Comm 392: HR Review Questions 2009
I. Introduction to the Employment Relationship
1. What is “human resources management?” (HRM)
• Activities to manage right number and skill mix of employees
• To achieve individual/company goals, max productivity and effectiveness
2. Who is responsible for HRM?
• HR department, sub-departments, managers (small firms), outsource
3. What are the interests & objectives of employees and employers in the
• Employees: fairness, equity, compensation, working conditions, job security, etc
• Employer: profitability, productivity, minimize conflict, reputation
4. Explain the difference in role of “line” & “staff” managers.
• Line manager: revenue-generating department, direct authority over employees
• Staff manager: revenue-consuming department (HR), support line managers with
info and advice but don’t make operating decisions
5. What environmental conditions & developments affect HRM?
• Internal: organization culture, climate, structure
• External: labour market (economy, unions), demographics, tech, gov’t, globalization
6. Explain the key employment trends affecting HRM.
• High labour costs, flatter org. structures, aging popl’n, tech advancement,
globalization, immigration, women, complicated legislation
7. What is a “knowledge worker” and why is this type of worker so critical to the
success of businesses in Canada?
• Transform info into product/service (planning, problem solving, decision making)
• Dramatic growth in service sector; knowledge workers highly demanded
8. How can HRM practices contribute to an organizational effort to gain a
sustained competitive advantage?
• Human capital is value-adding source for business
• Strategic HRM (ex. foster innovation in org culture)
9. How does progressive HRM lead to business success? (Be ready to refer to
studies discussed in class)
• Watson Wyatt – strong HRM drives financial performance (higher ROI)
• Businesses should adapt high-involvement HR practices, supportive work env’t 10. Other than offering job security, what other measures should businesses take
to “boost profits through people’? For each measure cited, explain how this will
boost profits if implemented correctly.
• Employment security – won’t layoff people too early, putting them out for competition
• Selective hiring – attract large pool of qualified applicants
• Self-managed teams – lower supervising costs, more creativity and responsibility
• High compensation – motivation, recognition
• Extensive training – competitive advantage
• Reduce status differences – equity, fairness
• Sharing info – open communication, improvement, efficiency
11. You have been hired as a consultant by a biotechnology company, Genosys
Ltd. which is about to go to an Initial Public Offering. What do you advise
Genosys Ltd. to do in order to have the greatest chance of success in
implementing the measures you cite in #10?
• Delegate, focus on long-term, comply with legislation, employee involvement, be
clear on what job requirements are to screen ppl out, symbolically reduce status
differences, reduce wage inequality, change communication system, etc.
II. Legal Regulation of the Employment Relationship
1. What are the various “legal authorities” affecting the employment
• Employment Standards Act, Human Rights Code, Common Law (Wrongful
Dismissal), Workers’ Compensation (Health & Safety), Privacy Laws, Labour
Relations Code, Collective Bargaining Agreement, Employment Equity Act
2. What are the variations in “jurisdiction” or coverage of the different legal
• Federal, provincial/territorial; multiple/different laws may apply to employees
3. Which agencies or “adjudicators” are responsible for applying & resolving
disputes in each of these areas?
• See SRP
4. What are the underlying public policy objectives of each of the legal
• See SRP
5. What are the fundamental elements of the Employment Standards Act?
• Wages, leaves of absences, termination, work hours, holidays 6. Differentiate between employment standards legislation, and the impact of the
common law on the employment relationship.
• Common Law – precedents don’t derive from specific legislation, principle of
wrongful dismissal, “just cause”, length of reasonable notice, pay in lieu of notice,
bona fide occupational requirements (BFORs), reasonable accommodation
(accommodated to the point of undue hardship)
• ESA – minimum standards (including termination), equal pay for equal work
7. What does “discrimination” mean and what are the “protected” categories or
groups of employees under the Human Rights Code?
• Distinction, exclusion or preference based on a prohibited ground
• Impairs person’s equal recognition of his/her human rights and freedoms
• Prohibited grounds: race, colour, age, political belief, religion, disability, gender…
8. What is the only circumstance under human rights legislation that an employer
would be permitted to discriminate?
• Reward/punish based on work-related criteria
• Not prohibited ground
9. Explain the difference between Pay Equity and Employment Equity.
• Employment: remove employment barriers for 4 designated groups (women,
Aboriginals, visible minorities, disabled)
• Pay: equal pay for work of equal value; remove wage differences between male-
dominated and female-dominated jobs
10. Define what is meant by “diversity management” and explain the strategic
business reasons for implementing diversity management initiatives.
• Integrate all members of firm’s multicultural workforce
• Economic (spending power), competitive advantage, represents clientele, global
11. What should be the aim(s) of all diversity management programs?
• Use diversity to enhance firm’s effectiveness
12. Cite and explain the 7 characteristics shared by businesses which have
successfully implemented diversity management programs.
• Top mgmt commitment, diversity training programs, inclusive communication,
celebratory activities, support groups, diversity audits, mgmt accountability
13. What are the main privacy law principles applying in the workplace?
• BC – Personal Info Protection Act; Federal – PIPEDA • Read SRP (Limiting collection, consent, accountability, etc)
III. The Nature & Role of Trade Unions
1. Explain the differences between a local, a national and an international union
and a labour federation.
• Local – key unit of union structure, belong to national/int’l, day-to-day operations
• National/International– support locals; Canada or Canada+US
• Labour federation – associations of unions; federal level, includes nat’l/int’l
2. What is the level of union presence (or “union densi