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HRM 898 - Compensation C21 (Online)

Academic Credit Value:
3 units
Course Delivery Mode:
Hours of Study:
39 hours
Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Anti-requisite(s):
Instructor Name:
Gerry Culina
Course Dates:
01/13/2020 - 04/04/2020

Required Course Materials:
Strategic Compensation in Canada, Long & Singh, 6th edition. Nelson Publishers ISBN 9780176657161
Optional Course Materials:
Course Description:
Compensation provides an understanding of the process, issues and techniques in developing and administering a compensation system.
Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this course you will be able to:
  • Develop a compensation strategy that fits in with the company’s strategic goals, supports its culture and its managerial strategy
  • Describe the link between reward systems and human behavior
  • Determine compensation values to establish actual dollar values for jobs and individual employees
  • Design performance pay and indirect pay plans necessary to attract, retain and motivate the workforce.

Discussion Boards are assigned throughout the course to give you the opportunity to:

  • Apply learning to your professional/personal perspective
  • Provide participation opportunities to earn credit
Course Evaluation
Students are required to provide feedback by completing course reaction/evaluation surveys.  Course evaluations are administered through an online resource.  Course instructors are not involved in the distribution or collection of course evaluations.  In all cases, students will remain anonymous.
Course Format:

Online Quizzes (7): best 6 of 7 quizzes; 2 attempts each, highest mark taken 15%
Group Assignment 15%
Discussion Boards (an initial post and at least two response posts) 20%
Final Test – covers entire course (chapters 1 – 13)  50%

Total 100%

Assignment Submission:
Course assignments are submitted to the appropriate A2L Assignment folder by the specified due date
Late Coursework:
Late assignments will be subject to a 2% per day late penalty (includes weekends and holidays) for up to seven (7) days. After this date, no assignments will be accepted and a grade of zero (0) will be applied. Extensions for course work must be approved by the instructor before the due date (see Academic Regulations below), and will be granted for illness or emergencies only. Students may be asked to submit supporting documentation for an extension request.  

Policy & Procedures:

Academic Regulations (Attendance, Coursework, Tests/Exams):
In accordance with McMaster University’s General Academic Regulations, “it is imperative that students make every effort to meet the originally scheduled course requirements and it is a student’s responsibility to write examinations as scheduled.” Therefore, all students are expected to attend and complete the specific course requirements (i.e. attendance, assignments, and tests/exams) listed in the course outline on or by the date specified.  Students who need to arrange for coursework accommodation, as a result of medical, personal or family reasons, must contact the course instructor within 48 hours of the originally scheduled due date. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Program Manager/Program Associate to discuss accommodations and procedures related to deferred tests and/or examinations within 48 hours of the originally scheduled test/exam, as per policy.  Failure to contact the course instructor, in the case of missed coursework, or the Program Manager/Program Associate, in the case of a missed test/examination, within the specified 48 hour window will result in a grade of zero (0) on the coursework/exam and no further consideration will be granted.  

*Note: Supporting documentation will be required but will not ensure approval of accommodation(s).
Academic Integrity
(Please note that CCE will adhere to a zero tolerance application of the policy)

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.  Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that result or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained, including copying solution sets.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Academic Accommodations:
Students with disabilities who require academic accommodations must contact the Student Accessibility Centre (SAS) to meet with an appropriate Disability Services Coordinator. To contact SAS, phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652, or email For further information, consult McMaster University’s Policy for Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities.
On-line Elements:
In this course, we will be using on-line elements, which may include email, Avenue to Learn, WebEX, and external web sites.  Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.
In this course, we will be using a web-based service ( to reveal plagiarism.  Students will be expected to submit their work electronically to so that it can be checked for academic dishonesty.  Students who do not wish to submit their work to must still submit a copy to the assigned Assignment folder and add a note in the comment section that they do not wish to have the paper scanned by Turnitin.  Those files will not be selected for submission.  No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to  All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, etc.).  To see the Policy, please go to
Course Changes:
The instructor reserves the right to modify elements of the course and will notify students accordingly.
Course Withdrawal Policy:

Policies related to dropping a course and course withdrawals are posted to the Centre for Continuing Education’s program webpage, FAQs & Policies (  

Students withdraw from courses in MOSAIC's student center (do not send withdrawal request email to CCE).

