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Bearing in mind the varying approaches to the concept of equity (Petzall, Abbott & Timo 2007), would you argue that employment relations in Singapore are equitable? Justify your answer. This is an essay question and your answer must be in essay format; that is, it must be structured around an argument that answers the question. The essay will be marked according to the Marking Criteria Sheet which is included in this Guide. The criteria are: understanding of the question and comprehensiveness; written expression; structure; sources; originality; and presentation.
Petzall, S, Abbott, K & Timo, N 2007, Australian industrial relations in an Asian context, 3rd ed, Eruditions Publishing, Chapter 11, 'Equity in industrial relations', pp. 293-321
This chapter is the essential starting point for your research for this essay. It sets out some competing perspectives on the concept of equity in employment relations. It also provides some criteria or issues by which to evaluate whether employment relations are equitable. You will need to undertake your own, independent research into Singapore employment relations in order to successfully complete this essay.
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This reading guide is designed to complement the lectures and assist you with your exam preparation. You should undertake the nominated reading each week, prepare answers to the related questions, and think about the issues raised by the readings and the questions. The examination questions will not necessarily be exactly the same as the weekly questions. The exam questions may require that you demonstrate an understanding of the reading or apply the concepts from the readings to employment relations in the Singapore context. The weekly lectures will provide you with additional information and examples regarding the Singapore employment relations context.
Text: Tan Chwee Huat 2007, Employment relations in Singapore, 5th edn, Prentice Hall, Singapore.
Topic 1 Course Overview and Administration
Topic 2 The Nature of the Employment Relationship
Balnave, N, Brown, J, Maconachie, G & Stone, R 2007, Employment relations in Australia, John Wiley and Sons, Milton, pp. 1-37. Chapter 1, 'Introduction to employment relations'.
Why is the employment relationship interdependent?
What is managerial prerogative and how far should it extend?
What is the difference between overt and covert forms of industrial conflict? Give some examples of each.
How do the unitarist pluralist and radical frames of reference differ in their assumptions about the nature of the employment relationship?
What is the systems approach and what are its strengths and weaknesses? How applicable is it to Singapore?
What role does freedom and choice play in the employment relationship?
Topic 3 Employee Voice and Joint Consultation
Salamon, M 2000, Industrial relations: Theory and practice, Pearson Education Limited, Harlow, England, Chapter Ten, 'Employee involvement and participation', pp. 369-410.
What is meant by the terms industrial democracy, employee participation and employee involvement?
What are the different forms of employee involvement and participation?
What are the key elements of the German system of co-determination?
What forms of employee voice and joint consultation exist in Singapore?
Topic 4 Employment Relations Institutions and Laws in Singapore
Tan 2004, Employment relations in Singapore, Chapters 5-8
Why does the NTUC want to maintain the tripartite relationship?
What role does the SNEF play in the tripartite system and compare that to the NTUC
What role to the three functions of government play in employment relations?
What is the role of the Industrial Arbitration Court?
What is the role of the Trade Unions Act and what are its implications for workers and trade unions?
Topic 5 Trade Unions
Leggett, C 2008, 'Trade unions in Singapore', in (eds) Benson, J & Ying Zhue, Trade unions in Asia, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 102-20.
This book is available online as an e-book through the RMIT Library website:
What are main elements of the political and economic context of trade unions in Singapore?
Briefly outline the role, structure, membership and regulation of unions in Singapore prior to national independence.
What are the types and structures of unions in Singapore?
What do Singapore unions do?
Do you agree with Leggett that '[f]or the future, the NTUC's membership remains a problem if it is to fulfil the social partnership role required of it by manpower planning'?
Topic 6 The Changing Context of Employment Relations in Singapore
Tan, 2004, Employment relations in Singapore, Chapters 3-4
Leggett, C 2007, 'From industrial relations to manpower planning: the transformation of Singapore's industrial relations', International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 642-64.
What are the implications of the aging Singaporean workforce?
What are some of the difficulties in encouraging greater workforce participation and outline the steps the government, employers and the trade unions can take to redress this issue?
What are the key elements of the strategic choice model?
Briefly outline some of the conventional presentations or frameworks used to explain Singapore's industrial relations.
Identify the key elements of each of the three transformations of Singapore's industrial relations.
Why does Leggett argue that the strategic choice model has greater utility than the alternative frameworks in explaining the changing nature of industrial relations in Singapore?
