SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3N622482
Module Leader Pauline Munro
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Human Resource Management
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

This module engages with some of the key thinkers and debates in the sociology of work and organisations, centred on the relationship between work, organisations and society in historical and contemporary contexts. It examines the emergence of industrial sociology and the sociology of work and organisations in international and comparative frameworks. It aims to allow students to develop a sociological perspective of work and organisations, understanding the relationship between work, organisations and society more generally. In order to make sense of modern organisations and work place practices it is essential to examine the sociological foundation from which they have evolved. This is particularly pertinent in today's society as there have been distinct shifts in terms of work activity, roles and sectoral domination. Sociological frameworks can provide a valuable lens by which to equip students with the ability to comprehend past and present organisational and employment structures and patterns. An example of this is the focus on the work of Weber, whose influence and philosophy has shaped many institutions and ways of working. Additionally, the student will also be required to understand fundamental societal shaping by factors such as post modernism, Fordism and globalisation. The student will also be able to apply these concepts to the labour process, examining areas such as employment trends, power and authority, technology, emotional labour and globalisation. This will also focus on the impact on the modern worker and the need for appropriate HRM policies and practices in order to create and sustain fully functioning high performance organisations. This module relates to PRME by providing an insight into key sociological concepts which underpin contemporary organisational processes. The student is therefore provided with the knowledge to apply these concepts to envision socially responsible management practices and principles.


Indicative syllabus: Introduction and overview to the Sociology of Work, Organisations and Society Work in Historical Perspective, the Emergence of Large Scale Organisations and Globalisation Classical Theoretical Approaches - Marx, Durkheim and Weber Taylorism and Scientific Management and Braverman and Labour Process Theory Fordism and Post-Fordism Power, Conflict, Control and Resistance in the workplace Gender Inequality in the Workplace Work and Identity Knowledge work and the social organisation of expertise Emotional labour, aesthetic labour and customer service Globalisation and the future of work and organisations

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Critically evaluate the key concepts and theoretical approaches within the sociology of work and organisations.2. Critically evaluate and discuss social and historical shifts in employment patterns. 3. Acquire knowledge of the social nature of work and organisations4. Analyse the impact of drivers such as globalisation, employee relations climate and emergence of the knowledge economy on work, organisations and wider society.5. Critically analyse how social diversity and inequalities impact on work and organisations

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The teaching focus of this module is to develop the student's critical reasoning and analytical abilities. The main theoretical concepts will be delivered by the lecture format. This will be complemented by the seminars where the students will be given the opportunity to explore debate and critique issues presented within the lectures. This will be done mainly by utilising active student approaches which will take a variety of formats, such as contemporary case studies and group exercises. These approaches are intended to stimulate peer to peer learning as there will be opportunities for analytical review and discussion. Students will receive two lectures and two seminars per week. In order to reflect the contemporary nature of the working world, the syllabus will reflect key employment issues affecting society such as the knowledge economy, emotional labour, technology and globalisation. This will ensure that the module retains its relevance and does not become dated. Additionally, this will also determine which sociological perspectives are utilised. Example perspectives would include Durkheim, Taylorism, Fordism, Braverman, Weber, and Marx. There will be extensive use made of the GCULearn system . This will be used to house useful material such as video clips, to demonstrate the application of theory to practice. This is also a feature which will be incorporated within lecture delivery. Audio podcasts will be utilised where appropriate to further consolidate learning. Assessment for the module will be an essay worth 50% and examination worth 50%. The essay will not have a set question, but will be based on a syllabus related topic of the student's choice. This will help to develop the students' reasoning and analytical skills, presented in a coherent written format. GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

-567 Books and articles: Watson, T.J. (2011) Sociology, Work and Organisations , 6 th ed. Routledge* (Key text) Baldry C., et al (2007) The Meaning of Work in the New Economy, Palgrave MacMillan Bauman, Z. (2005) Work, Consumerism and the New Poor, Open University Press Bratton J. et al. (2007) Work and Organisational Behaviour: Understanding the Workplace , Palgrave MacMillan, UK Brown, P., & Hesketh, A., (2004) The Mismanagement of Talent, Employability and Jobs in the Knowledge Economy, Oxford University Press Dant, T (2003) Critical Social Theory , Sage Publications Ltd Edgell, S (2006) The Sociology of Work: Continuity & Change in Paid and Unpaid Work, 2 nd ed, Sage Publications Ltd Fineman, S (2003) Understanding Emotion at Work , Sage Publications Ltd Gini, A. (2001) My Job, My Self: Work and the Creation of the Modern Individual, Routledge Grint,K.(2005) The Sociology of Work, 3 rd ed., Polity Press Hancock, P. & Tyler, M. (2001) Work, Postmodernism and Organisation: A Critical Introduction , Sage Publications Ltd Hughes, J., Martin, P., Sharrock, W., (2003) Understanding Classical Sociology, Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Sage Publications Ltd. Powell, G (2011) Managing a Diverse Workforce , Sage Publications Ltd Ritzer, G (2011) The McDonaldisation of Society 6 , 6 th ed, Pine Forge Press Smart, B., (1999) Resisting McDonaldization, Sage Publications Ltd. Sweet, S (2008) Changing Contours of Work: Jobs and Opportunities in the New Economy , Pine Forge Press Wolkowitz, C. (2006) Bodies at Work , Sage Publications Ltd Volti, R (2012) An Introduction to the Sociology of Work and Occupations , Pine Forge Press -567 Online sources: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development <> <> <> <> Equality and Human Rights Commission <> National Statistics <> <> The Dead Sociologist's Society

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: -360b7 Critical thinking skills b7 Information gathering skills b7 Written and verbal communication skills b7 Ability to synthesise and evaluate information b7 Problem solving b7 Independent learning

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 128.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 36.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 35% Individual Essay coursework to focus on contemporary organisational issues (Week 14) - 2000 words.
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Individual Essay coursework designed to critically evaluate sociological concepts based on a question of the student's choosing (c 2000 words) Week 8