Module: Applied Farm-Level Human Resource Management

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Mike Draper
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    75 hours
  • Contact hrs

    25 hours
  • Teaching Period

    Semester 1

Module content

This module aims to provide an understanding of the concepts of farm management from a human resource perspective, the main components of human resource management in a farm business environment, the underlying management theory and their relevance to a range of microbusinesses, family businesses, SMEs and Estate / Farm business structures. Key areas studied are topics such as leadership, motivation, enabling change sources of labour for farming businesses and human resource management.   It is intended to be comprehensive enough to introduce these areas of management activity, within the context of legal requirements, policy, retailer codes of practice and the impact of ethical standards (such as SEDEX) on management practice. The control of labour as a cost centre is critical to improve farm profitability and this too is covered in this module.      

Key elements of the module content:

Business structures and the hierarchy of management; Functions of management and the role of a farm manager, gang master and supervisor. Behavioural theories and their application to motivation and the design of payment systems including piecework. Motivation, delegation and span of control (reward systems) (use of Belbin’s concept of team roles and other psychological tests for personal assessment.

Managing people and activities: Management and Leadership Styles; Recruitment, induction and defining job descriptions; Staff recruitment and selection of new staff (development of staff training and development programme for a position within the farm structure); Change management, stress in the workplace and promoting wellbeing; Group dynamics and Teamwork/ Management of teams; Job Evaluation and seasonal labour requirements; Managing people within the law, including appraisals and disciplinary

Module outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe the characteristics of leadership, effective approaches to staff motivation, (motivational and behavioural theories and assess their value to the motivation of themselves and staff), market and regulatory influences and the sources of farm labour in the farming business;
  2. Analyse and discuss the fundamental principles of human resource management in the agri-food context;
  3. Critically assess how human capital influences the efficiency and profitability of the rural business.


Assessment Description Weighting
Coursework 1 x report – based on an examination of a farm management scenarios / issues - proving in depth recommendations of options to resolve problem / conflicts identified 100%

Key texts

Students should be familiar with the content of at least one of the following:

  • Barnard, F. et al. (2012) Agribusiness management 4th Edn. Routledge. (Routledge textbooks in environmental and agricultural economics).
  • Torrington, D., Hall, L. and Taylor, S. (2011). Human Resource Management. (8th edition). FT Prentice Hall.
  • Nuthall, P.L. (2010) Farm business management: the human factor CABI

Supporting texts

Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2008). Human Resource Management at Work: People Management and Development. (4th edition). London: CIPD.

Mullins, L.J. (2013) Management and organisational behaviour 10th ed. Pearson Education.

Robinson, I. (2006). Human Resource Management in Organisations: The Theory and Practice of High Performance. London: CIPD.

Van Fleet, D.D., Van Fleet, E.W. and Seperich, G.J. (2014) Agribusiness Principles of Management. Delmar

Ebooks: The farming game Bill Malcolm, Jack Makeham, And Vic Wright.Pages: 305 Publisher: Cambridge University Press Published: 01 Jul 2007