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  • Semester 2Multi-mode
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  • ACU Term 3Online Unscheduled



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Health managers today need to effectively manage the health care workforce within their area of responsibility. Therefore, this unit is necessary for current and future health leaders and managers, who will be able to apply evidence-based knowledge and solutions to manage workforce. This includes skills to analyse, evaluate, generate, and communicate solutions to complex problems such as forecasting workforce demand and supply, staff recruitment and retention and facilitating employee wellbeing and engagement.  

Health managers who have specialised knowledge and skill are in a good position to ensure organisational best fit by aligning individual employee goals with organisational goals. Further, health managers who are skilled in evaluating workforce-related problems and employ ethical approaches to workforce management can provide their organisation with a competitive advantage within the health sector. 

In this unit, workforce management principles and practices will be critically examined. Strategies and skills to promote employee well-being while maximising the allocation and use of resources and enhance accountability will be discussed. Employment relations, diversity, ethics, employee wellbeing and social responsibility will be critically analysed within this context.  

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Reflect on and explain how knowledge of workforce management theories, concepts, practices, policies and processes can influence quality and safety of care in contemporary health care organisationsGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO2Compare and contrast theory-based workforce management strategies that address potentially challenging issues and processes that may arise in employment relations in contemporary health care organisationsGC1, GC2, GC4, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO3Critically analyse the components of an ethically-based workforce management plan that incorporates an employee well-being and retention strategy, and the concept of corporate social responsibilityGC1, GC2, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11


Topics will include: 

 Theories and foundations of workforce management in health care 

  • scientific management 
  • bureaucratic management 
  • human relations theories 
  • foundations of human resource management (HRM) 

 Strategic management and strategic HRM 

  • strategic management concepts 
  • strategic HRM concepts and practices 
  • strategic planning process:  
  • scanning the external environment   
  • internal assessment of the organizational workforce 
  • strategy and policy 
  • HRM challenges in healthcare 
  • effects of strategic management on quality and safety of life/care for staff/patients 

Employment relations, diversity and employment equity 

  • the employment relationship 
  • occupational health and safety 
  • equal employment opportunity 
  • workplace bullying 
  • workforce diversity  
  • anti-discrimination policy 
  • managing equity and diversity in organisations 

 Workforce planning, recruitment, selection and retention 

  • workforce planning processes 
  • managing the recruitment process 
  • monitoring recruitment effectiveness and efficiency 
  • factors influencing the selection decision 
  • selection and quality assurance 
  • retention strategies and talent management 
  • performance appraisal and development 
  • industrial relations 

Employee wellbeing 

  • theoretical concepts of employee wellbeing  
  • employee engagement and motivation 
  • individual and team wellbeing 
  • wellbeing and performance 
  • workplace health and safety
  • employee assistance programs 
  • sustainability 
  • succession planning 

Ethics and social responsibility 

  • dimensions of organisational ethics 
  • ethical treatment of employees 
  • social responsibility 
  • employees as stakeholders 
  • organisations as social actors 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

ACU Online

This unit utilises an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of essential knowledge that will form the foundation for facilitative leadership, coaching and mentoring skill development which students will require if they are to effectively lead and manage staff in a variety of health care settings. 

The learning and teaching strategy for this unit is founded on self-directed, self-paced learning supported by regular asynchronous weekly discussions. Learning in this mode will be largely asynchronous (‘anywhere, anytime learning’), as well as synchronous, for example, via live webinar scheduled periodically throughout the semester. Self-directed, self-paced learning will provide opportunity for students to reflect on individual values and analyse organisational and group values in relation to the role of the leader as coach, mentor, and facilitator.


This unit utilises an active learning approach whereby students will be provided with an opportunity to participate in classroom discussions and interactivity with peers through attendance in class-based lectures that function as combined lecture/tutorial. Learning activities will include lectures, tutorials and small group discussions and self-directed learning modules. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on theory that underpins ethical workforce management at the strategic level, the nature of the employment relationship and associated human relations processes, employee wellbeing, managing workforce diversity and social responsibility. In constructing knowledge about the health care workforce, students will develop skill in applying theory to ethical and effective workforce management in the health care environment. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

To become effective as a health manager and leader, the student must develop comprehensive knowledge of workforce management. This will be facilitated through online demonstration of the theoretical underpinnings, concepts and principles of strategic workforce management and confirmed by lecturer feedback via the online learning environment. Student knowledge will be further extended through online-mediated synthesis of theoretical knowledge to develop a repertoire of strategies aimed at meeting workforce-related challenges that can be applied to ethical workforce management, including forecasting demand and supply, employee wellbeing, managing workforce diversity and social responsibility.  

In order to pass this unit, students are expected to submit two graded tasks. In addition, students must achieve a cumulative grade of at least 50% across both assessments. The assessment strategy used allows for the progressive development of knowledge and skills necessary for the student to be able to demonstrate ethical and effective approaches to workforce management in the context of safe, quality health care.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Submitted Paper

Enables students to evaluate theories, concepts and principles of strategic workforce management, including challenging issues and processes relevant to the employment relationship in a healthcare environment.


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 2: Essay/Plan

Enables students to critically analyse the ethical and effective dimensions of workforce management and broader responsibilities.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Representative texts and references

Nel, P., Werner, A., Fazey, M., Millett, B., Du Plessis, A., Wordsworth, R., . . . Suseno, Y. (2017). Human resource management in Australia (Second ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press

This text is a generic Human Resources textbook and has been recommended as it was identified as the best available text for the learning in this unit. However, as it is not health specific, the journal articles listed in the unit content provide for the focus on health once the fundamentals have been understood via the reading of the recommended text.

Other recommended references

Armstrong, M. (2017). Armstrong's Handbook of Strategic Human Resource Management (14th ed.). London: Kogan Page.

Nankervis, A. R. (2020). Human resource management : strategy and practice (Tenth Asia-Pacific edition.). Cengage.

Boxall, & Huo, M. (2022). Fostering the high‐involvement model of human resource management: what have we learnt and what challenges do we face? Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 60(1), 41–61

Clegg, S., Kornberger, M., & Pitsis, T. (2019). Managing & organizations: An introduction to theory and practice. (5th Ed.). Los Angeles, London: Sage Publications.

Collings, D., Wood, G., Caligiuri, P., & Wood, G. (Geoffrey). (2015). The Routledge companion to international human resource management. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Huo, & Boxall, P. (2022). Do workers respond differently to learning from supervisors and colleagues? A study of job resources, learning sources and employee wellbeing in China. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 33(4), 742–762.

Van Dijk, D., & Schodl, M. M. (2015). Performance appraisal and evaluation. In International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (pp. 716-721). London: Elsevier.  

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