Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2018/2019

MGMT 365: Compensation And Benefit Systems

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  Course Description

The focus of this course is Total Compensation. Direct and indirect compensation systems will be evaluated to determine how organizations design the appropriate systems for their businesses. Topics will include base pay systems, individual and group bonuses, executive compensation, issues with providing health care, long-term investment options, pension systems, and government mandated benefits.

Prerequisite: MGMT 361

Proctored Exams: None



  • Martocchio, Joe. Strategic Compensation: A Human Resource Management Approach. 9th ed. Pearson, 2017.  
    • ISBN-978-0-13-432054-0


  • MLA Handbook. 8th ed. Modern Language Association of America, 2016.  
    • ISBN-978-1603292627
      • Note: Purchase of this text is NOT mandatory but access to the proper MLA format is necessary. I recommend this MLA handbook as a reference if you choose to order one.

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

This course provides an in-depth investigation of the principles, techniques and strategies used in developing and implementing compensation and reward systems.

The major areas that will be covered include a broad spectrum of topics to include historical and legislative relationships with the development of employee compensation and benefits systems; retirement plans; Section 125 options (cafeteria plan); 401(k) plans; health plans; benefits funding alternatives; group life products; developing compensation systems that relate to individual and team approaches; understanding the key elements pertaining to job analysis and its relationship to compensation systems and organizational structure; and identifying unique ways to establish incentives and bonus programs that maintain internal equity and are in compliance with legal requirements.  

Students will also learn how to develop and evaluate employee compensation and benefit systems that serve the needs of the workforce and the organization.  Planned and implemented effectively, compensation and benefits systems serve to motivate, reward, recognize, fulfill and challenge employees to perform better.  


  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Objectives

  • Define the concept of total compensation.
  • Establish how compensation and benefit systems are used by organizations to attract and retain qualified, skilled employees.

  Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Define traditional and current pay systems.
  • Describe the process used by a Compensation and Benefits Specialist to determine appropriate pay systems.
  • Identify current issues with organizational pay and benefits programs.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 585-650 90-100%
B 520-584 80-89%
C 455-519 70-79%
D 390-454 60-69%
F 0-389 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (15) 150 23%
Midterm Exam 100 15%
Company Benefits Paper 120 18%
Final Exam 100 15%
Compensation Paper 100 15%
Quizzes (2) 80 12%
Total 650 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introductions -- Wednesday
Discussion 1 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 2 10 Saturday/Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 4 10 Saturday/Sunday
Selection for Company Benefits Paper -- Sunday
Quiz 1 40

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 6 10 Saturday/Sunday
Compensation Paper 100 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8 10 Saturday/Sunday
Research Questions 10 Sunday
Midterm Exam 100

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 10 10 Saturday/Sunday
List of Resources for Company Benefits Paper 10 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 12 10 Saturday/Sunday
Company Benefits Paper 100 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 14 10 Saturday/Sunday
Quiz 2 40 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 10 Wednesday/Saturday
Final Exam 100 Saturday
Total Points: 650

  Assignment Overview


Three posts are required for each discussion assignment: one original post and two peer responses. You should focus on completing one discussion thread before moving onto the next one.

To receive full points, you must fully address the given topic. There is no specific word length per post. Anything cited from the textbook or an outside source must be properly cited using MLA format.

The first discussion of the week (one original post and two peer responses) is due by Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT of the assigned week. The second discussion of the week (one original post and two peer responses) is due by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT of the assigned week. 

Compensation Paper

In Week 3, you will submit a paper on the topic of compensation. The paper should be a minimum of 4 pages, doubled spaced with proper MLA formatting. The paper should make direct references to the text and cite a minimum of 3 peer-reviewed sources. A cover sheet and works cited page are required. More details on this assignment are available in the Content area of the course. This assigned is due Sunday at 11:59 pm CT of Week 3.  

Company Benefits Paper

You will submit a research paper on the topic of company benefits. The paper should be a minimum of 5 pages in length, double spaced, and follow proper MLA formatting. The paper should make direct references to the text and cite a minimum of 5 sources (of which 3 must be peer-approved). A cover sheet and works cited page are required. More details on this assignment are available in the Content area of the course. This assignment is due Sunday at 11:59 pm CT of Week 6.

There are multiple activities in this course that build up to the final project:

  • Week 2: Topic Selection
  • Week 4: Submit List of Research Questions
  • Week 5: List of Resources to be Used in Paper
  • Week 6: Final Paper Submission


You will take 2 quizzes in this course, each worth 40 points. Each quiz will consist of 40 multiple choice choice questions. You will have one hour to complete each quiz. Quiz 1 will be due Sunday at 11:59 pm CT of Week 2, while Quiz 2 will be due Sunday at 11:59 pm CT of Week 7.

Midterm Exam

You will take a midterm exam covering material from the first four weeks of the course. There will be 100 questions that may consist of multiple choice and/or true-false questions. You will have two hours to complete the exam. It is not proctored. There are 100 points possible. The midterm may be taken between Thursday at 12:01 am CT and Sunday at 11:59 pm CT of Week 4. 

