing in importance, including those relating to ethics and sustainability, employee wellbeing, equality, diversity and inclusion.


What you will learn

You will focus on major ways in which leaders and managers working in people practice are responding to globalisation and its significance for work and employment. You will investigate the current and future thinking within organisations around technological developments and how new agendas are evolving. You will evaluate social, demographic and economic trends and how developments in public policy affect people practice. Effective leadership of change, innovation and creativity, including the key interrelationships between ethics, sustainability, diversity and wellbeing will be covered in this unit. Finally, you will critically analyse policy, practice and corporate social responsibility and the ways in which people professionals can apply and promote them for organisational productivity.

1      Understand ways in which major, long-term environmental developments affect employment, work and people management in organisations.

1.1    Assess globalisation and its long-term significance for work and employment.

Impact of globalisation on business and working lives; major developments in the global business environment; industrial restructuring and the changing nature of employment; volatility and competitive intensity.

1.2    Critically evaluate organisational vision of the current and future impact of technological trends on working life.

AI, advanced robotics, virtual reality, autonomous vehicles; debates about the impact of technological developments on employment, organisational management and the experience of working life; ways in which technological developments affect organisations, management, the experience of work and employment.

1.3    Evaluate the impact of long-term social and demographic trends for work and employment.

Population ageing; patterns of demographic change; individualism; ethical awareness; attitudes to work and diversity; the role of organisations in shaping society and social change.

1.4    Appraise the significance of long-term economic trends for work, employment and management practice in organisations.

Affluence and inequality; de- industrialisation and the rise of a service- based, knowledge-based economy; long- term shifts in macro-economic policy.

2      Understand current and short- term developments in the people management business environment.

2.1    Evaluate current developments in the media, technological and economic environments and their significance for people management.

Debates about current trends in work and working lives; the impact of social media and analytics on people practice; the current prospects for national and international economic development.

2.2    Assess developments in public policy which are affecting work, employment and people management in organisations.

The significance for people practice work of contemporary economic, industrial, education and employment policy; the impact of government policy on the people practice agenda.

2.3    Analyse major legal and regulatory developments in employment and the labour market, including the importance of mitigating risk.

Employment policy; major employment rights and their enforcement; health and safety regulation.

2.4    Critically discuss current labour market trends in the supply of and demand for skills.

Upskilling and down-skilling; undersupply and oversupply of skills; major contemporary labour market developments and their impact on HR work in organisations.

3      Understand how change, innovation and creativity can promote improvements in organisational productivity.

3.1    Analyse the effective management and leadership of change in organisations from a people management perspective.

Management and leadership of change: structural and cultural change; leading change effectively; major theories of change management; principles of the psychology of change; effective leadership and communication during periods of change; increasing capability and readiness for change; major theories of effective change management and debates about these.

3.2    Examine ways that organisations address resistance to change and recognise the levers that will achieve and sustain change.

Ways organisations address resistance to change: the role of employee involvement in successful change; encouraging engagement with change agendas; sustaining change; the role played by change consultants and change agents; improving organisational agility.

Levers to achieve change; clear rationale for change; timely, meaningful involvement and consultation with affected parties; communication; process alignment; training and development.

Mechanisms for sustaining change: monitoring and review; open feedback channels; ongoing training and development, communication of outcomes/benefits realisation.

3.3   Evaluate theory and practice in the fields of flexible working and organisational resilience.

Theory and practice in flexible working and organisational resilience: different forms of flexible working and debates about these; non-standard contracts and evolving forms of work; promoting organisational resilience.

3.4    Assess the contribution of people management aimed at improving organisational productivity, creativity and innovation.

Contribution to productivity, creativity and innovation: links between people practice interventions and organisational productivity; effective people practice responses to increased competition in product and labour markets; promoting creativity and innovation.

4      Understand the key interrelationships between organisational commitment to ethics, sustainability, diversity and wellbeing.

4.1    Propose initiatives aimed at improving an organisation’s ethics and values.

Major debates about business ethics and organisational values; the business case for ethical and sustainable people practice and policy; ethical dilemmas in people practice work; people practice interventions to improve ethical standards in organisations, and when working with suppliers, contractors and other organisations; debates about the ethics of people analytics.

4.2    Evaluate policy and practice aimed at improving employee wellbeing in an organisation.

The business case for promoting employee wellbeing; people practice interventions that support improved wellbeing in organisations; debates about safeguarding and bullying at work.

4.3    Critically evaluate theory and practice in the fields of corporate social responsibility and sustainable management practices.

The principles of corporate social responsibility; stakeholder approaches to management; principles of sustainability and ways in which people professionals can apply them.

4.4    Critically discuss how the effective promotion of greater equality, diversity and inclusion in organisations supports people practice.

Debates about diversity and inclusion in organisations; approaches to making organisations more equal, diverse and inclusive.

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