Grading Scale:
A+  = 90  -  100 %
= 85  -   89 %
A-  = 80  -   84 %
B+  = 77  -   79 %
= 73  -   76 %
B-  = 70  -   72 %
C+  = 67  -   69 %
= 63  -   66 %
C-  = 60  -   62 %
D+  = 57  -   59 %
D = 53  -   56 %
D-  = 50  -   52 % 
= 0    -   49 %
Course Schedule:
 Chapter 1:  A Roadmap to Effective Compensation

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Describe the purpose of a compensation system.
  • Explain why an effective compensation system is so important to most organizations.
  • Distinguish between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards.
  • Distinguish between a reward system and a compensation system.
  • Define “reward strategy.”
  • Describe the key aspects of a compensation strategy.
  • Explain why a compensation system must be viewed in the context of the total reward system.
  • Identify and explain the key criteria for evaluating a compensation system.
  • Describe the steps along the road to effective compensation

Chapter 2:  A Strategic Framework for Compensation

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Explain why the same compensation system may be a success in one firm, but a failure in another.
  • Describe an organizational system.
  • Explain how the strategic framework for compensation can be used as a tool for designing effective reward and compensation systems.
  • Describe the three main sets of elements in the strategic compensation framework, and explain how they relate to one another.
  • Describe the three main managerial strategies that organizations can adopt, and explain the implications for the most effective reward and compensation system.
  • Describe the five main determinants of managerial strategy, and explain how they can be used to select the most appropriate managerial strategy.
  • Analyze any organization to determine the most appropriate managerial strategy.
  • Discuss how conditions in North America changed during the twentieth century impact today’s managerial and compensation strategies.

Chapter 3:  A Behavioural Framework for Compensation

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Identify the three main types of reward problems that can afflict organizations.
  • Define the three key employee behaviours desired by employers.
  • Identify three key job attitudes and explain their role in determining employee behaviour.
  • Describe the causes and consequences of reward dissatisfaction.
  • Explain how to generate membership behaviour.
  • Explain the process through which task behaviour is motivated.
  • Explain how to generate organizational citizenship behaviour.
  • Explain how managerial strategy impacts the type of employee attitudes and behaviour needed by an organization.
  • Describe the implications of the behavioural framework for designing effective reward systems.

Chapter 4:  Components of a Compensation Strategy

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • Define base pay, performance pay and indirect pay and discuss their advantages, disadvantages, and applicability.
  • Identify and differentiate between the three main methods for establishing base pay.
  • Define market pricing, job evaluation and pay for knowledge and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Identify and differentiate the main categories of performance pay.

 Chapter 5:  Performance Pay Choices

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • Define and discuss the applicability of the main types of individual performance pay systems
  • Define and discuss the applicability of the main types of group compensation pay systems
  • Define and discuss the applicability of the main types of organizational compensation pay systems

 Chapter 6:  Formulating the Reward and Compensation Strategy

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • Describe the constraints that limit the design of a compensation strategy.
  • Explain the compensation strategy formulation process and describe each step.
  • Discuss the considerations in deciding whether to adopt a lead, lag, or match compensation level policy.
  • Apply the compensation strategy formulation process to specific organizations.
  • Explain how to evaluate a compensation strategy prior to implementation.
  • Discuss the special issues involved in compensating contingent workers, new employees, executives, and international employees.

Chapter 7:  Job Evaluation Process

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • Explain the purpose of job evaluation and the main steps in the job evaluation process.
  • Describe the process for job analysis and the key steps in that process.
  • Prepare useful job descriptions.
  • Identify and briefly describe the main methods of job evaluation.
  • Describe the general process for conforming to pay equity legislation

Chapter 8:  The Point Method of Job Evaluation

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • Describe the steps in designing a point system of job evaluation.
  • Identify the possible pitfalls in designing a point system of job evaluation.
  • Design a base pay structure, including pay grades and pay ranges.

Chapter 9:  Evaluating the Market

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • Discuss the key considerations in understanding labour markets.
  • Identify possible sources of compensation data.
  • Describe the steps for conducting compensation surveys.
  • Analyze, interpret, and apply compensation survey data.

Chapter 10:  Evaluating Individuals

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • Identify and explain the main reasons for conducting performance appraisals
  • Explain why many performance appraisal systems fail to accurately measure employee performance.
  • Identify and describe the different methods for appraising performance, along with their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Explain the concept of “performance management”
  • Identify the possible sources of performance appraisals, and discuss the circumstances under which each would be appropriate.
  • Describe how to link pay to performance appraisals.
  • Identify the key design issues in developing an effective merit system.

Chapter 11:  Designing Performance Pay Plans

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • Identify the main types of gain sharing plans, goal-sharing plans, profit sharing plans and employee stock plans and key issues in their design.
  • Discuss the role that non-monetary rewards may play in motivating employees

Chapter 12:  Designing Indirect Pay Plans

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • Identify the six major categories of employee benefits, and the specific types of benefits included in each category.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of fixed vs. flexible benefits, and the circumstances in which each would be most appropriate.
  • Describe the issues that must be addressed in the process of designing a benefits system.

Chapter 13:  Activate and Maintain and Effective Compensation    System

Learning Outcomes:  After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • Identify the key issues in preparing to implement a compensation system.
  • Develop an implementation plan for a new compensation system.
  • Describe the steps for implementing a compensation system.
  • Identify considerations for communicating the compensation system.
  • Explain how to evaluate compensation system effectiveness.
  • Identify circumstances that may necessitate changes to the compensation system.
  • Discuss considerations in adapting the compensation system