HR211 Human Resource Management 2004-2005 Generic Examination feedback 1) What is the Psychological Contract? Evaluate the impact on your psychological contract if you were in the following situations. 1) a part-time job while studying 2) your first graduate position Most students who answered, discussed that the psychological contract goes beyond a written employment contract as the system of unwritten rules and perceptions. This underpins the relationship between the employer and employee in organisations. The expectations of employer and employee are the basis of the psychological contract and a key factor in competitive advantage. Answers generally referred to the changing nature of the psychological contract and demonstrated an understanding of transactional and relational psychological contracts. Stronger answers fully acknowledged the challenging nature and subjectivity of the psychological contract and referred to the research by Guest (2002) or the People and Performance Model (Purcell 2002). They discussed how HR practices send strong messages about expectations and that an employee with a part time job while studying would expect basic remuneration, some flexibility from the employer with maybe reduced hours during exam time and longer hours during the holidays. The expectations of a graduate employee would include an attractive remuneration package, training and development with opportunities for career progression. Good answers focussed on commitment, motivation and discretionary behaviour in relation to these scenarios and offered specific organisational examples as support and appropriate references. They also featured an introduction and a conclusion. 2. Explain how the external and internal context of an organisation impact on Human Resource Management practice. Most students who answered this question made reference to the multidimensional nature of organisational contexts. Issues relating to the external (wider) context included the economy, society, politics and culture; for example workforce characteristics, labour market, employment legislation. The impact of technology and globalisation were also introduced in some answers. The internal (immediate) context relates to organisational size, sector, location and structure. Stronger answers demonstrated an understanding of the relationship between organisational objectives and HRM and the importance of aligning HR practice to organisational strategy. They also made reference to a strategy model or the Harvard Map of HRM (Beer et al, 1984). Good answers offered specific organisational examples to support the points being made and appropriate references. They also featured an introduction and a conclusion. 3. What is “Blended Learning”? Assess how it benefits both the organisation and individuals Most students who answered this question identified that “Blended Learning” combines e-learning with other training and learning methods such as mentoring, coaching, as well as a variety of other on the job and off the job training methods. The answers addressed these various methods of learning, including e-learning, and demonstrated understanding of the particular issues relating to them. Stronger answers discussed how different methods available suit different learning styles of individuals and encourage “buy-in” from the trainee. Individual development is maximised through this approach and learning is largely self-managed with a focus on the learner. Good answers offered specific organisational examples such as House of Fraser and Shell as support and appropriate references. They also featured an introduction and a conclusion. 4. Discuss Atkinson’s Flexible Firm Model and its application to contemporary organisations. Most students who answered this question drew out the flexible firm model and illustrated the position of core workers and levels 1 and 2 peripheral workers in organisations. Answers generally demonstrated a good understanding of this and addressed it in detail, discussing the position of valuable knowledge workers at the core, less specialist peripheral workers and the role of outsourcing and offshoring in the model. Stronger answers gave examples to demonstrate practical application of the model. Their discussion then included the rationale for contemporary organisations to adopt this model in order to remain agile to respond to external and internal labour markets as well as organisational demand for labour. Good answers pointed out that flexibility gives the organisation competitive advantage and suggested the importance of being an employer of choice or “talent magnet” in the current climate. They offered specific organisational examples as support and appropriate references. They also featured an introduction and a conclusion. 5. Evaluate the key advantages and disadvantages of internet based recruitment and selection to employers and candidates. Most students who answered this popular question acknowledged how critical recruitment and selection are for organisations in terms of competitive advantage and made distinction between recruitment and selection techniques. Answers generally referred to a range of types of internet recruitment and selection discussing company websites, jobsearch sites, cybersites and links to newspapers and journals. Advantages of internet recruitment and selection which were highlighted include speed, cost savings, global application, 24/7 availability. The disadvantages highlighted were costs, the time taken to process unsuitable and speculative candidates, confidentiality fears and the important issue of equal opportunities. Stronger answers acknowledged that many contemporary organisations use internet methods and included discussion of high profile examples such as B&Q and KPMG. Good answers made reference to research done by CIPD, Reed, or Dulwiez concerning graduate internet selection and pointed out the impersonal nature of the process as perceived by the candidate. They also featured an introduction and a conclusion. 6. “The point is that, aside from any concerns with social justice, fair treatment simply makes good sense.” (Beardwell, Holden and Claydon, 2004). Discuss this quote in relation to diversity in organisations. Most students who answered this question discussed the nature of diversity and focussed on the business case for diversity which included better use of human resources, wider customer base and service, wider pool of labour for recruitment purposes, reduced legal costs, better use of individual skills and abilities, organisational flexibility and creativity as well as a positive company image. Stronger answers related this to profit and efficiency as organisational objectives and illustrated with examples including B&Q (promoting age diversity) and Halifax (promoting cultural diversity) Good answers discussed the quote, acknowledged the legal obligation on organisations to avoid discrimination and discussed corporate social responsibility in treating people fairly at work. Research by Kandola and Fullerton was occasionally introduced. They also featured an introduction and a conclusion.
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