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Unit information: Alternative Work and Organisations in 2021/22

Unit name Alternative Work and Organisations
Unit code EFIMM0134
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Mangan
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Management
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Alternative forms of work and organisation surround us in our daily lives, yet we often do not recognise or acknowledge them. For example, co-operatives, charities and volunteers all require organisation and management for them to function. Equally, work practices and organisations that are considered ‘alternative’ in the UK are commonplace in other national contexts. To ignore the experiences and richness of these alternative forms of work and organisations is to impoverish our understanding of the world of work. In this unit, we consider the future of work by making a positive case for studying alternative forms of work and organisation. The unit explores a diversity of perspectives on what counts as work, examining the significance of co-operation rather than outright competition and asking whether it is important to make a difference as part of our working lives. Students will be introduced to a variety of responses to specific problems, recognising that businesses do not exist in a vacuum, but are embedded in specific, local communities. The unit will provide students with knowledge of alternative workplaces, allowing them to develop a nuanced understanding of the different paths available when considering the future of work.

The overall aims of this unit are to:

  1. Develop student’ knowledge and understanding of alternative work and organisations.
  2. Discover and communicate the similarities, tensions and paradoxes of alternative work and organisation, based on research-rich teaching.
  3. Critically reflect on the wider socio-political context in which alternative work and organisations are situated and evaluate their importance to society.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding of the key features of alternative forms of work and organisation.
  2. Describe and critically evaluate current debates and empirical research on alternative work and organising, including topics such as co-operatives, charities and volunteering.
  3. Discuss the history of alternative forms of organisations, applying this historical knowledge to critically analyse current developments in the field.
  4. Assess the tensions, similarities and paradoxes in the inter-relationships between alternative organisations, for-profit businesses and wider society, with specific reference to current socio-political and international contexts.
  5. Critically analyse, synthesise, evaluate and reflect on key concepts such as ‘utopia’ in work futures.
  6. Build teamwork, negotiation and cooperation skills to work collaboratively with others on pertinent questions on alternative work and organisation.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through lectorials. The unit structure offers 30 contact hours in total (10 x 3-hour lectorials). The lectorials will have the principal purpose of introducing the content of the course, providing students with an opportunity to test their understanding of the key concepts and developing their analytical skills through discussions based on key readings. The classes are research-informed and will be based on current empirical research by experts in the field. A variety of teaching methods will be utilised in the lectorials, including discussions based on readings and student experiences; case study work involving analysis, problem-solving and decision-making; group and individual exercises; presentations, discussion, and debate. Lectorials will be structured around key weekly topics.

The unit structure offers 30 contact hours in total. The remaining 170 learning hours will be spent in independent study and in the preparation of assessment.

Assessment Information

Formative: A 500-word essay where students will identify an alternative form of work or organisation, then use relevant academic literature to explain why it is defined as alternative, as well as critical reflections on the advantages, limitations and broader context.

Summative: (60% of overall unit mark) 1 x 2,000-word individual essay, which will be provided in class and on Blackboard.

Intended Learning Outcomes: 2, 4 and 5

Summative: (40% of overall unit mark) 1 group project (4-5 students in each group) including a 4,000-word group report (30% of overall mark) and a 20-minute presentation to their tutor in person or recorded with audio feedback given at a later date (10% of overall mark).

Intended Learning Outcomes: 1-3 and 6


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EFIMM0134).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.