Work & Employment Relations

| January 12, 2016

Assessment Guide
2015/2016
Module Convenor: James Faulconbridge
Department of Organisation, Work & Technology
OWT.328 Assessment Guide
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Assessment
The assessment for this module is split as follows:
 50% Essay
 50% Unseen exam in summer term
All assessment is marked using letter grades which are then converted to aggregate scores to calculate
the overall module mark. Full details of the assessment regulations can be found on the following
Student Registry webpage http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/sbs/registry/undergrads/AssessmentRegs.htm
Details of the expected criteria for each grade are explained at the end of this guide.
Coursework Submission date
The submission due date for your essay will be as follows: by 4pm Tuesday 12th January 2016.
Coursework
‘Analyse the key influences on work and employment relations in one occupation’
The coursework for OWT.328 is worth 50% of your mark for the module. You should write a 2500
word paper.
The term occupation is used here to refer to both a broad type of work – for instance low skilled
industrial work, highly skilled professional work, consumer service work – and to a particular job –
e.g., accountant, cleaner, engineer, waitress etc. You should identify either one broad type of work,
or one specific job, that you would like to focus upon and using the material covered in lectures and
seminars, as well as your own independent research, analyse the main characteristics of
relationships between workers and employers. You may use case studies exemplary of your chosen
occupation if you wish – for example low skilled manufacturing in a transnational corporation,
lawyers working for global law firms etc. You may also (but do not have to) compare and contrast
between experiences of work in the same occupation either by analyzing changes over time in the
organisation and control of work in the occupation, and/or by using case studies from different
international contexts. You are expected to identify a suitable occupational group by Week 7 at the
latest.
Please do NOT select accountants as your occupation. We will be completing a class exercise on
accountancy to produce a mock piece of coursework and it would give an unfair advantage if you
then studied this occupation in your coursework.
If you need to ask questions about your coursework or want feedback on your plans please use the
question/answer opportunities in the lectures or arrange an appointment with module convenor.
Hints and tips about how to approach the coursework
The analysis could be seen as a piece of critical, academically informed investigative journalism
seeking to uncover the main ways that workers and employers engage with one another and the
main influences on the experience of workers as a result of these engagements. Topics you might
like to explore could include the power relations between workers and employers, forms of
inequality in an occupation, variations in work and employment relation between different types of
employing organization, changes over time and space in the characteristics of work and employment
relation, etc etc. If you find it easier, you can pose yourself a question to address through your
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paper, as you would usually be provided with for an essay. This might be, for example, ‘what are the
main factors influencing employment relations in the accountancy profession?’ Your analysis can
then set about exploring the issues relevant to this question.
Please remember: you must reference academic literature throughout your analysis and base your
arguments around theoretical ideas and cases drawn from journal articles and books, as well as your
own research. You should follow the standard Organisation, Work and Technology guidelines for
coursework in terms of formatting, referencing etc. (these are detailed in the departmental student
handbook).
It is perfectly acceptable to write the paper using purely academic literatures as the basis for your
argument. However, some might like to consider the following as additional sources of data
(although none of the below are required or guarantee a better mark):
For those of you with personal experience of working in a particular occupation, you may draw on
your experiences in the coursework. However, you must analyse and interpret these experiences
through the academic literature – i.e., do not just tell a story about your experiences as this will lead
to a descriptive piece of work rather than an analysis (description equalling a C/2:2 grade or lower).
As well as academic sources, you may also draw on data from the media, consultancy reports or
other documents that offer empirical insights into work and employment in a specific occupation.
Please fully reference all documents used, and again remember to interpret and contextualise them
using academic literatures.
Structure of the coursework
There is no right or wrong way to structure your coursework. It is important, however, to ensure you
have a clear line of argument and analysis. You might find it useful to experiment with a range of
different thematic structures before deciding on the approach to take. For instance:
 Is it best to structure the essay around two case studies of the occupation with the main
narrative comparing and contrasting the cases?
 Is it best to structure the analysis around different dimensions of the experience of work
(e.g., management control, inequality, globalisation) and then reach conclusions about how
all the different dimensions interact to define the experience of work in the occupation?
 Could you begin with the presentation of an empirical example relating to your occupation,
and then use the rest of the essay to interpret the example?
You may use sub-sections to structure the essay if useful. As appropriate, you may include tables and
figures. Please ensure you discuss any tables or figures fully in the text to help the reader interpret
them and understanding their significance.
Good academic practice
The reading list for the module will provide a starting point for identifying relevant academic
literatures. You may also want to use the bibliographies of the papers/books on the reading list as a
source of further reading.
If you cannot identify material on the reading list relevant to your occupation, you should consider
doing two things. First, take relevant conceptual/theoretical ideas outlined in literature on the
reading list and apply it to your occupation. So, for instance, how might debates about power
relations in Fordism be applied to your occupation to make sense of the experiences of work?
