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You are here Programmes > Masters Programmes > MSc in Human Resource Management > Timetable and Modules

Timetable and Modules

Classes are run throughout the academic year over two semesters: September - December and January - April.


Michaelmas Term
Hilary Term
Trinity Term
Human Resource Management Managing Diversity in Organisations

Dissertation

Performance and Rewards Management Researching Human Resource Management
Managing Employment Relations Human Resource Management in Practice (company trip)
Organisation Design and Development Leading Change in a Complex World
Developing Skills for Business Leadership Strategic and International Human Resource Management
Learning and Development Ethics, Business and Society

NB - Timetable and modules are subject to change.

Module Descriptions

Human Resource Management
An organisation’s workforce represents one of its most powerful and valuable resources and is therefore an essential tool for improving and sustaining organisational performance. Human resource management includes the firm’s work systems and its employment practices. It embraces both individual and collective aspects of people management and is not restricted to any style or ideology. This module explores how the strategic management of people is essential to the survival and performance of organisations.
Having successfully completed this module, the student will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the role and responsibilities of the HR function in organisations and the context within-which HR professionals operate;
  • Critically evaluate the use of HR practices (e.g. recruitment, selection, training, performance management and reward) in specific organisations in terms of: (1) their alignment with the organisation’s strategy and context, and (2) their contribution to organisational performance;
  • Prepare and present a consultancy report which analyses a specific HR-related challenge within their chosen organisation and provides evidence-based recommendations for managers;
  • Search for and identify reliable, appropriate and high quality HR research, and evaluate its relevance to real-world HR practice;
  • Analyse and critically evaluate the contemporary organisations and their principal environments;
  • Analyse and critically evaluate the managerial and business environment within which HR professionals work;
  • Personally reflect on and challenge their own understanding of how to effectively manage people in various contexts.

Performance and Rewards Management
Reward management is the art of aligning the interests of employees with those of the employer to deliver a high performing organisation. It is an integral part of a talent management strategy, but often characterised simply as an analytical process focused on pay market benchmarking. This module aims to explore the ways in which reward can influence behaviour and how the best organisations communicate their values and encourage performance through reward strategies that are tailored to their business needs. 

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Systematically decide and communicate strategic performance aims, objectives, priorities and targets;
  • Plan effective performance management policies and practices to improve organisational and employee performance;
  • Devise and sustain arguments for using appropriate performance management techniques, rewards and sanctions to improve performance;
  • Demonstrate the communication skills required when managing achievement and underachievement;
  • Critically evaluate the effectiveness and key issues in performance and reward management;
  • Analyse the relationship between the environment, strategy and systems of reward management;
  • Explore the conceptual apparatus and theoretical debates informing reward management;
  • Critically discuss traditional, contingent and knowledge bases for transactional and relational rewards;
  • Design internally consistent reward structures that recognise labour market and equity constraints;
  • Analyse executive and expatriate rewards in an international context.

Managing Employment Relations
The cornerstone of all human resource management activity is the employment relationship – as a legal, social, economic and psychological exchange. This module will provide learners with a comprehensive understanding of employment relations perspectives and debates. It will enable learners to understand, analyse and evaluate competing theories and perspectives associated with important areas of managing employment relations, and their impact on people and organisations.

Having successfully completed the module, students should be able to understand:

  • Different theories and perspectives on employment relations;
  • The impact of local, national and global contexts shaping employment relations climates;
  • The roles and functions of the different parties to control and manage the employment relationship
  • The importance of organisational-level employment relations processes that support organisational performance, including the design and implementation of policies and practices in the areas of: employee engagement; diversity management; employee communication, involvement and participation negotiation and bargaining; conflict resolution; and change management and management control;
  • The importance of employment relations procedures that help mitigate organisational risk, including the design and implementation of policies and practices in the areas of discipline, grievance, dismissal and redundancy;
  • The integration of employment relations processes and how they impact on policy, practice and organisational outcomes such as performance and employee engagement;
  • Government policy and legal regulation and how these shape and impact on organisational and HR strategies and HR practices.

Organisation Design and Development
This module explores two aspects of a firms management practices that have significant strategic implications for the effective performance and survival of the organisation. These are, firstly, how the firm structures, or configures, its human resources to optimise the division of labour. Secondly, how it can manage the process of changing this configuration in response to a dynamic environment. Organisation design is concerned with how the various tasks to be achieved are coordinated, and how the various components of structure are drawn together to produce particular structural configurations.

Having successfully completed this module, students should be able to understand:

  • The historical and theoretical basis of organisation design and development and their context in terms of value and contribution to organisational life;
  • Available design options regarding organisational structures and relationships;
  • Processes and systems that need to be in place to maintain such structures and relationships, and evaluation of same;
  • Methods and procedures of organisation development and review their strategic impact;
  • Change management strategies and activities through the application of organisation development strategies, which might support organisation design and realignment outcomes;
  • Organisation culture, norms and behaviours;
  • The importance of the HR role in advising on these design and development choices and supporting their implementation.

