MSc Human Resources Management Timetable and Modules

Note: Modules offered each academic year are subject to change. Listed below are the modules and timetable for 2021/22.


Michaelmas Term

Hilary Term

Trinity Term 

  • Human Resource Management

  • Learning and Development

  • Performance and Rewards Management

  • Researching Human Resource Management

  • Organisation Design and Development

  • Developing Skills for Business Leadership
  • Strategic and International Human Resource Management

  • Human Resource Digitalisation and Analytics

  • Managing Employment Relations

  • Managing Diversity in Organisations

  • Business Ethics Society
  • Dissertation or Company Research Project

    This project allows students to showcase the knowledge they have gained and enhance their career potential by specialising in a particular area


Trinity Term 

  • Dissertation 
    • This project allows students to showcase the knowledge they have gained and enhance their career potential by specialising in a particular area


Module Descriptions

Human Resource Management (5 ECTS)
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 should 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.

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Learning and Development (5 ECTS)
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.

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Performance and Rewards Management (5 ECTS)
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.

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Researching Human Resource Management (5 ECTS)
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.

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Organisation Design and Development (5 ECTS)
Organisation Development concerns the process of organizational change in organizations. Specifically, the Organisation Development component of this module will discuss critical issues such as a) creativity, b) innovation, c) knowledge management, and d) organizational learning. The goal of this research-oriented component is to provide students with a critical review of recent theories and research on change and innovation in organizations.
An integrating theme of our course will be how organisation design contributes to an organisation’s capability through the intangible capital of employees’ talent, knowledge and relationships.
Organisation Design is essentially about capability – the capability to organise. From at least the beginning of the 1st Industrial Revolution to the present day (and arguably for millennia before that) formal organisations have been essential in shaping and delivering strategy, so that an understanding of the design principles & practical applications of different organisation design options is relevant both to business history & contemporary practice. Areas addressed include the historical and theoretical basis of organisation design, a typology of organisational forms, contemporary relevance of bureaucracy, the impact of technology and the emergence of new modes of organising – for example “Digital Taylorism”, the “Gig Economy” and  “Holocracy”.

Having successfully completed the Organisation Development component of the module, students should be able to:

  • Understand, analyse and critically evaluate the methods and procedures of organisation development and review their impact in the development of a learning organisation.
  • Understand, analyse and critically evaluate possible change management strategies and activities, through the application of organisation development strategies
  • Understand, analyse and critically evaluate organisation culture norms and behaviours.

Having successfully completed the Organisation Design component of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of organisation structures, functions and performance in both theory and practice,
  • Characterise different organisation types with their respective contexts, structures and management styles, and explain their characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Critically analyse the evolution and evolutionary pressures on organisations and demonstrate an advanced awareness of the capacity and responsibility of organisation leaders to actively analyse, interpret, diagnose and develop contemporary organisations.

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Business Ethics Society (5 ECTS)

Business is a contested institution. While some emphasize that growing productivity and innovation has led to improving the economic conditions of many people, others worry about the social and environmental costs of business activities. At the core of these intense debates, there are different views about the current and ideal interaction between business and society.

In this course, we will adopt a broader view for understanding the role that businesses and corporations play in society. We believe this role is expected to expand and is indispensable for society. Yet, the recent wave of questionable business practices and scandals has caused serious economic, social and environmental damage and may threaten the legitimacy of businesses as a whole. In this context, the question of Ethics in Business has become a major feature of the discourse on business practice and its legitimacy.
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. In doing so, we will adopt a perspective that opens up the view of HR managers to look outside their own functions and critically rethink their role in organizations as well as the purpose of organizations themselves. While there are no easy recipes for what corporations should and must do, our departing assumption is that learning to effectively manage ethical, social, and environmental issues can produce positive results for the employees, 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, with implications for both HRM and other functions within an organization.

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.

