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Employment relations and employee engagement

This module explores the choices organisations make about employment relations strategies and the associated impacts on employee engagement. It provides an understanding of different employment relations perspectives, theories and debates as well as the national and international contexts of employment relations. Throughout the module the roles of employee participation and voice as crucial processes underlying employee engagement are critically examined. Other areas covered include managing diversity, communication, change management, and the management of conflict associated with grievance, discipline and dismissal.

Vocational relevance

This module is part of a qualification that is intended to provide a route to professional membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) if you wish to develop a career in HR management. It will also provide training in research and academic skills if you want to develop an academic career in the field of HR management.

More generally, by studying a postgraduate business qualification you can expect your salary to increase and for it to have a positive impact on your career progression, as well as bringing improvements to their organisation.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

The module is organised into eight units of study. The first three of these are primarily concerned with an examination of different theories and perspectives of employment relations, along with a critical examination of the concept of employee engagement. They also explore the role and impacts of the ‘actors’ within the employment relations landscape and the impact of different contextual factors (both national and international contexts) on employment relations.

The remaining five units focus on organisational-level employment relations processes and strategies. Employment relations processes that support a positive climate and organisational performance are investigated, notably those concerned with employee engagement, voice, communication and involvement. Employment relations strategies associated with processes of managing organisational change such as overcoming resistance to change are also reviewed. The crucial role of employment relations in conflict resolution is critically examined, along with procedures that can serve to mitigate risk in the areas of discipline, grievance, dismissal and redundancy. Finally, issues related to the integration of employment relations practices and employee engagement strategies within an organisation are critically explored.

You will learn

  • The nature of the employment relationship and the concept of employee engagement, as well as different theories, perspectives and debates in employment relations; 
  • The main ‘actors’ in employment relations and their roles and functions; 
  • Different  employment relations environments related to local, national and global contexts; 
  • Organisational processes and the design and implementation of employment relations, practices, policies and procedures, with a particular focus on employee engagement; 
  • How the integration of employment relations processes impact on organisational outcomes such as employee engagement 

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your tutor will help you with the study material, mark and comment on your assignments and provide advice and guidance. You will contact your tutor by email, telephone or via your tutor group forum on the B866 module website.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Employment relations and employee engagement starts once a year – in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2021. We expect it to start for the last time in November 2022.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    This is an optional module in our MSc in Human Resource Management and Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management therefore you must hold a BA/BSc degree awarded by a recognised university, or equivalent. Due to the defined study pattern for this qualification it is highly recommended that you study The human resource professional (B863) and Human resource management in context (B864) before taking this module.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


    Start End England fee Register
    06 Nov 2021 Apr 2022 £1660.00

    Registration closes 14/10/21 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in November 2022.

    Future availability

    Employment relations and employee engagement starts once a year – in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2021. We expect it to start for the last time in November 2022.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Study materials

    What's included

    You will have access to a module website with an extensive variety of specially written resources presented in different media (print and online) and designed exclusively for this module. This includes:

    • audio and video content
    • case studies
    • published articles
    • a week-by-week study planner
    • online tutorial access
    • access to The Open University library.

    Computing requirements

    You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported, versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

    It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook, however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.