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Submission Guidelines

Course: HRM Strategy and

Assessment item 1 — Essay on Work Design

Assessment item 1 — Essay on Work Design Challenges.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.png”>Assessment item 1 — Essay on Work Design Challenges.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.png”>

Due date:

11 April, 2014, Friday, 11.45 pm AEST, Week 6




3000 words ±10% (excluding
title page, reference list, appendices),

presented in essay format


Author-Date Style (Harvard
Referencing Style) only


This assessment item relates to course
learning outcomes numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5.


The primary purpose of this assessment
is to assist students develop skills in the use of HRM strategies, theories and
models in the analysis of a typical business situation that has human resource
consequences (work life balance, flexible working arrangements). The assignment
requires you to analyse the current situation, identify and specify the
business issues, and suggest a practical and probable HR solution. The
secondary purpose of this assignment is to give students the opportunity to
enhance their research, analysis, critical thinking and written communication
skills; particularly in the areas of argument development and essay writing.


Assessment task 1 requires the writing of an academic essay. This essay should be an

‘argumentative/ academic essay’, and
must therefore contain an argument that is used as the structuring element of
the paper. The assignment is based on a case study that describes the impact of
business scenario on managing human resources in organisational context. The
purpose of the essay is to identify the roles of strategic HRM and other HRM
challenges in managing human resources. Students are expected to engage in extensive
research within the academic literature relating to strategic human resource
management and other relevant areas (work life/ family balance, flexible work
arrangements etc.).


The assessment item is based on the case
study titled The Probuild Constructions Story. The case itself, and
assignment requirements are presented in the document and can also be accessed
through the course website under Assessments tab. You should read, and
carefully analyse, the case and respond to the issues presented at the end of
the case study within the context of an argumentative/ academic essay. You are
required to support your argument with appropriate theoretical discussion
and references.

The assignment should be a properly
constructed academic essay. It should contain an effective introduction,
discussion body (answering the three questions) and conclusion. The

introduction should
introduce the essay, thesis statement (main objective of the assignment) and
include your argument. The main body of the assignment should present the
evidence you have collected to support your arguments for the three questions
and the conclusion should restate your arguments, summarise the evidence and
make a conclusion regarding your arguments.

The assignment should contain a
coherent, but necessarily restricted review of the academic literature on the
Strategic Human Resource Management topics in question. The literature review
should be integrated into the assignment, not a separate section. A
reference list
formatted in the prescribed Harvard style is compulsory.
Do not include a bibliography.

This assessment item involves
researching your assigned topic to enhance your understanding of Human Resource
Management (HRM) concepts, strategies and utilisation of academic literature.
Whilst you should avoid using only textbooks, the prescribed textbook for the
course should be cited in regard to broad human resource management strategies.
You will be expected to present information and evidence from, and cite, at
least fifteen (15) relevant peer-reviewed journals or other academic references
(books, book chapters etc.) (minimum requirement). Refer to your recommended
readings for examples of academic journals. While you can cite these
references, you must find fifteen (15) peer reviewed journal articles and/ or
other academic references not listed in the course materials. The quality and
number of citations will demonstrate the breadth and depth of the literature
used to answer the questions. Your marker is interested in the analysis that
you have developed from your review of the literature and how well you use the
literature to respond to the topic. Avoid presenting a descriptive account only
of your readings.

What is required in this assessment is a
critical evaluation of the academic literature as it relates to the specific
details of the case study. Your marker is interested in the conclusions that
you arrive at from your evaluation of the literature and of the case study.

Study: The Probuild Constructions Story

Constructions was established in 1987. The company has been involved in such
major projects as the new Grandstand at Flemington Racecourse, the Victoria
Gardens Shopping Centre and Toyota’s corporate headquarters in Port Melbourne.

May 2005, Probuild successfully applied for a Victorian Government Better Work
and Family Balance grant. The company wanted to investigate work-family balance
at Probuild and develop a program that would work for the employees and the
company. A working group made up of staff, union and management representatives
was established to oversee a survey of all staff and the development of
initiatives as part of a work-family balance program.

The survey,
distributed to all 150 employees in Victoria, was designed to:

Gather information about the work,
family and life pressures currently impacting on them and their families.

initiatives already in place to assist staff to manage these pressures.

new initiatives that would have the greatest impact on staff satisfaction.

gain a picture about the impact working at Probuild was having on families, a
separate survey was also prepared and circulated to the partners/ wives/
husbands of all employees.

response to the surveys was very good, with a 57 per cent return rate from
employees and 70 per cent return rate from their partners/ wives/ husbands.
Overall, employees reported that they were happy working for Probuild but that
the constant pressure and long hours made it very difficult to successfully
combine work and family. Several responded that the long hours- particularly
working Saturdays- were having an adverse impact on their personal

the response from employees’ partners/ wives/ husbands was even stronger. They
reported that the long hours and workload meant that they had to take almost
full responsibility for day-to-day household management and family care, even
though many were engaged in paid work. Probuild decided that the response from
partners required further discussion so invitations to take part in a focus
group were sent home via payslips. Sixteen partners/ wives/ husbands took part
in the focus group. This led to recognition that the company’s work-family
balance strategy needed to include:

Flexibility for different employees and
their families to make choices that suited them best, with acknowledgement of
the differing needs of salary and hourly rate.

