Credit points



HRMG200 Applied Human Resource Management OR HRMG207 Introduction to Human Resource Management


PERS302 - Employment Relations

Teaching organisation

3 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The effective management of employment relations is an important factor in achieving successful organisational outcomes. To be a skilled employment relations practitioner, students will need to understand theories, legal frameworks and contemporary approaches to managing the interactions between stakeholders in the employment relations system. In this unit, students will explore employment relations by engaging with fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, ethical practice and social responsibility. Students will apply their knowledge of employment relations to the causes and management of disputes, interpreting legal frameworks, advocacy and negotiation, wage and salary fixation strategies and the practical applications of policies and procedures in contemporary organisations. Students will develop skills in the analysis, design and implementation of solutions to employment relations problems.

The aim of this unit is to enhance student knowledge of employment relations theory and practices and to develop their understanding of the processes and skills necessary to effectively design, implement and manage effective employment relations activities and processes.

Learning outcomes

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description


Topics will include:

  • Introduction to employment relations
  • Theories and Values Driving Employment Relations: Pluralist, Unitarist and Radical
  • The International Context of ER: Different approaches to ER in national contexts
  • Parties Involved in the Employment Relationship: Unions, Employer Associations and the State
  • Employee Participation and Voice
  • Arbitration and Awards: 
  • Elements of rulemaking / labour contracts / enterprise agreements / negotiations
  • Conflict in the Employment Relationship: Types of conflict / Theories / IR conflict in Australia
  • Role of FWC in disputes / Mediation           
  • Managing Diversity, Equity and Discrimination
  • Workplace Health and Safety: Legislation / emerging issues / workers compensation

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Blended mode

This unit takes an active learning approach to guide students in the development of knowledge associated with employment relations. Students can explore the knowledge base underpinning employment relations in a series of on campus workshops. These workshops are designed to support students to actively participate in the development of this knowledge both individually and in groups. By participating in these workshops, students will systematically develop their understanding of the critical aspects of employment relations and how to design solutions to employment relations problems. This unit takes an experiential approach to support students in developing the skills required to effectively manage employment by sharing stories and insights and reflecting on experiences. This approach is designed to interest students who prefer to learn within a social environment and builds in expert support for skills development.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete and submit three graded assessment tasks and achieve an aggregate mark of at least 50%. Marking will be in accordance with a rubric specifically developed to measure their level of achievement of the learning outcomes for each item of assessment. Students will also be awarded a final grade which signifies their overall achievement in the Unit. The assessment strategy for this Unit allows students to sequentially develop their knowledge and skills of employment relations and legal frameworks to the point where they can develop a responsible solution to resolve a contentious employment relations issue. To develop this level of capability, students will demonstrate their knowledge of employment relations in a structured research report, further develop their understanding by participating in a simulated workplace negotiation and then apply their knowledge and understanding to analyse a contentious employment relations case and provide a recommendation in the final assessment task.

Representative texts and references

Ainsworth, S., & Knox, A. (2022). “A bridge too far?” Ideas, employment relations and policy‐making about the future of work. Industrial Relations (Berkeley), 61(1), 68–89.

Alexandra, V., Ehrhart, K. H., & Randel, A. E. (2021). Cultural intelligence, perceived inclusion, and cultural diversity in workgroups. Personality and Individual Differences, 168, 110285–.

Behrens, M., Colvin, A. J. S., Dorigatti, L., & Pekarek, A. H. (2020). Systems for Conflict Resolution in Comparative Perspective. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 73(2), 312–344.

Fair Work Act 2009 and Regulations Amendments

Fair Work Commission:

Fells, R., Caspersz, D., & Leighton, C. 2018. The encouragement of bargaining in good faith – A behavioural approach. Journal of Industrial Relations, 60(2), 266-281.

Jhamb, S., & Carlson. K.W. (2020). Managing Workplace Ethical Dilemmas, Perceptual Ethical Leadership, Accountability, and Management Outcomes: A Critical Review and Future Directions. The Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 22(9), 53–67.

KPMG. 2020. Reinventing work: The future-focused workplace Reinventing Work: The future-focused workplace (

Kaufman, B.E., Barry, M., Wilkinson, A., Lomas, G., & Gomez, R. (2021). Using unitarist, pluralist, and radical frames to map the cross-section distribution of employment relations across workplaces: A four-country empirical investigation of patterns and determinants. Journal of Industrial Relations, 63(2), 204–234.

Lansbury, R. (2021). Workplace reform: a new social contract for Australia. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 59(4), 541–553.

Markey, R. (2020). The impact of the COVID-19 virus on industrial relations. Journal of Australian Political Economy, (85), 147–154.

Peetz, D. (2021). Is industrial relations reform the road to recovery in monopsonistic labour markets? The Economic and Labour Relations Review : ELRR, 32(3), 417–436.

Sachdev, A., Nivedha D.S., & Chinmae D. (2021). Impact of Diversity and Inclusion on the Future of Work. NHRD Network Journal, 14(3), 303–31

Shaw, A., McPhail, R., and Ressia, S., 2018. Employment Relations, 2nd edition. South Melbourne, Cengage Publishing.

Stewart, A., 2018. Stewart’s Guide to Employment Law, 6th edn. Annandale, Federation Press

Van Gramberg, B., Teicher, J., Bamber, G. J., & Cooper, B. (2020). Employee Voice, Intention to Quit, and Conflict Resolution: Evidence from Australia. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 73(2), 393–410.



The Journal of Industrial Relations

Australian Bulletin of Labour

Labour and Industry

Economic and Industrial Democracy

ILR Review

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