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Unit information: People, Work and Organisations in 2020/21

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Unit name People, Work and Organisations
Unit code EFIM20022
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Harry Pitts
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

Unit Directors: Dr Harry Pitts and Dr Vanessa Beck

This unit aims to provide students with a grounding in classical and cutting-edge interdisciplinary social scientific theories of work and empirical developments in the study of how people and organisations relate. It will help students develop a strong set of critical analytical and conceptual frameworks and apply them to a series of contemporary issues in the organisation of work, labour markets and economic life. Critical social theories will be used as a means by which commonplace understandings of work can be unpicked and unpacked to better capture and represent the experience of changing workplaces and careers.

Applying different theoretical and conceptual frameworks in different empirical contexts, the unit focuses specifically on the varied range of forms and locations in which work takes place, including work inside and outside the home, the gig economy, health and social care, the digital economy, migrant labour, and unemployment as they are experienced in social-psychological terms across lines of class, ethnicity, age and gender.

By looking in-depth at what it is like to work and manage in a range of different professions, the unit will also provide students with more general intellectual, personal and technical skills that can be drawn upon in the development of their own future careers, including a glimpse into emergent sectors of business and employment, theoretically informed assessments of their own careers, and understanding of the practical implications of contemporary trends in employment for people, work and organisations that they will experience themselves in their post-university careers.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify how employees and employers are affected by and respond to the key trends and themes of the contemporary experience of work in a range of formal and informal workplaces.
  2. Evaluate and apply relevant critical and social theories of work, management and organisation to further the understanding of the underlying factors impacting upon the experience of contemporary work.
  3. Analyse and synthesise findings from key empirical studies informing the development of the study of working life so as to generate new knowledge and insights about the changing world of work.
  4. Enhance verbal and non-verbal communication skills independently and in groups.
  5. Identify required employability skills as they are reflected in the work-based literature and gain an understanding of the implications for individual career development.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions including lectures, tutorials, drop-in sessions, discussion boards and other online learning opportunities.

Assessment Information

Summative: 3000-word individual assignment - 100% Formative: Short individual writing assignments with feed forward

Reading and References

Indicative Reading and References

Watson, T., 2017. Sociology, Work and Organisation. 7th edn. Routledge.

Strangleman, T., and Warren, T., 2008. Work and Society: Sociological Approaches, Themes and Methods. Routledge

Pettinger, L., Parry, J., Taylor, R., and Glucksmann, M. (eds.), 2006. A New Sociology of Work? Wiley-Blackwell

Work, Employment & Society ‘On the Front Line’ series:

Leading journals in the field, including Work, Employment & Society, Organization Studies, Human Relations, Organization, Human Resource Management Journal, British Journal of Industrial Relations, and Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society.