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Understanding Organisations and the Role of HR (3HRC)

Understanding Organisations and the Role of HR




Understanding organisations and the role of HR is a unit offered in CIPD level 3. This unit is suitable for people who are already in the HR industry and those aspiring to pursue careers in L&D and HR. Therefore, the assignments in this unit demand that the student applies both critical and analytical skills and illustrates moderate knowledge of the subject. The unit primarily focuses on understanding an organisation and the importance of HR department in the organisation. The assessment of this unit is based on the primary objectives of the course.

For students to complete the unit they should be able to correctly answer questions presented in this assignment. The unit grading criteria is either a pass or fail. In most cases, students are asked to come up with an organisation or identify an existing organisation that they will use to complete the assessments. Alternatively, the examiner may pick one organisation and test the students understanding of the unit based on that organisation. Sample assessment questions are as discussed below.


You have been asked to provide a written brief for a new line manager that is set to start working in your organisation. The manager should understand the organisation as he prepares to start on his new job.



Question one: There are there questions in this section derived from the first unit objective: understanding the purpose of an organisation and its operating environment.


  1. What is the purpose and goal of the organisation?

The learner is expected to give the primary objectives of the identified company. The primary goal of an organisation are usually communicated to all employees or even posted on their website. The answer should identify the products and services offered/ produced by the company. To earn additional points, learners can elaborate on the company’s vision and mission statements which are usually related to the organisational goals. An organisation’s mission and vision statements are essential in attaining the organisational goals.

  1. What products and services does the company offer to its customers?

To comprehensively answer this question, the learner should mention all products and (or services) produced by the company. If the organisation deals with a range of products, the learner should ensure that they categorise all the products based on their similarities. To exemplify the above; An IT company may specialize in supply of computers and software’s. The company may also diversify its services into communication technology. When answering this question, the student should differentiate the services from the products for better clarity (Selling of computers and accessories is different from communication services). The target customers and primary market should also be mentioned in answering this question.

  1. Discuss the external factors influencing the organisation

To meet the criterion, the learner should conduct the PESTLE analysis of the identified organisation. Political factors should be relevant to the industry in which the organisation operates in. Social, Economic, technological and legal factors are all external issues that can influence a given organisation. Nevertheless, student should remain relevant to the organisation of choice when analyzing the external factors influencing the organisation.


Question two relates to the second unit objective. The examiner seeks to test the students understanding of the structure, function and culture of an organisation.


  1. Briefly discuss the predominant structure of the organisation.

Here the student should demonstrate understanding of the existing different organisational structures (i.e. flatarchy structure, matrix structure, functional structure or divisional structure). In another paragraph, the student should specifically discuss the structure used in the organisation. Additional points will be earned for students who can have a flow chart representation of the structure. If the organisation has different structures in different departments, the students should include it in their answer as it will give more clarity to the brief.

  1. Explain the relationship between four functions of the identified organisational structure.

To meet the criterion for this question, the learner should identify four functions of the identified organisation structure and explain how the functions work together to attain the organisational goals. Mentioning the importance of constant communication within the system is an indication of team work to attain the desired goal. Both the challenges and advantages of the relationship of the four functions should also be discussed.

  1. What is the culture in the organisation?

The learner should demonstrate understanding of organisational culture by first defining it. Referencing organisational culture theories is essential in relating the organisation to a particular culture. The answer should also give the advantages and disadvantages of the culture used within the organisation. To further answer this question, students can elaborate on the influence of the culture on operations of the organisation.


Questions in the third section relate to the role of HR in the organisation


  1. Discuss three ways the HR supports the organisational goals and strategies

To answer this question, the student should demonstrate understanding of the three core functions of the HR. Training and development, recruitment and implementation of policies and procedures are some of the critical roles that the HR plays in an organisation. The answer should make reference to the activities of the chosen organisation. Learners should also ensure to relate each function/role with the activities of the organisation being discussed.

  1. Explain the role of HR in supporting line managers

One of the primary duties of the HR department is to offer support to the entire workforce. The line managers can receive HR support on disciplinary issues as well as grievance handling procedures. The HR department is also responsible for implementation of policies and legislations. Failure to observe some policies and regulations may lead to tribunals and other court processes that may incur the company unnecessary expenses and wasted time.


Assessment Criteria


The assessment will require the student to write a report of 1500-2500 words (+/- 10%) on all or one of the questions above. The final report should show relevance to academic concepts, professional practices, and theories in a critical and informed manner. Referencing should be done using the Harvard style of referencing and bibliography provided where necessary. The word count excludes the bibliography.


3HRC Assignment Example