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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: The Future of Work (BUST10147)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will introduce you to contemporary changes in the world of work by interrogating how the intervention of technology has changed the meaning of work, what new forms of work and employment relations have emerged as a consequence of this intervention, and what the economic, social and ethical implications of these are.
Course description Academic Description:
Over the past decade or so, there has been a resurgence of public discourse and policy debate on the 'future of work'. This conversation tends to revolve around the subject of technology. Indeed, technology is gaining increasing significance in the study and teaching of business and management. While much of this work has focused on how technology shapes and fulfils organisational, business and market imperatives, there is increasing interest in examining how workers/employees, and society at large, experience and respond to technological changes. This latter intervention aims to conceptualise the future of work more broadly by interrogating how technology has impacted the meaning of work i.e. what counts as work/what we do for work and employment relations on a global scale.

Accordingly, this course aims to unpack the future of work beyond its technology-driven reconfigurations by engaging with the social and ethical transformations unfolding in the world of work. This is of particular importance to prevent the perpetuation of cultural blind-spots in the eager push for technological advancement. In particular, the proposed course will demonstrate how technology changes the experience and possibilities for work, and hence of life chances, along lines of social and global inequalities of race, gender, ability and class. It will thus help demonstrate the differential social and global impacts of technology in work.

Overall, the course will provide tools for intelligent and meaningful engagement with technology in the context of work as well as for the critical evaluation of yourselves as social agents in the wider world.

Outline Content:
I. Framework: Theories and Concepts
1. Introduction to the Future of Work
2. The Meaning of Work
3. A History of Work and Technology

II. Contemporary Issues: A socio-economic review
4. Digital Economy and Virtualisation
5. Gig Economy and Gamification

III. Contemporary Issues: An ethical review
7. Agile Economy and Quantification
8. Affective Economy and Commodification
9. Prosumer Economy and Mediafication

IV. Conclusion
10. Workshop
11. We are all cyborgs now?

Student Learning Experience:
Pedagogy: This course will be delivered mainly through interactive lectures wherein active participation (listening and questioning) is highly encouraged. The approach to teaching undertaken in this course will not entail the mere delivery of information. Rather it follows from an of understanding of knowledge as co-created based on a critically-informed intersection of facts, experience, method.

This course will model the following pedagogic view:
- Knowledge is still contextual and relative, uncertain and tentative, yet it is possible to take positions, make choices, commit oneself.
- The instructor is someone who is fully aware of uncertainty yet has the courage to make commitments.
- Teaching is challenging and encouraging students to explore complexities fully and then to take a stand.
- Students seek understanding of complexities not just as academic pursuit but also in order to create a world view, one from which they will make commitments and choices.
(adapted from:

Learning: It is important to note that this is an honours level course. It is not intended merely to give you tools and templates of practice. Instead, it aims to help you increase the depth and breadth of your knowledge and understanding of a given subject so that you may then improve your practice.

Consequently, the readings for this course are intended to challenge you to challenge the information and knowledge you possess, and your way of thinking about things. This does not, however, mean that the readings are inaccessible. It simply means that you need to give yourself the space and time to read, and to think as you read.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Global Challenges for Business (BUST08035)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Entry to Honours in Business; the Foundations of Business course is also a suitable pre-requisite
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have at least 4 Business courses at grade B or above. This course cannot be taken alongside BUST08035 Global Challenges for Business. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  60
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 1, Online Activities 1, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 4, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Individual Blog post: 40%. 1000-1200 word critical analysis (30%) based on a media article from the preceding two months. 10% peer response 250-300-word response to any one post by your peers.

Portfolio: 40% including10% peer assessment. You will work in groups to prepare a group portfolio containing:
- Poster on an ongoing ethical challenge arising from the changing nature of work.
- Supplementary documentation that contributes to the 'installation' of the poster. You are encouraged to be as creative as possible. This may include the use of music, film and other visual art, literature, poetry, etc. to provide a richer social and cultural context for the poster. Alternate forms documentary material such as personal and organisational narratives, media reports, interview transcripts, etc. that add historical insight may also be used.
- Meeting logs that provide an overview of the collective process, including final reflections on the pleasures, gratifications and challenges of working together.

Individual Oral Examination: 20%
An oral exam wherein students will be asked to respond to summative questions - based on concepts and theories introduced in the course - as pertinent to their poster. The oral exam will be undertaken in a group setting, with other members of the group present and each student will be asked a unique substantive question.
Feedback Formative feedback will be provided on all submitted coursework. In the first instance, feedback will be in writing. Additional feedback will be provided in-person if requested.

As per University guidelines, all feedback will be returned within 3 weeks of the submission date.

In addition to formal assessment, students will be offered formative feedback on their long-term learning. Journals will be provided to gather brief in- and out-of- class reflections on the shifts in their knowledge and understanding. Reflections should be informal but substantive, enabling the student to trace the trajectory of their thinking over the course of the term. The journals will be collected at the end of term.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Oral exam3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a global understanding of potentials and challenges in the future of work.
  2. Apply relevant concepts and theories to critically evaluate the social and ethical implications for technological intervention in the world of work.
  3. Develop the skills necessary to act as responsible stakeholders and participants in the context of work and life.
  4. Use a range of digital tools and creative methods to communicate, formal and informally, with expert and lay audiences.
  5. Exercise autonomy and initiative in collaborative contexts to achieve collective goals.
Reading List
There is no required text for this course. Given the range of the topics covered and the constantly changing state of things, book chapters, journal articles and research and media reports will be used.

All required readings will be available online. Students should be familiar with the University Library's electronic journals system. In addition, students will be expected to keep up-to-date with developments in the area through news media and business and organisational websites.

Relevant Journals:
- Catalyst
- Employee Relations
- Journal of Business Ethics
- Nature
- New Technology, Work and Employment
- Organization
- Progressive Review
- New Media and Society
- Science, Technology, & Human Values
- Social Identities
- Soundings: A journal of politics and culture
- Technology in Society
- Theory, Culture and Society
- Work, Employment and Society

Relevant Websites:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Engage intelligently and meaningfully with technology and data.
- Undertake ethically and socially responsible evaluations of policy and practice.
- Communicate creatively and substantively with a variety of stakeholders.
- Recognise the potential of collective and cooperative action.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Rashne Limki
Tel: (0131 6)51 2345
Course secretaryMs Rachael Tring
Tel: (0131 6)51 5467
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