HR9536 - Reward and Performance

What will I learn on this module?

Employee reward systems are of fundamental importance to the employment relationship; providing an important source of influence over employee behaviour and, so, over organisational performance. Reward systems are also the principal cause of conflict between employers and employees, and by far the most expensive part of people management. As such, their management principally entails the management of risk.
You will build a reward system from scratch. By utilising the full range of contextual analysis and organisational mechanisms you will enable the system to properly balance the inherent risks over conflict and resources, with the intention of optimising the potential for employee performance. This will entail the development of strategic reward objectives and their implementation through the design of: job and pay structures; pay policies; and pay for performance approaches.
This research-rich learning will draw upon existing knowledge of motivation, whilst developing knowledge of the application and effectiveness of reward and performance management. Much of this knowledge will be technical and skill-based, though you will also develop an understanding of important tensions and contradictions implicit in this area of management. The management of reward concerns the allocation of valuable organisational resources, this inevitably requires the recognition and resolution of conflicts of interest. The management of performance is also riven with controversy, which you will learn to navigate effectively.
The centrality of reward and performance management highlights the value of this module for your future career.

How will I learn on this module?

Activity and simulation are the main features of learning on this module which will enable you to develop key graduate employability, enterprise and/or entrepreneurial acumen. Employee rewards are fascinating, complex games of power and conflict, with astonishing influence and reach across organisations. You will experience this complexity through a module-long simulation in which you will take on a key role in the design and negotiation of a new reward system for an organisation. You will learn by doing – creating a comprehensive reward system with all of the features and complexity that you would find in a real-life organisation. Along the way you will be responsible for persuading organisational leaders of your preferred solutions. As such, there is a strong emphasis on professional skill development – learning and practicing valuable skills, underpinned by relevant theory.
You will experience a fully ‘flipped’ classroom – tutors will be on hand to assist, guide and advise, but you will find your own solutions to the challenges that you face, supported by a wide range of technologies.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

In order to provide as much space as possible for you to explore the facets of this module, most of the academic support will be provided outside of the classroom. High quality, short-form videos will largely replace the traditional lectures in order to signpost the key areas of theory and insight that will enable you to succeed. Cooperation and collaboration are important features of the module both within and without the classroom, you will be supported to do this through the use of appropriate technologies. The core of the module will be concerned with making realistic choices about strategy, policies practices and tactics – utilising simulated organisational and labour market data in order to model the effects of your decisions, to argue for and achieve your objectives, and to compromise where necessary.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

• To develop a systematic and coherent body of knowledge concerning the role and function of reward and performance management [MLO 1]

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

• To develop core skills in the design and implementation of rewards and relations strategies, matched by the consideration of competing imperatives [MLO 2]
• To work collaboratively in teams [MLO3]

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• To explicitly consider competing values, interests and objectives and to find imaginative solutions to conflicts and dilemmas [MLO 4]

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment and feedback
You will receive on-going feedback throughout the module. All of the workshops are entirely focussed upon the main module project.
Tutors will facilitate, guide and support you towards this goal. As you work in your teams you will test your understanding by making choices and taking decisions – the activity will, itself provide feedback. At key points you will present your progress in role play to tutors acting as organisational leaders. They will challenge you to defend your decisions and, particularly, your compromises – this will require you to develop sophisticated bargaining skills and capabilities.

Summative assessment
Project milestones: Presentation of agreed project milestones (10%)
Group report: Will detail the creation of a new reward system for a simulated organisation, but it’s not just about what you decided to do, it’s about how and why you decided. We are interested in how you negotiated the complexities and conflicts of rewards performance management (90%) [MLO 1,2,3,4]





Module abstract

Employee rewards and the management of performance lie at the heart of managing people in all organisations. However, rewards are incredibly expensive and the fundamental cause of conflict at work and so represent an enormous risk to be managed. In this module you will build a reward system with all of the complexity that entails: setting objectives, pursuing interests, overcoming resistance and finding creative resolutions to conflict. Building on your knowledge of motivation gained at level 4, you’ll develop your understanding of the process that organisations need to go through to build an effective reward and performance system. The skills learned here have had a direct impact on graduate employment opportunities and provide access to career paths in the most lucrative area of people management.

Course info

UCAS Code N110

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 year sandwich

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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