Organisational Systems and Structures

This unit assignment explores the connections between organisational structure and the wider world of work in a commercial context.

It highlights the factors and trends, including the digital environment, that impact on business strategy and workforce planning, recognising the influence of culture, employee wellbeing and behaviour in delivering change and organisational performance.

CIPD’s insight

Workplace technology: the employee experience (July 2020)

Our research looks at technology adoption and use at work, in addition to the people profession’s role in supporting organisations and their workforce.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a spotlight on technology as an enabler of work with many organisations turning to its use for flexible and remote working. However, these circumstances have also revealed other issues such as productivity, work–life balance, workforce engagement and wellbeing which must all be considered when new technology use is introduced in the workplace.

Taken together with the broader theme of increasing digitisation and technical advancement, organisations and people professionals need to understand how workplace technology is impacting their workforce if they are to drive and support the best outcomes for their people and business.

https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/work/technology/workplace-technology-employee

Technology and the future of work (January 2021)

How artificial intelligence (AI), robots and automation are shaping the world of work, the ethical considerations and the role of people professionals.

Much has been said about the potential impact of AI, robots and automation on jobs and the future of work. A common view is that many jobs are at risk of being taken over by machines, potentially leading to large-scale job losses. Our research shows that while there are risks, there are at least as many opportunities to increase the number and quality of jobs. No doubt these technologies will change the nature of work as we know it. This change needs a proper people strategy led by people professionals.

This factsheet describes some of the technologies that are having an impact on the world of work. It looks at the ethical implications of using these technologies in the workplace and considers the role of people professionals in shaping the future of work for humans.

https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/work/technology/emerging-future-work-factsheet

Workforce planning (November 2020)

Explores the benefits of workforce planning, the activities involved and the stages of the workforce planning process.

Workforce planning is a core business process which aligns changing organisation needs with people strategy. It can be the most effective activity an organisation can engage in. It doesn’t need to be complicated and can be adjusted to suit the size and maturity of any organisation. It can provide market and industry intelligence to help organisations focus on a range of challenges and issues and prepare for initiatives to support longer term business goals.

This factsheet examines the concept of workforce planning. It distinguishes between strategic and operational workforce planning, ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ workforce planning, which work together to generate and analyse information before planning actions. It also explores the stages of the workforce planning process and highlights key issues and action points for implementation.

https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/strategy/organisational-development/workforce-planning-factsheet

Case study

You are a member of a small People Practice Team, based in the London head office of a company called BMC.  BMC has recently purchased a large contemporary city centre licenced food premises in Manchester adding to its already growing portfolio of acquisitions in London, Leeds, Nottingham and Glasgow. 

During the COVID-19 lockdown the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) considered that, with the growth of the organisation, the current business structure and strategy may need updating. Currently the company operates a strict centralised policy, with most operations dictated by head office and a traditional ‘top-down’ management structure across the organisation. 

The CEO is aware that not all the managers are happy with the centralised approach, particularly two managers who were employed at their venues prior to acquisition, and sometimes express that they ‘prefer the old way’. The CEO is also aware that BMC has neglected the people side of the business, particularly outside London, and that BMC now has a legacy of high staff turnover and low employee satisfaction.

As post-lockdown trading has resumed, managers are reporting that it is becoming more difficult to recruit the staff they need and that they are therefore having to ask even more of existing staff, adding to the staff dissatisfaction. Whilst business is generally good, competition (for both staff and customers) from small independent cafes, offering more varied menus and locally produced foods, is becoming an issue.

The CEO has called managers to a Strategic Planning Day, aimed at reviewing and updating organisational strategy.

Preparation for the Tasks: 

  • At the start of your assignment, you are encouraged to plan your assessment work with your Assessor and where appropriate agree milestones so that they can help you monitor your progress.
  • Refer to the indicative content in the unit to guide and support your evidence.
  • Pay attention to how your evidence is presented, remember you are working in the People Practice Team for this task.
  • Ensure that the evidence generated for this assessment remains your own work.

You will also benefit from: 

  • Acting on formative feedback from your Assessor.
  • Reflecting on your own experiences of learning opportunities and training and continuing professional development.

Reading the CIPD Insight, Fact Sheets and related online material on these topics.

Task One – Strategic planning meeting report

To ensure the Strategic Planning Day is productive, the BMC CEO has asked you to prepare a report about organisational strategy, including how people practice can support strategic change and the achievement of business goals. The aim of the report is to ensure managers’ understanding of organisational strategy and the connections between structure, strategy and the wider business environment, as well as the potential role of people practice.

Most of the managers attending (a group of 10 managers and 10 deputy managers) have said that they have limited theoretical knowledge of organisational strategy. The report is to be provided to them before the meeting to inform discussions on the day.

