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Module Title LM Labour Relations Policy and Global Enterprise
SchoolBirmingham Business School
Department Birmingham Business School
Module Code 07 21301
Module Lead Lisa de Propris
Level Masters Level
Credits 10
Semester Semester 2
Restrictions None
Description With the increasing internationalisation of business, attention has been focused on the nature of labour relations across countries. The climate and institutions of labour relations vary greatly between countries, in recent decades being more 'co-operative' in some, such as Germany and Japan, and more 'adversarial' in others, such as the US and the UK. Of particular interest is the increasing role of the EU at regulating labour relations across member countries. The impact of the EU is also felt beyond member countries through the impact EU legislation has on multinational companies operating outside the EU. This module explores the nature of labour relations at an international level, with a particular emphasis upon the actions of multinational companies. Labour Relations is an intellectually difficult area of study: conflicting interests are often cloaked in competing theories and make opposed claims about the evidence. The increased power of management in recent years brings increased choice and hence moral responsibility. Should managers consider only the "bottom line" when deciding whether to close down a factor, or to use child labour? A key component of this module explores the institutional framework and the evolution and impact of social and industrial relations policies at the European level. It focuses upon the macro relationship between closer economic and political integration and social policy proposals to reduce variations in employment rights and forms of labour regulation within the European Union (EU). The module also explores labour relations in developing and newly industrialised countries, including China.
Learning Outcomes By the end of the module the student should be able to:
  • Critically assess and make comparisons between the differing labour relations regimes across countries, utilising economic and industrial relations theory to assess the impact of regulation on business performance;
  • Undertake an analysis of the labour relations practices of MNCs, with a view to assessing how MNCs adjust their practices to a specific national business environment;
  • Argue the case for whether a convergence in labour relations approaches is taking place across countries, or whether national systems retain their distinctiveness.
Assessment 21301-01 : Exam : Exam (Centrally Timetabled) - Written Unseen (50%)
21301-02 : Class test : Class Test (25%)
21301-03 : Coursework : Coursework (25%)
Assessment Methods & Exceptions One 2hr exam (50%); one 1hr class test (25%); one 1,500 word essay (25%)
Reading List Ferner, A & Hyman, R (eds). 1998. Changing Industrial Relations in Europe. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell.