Leading and Managing People – High Performance Working 1

Leading and Managing People – High Performance Working 1
Order Description
Leading and Managing People (SHR012-6)
Assignment 1: High Performance Working
Aim: To develop a critical awareness of current factors affecting leading and managing people and to demonstrate how effective policies can add value to the business’ strategic goals.
Learning Outcomes:
To be able to
? Make constructive contributions to the development or enhancement of Leading and Managing and People strategies
? Critically evaluate existing work practices and propose cost effective improvements
? Optimise the use of available tools and techniques in the field of research and IT


High performance working (HPW) is one response being made by organisations to meet the demands of change and the increasing needs faced by many organisations of mass customisation and fulfilment of individual customers’ needs. The potential for employees to raise levels of corporate performance and profitability has been noted by governments and policy makers. Jeffrey Pfeffer’s early work on the business benefits of engaging workers (The Human Equation, 1998) claimed that not only were people at the heart of business success, but that the management requirement could be reduced to a set of key Human Resources policies. Pfeffer argued that the closer organisations get to this set of policies, the better performance is likely to be. This seems to characterise most if not all of the systems producing profits through people.

HRM Policy (input) Company Performance (output)

1. Employment security and internal labour markets
2. Selective hiring and sophisticated selection
3. Extensive training, learning and development
4. Employee involvement and participation, worker voice
5. Self-managed teams/team-working
6. High compensation contingent on performance
7. Performance review, appraisal and career development
8. Reducing status differences/harmonising terms and conditions
9. Work-life balance

Source: Compiled from a number of sources but initially adapted significantly from Pfeffer, J. (1998) The Human Equation. Boston Press.

Produce a professional report of approximately 2700 words, addressed to your organisation’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, on the tasks stated below. Include cost-effective recommendations and an action plan to improve effectiveness and add value to the business.

Ensure your report has sufficient academic rigour to support your arguments and conclusions and to guarantee its credibility to the organisation.
NB: Appendices should not be included unless they add substantial benefits; Recommendations should pass the ‘immediate implementation test’.

Key Tasks:

1. Critically discuss what is meant by High Performance Working (HPW).

2. Given the nine key areas identified above, critically discuss the extent to which any three of these high performance working areas is evident in your own organisation.

3. Make recommendations leading to an action plan based upon your findings, to improve performance in your organisation, clearly stating how it can add value to the business performance. Recommendations must be timely and fully justified stating clearly costs and benefits and any further implications to the organisation.
Assignment Guidance
Section / Title Details / Guidance

University coversheet Include name, student ID number, unit title and code, assessment title, date of submission.
Title page Title of your report. Address (to/from) and date the report.

Executive Summary Summary of your whole report, including some of the key recommendations.
(200 words)
Contents Page Include page numbers.

Introduction Short introduction to the report setting out what the aims and objectives of the report are, what the report will cover and why. You may want to provide a brief overview of your organisation at this stage (approximately 200 words).

Literature Review
(Task 1) Using third party sources (e.g. academic literature or practitioner-orientated material) for support analyse the theoretical concept underpinning high performance working, explaining why HPW is such a ‘hot topic’ in HR circles.
What it is, to what extent is it thought to work or not and why it benefits (or not) an organisation. You should make reference to any relevant models, frameworks etc. of HPW and include critical viewpoints. You are also expected to include relevant examples of organisations using this way of working (around 1000 words).

(Task 2) Consider the existence and impact of HPW (if any) on your organisation by evaluating how any three of the nine areas mentioned above are manifested in the organisation and so can contribute (or not) to the organisation achieving its goals (around 900 words, 300 words for each area).

Conclusions This section should initially answer your report objectives and draw together the main points from your analysis of literature and other discussion about your organisation. It summarises what has been learned from undertaking this research. It should also begin to weigh up the options available to the organisation and what would impede implementation of further action. It should reach an overall conclusion as to the extent and effectiveness of the issues identified on your organisation and based upon option evaluation begins to identify the way forward. No new information should be presented in the conclusions (around 200 words).

(Task 3) Make a considered initial list of recommendations for improvement based upon your conclusions, clearly stating how they can add value to the organisation. (around 200 words)

Also include an action plan which addresses these recommendations as an appendix to the report. The action plan should be fully feasible and justified stating clearly costs, priority level, time-scale, resources, who is responsible, benefits and any further implications to the organisation. Your proposals should be actionable (‘immediately implementable’) not just a list of ideas. You can use a table to help structure your action plan (see page below). The recommendations for action should be linked to creating an acceptable level of HPW to enhancing the existing level, or to introducing some new practices and processes to make the current degree of HPW more sustainable in the longer term or if any future threats to the company appear likely to jeopardise an HPW culture. In other words, your recommendations should cover every conceivable contingency, but should also be linked to identified individuals who could be held accountable for their implementation.

Reference List A list of the third-party sources you have consulted and which are cited directly in the text. All these sources should be properly identified.
Harvard style (see the Learning Resources website: lrweb.beds.ac.uk/help/guide-to-ref).

Appendices Lengthy appendices are not necessary and must be discouraged. You may include extra relevant background information (no more than a page) regarding your organisation if not already in the introduction. Also include the action plan.

Word Limit 2700 words +/- 10% (not including executive summary, contents page, reference list and appendices)

Submission Deadline for submission is 21st April 2016
You should submit your report electronically via Turnitin on Breo.

Assessment Criteria As illustrated on pages 6-7.

Poor Academic Practice Please see appendix A at the end of this brief for guidance on this issue.

Draft Recommendations Template
Suggested format for an action plan

Priority Action
(what?) Business Justification
Benefits Specific Intervention
(how?) Time Frame Who Cost Method of monitoring Consequence of not doing
State what needs to be done Link to the business’ objectives

Make clear the rationale Added value – Reason why business needs to take this action Training?


Purchase of a resource? Short, medium, long term?


Next 3-6 months? etc Who will action these?

Who has ownership? Time?
Finances? Etc
Rough ’ indicator When will we review this action? This should be the ultimate act of persuasion
4 etc
Some key additional questions:
? How affordable is all this to the business?
? How realistic is this plan – is it ‘do-able’ and ‘deliverable’?
? How politically sensitive are the actions recommended?
? Are issues of diversity covered?
? Is the plan immediately implementable?

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