Institute of Commercial Management | Qualification Subject

Employee Relations

ICM Professional Diploma Unit


  • 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

Example Candidate Response Booklet

Example Candidate Response (ECR) Booklets are a source of crucial information for Centres and Candidates as they use real candidate responses. We ask Senior Examiners to comment on five or more responses in terms of why the mark was awarded with commentary about how to improve the answer (if necessary).

Recommended Reading

Main Text:

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: