Research,the application of ideas from the literature, problem

Assessment 3: Group written assignment: Predicting the future of work

Due Date                        Tues 7th of April 

Length                           6000 words



The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate skills in research, the application of ideas from the literature, problem solving and critical analysis.   

Your assignment will outline your team’s vision of identifying future trends in work in 2040. You will need to incorporate key theory and identify factors that can affect changes in work trends and affects on individuals, organisations and society.  Focus on one of the four key themes in your report (Globalisation, Gender and diversity, Technology and Management innovation – labour use) to guide your discussion of the literature and recommendations. 

This task is designed to develop research, communication, and team project management skills. In addition, you report should demonstrate evidence of critical thinking, analysis and problem solving in the way your team discusses and reports on the future of work.

In developing your recommendations, the written report must utilise scenario planning, reflect on key readings and recommended readings relevant to your chosen theme and demonstrate understanding of relevant theories such as commodification, labour process, division of labour, Informalisation and formalisation and issues of relevance in applying these to a HRM or Management context.


Changing Context of Work Themes

(note The chosen theme is GENDER AND DIVERSITY)

Globalisation: How do the shifts in global production and consumption impact on workers, and does this vary for workers in developed and developing countries?  What changes have occurred in the labour process and what impact does this have on the types of work available?  Has commodification of work, life, leisure changed how we work, and are these shifts uniform or vary in different industries and locations? Are we working longer hours, doing more for less?  How can we understand global trends to inform what could happen locally? Is informalisation the new work order? Does neoliberal globalisation determine a race to the bottom for workers conditions?

Gender and diversity: Is the future female? Will women transcend the glass ceiling, take control of boards, and run companies of the future more successfully?  Do workplaces value diversity, such as, gender, race and ethnicity and abilities in the workplace?  Is work life balance a myth? Will gender divisions of labour diminish while women remain responsible for child rearing? To what extent does society value difference and is the workplace just a reflection of this? Will affirmative action for disadvantaged groups still be an option?

Technology: Can technology save us from labour intensive tasks?  Will technology enable work to be performed in different ways, in a variety of contexts and what will this mean for workers, organisations and society?  Will new technologies increase surveillance and control or provide flexibility and choice to workers?  Can technology be applied to improve production methods, service delivery, and workers lives?  Will future technology reduce inequality and injustice or reflect existing patterns?  Can technological innovation create new greener jobs that will enhance society survival, economically, environmentally and politically?

Labour force design: Does flexible and productive workplace initiatives offer workers a choice or managers more control?  Does management innovation create more flexible practices and who benefits? Will unions be involved in future representation of workers and what kind of issues will they address?  How do issues such as informalisation, subcontracting, casualised work arrangements, and downsizing impact on workers and the people managing them?  Does increased informalisation signal an end to employee loyalty? What does the shift from fordism to post fordism mean for labour and how widespread is this trend?  Will greener jobs mean fairer work practices?  What does this all mean for HR and Management policies and strategies?


The following research questions will assist you to focus how you approach this report.

How does our understanding of what has occurred in the past and present inform how we hypothesise future work trends?

To what extent does our current understanding of technology or globalisation or gender and diversity or management innovation-use of labour inform our view of what will occur in the future?

Will social, economic, environmental and political trends have a strong influence on how work trends will evolve? Why? How? Which ones?

Future forecasts often include a lot of hype but often fail to eventuate, how can you substantiate your thesis for the future of work?


Suggested steps to undertake this assessment

1. Decide on the theme and areas you would like to cover in relation to the theme and literature

2. Develop your group scenario plan and framing questions

3. Identify the gaps between issues that are identified & discussed in the literature review and your scenario of a future work context

4.  Develop some recommendations around how to address some of these gaps

5.  Follow the suggested structure outlined below and address the research questions.


Structure: Word count – for a group of 6 is approximately 6000 words.

Title: Title and group members

Introduction: This section should clearly outline the team’s key arguments about the future of work. It should clearly state the theme covered in the report. It should also provide a two-sentence summary of the team’s recommendations (approx 200 words). The section should reflect on teamwork by including a short summary outlining clearly the student responsible for each section (by name) and indicating how each member has contributed (not just what each person has contributed) (approx 200 words).


Rationale: This section outlines the rationale of why you selected the theme and what are the key features or context to consider when thinking about how work will develop in the future and why. Your thesis on the future of work should be clearly outlined here (Approx 200 words).


Literature review: This section reviews the literature on key topics and makes links to the chosen theme. Include definitions of key concepts, and analyse and compare the effects and importance of the various trends based upon the readings. The literature review requires the group to address key areas in relation to the topic and theme, and divide the review of the literature according to appropriate sub headings. Each student must complete a literature review section on one sub heading from the chosen topic. 

This section will discuss the key evidence from the literature, including all the prescribed readings and other readings found by each individual student plus recommended and other peer-reviewed journal readings. Each student should reference 10-15 articles in their individual literature review section.  Discussion of the literature should refer to the different types of changes to work covered in this unit and must address relevant concepts such as labour process, division of labour, informalisation and commodification (Approx 1000 words).


Scenario plan:  Working together the group is required to construct a future scenario using the scenario template. The completed scenario will be attached in the appendix.  You will need to insert in your report a summary of your future scenario identifying the evidence/trends it is based upon, framing questions and key elements around work that are relevant to your analysis to the future of work (Approx 500 words). (The template & framing questions should be in your appendix.)


Future of work: The literature review and your scenario plan are the key documents that will inform this section.This section should include a summary of the key learning/findings from the literature review, including any controversies.  It should clearly respond to the research questions about the future of work. It is recommended that you apply the same sub headings in this section that you used in your literature review. 

You should identify the areas of change to work in the future and discuss related questions about the effects of these changes.  You need to link arguments from the section about the literature and should be able to draw out the key issues in the literature to assist you to argue and support your thesis on the future of work.

Draw on your analysis from the scenario plan around your chosen context, such as the organisation /industry, effects on employees, corporate strategy, new expressions of employment, trends in society that will impact on work, the way work is done, location, who will do it, how monitoring, performance appraisal and supervision may change.  In discussing the proposed trends you will also need to identify current gaps and how these may improve or change in the long term and why.

This section should be drawing on the gap between the current state as described in the literature review and the future state as described in your scenario plan (Approx 1000 words).

Recommendations: This section should outline your specific recommendations.  It should follow your discussion and illustrate ideas and issues raised in your future of work section incorporating issues from the literature review and scenario plan. It should highlight ways to address perceived gaps between the current as outlined in the literature review and future trends drawn from the scenario plan (Approx 600 words).

(This section will be further expanded upon in your expo/ poster presentation in week 10)


Conclusion: This section should sum up the main arguments of the report and reflect on teamwork and the group approach to this report (Approx 300 words).


List of References: This section will list all references cited in the report. Each group member is required to contribute to the report a minimum of 10 journal references, including prescribed and recommended readings used plus 2 journal articles that you have located yourself. These should all be listed together alphabetically, using the Harvard referencing style. You may only list in the bibliography those references that are cited in the text of the assignment (the list of references is not included in word count).

Turnitin: One student for each group will be required to submit the assignment to Turnitin, for the purpose of plagiarism detection. 

Marking criteria

Literature review


Application of theories, concepts and theme to research questions and links to scenario plan and literature review. (Includes scenario with 1-2 framing questions in appendix – Note appendix and bibliography not part of word count)


Intro, conclusion and recommendations


Citations, LoR, language, grammar and structure


Peer and self assessment to be submitted on webct discussion











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