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Exploring HRM Issues through News Article Analysis

The purpose of this assignment is to explore how Human Resource Management (HRM) issues may exist in real life scenarios outside the classroom.  Your task has two components: (1) find a newspaper article related to HRM, and (2) write an essay about the article using your textbook and at least 4 additional, credible sources to support your analysis.

Your newspaper article should be from a reputable newspaper (online source).  Examples include, but are not limited to, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and the National Post.   The article must be from the past 12 months (i.e. no earlier than March of 2021), at least 4 paragraphs long, and related to HRM concepts that we discuss in class.  The article can be about local, provincial, national, or international topics, however, original articles must be written in English. As part of the citation, please also be sure to include an active link to the original article used for your analysis.

Your essay (maximum 5 pages, double-spaced. The 5-page limit does not include the cover page and works cited page) about the article should have the following format:

  • Cover page with your name, student number, your seminar leader’s name, and date of submission.
  • Identification of the main HR issue(s) raised in the primary news article. One sentence per main issue.
  • A brief summary of the article (approximately 100-200 words).
  • A detailed explanation of the main HR issue(s) supported by references.
  • A detailed discussion of the implications for businesses, employees, and/or society that arise from the article. (In other words, how does the subject of your news article affect any or all stakeholders: business, employees, and/or the general public?).
  • A conclusion emphasizing what HR can learn from the issues raised in your news article.
  • A works cited (or bibliography) that includes the main article used for your analysis with an active link to the article’s source; appropriate reference to the chapters used from the course textbook; and references to all additional sources.
  • You must use 12pt Times New Roman font and double-space with regular (2.54 cm) margins. Essays longer than 5.5 pages (excluding title page and works cited page) or those not meeting the font, margin and/or spacing criteria will be subject to a mark deduction of at least 10 marks.

Your essay should include references from the textbook and at least four (4) credible and reliable sources to support your analysis of the news article. I would like at least 3 of your credible sources to be from a peer-reviewed journal. One of your credible sources may be from another newspaper (e.g., Globe and Mail, New York Times). Please do not reference blogs or Wikipedia.

A list of examples of relevant HR journals will be posted on D2L. This list is not exhaustive and is only meant as a guideline. You are welcome to use information from other academic journals not on this list.  


What is the purpose of the assignment?

  • To apply various HR concepts to current events in the broader business, local, national or international spheres that may have a foreseeable impact on HR functions and/or employees.

How do I choose an appropriate news article?

  • Your article should come from a reputable news source (i.e. Globe and Mail, New York Times, Forbes, etc.) and be dated within the past 12 months (the incident/event described in the article may refer to an earlier time period as long as the article itself is not more than 12 months old).
  • Your article should be about an HR-issue (i.e. downsizing), or an issue that is closely related to HR. Primary news articles should NOT be from an HR (or closely related) magazine or news feed, since the article would have already described the HR implications, there would be little room for your own analysis. However, HR industry magazines may be used as one of your supporting references (i.e., you can use these sources to support your analysis of the news article).  
  • The subject of the article may be an event or issue within Canada or something taking place internationally. TIP: for articles dealing with legal issues, try to avoid getting into the legal technicalities, especially of jurisdictions outside of Ontario, as the legal systems may differ dramatically.  If there are legal implications arising from your article that are important to HR, then you can state that if this event/issue were to take place in Ontario, the legal implications would be . . .

How do I go from choosing a news article to explaining the main HR issue(s)?

  • Provided that you have chosen an appropriate news article (i.e., one that is sufficiently related to HR), you should then be able to identify the main HR issue(s) or concepts in that article. Depending on your article, there may be one major HR concept, or several related HR concepts.  For example, if you find an article about an employer closing a business, the main HR issue would be layoffs/downsizing. Related issues may include employee severance packages, reemployment of displaced workers, effect on the local economy, effect on the employer’s brand, etc. 
  • This is the section of the assignment where you will want to use the references (the course textbook as well as 4 additional, reliable sources; 3 of which must be scholarly articles). In other words, once you have identified the main HR issue(s), you will need to do some research on that topic and provide the reader with a detailed discussion of the topic and related HR issues. 

What do you mean by implications for stakeholders?

  • The implications could focus on how the event/topic/theme in your article might impact different groups of people (e.g., employees, the management of employees in organizations and/or society as a whole). If we continue with the downsizing topic as an example, you might discuss the challenges laid-off employees may experience finding work, the difficult choices the management of the organization has to make when deciding which employees loose their jobs, and the effect of large-scale layoffs on the local economy. 
  • The implications may be written as a separate section, or integrated into your explanation of the issue. This may be an opportunity to make use of your references to support your arguments for how the HR issue(s) in the article will affect various stakeholders.

What do you mean by HR lessons?

  • This section should serve as the conclusion for your assignment, wherein you briefly summarize the main HR issue(s) raised in the news article and then describe what HR departments can learn from this event in the future.
  • To ensure that this section contains sufficient detail, it would be a good idea to aim for at least 3 different lessons.

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