Reassurance that taking up work-family
balances options would not undermine anyone’s employment or position with

commitment to reducing the number of Saturdays employees are required to work.

from all the information gathered by the survey and the focus groups, the
working group met regularly to move the Probuild project to its next steps. A
work-family policy was developed based on these five guiding principles:

initiatives must be of mutual benefit to the individual and company.

Achieving better work and life balance
is a team effort involving individuals and managers.

is not one solution that will meet everyone’s needs.

work can be done flexibly.

communications are fundamental to success.

employees and their partners/ wives/ husbands were invited to attend a major
launch where they received an information pack outlining how the company
intended to develop a better work and family culture. The pack contained a
booklet to provide practical information for staff and their partners so they
could assess their own needs and then set and achieve goals to bring about
better work-life balance. Following a launch, specific action plans were
developed to address key issues. An intensive training, development and
coaching program was instigated for managers and performance review processes
were changed to ensure that every employee’s work and family needs are

Probuild Constructions was an Award Winner at the
2009-10 National Work-Life Balance Awards, in recognition of its outstanding
achievements in providing innovative work-life balance solutions in the
construction sector. Probuild was also awarded the overall National Award
Winner of the 2009-2010 National Work-Life Balance Awards, acknowledging its
outstanding achievements in providing innovative work-life balance solutions in
the construction industry. For Director of Probuild, Ted Yencken, the new
work-family balance program is a key element in Probuild’s ability to retain
and attract employees. Ted suggested that “the development of our work/life
balance policy, principles and programs are the fundamental steps to creating a
workplace culture which will be more supportive of work and life balance and
which will deliver better outcomes for business.”

(Extract taken from the Probuild
Constructions case study, “Better work and family balance- moving to a more
family friendly construction industry’,


on the above case study, write an essay that answers all the questions:

  1. Why
    do employees value opportunities for workplace flexibility? Would this
    strategy work in all organisations and industries?

should critically analyse your answer in terms of work-life balance theories.

ensure, you use solid reference to describe work-life balance theories)

  1. Is
    it possible for companies to be competitive and at the same time create a
    workplace that provides for flexibility and work-family balance?

You may relate your answer to the flexible work
arrangement theories, business competitiveness theories.

3. What
other flexibility and work-family balance strategies could Probuild have
adopted? What do you believe the productivity outcomes and benefits of such a
program would be to Probuild?

may develop your arguments in terms of work life balance/ contextual, culture
and job restructuring at the workplace, impact of work-life balance on employee
wellbeing, performance, satisfaction, employee retention strategies etc.

Assessment item 1 — Essay on Work Design Challenges.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image004.jpg”>

All the answers must be written
with supporting academic references

HRMT 20008 – HRM
Strategy and Implementation

Assessment item 1 – Marking
criteria for Essay on Work Design Challenges

Case Study: The Probuild
Construction Story

Name…………………………………… Student No.……………..

Your essay will be assessed on
the extent to which it meets each of the following criteria:

Assessment item 1 — Essay on Work Design Challenges.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image006.jpg”>

Main and



thorough knowledge and critical analysis of the HRM topics/ strategies






in a coherent format. Appropriateness of responses to the task

(10 marks)


Student identifies, integrates and
justifies the relevant strategic HRM theories, models and arguments to analyse
the questions asked in the case study. The essay should also include a
comparison/ justification of proposing strategic HRM theories pertinent to the
context of the case study.

Student describes and justifies the
strategic HRM models, theories they have chosen to answer the case questions
and presents in a logical manner with a clear beginning, discussion and


the reader that the point of views developed in the answers is well






by ideas and information drawn from academic literature and

reflection. (10 marks)


Students scholarly demonstrate
critical analysis of theories and models and justification of decisions using a
wide variety of sources and own reflection to answer the questions and in
favour of their arguments.

Students should develop logical
arguments in a scholarly fashion supported by evidences.

Students should draw conclusion,
arguments in a scholarly manner

Main Criteria:

application of relevant theories, models and concepts to address the






An in-depth knowledge, application of the linkages to different

to Strategic HRM (10 marks)


Students show in depth, excellent
knowledge on strategic HRM models, theories and apply those in the context of
the case study.

Students portray highly accurate
knowledge and fully comprehensive understanding of the linkages among different
aspects of strategic HRM and apply those while answering the case study


an understanding, application of HR challenges, issues and






associated with various directional strategies. (10 marks)


· Student clearly demonstrates understanding
of the HR challenges and

relevant theoretical concepts related to strategic HR in

relation to
managing HR issues in the subjected case study/


· Student utilises academic references to
support their arguments.







of additional research beyond the course material and textbook

use of recent and relevant peer reviewed academic journal articles,

references (minimum of 12 references). (5 marks)


· Students engage with strategic HRM

· Student demonstrates a sound knowledge of
strategic HRM and

aspects of
strategic HRM through application of the relevant


· Students introduce, discuss and integrate
recent, relevant 12 peer

reviewed academic journal articles, academic references (books, book

chapters etc.)
in their discussions


including referencing, formatting, layout and grammar. (5 marks)







· Student presents a structured and logical
discussion of the analysis

within an
essay structure

· Clarity of expression, spelling and grammar



All in-text referencing is correct –
Harvard reference system

Reference List is alphabetical and uses
Harvard referencing system

Length approximately 3000 words for the
body of essay (not including

Title page,
References or Appendices)



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