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Unit information: International Employment Relations and Governance in 2021/22

Unit name International Employment Relations and Governance
Unit code EFIMM0132
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Huw Thomas
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit explores the subject of international employment relations and governance. The relationship between labour, capital and the state within its broad political, historical, economic and social context is one that is experiencing dramatic changes. These changes raise important questions. Are traditional forms of labour market regulations sustainable and is it possible to produce voice, equity and efficiency at the same time? Will unions continue to play an important role in helping to protect the interests of workers? What role will emerging economies have in changing employment relations institutions and outcomes? Do national institutions, actors and policymakers still have the most important role to play in shaping employment relations? What part do new governance actors at the international level have to play? Are new forms of representation developing and will they be as effective? This unit will provide students with the knowledge and understanding and conceptual tools they need to answer these and the many other employment relations-related questions raised by globalisation, technological advances and the increasing proliferation of trans-national organisations and their value chains.

The overall aims of this unit are to:

  1. Understand and explain the impact of the growing internationalisation of production, technological advancement and changing nature of the workplace for employment relations and the governance of labour.
  2. Describe and apply the theories of employment relations and governance to a range of contemporary cases and organisations.
  3. Discover and communicate the challenges and opportunities to the parties, processes and outcomes of the employment relationship.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the employment relationship at the local, national and international levels.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the context international employment relations, including outsourcing, the value chains of transnational corporations, the institutional effects on labour market institutions, the international regulatory environment, and international trade unionism and the new social movements.
  3. Apply and evaluate social, economic and political theories to questions pertinent to employment relations in an international and comparative context.
  4. Read and interpret theoretical and research-based literature on employment relations and demonstrate an ability to communicate such information effectively to a wide audience.
  5. Demonstrate an ability to evaluate and formulate policies relating to contemporary employment relations challenges, including conformance to international laws.

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, including vocabulary, concepts, theories, perspectives, practices and trends. The classes are based on ‘real life’ organisational experiences where there is exposure to practical issues facing employment relations actors and institutions. 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 questions on the changing nature of employment relations and governance. The remaining learning hours (170 hours) will be spent in independent study and in the preparation of assessment.

Assessment Information

Formative: 1 x 500 word individual essay where the students will select an international employment relations issue and related challenges, and then use the relevant academic and practitioner-focused literatures to justify why the selected issue is important and worthy to study.

Summative: (100% of overall unit mark) 1 x 3,500 individual report assignment whereby students will be required to write a report for the International Trade Union Confederation on one of their identified work-related ‘issues’ (e.g. child labour, climate changes, migration).

Intended Learning Outcomes: 1-5


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. EFIMM0132).

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.