The course Design of Work Systems & Employment Relations is oriented at developing knowledge and understanding in designing 'good jobs'. 'Good jobs' do not emerge out of nothing. It requires a thoughtful approach of organization, people and technology. In this course we develop an understanding of the nature of 'good jobs'.
The focal point of this course is a design theory: sociotechnical systems design (STS). This approach is emphasising the need for an integration of quality of working life and quality of organisation and quality of labour relations. Especially in the Netherlands this theory is elaborated into a detailed organisation design theory. There are also many examples of Dutch companies that have (partly) implemented sociotechnical team-based work systems.
We will apply this design theory to two different contexts: in the virtual world (the New World of Work) and in flexible & individualised employment relationships. Firstly, through the availability of all kinds of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) collaborative work is possible independent of time, place and organisation. What does it mean to work in teams in a virtual context? What are good jobs in a virtual world of work? Regarding quality of working life, are the similar issues at stake? How do STS design principles apply in a virtual context?
Secondly, many companies try to be as flexible as possible to meet the market demands. The employment relationships should be adapted to that dynamic environment, even more if on the labour market many employees do want to get the ideal I-deal. How can we conceptualise these trends and what do they mean for the concept of ‘good jobs’?
In this course we also take a thorough look into practice, by visiting companies, to have a possibility to test a "beautiful" theory in the "harsh" reality
Job Design, SocioTechnical Systems Design, Quality of Working Life, Individualised Employment Relations
The final mark is based on three assignments:
(1) presentation in lecture (10%, based on individual contribution)
(2) homework assignments (15%, individual contributions)
(3) final assignments (75%)
Contribution to the programme learning goals
· students have to read papers and discuss both the theoretical and practical relevance of findings on job design and employment relations (e.g. Quality of Working Life, virtual teams, labour flexibility and I-deals). As such, this course supports students to gain practical and theoretical knowledge of advanced issues in business administration (goal 1.1.)
· During the lectures, theories on job design and employment relations are discussed, such as the Sociotechnical Systems Design theory, Labour Flexibility and Psychological Contract theory. For the final assignment, students have to apply such a theory on a concrete complex organizational problem related to job design. This supports students to gain the ability to independently apply and/or test current theories, models and methods in the analysis of complex organisational problems and processes within the area of specialization (goal 2.2)
· Students have to apply the knowledge in a complex business setting in a company; they have to write a paper on the subject at hand. This supports the goal of independently draw and support reasoned conclusions and recommend solutions of complex organisational problems and processes within the area of specialization (goal 2.3)
· By writing a research proposal, students are prepared for setting up research projects into HRM transformation. This supports the realizing the learning goal that students have the ability to independently set up and manage complex projects and processes within the area of specialization (goal 2.4).
· Students have to prepare for one lecture to present the subject and to think on how to discuss the issue in class. In so doing, students have to search for and integrate papers on a selected topic. This supports realizing the learning goal that students should have the ability to systematically collect, assess and analyse information from all relevant sources using advanced means (goal 3.2.)
· Students have to present their lectures and final assignments to their peers, which are prepared to a certain level. This supports students to gain the ability to give a structured presentation, both orally and in writing, to both specialist and non-specialist audiences (goal 3.4).
Knowledge integration with other courses
Transformation of HR Function with IT (194120130) and Managing HR Flow (194120090): impact of information technologies on organizations, management, working relations and flow of human resources.
Recommended prior knowledge
Basic knowledge on HRM and Organization Design is desired.