Management, Society and New Forms of Work

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
20 November 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Changes in technology, society and the economy have important implications for management, organization and work. Due to the theoretical lenses employed by management theorists, however, these implications are often not immediately appreciated. This module will examine the current changes happening in the world of work in light of contemporary social theory.

Particular attention will be paid to the wide-ranging socio-economic changes variously referred to in terms of the 'knowledge economy,' 'post-industrial society,' 'post-Fordism' or the 'new economy'. What all of these formulations share is an increased emphasis on 'knowledge' and 'communication' as the basis of organization, work, management and competitive advantage.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To critically understand contemporary changes in work, organization with particular reference to new technologies.

  • To situate these changes in the context of wider societal and political-economic changes.

  • To provide a theoretical framework for analyzing and critiquing these changes and to understand their implications for control and resistance in contemporary management and the labor process.

  • To introduce a range of empirical examples of new organizational forms.

  • Understand the dimensions of contemporary circuits of production and consumption.

  • To be able to situate knowledge work and affective labor within these wider circuits.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the implications of changes in technology, society and the economy for management, work and organization.

  2. Have an appreciation of the ways in which new forms of labor and organization both shape and are shaped by these wider changes.

Skills for Your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)

  • Synthesis and bringing together concepts and ideas

  • Critical thinking

  • Evaluation of evidence

  • Recognise rival conceptual ideas

  • Analysing Academic literature

  • Argumentation / Essay writing skills

  • Understand and work with social media and media analytical tools including social marketing skills

Module information

The shift of value production away from traditional concerns with capital, land and labor, toward more 'immaterial' resources such as knowledge, renders many of the old techniques and methods of management and work organization redundant. New forms of accounting for intangibles are necessary, as are new methods of control and supervision in more distributed forms of organization and work.

This module will focus on the emerging realities of management, organization and work within this new economy. Rather than a sanitized vision of the knowledge-intensive firm where everyone is equal, empowered, highly educated and self-actualizing in autonomous, networked organizations, this reality is often characterized by intrusive forms of managerial control, intensified surveillance, routinization and Taylorism, an increasing precariousness of employment and career, and a retrenchment in the gendered division of labor. Indeed, for many the engines of the 'new' economy are not knowledge and brainwork, but the high-volume, low-cost sweatshops found both in developing countries and in the cities of the global North.

By focusing upon the wider context within which these organizational and management challenges are arising, this module will prepare students for the new realities of work and management by paying attention to the full range of developments in organization.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Weekly 2-hour lecture sessions, over 10 weeks.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   REFLECTIVE JOURNAL      
Coursework   ASSIGNMENT      

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Philip Hancock, email:
Professor Philip Hancock



External examiner

University of Birmingham
Associate Professor of Human Resource Management & Organisational Behaviour
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Essex Business School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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