LO4: Develop strategic approaches to people management practices which are shown to foster and build employee engagement.

MN7161 - Human and Ethical Perspectives in Organisations (2021/22)

Module specification 2021/22
Module title Human and Ethical Perspectives in Organisations
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
Total study hours 200
155 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
TypeWeightingQualifying markDescription
Group Presentation 30%   Group Presentation
Coursework 70%   3,500-word Written Coursework
PeriodCampusDayTimeModule Leader
pring semester North Monday Evening  

Module summary

This module addresses the important role that effective and ethical people management practices can have in supporting and sustaining successful CSR strategies. Indeed the thematic argument of this module is that successful CSR needs and requires an approach to human resource management that places the individual person at the heart of the employment relationship. The module argues that CSR strategy cannot be divorced from our internal people management strategies.

The module discusses issues which are highly pertinent and timely. In recent times, there have been a number of high profile cases presented in the media which have highlighted unethical and exploitative practices. Furthermore there is empirical evidence demonstrating an increasing tendency towards job insecurity, precarious work, stagnating wages, controversial employment contracts such as the growth of part-time and zero hours contracts (which are often not in the interest of employees). Even those in full-time and secure employment are often experiencing work intensification, declining terms and conditions and greater levels of stress.

The module challenges learning partners to reflect on how our organisations can embrace and adopt people management practices which encourage and engage our employees within the framework of responsible and ethical management.

Module aims

  1. To highlight the theoretical intersection between corporate social responsibility, business ethics and people management practices (HRM).
  2. To demonstrate the mutually reinforcing and symbiotic relationship between CSR initiatives and HR practices.
  3. To develop awareness of the importance of the outer and inner contexts of organizations, emphasizing the importance of internal stakeholders to successful CSR outcomes.
  4. To assess what we mean by ethical people management practices and what it means to put ‘the human back in human resource management’.
  5. To facilitate an understanding of concepts around power, leadership, voice, organizational citizenship and equality. 
  6. To equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to develop and implement strategic interventions aimed at enhancing ethical people management practices with organizations.


1. Contextualizing and conceptualizing HRM and the intersection with CSR.
2. Examining the external political, economic, social and environmental factors affecting approaches to people management.
3. Losing the human from our organizations: the profit maxim; short-termism; neo-liberalism.
4. Interrogating organization culture.
5. Power, leadership and management.
6. Putting ethics back into people management: rhetoric or reality
7. Well-being, non-financial rewards, equality diversity and inclusion.
8. Autonomy, voice, involvement and participation.
9. Organization citizenship.
10. Employee engagement as a route to improved outcomes.
11. Resource based view of strategy and Organization capabilities.

Learning and teaching

Delivery of the module is based on a mix of lectures, seminars, and discussion groups supported by weblearn materials and directed learning activities. Students will be issued with a module handbook, and guidance on readings, most of which will be available through the Learning Centre, others through weblearn. All participants will be required to read relevant materials in advance of seminar sessions in order that these can be student-led.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, learners will be able to:

  1. Critically understand the concept of HRM and the role of HRM and people management practices in supporting CSR initiatives.
  2. Explain the theoretical, empirical and philosophical connections between CSR, HRM and Ethics.
  3. Design and undertake an analysis of the relationships, causal or correlational, between ethical people management practices and CSR outcomes.
  4. Develop strategic approaches to people management practices which are shown to foster and build employee engagement.
  5. Identify and critically evaluate the organisational blockages and barriers which prevent us placing the ‘human at the heart of the workplace relationship’. 
  6. Understand the relationships linking employment relations, reward practices, equality and wider organisational outcomes such as engagement and performance.

Assessment strategy

There are two summative assessments in this module based on (i) a group presentation and (ii) a 3,500 word (max) written paper, in two parts (see below)

  1. The group presentation will involve a 20-minute presentation on a contemporary CSR, Ethics, and HRM issue, plus allowing an additional 10 minutes for Q&A, on a topic agreed by the students (Week 9)
  2. The written paper is in two parts:

Firstly, there is a comprehensive and critical 3,000-word (max) essay that focuses on a current issue (different from the group presentation), involving CSR, Ethics, HRM and people management. The essay choices each address a specific topic area but encompass a number of areas of the syllabus and require a critical orientation, detailed analysis and clear conclusions. It also allows the student to include practical case study material if appropriate.

Secondly, there is a short reflective statement (max 500-words) of personal learning and the contribution made by the module to the student’s professional development. This 500 reflection is in addition to the 3,000-word paper and is attached as an appendix. It is not assessed due to the personal nature, but must be submitted in order for the assessed work to pass. (Week 13)


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