Your report should have two main parts:

  • Part one should cover points 1-4 below and provide an overview of the connections between organisational structure, strategy and the business environment.
  • Part two should cover points 5-8 highlighting how the People Practice Team could support the managers to achieve their business goals and objectives.
  1. an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of two different types of organisational structures – BMC’s structure and another of your choice. (AC 1.1) 
  2. an analysis of the connections between organisational strategy, products & services, customers and revenue generation. (AC 1.2)
  3. an analysis of the external factors and trends that are impacting or are likely to impact BMC’s future strategic direction. (AC 1.3) 
  4. an assessment of two current strategic priorities for BMC and what has caused them. (AC 1.4)
  5. a critical evaluation of the relationship between the employee lifecycle and your work (or potential work) as a people professional. (AC 3.1)
  6. explanation of two key themes that are currently impacting people practice and shaping how your area of people practice supports the organisation. (AC 3.3)
  7. an assessment of how people practices can impact on organisational systems and structures (AC 1.5)
  8. an assessment of how the BMC People Practice Team:
  9. connects with and could support the two strategic priorities at point 4 above (AC 3.2)
  10. would consult with relevant parties to clearly understand needs for this. (AC 3.4)
  11. would plan relevant projects and ensure they were delivered in line with requirements. (AC 3.5)

It is essential that you relate to academic concepts, theories and professional practice for the tasks to ensure that your work is supported by analysis. Please ensure that any references and sources drawn upon are acknowledged correctly and supported by a bibliography.

Your evidence must consist of:
  • Report : (approximately 3,000 words), refer to CIPD word count policy.
  • Please use the template below to produce your Formal business report
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: At Associate Level Referencing is mandatory – you must provide a reference where you have drawn from a secondary source; Harvard referencing is preferable. Please use the Reference box provided to record all of your long references. Short references should be included within the narrative.
  • All written reports, including PowerPoint presentation notes, must include an appropriate level of referencing

Upload the completed Learner Assessment brief, with both tasks completed, through the Assignments option in the Oakwood Learner Hub

Formal Business Report 3000 words

IMPORTANT NOTE: At Associate Level Referencing is mandatory – you must provide a reference where you have drawn from a secondary source; Harvard referencing is preferable.

All written reports, including PowerPoint presentation notes, must include an appropriate level of referencing

Part 1

An evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of two different types of organisational structures – BMC’s structure and another of your choice. (AC 1.1) Short references should be added into your narrative below. Please remember to only list your long references in the Reference box provided at the end of this section.

An analysis of the connections between organisational strategy, products & services, customers and revenue generation. (AC 1.2) Short references should be added into your narrative below. Please remember to only list your long references in the Reference box provided at the end of this section.

An analysis of the external factors and trends that are impacting or are likely to impact BMC’s future strategic direction. (AC 1.3) Short references should be added into your narrative below. Please remember to only list your long references in the Reference box provided at the end of this section.

An assessment of two current strategic priorities for BMC and what has caused them. (AC 1.4) Short references should be added into your narrative below. Please remember to only list your long references in the Reference box provided at the end of this section.

Part 2

A critical evaluation of the relationship between the employee lifecycle and your work (or potential work) as a people professional. (AC 3.1) Short references should be added into your narrative below. Please remember to only list your long references in the Reference box provided at the end of this section

Explanation of two key themes that are currently impacting people practice and shaping how your area of people practice supports the organisation. (AC 3.3) Short references should be added into your narrative below. Please remember to only list your long references in the Reference box provided at the end of this section.

An assessment of how people practices can impact on organisational systems and structures (AC 1.5) Short references should be added into your narrative below. Please remember to only list your long references in the Reference box provided at the end of this section.

  1. An assessment of how the BMC People Practice Team:
  2. connects with and could support the two strategic priorities at point 4 above (AC 3.2)
  3. would consult with relevant parties to clearly understand needs for this. (AC 3.4)

would plan relevant projects and ensure they were delivered in line with requirements. (AC 3.5) Short references should be added into your narrative below. Please remember to only list your long references in the Reference box provided at the end of this section.

Task Two – Presentation pack

Recognising that BMC is not currently a great place to work, the CEO would also like the Strategic Planning Day to explore organisational culture and how it can be made more positive for all BMC staff. 

You have therefore agreed to prepare a presentation (slides and notes) for the CEO to present on the day.  As you will not be delivering the presentation, it is important the notes are sufficiently detailed.

The main aim of the presentation is to enhance the managers’ theoretical understanding of workplace culture, so that they are better placed to explore how it might be improved.

Your presentation should address all the bullet points below, providing a sound theoretical overview of organisational culture with practical examples (from BMC or another organisation you know well) where appropriate.

  • an interpretation of two theories or models which examine how humans behave in organisations.  (AC 2.1)
  • an evaluation of the main drivers of change in organisations, and with reference to two established theories or models, how people might experience change. (AC 2.2)
  • a general evaluation of the scale of technology within organisations and the impact this is having on workers and working practices. (AC 1.6)
  • an assessment of the importance of wellbeing at work and identification of the different factors that can impact wellbeing. (AC 2.5)
  • an explanation of the steps that can be taken to increase inclusion and diversity at work in order to build a positive culture. (AC 2.3)
  • an assessment, with examples, of how people practices can affect organisational culture and behaviour. (AC 2.4)

It is essential that you refer to academic concepts, theories and professional practice for the tasks to ensure that your work is supported by analysis. Please ensure that any references and sources drawn upon are acknowledged correctly and supported by a bibliography.

Your evidence must consist of:

  • Slide deck and presenter notes (approximately 1550 words), refer to CIPD word count policy.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: At Associate Level Referencing is mandatory – you must provide a reference where you have drawn from a secondary source; Harvard referencing is preferable. . Please use the Reference box provided to record all of your long references. Short references should be included within the narrative.
  • All written reports, including PowerPoint presentation notes, must include an appropriate level of referencing
  • Upload the completed Learner Assessment brief, with both tasks completed (and the powerpoint presentation) through the Assignments option in the Oakwood Learner Hub.

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