Past exam papers

Answer any THREE questions.

All questions are equally weighted.

You have 2 hours for this exam.

March 2008

1) To what extent is the long-term decline of strike activity indicative of a broad acceptance by employees of management agendas?

2) Critically discuss the role of the wider PEST environment in shaping the nature of contemporary employment relations.

3) Assess the main causes for the decline in British trade union memberships since 1979.

4) Critically evaluate recent trends in employee participation and employee involvement. Why have employee participation initiatives declined at a time when employee involvement initiatives have become more popular?

5) Discuss the employment relations legislation introduced by Labour governments since 1997. How does the approach of the Labour governments differ from the approach taken by the Conservative governments from 1979 and 1997?

March 2007

1) Assess whether unitarism is the more appropriate way to think about contemporary employment relationships. Explain your answer providing comparison with other competing theoretical perspectives.

2) Critically assess how changes in the PEST environment in the past 25 years have had an effect on how employment relations are currently conducted.

3)Evaluate current opportunities for trade unions to recover some of their influence on employment relations matters against the factors that may threaten any such recovery.

4) Critically review the causes for the decline of employee participation initiatives noted in the Workplace Employment Relations Series 1980 to 2004.

5) Critically evaluate whether the long-term decline of strike activity provides sufficient evidence that conflict between employers and workers is no longer an important feature of contemporary employment relations.

August 2006

1) Assess the main reasons for the decline of trade union membership in Britain since 1979.

2) Analyse the main philosophical differences between employee participation and employee involvement

3) Explain why it may be misleading to equate low levels of strike activity with industrial harmony.

4) Why have employers favoured the decentralisation of collective bargaining since 1984?

5) Appraise how Labour governments have regulated British employment relations since 1997.

March 2006

1) “The difficulties of the trade union movement in the new millennium are certainly considerable, yet at the same time not insurmountable” (Blyton and Turnbull, 2004: 169). Evaluate the chances trade unions have of recovering some of their losses in the next 10-20 years.

2) How have Labour governments since 1997 sought to regulate employment relations? Base your assessment on the extent to which Labour policies relate to, or differ from, Conservative government policy 1979 to 1997.

3) Analyse the major changes in collective bargaining since 1980.

4) According to a widely accepted analysis of the Workplace Industrial Relations Survey series, there has been a major shift from collective, representative, indirect and union-based voice, to direct, non-union channels. Why in recent years have employers and managers preferred employee involvement initiatives over employer participation arrangements?

5) Critically evaluate the merit of official strike statistics as an index of industrial conflict.

August 2005

1) According to Blyton and Turnbull (1998) ‘the context of employee relations should not be seen as determining the precise nature of employee relations, but they have helped shape those relations’.

Using real life examples, explain how Blyton and Turnbull might have arrived at this proposition.

2) What are the main reasons for the decline in union membership since 1979?

3) Outline the key features of Employment Relations Act 1999.

Assess the value of this piece of legislation in relation to Britain’s trade union movement.

4) Explain whilst giving examples why employers have favoured the decentralisation of collective bargaining since 1984.

5) Critically consider the decline in official strike action since 1979.

March 2005

1) A Marxist (or radical) perspective is said to ‘emphasise the asymmetry of power between employer and employee’ (Blyton and Turnbull, 2004: 34).

Explain why an emphasis on an inherent power disparity between employer and employee can enhance understandings of employment relations.

2) Illustrate and then consider why it may be irresponsible to equate the decline of officially recorded strikes with a decline of industrial conflict.

3) Outline and evaluate the advantages that managers can derive from collective bargaining.

4) What are the main philosophical differences between employee participation and employee involvement (40 per cent of awarded marks)?

Consider why employers may favour employee involvement initiatives over employee participation initiatives (60 per cent of awarded marks).

5) Assess the future implications for British industry if no coherent system of human resource management or employment relations emerges to replace the former reliance on collective bargaining.

March 2004

1) Outline the key features of one of the three major theoretical perspectives and then evaluate the extent to which it can help us understand employment relations.

2) Outline the key features of non-union and anti-union management strategies in regard of employment relations practices.

Assess the degree of difference between the two.

3) Which social groups are most likely to be members of trade unions?

Give reasons for your answers.

4) Distinguish the main benefits of employee involvement initiatives and assess their value in the maintaining constructive employment relations.

5) Explain why it would be misleading to suggest that low levels of strike activity or other forms of formal industrial protest are not necessarily synonymous with industrial harmony.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi James,
think this is a great exercise but would it be possible to give suggestions as to best way to answer?