Case studies, guidance and presentation requirements for MGT4006 assignment 1 2019/20
Students should attempt ONE of the case studies at the end of this document and answer the associated questions in an assignment of approximately 1,000 words. This will be worth 20% of your final course grade. All answers should draw upon appropriate evidence, legislation and theory.
This assignment should be submitted by 12 noon on Monday 9th December 2019. The cases have been designed to assess the employment law topics covered on the course and the wider implications for HR. You can, of course, submit your assignment at any time before the deadline. For the questions asking about wider HR implications you can, where relevant, draw on material from across the course.
Readings to start with for each case study can be sourced from:
a. The key and further readings on the course reading list from the relevant session(s) (available through Moodle). b. Extra references/readings put on Moodle in the relevant session folders (either as separate lists or on the final lecture slide(s)).
This should give you plenty to get you going but you can, of course, add to these reading lists with other sources uncovered through your own research. Although the focus of this assignment is on the application of employment legislation, the question still gives the scope for reading around HR issues. We still expect to see a variety of high quality academic sources cited and for referencing to be undertaken as outlined below. You can use practitioner and policy-based sources to answer the questions on legislation, however (e.g. the ACAS, CIPD and/or Gov.UK websites).
As per University guidelines, please only list in the reference list what you have read directly and demonstrate that you have understood the material you cite. You do not get extra marks for regurgitating references from within other sources or simply for having an enormous reference list without demonstrating understanding of what is cited.
Your assignment will be graded in line with the University Code of Assessment (see Undergraduate Student Information Point (USIP)). The following elements should help you to understand the criteria that we are looking to assess within your assignments:
a. The degree to which relevant employment legislation has been understood and applied to the case/case questions. b. Consideration of the wider HR implications of the issues raised in the case studies (where the questions ask for this). c. Use of evidence and sources. d. The overall standard of presentation and written expression.
You will have to upload your assignment through Turnitin plagiarism software on Moodle (details to be given nearer the time). Please see USIP for the University’s policy on plagiarism.
Assignments should be referenced using the Harvard style using the following guidelines (see also the library guide to Harvard referencing):
1. Within your answer, cite authors’ contributions by their name, using surname and year of publication NOT by the title of the article, book or journal, e.g.… as Hurrell and Scholarios (2014) argue…; OR (if not quoting the authors’ names in the sentence itself) …research on the link between HRM and performance raises many issues (Guest, 2011). If there are more than two authors you can use the first named author followed by et al. in text, e.g. as argued by Hurrell et al. (2013).
2. All direct quotations should be incorporated in quotation marks and have the page indicated on which they appear e.g. When discussing the development of HRM Bratton (2012, p. 3) believes that, ‘The roots of people management can be traced back to the Industrial revolution…’ Do not over-rely on direct quotations; the majority of the content should be in your own words.
3. In the reference list at the end of the essay, list the authors alphabetically in a single list, by first author surname, following the guidelines below. All authors for multiauthored works should be listed here with et al. only used for in-text references (see above). Separate headings are not needed for different types of source within this list e.g. books, journal articles etc…
4. For journal articles, include author(s) name(s), year, article title, journal name, volume number, issue number and page range, e.g.:
Hurrell, S. A., Scholarios, D. and Thompson, P. (2013) More than a ‘Humpty Dumpty’ term: Strengthening the conceptualization of soft skills, Economic and Industrial Democracy, 34 (1): 161-182.
5. For books, monographs or reports (e.g. ACAS guidance) include author name, book/report title, place of publication, publisher, edition (if appropriate) e.g.:
Boxall, P. and Purcell, J. (2011) Strategy and Human Resource Management, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 3rd edition.
6. For chapters in an edited collection include chapter author(s) name(s), chapter title, book editor(s) name(s), book title, place of publication, publisher, page range of chapters, e.g.:
Sengupta, S. and Whitfield, K. (2011) Ask not what HRM can do for performance but what HRM has done to performance, in Blyton, P., Heery, E. and Turnbull, P. (eds.) Reassessing the Employment Relationship, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 97121.
7. When referencing a web page use the same principles for in-text referencing above. Cite the name of the author (if known) or the organisation (if author not known/stated) followed by the year (if known) or the current year (if year is not known/stated). The full URL should then be included in the reference list alongside date accessed. Although you should use a variety of high quality sources, you might use web pages such as GOV.UK more for this assignment than you normally would. For quotes taken directly from web pages, it may not always be possible to give a page number.
Example of a web page referenced in the reference list:
Trades Union Congress (TUC) 2018, Dealing with problems at work, available at https://www.tuc.org.uk/dealing-problems-work, first accessed 11/01/2018
n.b. In-text citation would be (TUC, 2018).
Academic journals articles and reports etc… that are simply accessed through the internet should be referenced as normal (see points 4-6 above).