Second, you should use one of the many databases available – Google Scholar, Web of Science etc –
to search for academic literatures relevant to your occupation. The Library website provides details
of the subscription-only databases you can access using your university computer account. Google
Scholar is freely available via the internet.
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Before committing to an occupation as the focus of your coursework it may be a good idea to check
that you can find sufficiently relevant literature to inform your analysis.
Questions to consider
The following are key questions that all pieces of coursework should consider:
 What does your chosen occupation provide insight into (theoretically and empirically) in
terms of work and employment relations?
 Why have you chosen to analyse the occupation using the theoretical ideas presented in the
paper – i.e., what makes these ideas especially relevant?
 What are the particular characteristics of the occupation that allow it to be broadly
categorised as a type of work (e.g. service or manufacturing and then sub-categories within
these)
 How do the characteristics of the work associated with the occupation influence the
experience of work and the nature of employer control? How do these characteristics
compare/contrast with other occupations in the literature and why?
 What examples can be given of the mechanisms of control exercised over workers in the
occupation, and how do these work? How can they be explained through relevant
theory/conceptual ideas?
 How do workers respond to the experiences of work and forms of control discussed in the
paper?
Depending on the focus and structure of your paper, you might (but do not have to) also consider
some of the following issues:
 How has the nature of work and employment in your occupation changed over time?
 To what extent are there geographical variations (between regions or countries for instance)
in work and employment?
 To what extent are systems of control and experiences of work the same or different
depending on the organisational context (for example the type of manufacturing done or the
kind of accountancy services provided)?
Please note: this list is not exhaustive, but indicative of some of the core issues you should consider.
There may be other questions, specific to your occupation, that are not listed here but which may be
important. It is, therefore, crucial that you carefully consider the specificities of your occupation and
the issues that arise as a result in terms of experiences of work and forms of control by employers.
Assessment criteria
The standard assessment criteria associated with Part II work will be used to mark the coursework.
Some issues that are particularly important for this work and which are worth considering carefully
include:
 Use of the literature: to what extent have you used the literature to develop a convincing
analytical framework and argument in your work? This may mean using existing studies of
your occupation to develop your analysis, or if there are few studies of the occupation,
applying conceptual ideas from the literature to develop an original interpretation of your
occupation.
 Focussed analysis: how well have you justified the analytical approach taken, and to what
extent have you managed to identify some crucial issues that can act as the focus for a
detailed analysis (and which can help avoid a superficial and broad discussion)? In particular,
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it is important that you justify your choice of theoretical interpretation and show it is
relevant to the occupation you have chosen. In the past, too many people have tried to
claim Fordism can be used to interpret any occupation – and not justified the use of this
approach. Think critically about whether you have selected the right theoretical framing for
your analysis.
 Specificities of the occupation: how well have you tailored you argument to the specific
characteristics of the occupation, and as a result how convincing is the work? Is there
evidence that rather than reproducing basic ideas about occupations and relevant theories,
the author has consider the specific nature of work and employment in this occupation and
tailored their argument and use of theory to develop an occupation specific explanation of
processes at work?
 Implications and significance: is there evidence that the literature has been used in a way
that reveals something important about the occupation being analysed? Are the causes and
effects of the particular issues discussed clear and is there reflection of what has been
learned about these and why understanding them may be important (for workers and/or
employers)?
 Originality: does the work go beyond a reproduction of existing material (especially
important where there is a significant body of literature on the occupation)? Is there
evidence of a focussed, justified and thoroughly developed line of analysis? If appropriate,
are perspectives currently not used in the literature to analyse the occupation considered
and their value evaluated? Does the work show a clear line of argument that suggests more
than just summarising of existing studies?
Coursework Submission Details
Your essay/report should be prepared for submission as follows:
 Student ID only to be included on each page in the footer or header section.
 Each page to be numbered and the word count stated at the end of your essay.
 Font Style: Arial, Font Size: 11, using 1.5 line spacing.
 Essay Title being answered to be confirmed at the start of your essay and clearly indicated in
bold or italic font.
 References to follow Harvard style referencing.
 Essay must be structured properly: introduction – main body – conclusion – references. You
should obey the rules of grammar and spelling.
 Please print single sided (which allows for space for written tutor feedback/comments).
You will need to submit one printed copy along with a signed declaration sheet (to be attached) and
also an electronic copy via Moodle by the submission due date.
Please note: the submission of your coursework will only be completed when both paper and
electronic copies are received.
The Declaration sheets are available outside of the departmental office (Room B20, floor B, Charles
Carter building) for completion and you should attach a completed white & yellow copy. Please note
that the yellow copy will copy through from the white sheet when completed.
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Your completed assessment and declaration should be placed in the Essay box outside of the
departmental office (room B20) by no later than the submission due date and time
confirmed above.
