MSc International Human Resource Management and Comparative Industrial Relations

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Employment Practice and Equality

Course unit fact file
Unit code BMAN72382
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course investigates the changes taking place in the world of work and the implications this has for wider patterns of inequality both in and outside of the workplace. Issues of job quality are central to the course and we pay particular attention to the dramatic shifts in male and female labour force participation, the quality of employment available in the service based economy and the shift to more precarious work and the ‘gig economy’. Issues such as work-life balance, equality and diversity initiatives and the gender pay gap are all covered with a focus on the interplay between societal and employment explanations and solutions with regards to gender inequality. The course also examines inequalities facing other social groups such as certain ethnic minorities and migrants and draws on the concept of intersectionality to explore cumulative disadvantage in the workplace. 


BMAN72382 Programme Req: BMAN72382 is only available as a core unit to students on MSc HRM & IR, and as an elective to students on MSc IHRM & CIR


The course aims to give students an understanding of the equality implications of a wide range of employment and organisational practices in a changing employment context. Students will learn to situate wider patterns of inequality in the context of the changing nature of work and employment and be able to explore the connections between societal and institutional contexts and the effectiveness of policies that aim to address inequality. 

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding of;

a) employment policies and practices in the context of wider societal changes and the implications for patterns of inequality

b) the management and experience of front line jobs in the service sector

c) the multiple functions fulfilled by pay within and outside of the workplace and the consequences for wage inequality

d) the effectiveness of different work-life balance and equality policies for equality and well being

e) the rise in precarious forms of employment and the implications for job quality and equality


Practical skills gained will include the ability to;

a) make a coherent presentation to a group of people

b) identify policies and practices that enhance job quality and well being

c) identify discriminatory practices and suggest modifications and safeguards


Transferable skills gained will include;

a) the ability to reflect and analyse material

b) the ability to synthesise material

c) the ability to work in diverse teams

d) the ability to present material in a way that connects with the audience

e) the awareness of how to promote equality in organisational practices


At the end of the course unit students will be able to:

a)     Analyse and evaluate alternative employment policies and practices, taking into account the sectoral context;

b)     Evaluate the ways different employment policies and practices are likely to exacerbate or reduce inequalities

c)     Make a coherent presentation to a group of people;

d)     Work effectively in groups analysing employment practices.

Assessment methods

2-hour examination (100%)

Feedback methods

Informal advice and discussion during a lecture, seminar, workshop or lab.

Written and/or verbal comments on assessed or non-assessed coursework.

Written and/or verbal comments after students have given a group or individual presentation.

Generic feedback posted on Blackboard regarding overall examination performance.

Recommended reading

There is not one book that covers all of the topics on the course but the following text books have chapters on some of the key themes covered;

  • Berg, J. (2015) Labour Market, Institutions and Inequality. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Gautié, J. and  Schmitt, J. (2009) Low-Wage Work in the Wealthy World. New York: Russel Sage Foundation
  • Grimshaw, D., Fagan, C., Hebson, G. and Tavora, I. (2017) Making Work More Equal: A new labour market segmentation approach. Manchester: Manchester University Press. file://$/Downloads/634747%20(1).pdf
  • Healy, G., Kirton, G. and Noon, M.  (2011) Equality, inequalities and Diversity. Contemporary challenges and Strategies. London: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Noon, M., Blyton, P. and Morrell, K. (2013) The Realities of Work (fourth edition) Basingstoke: Palgrave



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 10
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 118

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
ISABEL TAVORA Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Informal Contact Methods

Office hours

Drop in surgeries (extra help sessions for students on material they may be struggling with)



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