Developing Skills for Business Leadership
This module uses a focus on leader and leadership development in organisations as a device to explore, encourage and support the development of important skillsets and mindsets among participating students. The skills primarily aimed at include those necessary to successfully manage a complex and challenging project focused on leader and leadership development and include judgement and decision-making; planning and managing limited resources; collaborating and coordinating complex activities in team settings; finding and appropriately utilising information; communicating and influencing; and many others.

Having successfully completed this module, students should be able to:

  • Define and distinguish leader and leadership development, and identify and critically reflect on the different conceptions and challenges associated with each;
  • Critically appraise different approaches to leader and leadership development, and develop compelling actionable proposals for senor organisational decision-maker audiences;
  • Develop persuasive arguments and communicate conclusions and decisions convincingly in both theoretical and practical contexts;
  • Manage a complex project in a group setting under resource constraints while developing and maintaining effective working relationships and resolving both content and interpersonal difficulties;
  • Apply advanced study skills including the use of relevant research data bases and searches, and demonstrate discrimination in identifying, selecting and using theoretical and empirical research contributions.

Learning and Development
This module is intended to develop the professional knowledge and skills required to perform effectively in specialist roles associated with the design, delivery and evaluation of learning and development. It requires learners to reflect critically on theory and practice from an ethical and professional standpoint and provides opportunities for applied learning and continuous professional development.

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Explain, evaluate and critically analyse the internal and external contextual factors impacting on the design, delivery and assessment of learning plans and interventions in organisations;
  • Evaluate, select and apply a range of approaches and processes for establishing learning and development needs at organisational, group/team, occupational and individual levels in collaboration with relevant stakeholders;
  • Critically evaluate a range of learning and instructional design theories and principles and apply them to select and justify appropriate learning and development methods and delivery channels with the engagement and support of other professionals and managers;
  • Design learning plans and interventions to meet identified needs in a timely, feasible and cost-effective way;
  • Demonstrate skills of delivery and facilitation of learning through a range of methods and for employees at a range of organisational levels and a range of occupational groups;
  • Design and implement appropriate evaluation methods to assess the success and effectiveness of learning plans and interventions;
  • Act ethically and professionally with a demonstrated commitment to equality of opportunity and diversity in the design and delivery of learning and development and to continuous personal and professional development;
  • Interpret financial information and manage financial resources.

Managing Diversity in Organisations
This module presents an overview of workforce diversity and its relevance and usefulness in improving our understanding and management of people (including ourselves) at work. Students will explore a range of diversity related concepts and topics, such as social identity, stereotyping, discrimination, intergroup conflict, structural integration, and organisational change

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Analyse how their own cultural diversity influences interactions with other individuals in the workplace;
  • Recognise and respect individual differences in culture and perceptions;
  • Assess how attitudes and practices influence equity and opportunity in organisations;
  • Distinguish between individual, organisational, and societal dimensions of issues and interventions;
  • Identify organisational factors that hinder and those that promote managing diversity;
  • Critically evaluate the Western-centric conceptualization of diversity management as a gender and race neutral approach based on organisational rationality and meritocracy.

Researching Human Resource Management
The general objective of ‘Researching HRM’ is to introduce students to the research process and present the tools and methodologies of social science required to carry out your thesis research. In more details, this module aims to introduce students to the array of possibilities available to researchers when considering organisational research by providing an overview of research methods in the area of HRM and the social sciences. The module begins by examining the elements of a dissertation – from choosing a topic to the literature review and research proposal. It introduces the learner to epistemological and ontological issues of social science research and considers the theoretical and practical aspects of research design. Methods of data collection are identified. Examination and interpretation of data are explained.

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Review and critically evaluate major contemporary research and debates in the fields of human resource management;
  • Explain the nature and purpose of research;
  • Identify the main stages in the research process;
  • Examine the philosophical issues that underpin research;
  • Critically evaluate appropriate research methodology;
  • Prepare a literature review;
  • Recognise and appraise ethical issues that may arise while carrying out research;
  • Use data analysis tools such as SPSS and Nvivo;
  • Explain and conduct their own work on the research trends of HRM.

Human Resource Management in Practice (company trip)
This module is intended to advance students’ knowledge in human resource management by adding practice experiences. Students will be provided valuable opportunities to learn how real organizations manage their valuable human resources via company visits and workshops in the companies. The aim is to enhance student’s understanding of real HRM and how it is operated in a range of industries and how organizational culture influences the application of HRM and how HRM is aligned with organizational strategy.

