Researching & Writing Your Report
You will need to select an organisation of your choice on which to base your research. For
example, it may be an organisation known personally to you; one that you are interested in
working for; or one that is topical for which you can easily access information. Please note
that you are not allowed to conduct interviews or primary research for this assignment
your research must be based on secondary data sources (e.g. annual reports, company
website, company reports, published research).
Conducting the research for your Individual Report
When conducting the research, you need to cover the following:
1. Some background research into the organisation itself e.g. size, number of employees,
workforce characteristics structure, financial performance, corporate strategy, HRM
2. The most pertinent HRM challenges that this organisation is facing. Examples could
a. Covid-19 pandemic
b. A recruitment and/ or employee retention problem (e.g. high levels of
employee turnover; difficulties filling staff vacancies/attracting staff; poor
c. An employee ethics problem
d. An industrial relations issue e.g. strike action; adversarial relationship with trade
unions and/or other employee representatives
e. Employee dissatisfaction with pay/pension/other rewards
f. Poor employee performance/performance management system; low levels of
motivation and employee engagement
g. Concerns around workforce equality and diversity
h. Making redundancies, restructuring, mergers/acquisitions
i. HR consequences of BREXIT (e.g. difficulty recruiting & retaining staff from the
j. A change in labour and/or skill requirements through new technology (& the
implications for recruitment/selection; training & development; reward)
3. Choose between 2-3 HRM challenges that the organisation is currently facing.
4. Apply your knowledge of HRM theories and the relevant literature to make
recommendations for how the HRM department in your organisation should respond
to the challenges you have identified.
Writing up your Individual Report
Your report should follow a report format using the guidance provided below.
Introduction (word count guidance for this section is 250 words):
This section should give a brief outline of your case study organisation with a particular focus
on HRM. Please note: if your case study company is a multinational you must focus on just
one country of their operation and clearly communicate this in your introduction.
Analysis & Recommendations (word count guidance for this section is 1750 words)
The analysis contains the results of your research. This section should cover an analysis
of the 2-3 HRM challenges that your chosen organisation currently faces. Only facts
should be reported here you should not include personal comments. Analysis should
involve answering the report question. For the CB5011 individual report this covers the
first part of the question i.e. Outline the main human resource challenges an
organisation of your choice currently faces. You can use sub-sections and sub-headings
to clearly identify the 2-3 HRM challenges that you are addressing in your report.
You need to make HRM recommendations to your case study organisation for the 2-3
challenges you have identified. Hence, this covers the second part of the question i.e.
make recommendations for how HRM should respond. Here, you need to provide
supporting evidence for your recommendations and this supporting evidence must
derive from relevant literature.
Ending the report
You must provide a reference list using the Harvard referencing system of all the secondary
sources you have referred to in your report. You are not permitted to use appendices for this
assignment all information needs to be contained within the main report.
Tips and Recommendations
Read widely and try to understand the issues in detail. Stick to academic books and
journals available through the library and avoid generic online sources as these are
often sources of misinformation that will be frowned upon by the examiner. Start with
the course textbook and work your way through to more challenging materials.
HRM is a big topic to write about. Students are advised to choose two or three
specific topics on the course and focus on those. Not only should this help you to
structure the discussion that you are working on, but it will help focus your analysis.
See the section on Researching & Writing Your Report for further advice.
Think about the scope of your report. Depth rather than breadth is important for
undergraduate work. Be sure to follow the guidance provided in this document to
ensure that you maintain focus and depth of analysis in your work.
Be sure to consult a style guide in order to correctly cite material in the Harvard style:
https://www.kent.ac.uk/ai/Harvard-Style-Guide.pdf . It is advisable (but not mandatory)
for students to learn to use referencing software such as Endnote, Zotero, the built-in
referencing function of Microsoft Word or Mendeley as this will make referencing
consistent and simpler than trying to do it by yourself.
Work closely with the marking criteria. Think about how you are demonstrating each
of the things that the examiner will be looking for.
Chose a topic and start working on the report early. The lectures will make reference
to the HRM challenges facing organisations relevant to the lecture topic that week
so you must attend the lectures and take notes. This will be reinforced in the seminar
activities. As such, there will be many opportunities to develop your understanding of
HRM challenges and how organisations can adapt/respond to them. Starting working
early is also advisable because essays written in haste are not likely to do well on this
Think about what makes your report distinctive. Marking is not done on a
comparative basis but it is still worth thinking about what analysis, example, research,
or insight makes your work unique or noteworthy.
Make sure to take note of the deadline and submit in good time. It is important
that you know that Turnitin will not allow late submissions (see the Module Guide for
further instructions on late submission).
There are no specific reading lists related to the individual report assignment. Recommended
books are provided in your module guide, together with recommended journals for the study
of HRM. Not only should this help you to structure the discussion that you are working on, but
it will help focus your analysis. Further readings are also provided each week on Moodle.
However, these sources should they be treated as an exhaustive list and your reference
list must be reflective of wider, independent reading and research.
Guides on Academic Writing
The following guides will help you if you are not familiar with the mores of academic writing:
Strunk, W., & White, E. B. (2000). The elements of style (4th ed.). New York: Longmann
Fish, S. E. (2011). How to write a sentence: And how to read one. New York: Harper.
Eco, U., Mongiat Farina, C., & Farina, G. (2015). How to write a thesis. Cambridge,
Massachusetts: MIT Press.
If you are not comfortable with your writing, or have had previous assignment feedback
about poor academic writing, then you are advised to seek out remedial services either
within or through the university.
At second and third-year undergraduate level, academic journal articles should be the primary
source of information for your assignments. You are expected to conduct research beyond
those papers already provided to you by the Module Convenor:
British Journal of Industrial Relations
Industrial Relations Journal
International Journal of Human Resource Management
Human Resource Management Journal
Journal of Management Studies
Work, Employment and Society
Gender, Work and Organization
Journal of Business Ethics