Topic 7 Wage Reform and Wage Negotiation
Tan 2004, Employment relations in Singapore, Chapter 10
Why was the National Wage Council established and how has its role changed through time?
Why has the National Wages Council stopped giving quantitative wage increases?
Discuss the features of the flexible wage system and outline the problems in implementing a flexible wage system?
Topic 8 HRM and the New Workplace
Williams, C 2007, 'New forms of flexible work organization' in Rethinking the future of work: Directions and visions, Palgrave, Houndmills, pp. 131-52.
What are the defining characteristics of Fordism?
Assess the advantages and disadvantages of Fordism with reference to a) workers, b) employers and c) consumers
In which ways was Fordism much more than just a new method of production?
What are the defining characteristics of neo-Fordism?
What are the defining characteristics of post-Fordism?
Assess the advantages and disadvantages of post-Fordism with reference to a) workers, b) employers and c) consumers
What is McDonaldisation?
Which form of work organisation do you think dominates Singapore workplaces? Justify your answer. Is Singapore similar or dissimilar to other countries?
Topic 9 Managing Human Resources
Pinnington, A & Lafferty, G 2003, 'What is HRM?', in Pinnington, A & Lafferty, G, Human resource management in Australia, Oxford, Melbourne.
What are the four HR categories under the Harvard model and what ensures their effectiveness?
Why is the Harvard model soft HRM?
What is the main concern of the Michigan model and what are the three important issues in this model?
Why is the Michigan model hard HRM?
What differentiates Schuler's model from hard and soft HRM?
Are soft and hard HRM approaches alternatives or complementary?
Analyse Kochan's framework and explain how it differs from soft and hard HRM?
Do these models of HRM apply equally to all industries?
Topic 10 Selection and Recruitment
Newall, S 2005, 'Recruitment and selection' in Bach, S (ed.) Managing human resources: Personnel management in transition, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, pp. 115-147.
How is job analysis linked to job description and person specification?
What is the significance of the ideas of reliability and validity in selection processes?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of different selection methods?
Topic 11 Current Issues in Singapore Employment Relations
Tan 2004, Employment relations in Singapore, Chapters 11-12 and 14
What benefits do the tripartite partners obtain from productivity improvement?
Why do some employers neglect training and what are the benefits of training for employers and employees?
What are the steps in designing a training programme and how are you able to tell if the training has succeeded?
How is the Singaporean workforce changing and what challenges does this pose?
Topic 12 Revision
BUSM1084 EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS, SIM, SEMESTER 1, 2011
ESSAY MARKING CRITERIA
UNDERSTANDING OF QUESTION/ COMPREHENSIVENESS
No demonstrated understanding of question;
not all issues raised by the question have been answered; maybe inaccuracies and irrelevant material
Borderline understanding of question; may not have answered all the issues which the question raises; lacks comprehensiveness; maybe some inaccuracies
Sufficient understanding of question; answers all parts of question; lacks comprehensiveness; maybe minor inaccuracies
Good understanding of question/ answers all parts of question but not as comprehensive
Unequivocal understanding of question/ answers all its parts comprehensively and accurately
Gross spelling, grammatical errors; poor syntax
Basic understanding of rules of grammar and syntax; sentence and paragraphs; no spelling errors
Some evidence of fluency in writing; no obvious errors in grammar or syntax
Clear and fluent writing
Well constructed and crafted piece of work; a pleasure to read
No idea of structure
Some evidence of structure; intro, body, conclusion
Clear evidence of structure; but internal problems in structure still evident
Clear structure; well constructed essay
Essay structured to emphasise argument; clear intro and conclusion; logical progression of argument
Limited sources; high degree of paraphrasing
Uncritical discussion or assessment of sources; writing close to sources.
Some evidence of critical analysis.
Critical analysis of sources.
Highly developed critical analysis; and assessment of different approaches
Cut and paste; direct dependence on source material
Pedestrian; essay reliant on restating major themes from sources; no evidence of critical analysis of reading; mainstream expository writing
Not afraid of expressing opinion; beginning of critical analysis and development of style write able to show originality
Critical appraisal of evidence from sources; style used to effect; writing style evident; essay stands out from the pack
Evidence of highly developed analysis; opinion expressed; work displays flair and mastery in writing
Poorly presented; does not conform to course/ RMIT Business requirements
Average presentation; all required information included
Very good presentation