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Explain the process of HRM in organisations;
  • Critically review the role and responsibilities of the HR function in organisations and the context within-which HR professionals operate;
  • Critically evaluate the use of HR practices  in specific organisations  in terms of: (1) their alignment with the organisation’s strategy and context, and (2) their contribution to organisational performance;
  • Identify organisational challenges in HR such as attracting and retaining top talent;
  • Identify reliable, appropriate and high quality HR research, and evaluate its relevance to real-world HR practice and cases.

Leading Change in a Complex World
The module introduces students to the realities of leading organisational change. The aim of the module is to guide students in developing essential knowledge and skills to effectively lead organisational change. Six central components of organisational change are explored, namely: (i) Setting the Context; (ii) Technology and Change; (iii) Theories of Organisational Change; (iv) Themes and Issues in Organisational Change; (v) Change Management Techniques; and (vi) Strategic Change.

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Identify and critically evaluate essential context-specific features associated with leading change;
  • Clinically illustrate good understanding for the practice of leadership in organisational change;
  • Judge the appropriateness and suitability of theoretical traditions in leading change;
  • Exemplify how technology can both drive and shape organisational transformation;
  • Differentiate between approaches to create positive change;
  • Apply relevant tools and techniques to support decision making concerning design, implementation and transition choices.

Strategic and International Human Resource Management
This module explores the options that HR managers have in delivering sustained competitive advantage through people. This module goes beyond an explanation of individual HR practices, such as selection or training, and instead imagines HR systems at a broader strategic level whereby students analyse HR issues from both a domestic and international point of view. Students learn mainstay strategic HR frameworks, such as best practice, best fit, and the resource-based view of the firm. This is complemented with contemporary HR theories, such as HR architecture, the strength of the HR system, HR bundles, and HR attributions.

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Explain how organisational and HR strategies are shaped by and developed in response to internal and external environmental factors;
  • Critically discuss the aims and objectives of the HRM function in organisations and how these are met in practice;
  • Assess the contribution made by HRM specialists in different types of organisations;
  • Promote professionalism and an ethical approach to HRM practice in organisations;
  • The market and competitive environments of organisations and how organisational leaders and the HR function respond to them;
  • Globalisation and international forces and how they shape and impact on organisational and HR strategies and HR practices;
  • Discuss new developments and main challenges in International HRM.

Ethics, Business and Society
This module aims to prepare the students to understand, identify and shape the responsibility of businesses vis-à-vis society and the future generations. It seeks to help students to think critically about ethical issues that arise in the real business world and analyze the impact of business decisions on a variety of stakeholders. While there are no easy recipes for what corporations should and must, our departing assumption is that learning to effectively manage ethical, social, and environmental issues can produce positive results for the manager, for the company, and for society at large.

The key themes in this course will revolve around moral decision making; stakeholder orientation; environment, social and governance dimensions and impact; and corporate social responsibility.

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Learn to analyse complex business situations and be conscientious of the underlying ethical dilemmas facing businesses and individuals;
  • Be conversant with major aspects related to Ethical Business, namely stakeholder logic, corporate governance, and CSR;
  • Critically evaluate current debates concerning the purpose of the business, and the social and environmental impact of businesses;
  • Distinguish between a range of stakeholders in relation to the functioning of business, identify their various interests and concerns; and appraise the complexity involved in managerial decision making;
  • Understand how businesses approach their social and environmental responsibilities and evaluate their potentials and limits;
  • Effectively work as an individual and as a member of a dynamic multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural team.

Dissertation Outline
The dissertation is an in-depth individual research study of a particular issue within the field of human resource management. The Company Project and Research Dissertation are two options for students to conduct an in-depth individual research study of a particular issue within the field of HRM. Both options require that students demonstrate their capabilities to engage with academic literatures and both an understanding of and an ability to apply HR related theory and concepts to solve HR related problems. The difference is that in the Company Project, students need to solve a real HR issue/challenge faced within a current business context while for the research dissertation, students need to identify a research topic arising from important themes within the academic literature. Both options require students to analyse their research issue using the concepts, techniques and tools introduced to them in the Researching HRM Module. They will be expected to demonstrate a good understanding of the applicability of these techniques (statistical, numerical, qualitative), and an ability to communicate their work to a broad audience effectively and efficiently. This flexible approach allows students to select a company/industry sector or an academic topic that is relevant to the next stage of their career.

Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Identify and justify a HR issue that is of strategic relevance to the theory and practice;
  • Critically analyse and discuss existing literature, contemporary HR policy and practice relevant to the chosen issue;
  • Compare and contrast the relative merits of different research methods and their relevance to different situations;
  • Undertake a systematic analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative information and present the results in a clear and consistent format;
  • Draw realistic and appropriate conclusions and make recommendations based on costed options;
  • Present arguments in a coherent manner written in a clear style and a coherent conclusion that follows correctly from the analysis;
  • Write a reflective account of what has been learned during the project and how this can be applied in the future.


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