Final Exam

The Final Exam will consist of 10 topical essay questions that cover material from chapters 1-15 of the textbook. You will have two hours to complete the exam. It is not proctored. There are 100 points possible. The Final Exam can be taken anytime between Thursday at 12:01 am CT and Saturday at 11:59 pm CT of Week 8.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Read Chapters 1 and 2
Please give us more than your name. Include your profession, hobbies, interests and any other information that can help us get to know you. 
Discussion 1
Using the Fortune 500 list (http://fortune.com/fortune500/), identify one company that uses Lowest-Cost Strategy and one company that uses Differentiation Strategy. Explain how these strategies work and why these particular companies use them. Do not use any of the companies given as examples in the textbook or used by another student.
Discussion 2
The Coca-Cola Company, currently based in Atlanta, GA, is relocating their headquarters to your city (or the city nearest to you). In doing so, Coke hopes to convince many of their current Atlanta-based employees to relocate to your city. What are some considerations that Coke should make for their employees regarding geographic pay differentials between Atlanta and your city? How can Coke persuade their employees to move with the company? Consider the factors mentioned in chapter 2, as well as the CNN Money cost of living calculator (http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/).
Read Chapters 3 and 4
Discussion 3
Select three distinct jobs of your choice. Go to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), http://www.onetonline.org. Review the major tasks for each job. Then, for each job, identify what you believe is the most appropriate performance appraisal method. Discuss the rationale for each choice. 
Discussion 4
Using the same three jobs from Discussion 3, identify a specific incentive plan for each job that you believe would be beneficial for the company and its employees. Discuss the rationale for each choice.
Selection for Company Benefits Paper
Identify the company you will be researching for the Company Benefits Paper. Explain your reason for choosing this company.
Quiz 1
Covers material from chapters 1-4 of the textbook.
Read Chapters 5 and 6
Discussion 5
Discuss your reaction to the following statement: “Companies should not provide training to employees because it is the responsibility of individuals to possess the necessary knowledge and skills prior to becoming employed.”
Discussion 6
Write a brief job description for a job that you have had according to the principles described in chapter 6. Do not use the same job as another student.
Compensation Paper
Construct a comprehensive research paper on a compensation system that you consider fair and equitable. Use critical thinking to discuss issues from two perspectives, employee’s and employer’s.  Critically interrogate your own concepts about compensation and benefits issues.  Also, using at least 3 sources (text, websites, books, periodicals, newspapers) enhance your discussion to express a clear understanding of the issues.  This paper is to be 4-5 pages in discussion length, double-spaced, using MLA format.  It should also include a Cover page, and a Works Cited sheet.  
Read Chapters 7 and 8
Discussion 7
Which do you believe is most important for a company’s competitive advantage: internal consistency or market competitiveness? Explain your answer.
Discussion 8
Two employees perform the same job, and each received exemplary performance ratings. Is it fair to give one employee a smaller percentage merit increase because his pay falls within the 3rd quartile but give a larger percentage merit increase to the other because his pay falls within the 1st quartile? Explain your answer.
Research Questions

Submit a list of at least five fully-developed questions that you hope to research and answer in your Company Benefits Paper.

Midterm Exam
Covers material from chapters 1-8 of the textbook.
Read Chapters 9, 10, and 11
Discussion 9
Many compensation professionals are faced with making choices about which discretionary benefits to drop because funds are limited and the costs of these benefits continually increase. Assume you must make such choices. Rank-order discretionary benefits from the ones you would most likely eliminate to the ones you would least likely eliminate. Explain your rationale.
Discussion 10
Discuss your position on executive compensation. Is executive compensation universally ¬≠excessive or appropriate? Should company profits and stock prices impact an executive’s pay? What about the wages of lower-level employees?
List of Resources for Company Benefits Paper

Submit a list of at least five sources that you will use in your Company Benefits Paper. Citations should use proper MLA formatting.

Read Chapter 12
Discussion 11
Conduct some research on the future of the Social Security programs (see www.ssa.gov). Based on your research, describe your view of the Social Security programs (e.g., whether they are necessary, their viability, or whether there should be changes in how the programs are funded). How has this research influenced your views?
Discussion 12
Use the web to research a company that currently (or previously) uses flexible work schedules. Do not use a company already identified by another student. Explain the company’s flexible work policies, their rationale for using said policies, and the success (or failure) of doing so. How do these policies shape your impression of working for this company? 
Company Benefits Paper
Construct a comprehensive research paper on the Compensation and Benefit Systems implemented at a local company.  The paper will follow MLA guidelines, be in Word format, at least 5-pages of discussion in length, double-spaced, and it should also include a cover page, and a Works Cited sheet with at least 5 sources. There should also be AT LEAST 5 parenthetical internal citations within the text of your paper (this means you must have quotes, statistics, etc… backed up with a source from the Works Cited sheet).  So make sure you use a variety of sources, not just one source. Concentrate the paper on the Compensation and Benefit Systems implemented at a major company in the United States.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Read Chapters 13 and 14
Discussion 13
For any country of your choice (besides the United States), conduct research into the cultural characteristics and summarize these characteristics. Discuss whether you feel that pay-for-performance programs are compatible in this country and provide your rationale. Do not use the same country as another student.
Discussion 14
Compare the health care systems in the United States with those in the country you selected in Discussion 13. Does it appear that the costs of health care programs are creating burdens for competitive advantage?
Quiz 2
Covers material from chapters 9-14 of the textbook.
Read Chapter 15
Discussion 15
Chapter 15 discusses four important issues that will shape compensation professionals’ work for years to come. Which one of these issues stands to create the greatest uncertainty for compensation professionals? Explain your answer.
Final Exam
Covers chapters 1-15 of the textbook.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

There will be an automatic 20% reduction in points for all late assignments. The only exceptions will be for documented deployment or documented illness.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.