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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 have emerged as a consequence of this intervention, and what the economic, social and ethical implications of these are.
Course 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.

I. Framework: Theories and Concepts
1. Introduction to the Future of Work
2. Contemplating the meaning of Technology
3. Contemplating the meaning of Work

II. Contemporary Issues: A socio-ethical review
4. The intelligence economy
5. The surveillance economy
6. The consumer economy
7. The digital economy

III. Conclusion
8. Decolonising the Future of Work

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 help 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 Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Business Honours entry.
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 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  108
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 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework (individual) - Portfolio (including reflective blog posts, poster, and oral exam) - 100% self-assessment - Assesses all course learning outcomes

Portfolio: This is a formative assessment only. Students will receive formative feedback from the Course Organiser on each of the following components of the portfolio.

Two 300-400-word reflections on course readings and class discussions.

Group Poster: You will work in groups to prepare:
Poster reflecting an ongoing ethical challenge arising from the changing nature of work.

Concluding discussion:
A concluding discussion wherein students will be asked to respond to 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 lead a discussion on unique substantive question.

Final Reflection: This is the only summative assessment for the course. Students will be required to write a final reflection (c. 600 words) on their learning and progress in the course with respect to the learning outcomes. Based on this reflection, students will give themselves a final self-assessed grade for the course.
Feedback Formative - Two short reflections on student learning/progress, group poster and concluding discussion. Students will receive feedback from the Course Organiser.

Summative - The final self-assessed grade will be moderated by Course Organiser to ensure fairness - Course Organiser will enter final feedback on course along with WebPA moderated (20%)
No Exam Information
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 Communication, ICT, and Numeracy Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Critically evaluate and present digital and other sources, research methods, data and information; discern their limitations, accuracy, validity, reliability and suitability; and apply responsibly in a wide variety of organisational contexts.

Practice: Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Apply creative, innovative, entrepreneurial, sustainable and responsible business solutions to address social, economic and environmental global challenges.

Cognitive Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Be self-motivated; curious; show initiative; set, achieve and surpass goals; as well as demonstrating adaptability, capable of handling complexity and ambiguity, with a willingness to learn; as well as being able to
demonstrate the use digital and other tools to carry out tasks effectively, productively, and with attention to quality.

Knowledge and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of contemporary organisational disciplines; comprehend the role of business within the contemporary world; and critically evaluate and synthesise primary
and secondary research and sources of evidence in order to make, and present, well informed and transparent organisation-related decisions, which have a positive global impact.

Identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied business and management problems, and develop approaches, informed by an understanding of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative techniques, to explore
and solve them responsibly.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Rashne Limki
Tel: (0131 6)51 2345
Course secretaryMr Sean Reddie
Tel: (0131 6)50 8074
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