ASB-4904: Applied Business Project (HRM) Assignment 2016


Critically assess the impact of the 2008 global financial and economic crisis on HRM practices in organizations.
The assignment question reflects some core themes addressed during the ABP HRM module. The aim of the assignment is to encourage students to combine theoretical and practical aspects of HRM by referring to organization case study examples when assessing the core themes in the HRM academic literature. In particular, students are expected to engage in critical analysis of relevant HRM academic literature, from sources recommended below, in the module outline, at the end of lecture slides, or sources derived from their own wider reading. It is not enough to rely on lecture notes or non-academic internet sources. Students that can show evidence of critical thinking and engagement with academic literature, and illustrate this with practical ‘real world’ examples, are more likely to achieve favourable grades.
In 2008, the most serious financial and economic crisis to hit the global economy since the Great Depression began in the US and spread rapidly to Europe. Many economies are still experiencing negative or declining growth rates and economic restructuring, as well as unemployment and austerity (ILO, 2014). While various studies have explored the impact of financial and economic crisis at the macro and micro level – examining issues such as firm growth and survivability, financing, market investment, and organisational strategy – less attention has been given to the human resource management (HRM) and employment relations implications of the global economic downturn, how this has affected organisations, HR management in organisations, the employment conditions and living standards of workers, and so forth.
SELECT ANY ONE ORGANIZATION CASE with which you are familiar – one that you can access relevant HRM information about (for example, one you have worked for, an organisation familiar to family/friends, or that you have been able to find detailed information about in journal articles, books, newspapers, internet).
In completing the assignment question, you are expected to address the following issues:
1. Broad political economy context: start by providing a general summary of the overall impact of the 2008 financial and economic crisis on HRM practices, jobs, work and employment in the country or countries where your chosen case organization operates;

2. Impact on strategy in your chosen case organization: then, assess the impact of the 2008 financial and economic crisis on the case organization’s overall business strategy and then its overall HRM strategy.

3. Impact on HRM policies and practices: next, analyse the effects of the 2008 financial and economic crisis on the various specific components of HRM policy and practice in the case organization under the four main HR functions covered in the module: resourcing the organization, human resource development (HRD), employment relations, managing performance and reward. The list of HRM policies and practices that might be assessed under these four areas include: talent management, recruitment and selection, organizational culture, training and development, employee voice and participation rights, pay and reward, performance management and appraisal (these might have other labels).

4. Context: Another theme to be discussed in your assignment is how different organizational, sector/industry, country, and international contextual circumstances might influence and mediate the impact of the 2008 financial and economic crisis on your chosen case organization.

5. Finally, provide a conclusion summarizing your arguments, and, if appropriate, identify any practical recommendations relating to HRM practice.

Assignment guidelines:
• Length should be a maximum of 3,000 words (- or + 10%) (excluding references).
• It must include correct and appropriate referencing, which will influence marks (see the Bangor Business School referencing guidelines placed on blackboard).
• Please ensure the assignment is carefully proof-read.
• Requests for extensions will only granted due to serious personal mitigating circumstances, supported by appropriate evidence (e.g. medical certificate).
• No plagiarism or cutting and pasting of internet sources! Assignments are checked on Turnitin.
• It should be presented in the format below.

Assignment format:
– Title
– Short abstract/summary (approximately 100 words)
– Introduction
– Main body: combination of discussing the impact of the 2008 crisis on HRM practices in the case organisation and relating this to critically analysing relevant academic literature (use sub-headings for tidy/structured presentation)
– Conclusion and possible recommendations
– References

Selected recommended reading*
*Additional reading is listed in the ABP HRM module outline on blackboard
Books and journal articles
Beardwell J. and Claydon, T. (2010) Human Resource Management a Contemporary Approach (6th edition). Harlow: FT Prentice Hall.
Boxall, P. and Purcell, J. (2015) Management, work and organisations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bratton, J., and Gold, J. (2012) Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice (5th edition). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Colling, T. and Terry M (2010) Industrial Relations Theory and Practice (3rd edition). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
Delbridge, R., Hauptmeier, M. and Sengupta, S. (2011), ‘Beyond the enterprise: broadening the horizons of international HRM’, Human Relations, 64(4): 483-505.
Frege, C. and Kelly, J. (eds.) (2013) Comparative Employment Relations in the Global Economy. Oxon: Routledge.
Gilmore, S. and Williams, S. (2013). Human Resource Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Harvey, G. and Turnbull, P. (2010), ‘On the go: walking the high road at a low cost airline’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(2): 230-41.
Heyes, J., Lewis, P. and Clark, I. (2012), Varieties of capitalism, neoliberalism and the economic crisis of 2008–? Industrial Relations Journal, 43: 222–241.
Lansley, S. (2012). All in this together? An audit of the impact of the downturn on the workforce. TUC.
Lapavitsas, C. (2011), ‘Theorizing financialization’, Work, Employment & Society, 25(4):611-26.
Martinez Lucio, M. (ed.) (2014) International Human Resource Management: An Employment Relations Perspective. London: Sage.
Kramar, R. and Syed, J. (2012), Human resource management in a global context. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Thompson, P. (2013). ‘Financialization and the workforce: extending and applying the disconnected capitalism thesis’, Work, Employment & Society, 27, pp. 472-488.
Williams, S. (2013) Globalization and Work. Cambridge: Polity.
Williams, S. (2014). Introducing Employment Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Other reputable sources

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD):
Click on HR Resources for helpful factsheets on various HRM topics.
The Guardian:
The Financial Times:
European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions


Advisory Conciliation & Arbitration Service (Acas)

Marking Scheme for ABP HRM assignment (assessment criteria)

Excellent 70+ 60s 50s 40s & below/
Fail Poor
Excellent assignment, eg. well researched, focused, presented & referenced Poor assignment, eg. little research, poor focus, inadequate /incorrect referencing, spelling/typing errors
Appropriate review of relevant literature. Evidence of independent thought and ‘critical analysis’ of academic literature. Superficial, descriptive & limited literature review
Presents ‘new’ material and makes a strong contribution Merely re-presents lecture notes or cuts & pastes internet sources
Demonstrates clear grasp of HRM and HR practices in the case organisation, and relates to theory/academic literature. Demonstrates little understanding of HRM generally and/or HR practices in the case organisation
Uses real examples, or experience, to relate theory to practice Makes no attempt to use any examples or draw on experience
Prof Tony Dobbins, June 2016

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