8. If citing different sources from the same author/source, written in the same year then please use lettering a, b, c etc… after the date. For example, if citing two different web pages from GOV.UK, with no named author or stated publication date you would reference the first as GOV.UK (2019a) and the second as GOV.UK (2019b). The full details for both would be given in the reference list, as outlined in point 7, listed in the order you cited them in text.
9. If quoting directly from a source you have not read which is quoted within another source (‘sub-referencing’), then make this clear in-text as well as the page where this was found in the source you did read. For example if quoting Brown from within Shum you would write, (Brown (2004), quoted in Shum (2011), p. 1). In the reference list, as per University guidelines, you should just list the sources you have read directly (e.g. in this example only Shum would be listed but not Brown). Wherever possible you should not sub-reference. This is where people often fail to show understanding, for example by just listing referenced concepts from within other sources but not explaining what the concepts themselves actually mean.
10. Do not use footnotes for references. Place all citations at the end of the essay in the reference list.
11. Your assignment reference list should only include names of authors / reading discussed in your assignment essay. There is no need for a separate bibliography as ALL references you have drawn on should be referenced in the text to show where you have got the information from.
For further details on using the Harvard system please visit the library help pages here: http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/library/subjectssupport/informationskills/referencing/
Further presentation guidelines.
Read the following further assignment presentation requirements carefully, and follow them.
1. The assignment should be approximately 1,000 words long (+/- 10%).
2. The case you have chosen should be clear.
3. Given that this assignment asks for answers to specific questions, it is fine to number your responses and treat each answer as a separate section (although you can refer to your answers to other questions, where appropriate).
4. It must have 1½ or double line spacing.
5. It must have at least a 2.54 cm margin all round (the standard set up in Word).
6. The assignment word count excludes any appendices and references listed in the reference list.
7. Any material in tables or diagrams should be referred to in the assignment itself and discussed in text. All tables and diagrams (‘figures’) must have a title and number, e.g. Table 1: Break down of employment by sector of the UK economy; Figure 1: The Harvard Model of HRM.
8. Place any ancillary material referred to in an appendix at the back of the assignment, after the references section. Only use appendices where absolutely necessary as all relevant material should be discussed within your answer and related to the question.
9. Please number the pages of your assignment.
Case study 1: Rachel’s tribunal threat
Rachel Charity had worked on a temporary contract for 18 months at an accountancy firm, in a remote office with three other colleagues, all younger than her, but at the same hierarchical level. Although some way from the main premises, the remote office was important to the organisation as it offered visibility in an area with a high concentration of clients. Rachel’s job was to deal with client account queries and take turns staffing the reception desk. Her contract was due for renewal, but she was not performing her duties as expected, despite being well qualified and having a wealth of experience. Rachel frequently did not log client queries in the account management system, despite reminders to do this, meaning colleagues were not up-to-date with ongoing client issues. She also delegated tasks to a much younger/less confident (though better performing) colleague, although she had no authority to do this. In addition, Rachel frequently avoided doing her turn on the reception desk.
The office Rachel worked in was remote from the main premises and, due to budgetary constraints, there was no permanent supervisor stationed at this office. Resultantly, Rachel had not been spoken to formally about these issues. Rachel’s ultimate manager, Eric, was aware of some problems but had not addressed these with her and was considering simply not renewing her contract, as he believed he could not be challenged legally for such an action. Due to uncertainty over future business, Eric was not in a position to offer permanent contracts, although he would have liked to where he believed people warranted it. Although there was an HR business partner to advise Eric, the HR department was understaffed and Eric had largely been left to manage the issue on his own.
Recently Eric had promoted Leigh, one of the team within the main premises, to be supervisor of the staff in the remote office, although Leigh mainly supervised from the main office. Leigh had been urging Eric for some time to sit down with Rachel and discuss her performance issues, and was keen to talk to Rachel to try to improve matters. Leigh wanted to develop a performance plan to help Rachel improve, and Eric agreed to renew Rachel’s contract if she agreed to follow the plan. The team were understaffed and Rachel did have some good experience that could clearly be of benefit if she channelled it in the correct direction. Eric, however, waited until the day of the contract renewal to raise the performance issues with Rachel. She had travelled some distance to the main premises from the remote office, without knowing the performance issues were to be raised, as Eric had not told her. Leigh was also present in the meeting, to Rachel’s surprise, and both had been seated sternly at the meeting table when she came into the room. Eric had also left a list of complaints regarding Rachel’s performance on the desk before the meeting, which could have been seen by another staff member.
Rachel was upset and accused Eric and Leigh of treating her unfairly and victimising her, although there had been no performance issues with other staff and so no other discussions had been needed. She did not accept a renewed contract and stormed out saying that she was going to take them to an employment tribunal for constructive dismissal.
1. Does Rachel potentially have a case to take to an employment tribunal? What factors in law have led you to come to this decision?
2. If Eric had simply not renewed Rachel’s contract would there have been any possible legal recourse available to her? 3. Do you think there is anything Eric could have done to manage the situation better? What issues does the case raise regarding the management of HR issues more generally?