Institute of Commercial Management | Qualification Subject

Employee Relations

Main Topics of Study


  • Employment relationship
  • Defining employment relations
  • Regulation and contract
  • Fairness and psychological contract

The Main Players

  • Role of trade unions
  • The employer
  • The state
  • Other parties

Theories of Employment Relations

  • The underpinning of the term
  • Approaches: organisations – unitarism, pluralism and radical
  • Approaches to employment relations
  • Feminism, postmodernism, critical studies

Employment Relations and HRM

  • Origins of industrial relations and move to employment relations
  • Challenges and changes

Local, National and Global Effects

  • Globalisation
  • PESTLE and ER
  • Capitalism, labour markets, ownership
  • Diversity, migration, EU, international institutions

Power and Authority

  • Power, authority, cooperation and compliance
  • Governance and legitimacy
  • Management control

Employee Involvement

  • Communication
  • Definitions and legislation regarding involvement and participation
  • Constraints and opportunities
  • Collective bargaining
  • The bargaining process
  • Non-union firms

Employee Engagement

  • Definitions, origins and measurements of employee engagement
  • Work practices
  • Organisational commitment
  • Employee health and well-being
  • Performance and employee engagement
  • Non-union firms

Pay and Reward

  • Pay determination
  • Reaching pay awards
  • Incentives and rewards – individual and collective systems

Discrimination, Difference and Diversity

  • Forms of discrimination and reasons for
  • Employment law
  • Policies and practices
  • Trade unions and equality
  • Non-union firms

Discipline and Grievance

  • Causes of grievance
  • Disciplinary policies and procedures
  • Dismissal
  • Dealing with grievance including bullying and harassment
  • The legal aspects and the HR, manager and TU role

Conflict/Dispute Resolution

  • Behaviours and industrial sanctions
  • Managing conflict
  • Third party conciliation
  • Legislation including tribunals


  • Definitions
  • Flexibility and job security
  • The legal aspects
  • Collective redundancy consultation
  • Dismissal and redundancy agreements
  • Negotiation redundancy agreements
  • Managing ‘survivor’ syndrome and the role of the trade union

Recommended Reading

Main Text:

<iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//"></iframe>

Employment Relations: A Critical and International Approach, 2011, P. Dibben, G. Klerck and G. Wood, McGraw-Hill Education.

Indicative Text:

Alternative Text and Further Reading: