Coursework Two 2020 – 2021 S2 5HURM005W Work and Organisational Psychology within the HR Context Deadline for Submission: Thursday 22rd April 2021 by 13:00 hours UK time Weighting: 75% of module 3000 words +/- 10% (not including reference list) Task One: After you have carefully read the case study you are required to write a 2500 word report on the questions that follow. CASE STUDY QGames is a games company founded in 2010 by Daniel Black, a games enthusiast and entrepreneur. From small beginnings with just 20 staff QGames, now, in 2021, has approximately 200 employees. Staff work mainly in: Quality Assurance (QA), Production, Programming, Art, Marketing, Management of Human Resource (HR). The company is based in Ealing, West London. Charlie joined the company in August 2018 and his initial feelings were that he felt so lucky as he was the only one that year upon graduation from his MA in Games to obtain a position directly in the games industry. He initially joined the company in the QA department. Charlie was never sure if he had a good rapport with his line manager Trevor, but strangely enough, he did feel he got on quite well with Daniel, the owner of the company. In Charlie’s team there were another eight members led by the same line manager. There was also another team doing a similar job in the QA department led by Lewis. In Charlie’s direct team he became quite friendly with Angelos, who had travelled from Athens to take up his role. Charlie also formed a friendship with Liam from the other QA team and occasionally the three of them went for drinks after work where they liked to put the world to rights by discussing work, gaming and politics. It is widely known in the games industry that the hours are long and starting roles are not well paid, but most do it because of the love of games and the hope that one day they will be able to be promoted to a higher position with an excellent salary. There are also ‘crunch weekends’ when a particular project is coming near to its deadline and thereby members of various teams are expected to work all weekend (mainly unpaid, but pizzas etc are brought in to keep them going). This is an accepted part of the games industry and most do not complain. Again, Charlie felt lucky that at QGames this would on average only take place about once or twice a year unlike the frequency of some other companies. Of course, with Covid-19 these sessions were not taking place physically but in people’s homes, which at least made it easier for some, but more difficult for others. For anyone just joining QGames they certainly lacked the opportunities to learn on the job so easily and did not have readily available line managers to ask questions, although the culture seemed to frown upon doing so as it was somehow expected that new staff should just know ‘how things are done around here’. When Charlie first started his role, he tried to avoid asking questions as much as he could, and at least he had had the opportunity to learn from others who were more established as they were physically in the same environment. Slowly, Charlie began to notice that some members of staff seemed to almost disappear overnight. Rumour was that they had been sacked by Daniel, but no one really talked about it. It seemed to keep one’s head down and not ask too many questions was the best strategy. Charlie was a little surprised when Liam also disappeared, so he assumed he too was sacked, and Liam cut off all ties with the company and his former colleagues. This seemed to indicate that relationships in the workplace were rather strained if former colleagues could not even keep in touch; and certainly there was an abundance of different personality types at QGames. Lucy, one of the members of staff from HR decided to join Charlie and Angelos for after work meet ups. Here they were able to discuss ‘off the record’ some of the areas that QGames were not getting right. They acknowledged the uncertainty, the stress, the lack of training and the lack of following expected procedures by Daniel. It seemed that Daniel, thought, since the company was his he was above the law and could hire and fire as he chose without legitimate reasons for getting rid of someone. Charlie, Liam and Lucy tried to form some kind of a union and to get other workers involved, at one point there were about fifteen of them on an email chat group discussing what could be done to improve working conditions; especially the unfair firings and an insistence on physically coming in to work during a pandemic. However, one of the fifteen was instantly fired and Lucy dropped out of the group feeling it was too risky especially given her role in the company. They felt that there had been a leak within their group to higher management. Charlie felt very vulnerable. Coming into work had definitely been an area of conflict and stress for Charlie and other members of staff because Daniel did not seem to acknowledge that Covid-19 was posing a risk to his staff and he insisted initially that everyone came into the office environment where he kept his eye on them. Daniel believed that if staff were at home they would not work to the same capacity. For those that lived near to Ealing it wasn’t so much of a problem as they could literally walk into work and avoid the dangers of public transport. Charlie lived the other side of London and had over a two-hour commute there and back. He definitely did not feel safe travelling. Before the pandemic hit in Charlie’s immediate office environment, he felt he was being monitored all the time as the screens on his desk were visible all the time to his line manager Trevor and he never felt totally relaxed at work. He also felt that his line manager was not too impressed with his work. He didn’t know if this was fact or just his imagination but every time he had an appraisal he felt so stressed that he could not sleep the night before and he felt physically ill. Every time he thought he was going to be fired and started looking for vacancies in other games companies the week before. So far so good he would think to himself each time he was not fired. Charlie found out that others felt the same way. Eventually this began to sap Charlie’s initial enthusiasm for his breakthrough into the games industry thinking that this was no way to live and he despaired sometimes wondering where to go next and how to handle this situation. He had recently got engaged to his girlfriend and with rent to pay and saving up for a mortgage he could not afford to be out of work and to become unemployed even for one week. Charlie knew he had a serious need for some advice on career management but QGames did not provide this, nor was progression clear in the company, there was a definite lack of support. Eventually Charlie had managed to negotiate working from home, but this was really frowned upon and he realised he had put himself into the firing line which made him feel vulnerable again. In any case this was only agreed on the premise that it would be for a limited time. Some of the others felt the same but they were too scared to speak up. It is not that Daniel was totally a bad person, many of the staff thought, especially those in line manager positions, but he just did not trust his staff believing he could behave in any way he chose with disregard for HR policies on recruitment, on firing workers, leaving his line mangers to deal with matters in their own varied styles, not doing anything about stress in the workplace and even insisting staff came in during a pandemic (although later on he somewhat relented). This is the current situation at QGames, so when the remainder of the staff do return to the workplace, it is highly likely that things will be as they were before, only worse as more staff will have been fired and others will be quickly hired. The line managers will mainly be overly authoritarian carrying out unclear orders from above. Some will suffer survivor syndrome, and Charlie felt he was possibly beginning to feel this way already, but he knew he definitely was anxious every day but just did not know who or where to turn to. At the same time, unknown to his employees, Daniel eventually did begin to notice that his staff were not happy at work, although he did not really understand why. He acknowledged that the enthusiasm, excitement and general ‘buzz’ just for coming into work were all missing. He was also very aware a lot of work was carried out with goodwill and if that went, he thought, it could be a problem for his company. He decided to bring in a team of occupational psychologists just to explore what might be able to be changed. Anyway, he thought to himself, that he had not got much to lose because afterall, if he wasn’t happy with the findings then he didn’t have to let them be seen fully by HR. He was though at least hopeful that he would be able to selectively use some of the recommendations. Case Study Questions As part of the expert Occupational Psychology team carrying out consultancy work, you have been appointed by Daniel to scrutinise the issues in the case study and to make recommendations to resolve them. You should therefore include: Consider what poor management practices are highlighted in the case study that might give rise to the feelings of stress experienced by some of the workers.Make recommendations on how you would approach change in the organisation in the case study in order to help protect workers and to repair the harmful work culture.Demonstrate consultancy skills by referring to the consultancy cycleIncorporate a change modelYou must refer to the psychological literature You will need to demonstrate how you have built on your knowledge, understanding and critique of key areas that make up the following module learning outcomes: Use tools and techniques from the discipline of psychology as they impact on work behaviour.Critically evaluate psychological research undertaken in work organisations and work behaviour.Understand a range of psychological theories and approaches that have been applied to the study of work organisations and work behaviour within the context of HR.Use a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information and assess its validity adopt multiple perspectives to identify key elements of real-life problems and select appropriate methods/tools for their resolution.Review current research taking into account issues of reliability and validity. Through feedback from the essay writing assignment, formative feedback in seminars, workshops, blended learning and guided independent study you will need to demonstrate your progression by way of integration of the topics from this module, further critique and specific application of key areas. Demonstration of critical analysis of psychological theories relevant to the topic from a wide range of sources will be necessary. Analysis should demonstrate depth and quality and the ability to synthesise and critique literature in relation to wider issues of Work Psychology. Content should be clearly related to the question and include definitions of key concepts. Lines of argument should be clearly supported with research/material attributed to relevant authors. You should demonstrate translation of theoretical concepts into practical applications and recommendations. Overall structure and presentation are also assessed for clarity of expression and organisation. The structure for the report should follow: Title pageExecutive summaryTable of Contents IntroductionMain body – State the key problemsMain body – RecommendationsSummaryConclusions ReferencesAppendices (if required) Please use full hierarchical numbering. Work submitted should have a Front Page detailing the code and name of the module and the specific assignment, along with your SEMINAR Tutor’s name and the ACTUAL word count of both your report (task 1) and of your reflection (task 2). Please DOUBLE SPACE YOUR WORK CW2 Marking Weightings PART ONE Executive Summary, Introduction and Conclusions Clarity of writing and correct content under these headings You should demonstrate consultancy skills by referring to the consultancy cycle in the introduction.10%Main Body Outline the problems identified relevant to the psychological literature, definition of key concepts, clear descriptionsReferring to the psychological literature consider what poor management practices, or other problems, are highlighted in the case study that might give rise to the feelings of stress experienced by the workers.30%Recommendations Includes depth and quality of critical evaluation of solutions, coherent analysis relevant to theory, clarity of argument, strength of criticisms.Referring to the psychological literature make recommendations on how you would approach change in the organisation in the case study in order to help protect workers and to repair the harmful work culture.You should incorporate a change model30%Structure, References and Appendices (if used) Written in third person, passive voice. Clear hierarchical report style and Harvard references20%PART TWO Reflection How you used feedback from CW1 to improve your writing skills for CW210% How to submit: Through the module Blackboard site, via the assessment two link. To submit your assignment: Log on to Blackboard at http://learning.westminster.ac.uk Go to the Blackboard site for this module Click on the ‘Assessment’ link Then click on the ‘Submit CW2 – Report link Follow the instructions Please note University rules and regulations and read the module handbook carefully for further guidance. Regarding academic integrity, what you submit for assessment must be your own current work. It will automatically be scanned through a text matching system to check for possible plagiarism. Collusion with other students or recycling your own previous assignments (ie reusing material from other assessments that you may have completed on other modules) or copying and pasting from any sources, are all offences and are dealt with accordingly. Contract writing is also strictly forbidden, and you must never pay someone to write for you. If you are not sure about this, then speak to your Seminar Tutor or your Personal Tutor.
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