You will also need to submit your essay electronically via the module Moodle site in the ‘Coursework
submission’ section – you will see a link to the submission area where you need to upload your
completed essay. The file can be in Word or PDF format and only one attachment can be uploaded.
Penalties
All course work is to be submitted by 4:00pm on the due date for submission.
The Essay submission box will be emptied at 4pm and anything received after this time will be
deemed as being submitted late and will incur a penalty in accordance with university regulations as
follows.
Extensions
Coursework extensions will only be given for serious illness or serious personal difficulties, and must
be supported by a doctor’s sick note (self-certification is not acceptable), or a letter from Student
Support confirming that you are experiencing personal difficulties.
Extensions must be sought from the Module Tutor in advance of the set essay deadline; and
supported with the necessary documentation outlined above.
A completed ‘Extension Request’ form should be submitted to the UG Coordinator along with any
supporting documentation. The forms are available from the Coordinator located in Room B20,
Charles Carter. The request will then be reviewed by the module tutor and a decision confirmed back
to you.
Referencing
When preparing your essay for submission you should include references to all text used. You
should ensure that you include in-text references and also a reference list at the end of your essay.
Your reference list will not be counted in your word count but any in-text referencing in the main
body of your essay is included.
Please refer to the Referencing Guide in your Moodle area for full details of the Harvard
Referencing method which you should apply to your work.
Inadequate referencing may lead to you plagiarising in your work, intentionally or not.
Plagiarism
Submitting plagiarised work for assessment is a University offence regardless of whether it was
intentional.
When you submit your coursework via Moodle, it will be automatically checked using Turnitin
software for any plagiarised content. You should not use another person’s work without
Coursework submitted up to three days late (where no extension has been
already agreed) will receive a penalty of one full grade lower than the grade
awarded and zero (non-submission) thereafter.
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acknowledging it, either when it is quoted (i.e. copied from a book or paper), referred to or
interpreted (i.e. paraphrased) and failure to do so will be considered a very serious offence. Any
work containing plagiarised material will be dealt with in accordance with University assessment
regulations.
Sometimes, plagiarism is “unintentional”, resulting from lack of sufficient familiarity with and ease at
appropriately using and citing resources, but this will not be accepted as an excuse.
For more information, make sure you read the plagiarism framework using the link below:
http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/sbs/registry/facts/plagiarism.htm
Marking and Feedback
The University marking turnaround time is 4 weeks (excluding university closure days and public
holidays) following submission and the target date for return to you will be shown on the module
moodle page. The UG Coordinator will send a message to you via moodle/email to confirm when
marked essays are ready for collection.
The tutor will provide overall feedback on your marked work on the declaration sheet and will also
add comments throughout your essay, both of which will be given back to you.
This feedback is intended to guide you and to be constructive in helping you to improve your
coursework so please ensure you collect your marked work and read the comments.
Your module tutor will be happy to meet with you should you require any explanation of your
feedback, and you should email them to arrange a meeting, or drop in during their office hours.
OWT.328 Assessment Guide
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Grade Descriptors
Result Broad
Descriptor Grade Aggregation Score Primary level descriptors for attainment of Intended Learning Outcomes Honours Class
Pass Excellent
A+
A
A–
24
21
18
Exemplary range and depth of attainment of
intended learning outcomes, secured by
discriminating command of a comprehensive
range of relevant materials and analyses, and by
deployment of considered judgement relating to
key issues, concepts and procedures
First
Pass Good
B+
B
B–
17
16
15
Conclusive attainment of virtually all intended
learning outcomes, clearly grounded on a close
familiarity with a wide range of supporting
evidence, constructively utilised to reveal
appreciable depth of understanding
2:1
Pass Satisfactory
C+
C
C–
14
13
12
Clear attainment of most of the intended learning
outcomes, some more securely grasped than
others, resting on a circumscribed range of
evidence and displaying a variable depth of
understanding
2:2
Pass Weak
D+
D
D–
11
10
9
Acceptable attainment of intended learning
outcomes, displaying a qualified familiarity with a
minimally sufficient range of relevant materials,
and a grasp of the analytical issues and concepts
which is generally reasonable, albeit insecure
Third
Fail Marginal fail F1 7
Attainment deficient in respect of specific
intended learning outcomes, with mixed evidence
as to the depth of knowledge and weak
deployment of arguments or deficient
manipulations
Fail
Fail Fail F2 4
Attainment of intended learning outcomes
appreciably deficient in critical respects, lacking
secure basis in relevant factual and analytical
dimensions
Fail Poor fail F3 2
Attainment of intended learning outcomes
appreciably deficient in respect of nearly all
intended learning outcomes, with irrelevant use of
materials and incomplete and flawed explanation
Fail Very poor fail F4 0
No convincing evidence of attainment of any
intended learning outcomes, such treatment of
the subject as is in evidence being directionless
and fragmentary

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