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Strategic and International Human Resource Management (5 ECTS)
This module explores 1) how the strategic management of people is essential to the survival and growth of organisations, and 2) its related issues and challenges in the international context. To this end, we will explore the multiple theoretical underpinnings of human resource management (HRM) and evaluate the role of HR professionals and line managers, as these groups are central to the way in which HRM policies and practices are developed and enacted in the workplace. Fundamentals pertinent to HR strategies will be addressed in both strategic and international perspectives. Specific topics include HRM systems and organizational/individual performance, within-organization variability (i.e., HRM implementation), the formulation of international HRM strategy, and the management of expatriates, repatriates, and inpatriates.

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

  • Understand the core elements of high-performance work systems (HPWS) and the mechanism through which they are associated with employee attitudes and behaviour and in aggregate organizational performance.
  • Understand how HRM strategies are shaped by and developed in response to internal and external environmental factors.
  • Critically evaluate the aims and objectives of the HRM function in organisations and how these are met in practice.
  • Promote professionalism and an ethical approach to HRM practices in organisations.
  • Discuss the market and competitive environments of organisations and how organisational leaders and the HR function respond to them.
  • Discuss globalisation and international forces and how they shape and impact on HR strategies and HR practices.
  • Critically evaluate main challenges in International HRM.

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Human Resource Digitalisation & Analytics (10 ECTS)
HR digitalisation and analytics, also known as digital transformation and people/workforce analytics, is rising up the agenda for organisations globally. With technology providing businesses more and more ways to collect people data, using this information to gain workforce insight, drive business performance and enhance employee experience is expected to grow. HR analytics enables HR practitioners and employers to gain insights into their workforce, HR policies and practices, with a focus on the human capital element of the workforce, and can ultimately inform more evidence-based decision making. This module is intended to advance students’ knowledge in human resource management by building up their analytical capability and adding practice experiences to their study. Students will be led to a deep dive in HR analytics. Meantime, valuable opportunities will be provided to students 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 HR analytics and real HRM and how they are 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:

  • Understand HR digitalisation and analytics and describe the key steps in an effective HR analytics programme from framing the questions for analysis to reporting the results of the analysis;
  • Articulate the value of HR Analytics in supporting evidence-based decision-making and evaluation of HR investments;
  • Describe how leading organisations have successfully started the journey to effectively digitalise people management and implement an HR Analytics function and tangible examples of how HR Analytics has been used effectively by organisations;
  • Critically review the role and responsibilities of the HR function and HRM process in the contemporary organizations;
  • 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 and provide best available evidence to address these challenges.

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Managing Employment Relations (5 ECTS)
A cornerstone of managerial activity is the employment relationship – as a legal, social, economic and psychological exchange. This module will provide learners with an introductory yet comprehensive understanding of employment relations actors, perspectives and debates. The broad aim is to review the nature and evolution of Employment Relations up to and including contemporary challenges and developments in the international domain. The employment relations characteristics of selected countries are also summarily reviewed via an in-course assignment
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.

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Managing Diversity in Organisations (5 ECTS)
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. The demographics of the population and the workplace are changing due to a number of factors, such as an increase in the mobility of labour leading to greater cultural diversity. Equality and Diversity legislation has also given greater access to employment increasing the number of people from under represented groups such as people with disabilities and minority ethnic groups. This has led to greater diversity in the workforce. Accordingly, there is a need to effectively understand and manage workforce diversity to utilise the talents and expertise of all employees for organisation success, but also to ethically and legally create an inclusive workplace.

The module will examine issues confronting managers of a diverse workforce. In particular issues such as interculturalism, ethnicity, race, language, ageing, disability, gender, and intersectional identities will be discussed. Two key approaches to managing diversity will be explained, i.e. the social equity case of managing diversity, and the business benefits case of managing diversity. The module will explore a range of diversity related concepts and topics, such as social identity, stereotyping, discrimination, intergroup conflict, structural integration, and organisational change. The role of the HR Professional in enabling a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion will be explored.
Having successfully completed this module, the student should be able to:

  • Analyse how their own cultural diversity and unconscious bias 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.
  • Understand the role of the HR Professional in enabling a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion.

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Developing Skills for Business Leadership (5 ECTS)
This module focuses on leadership in organisations as a human behaviour. It aims to encourage students to develop a strong sense of self-awareness and of their own strengths and weaknesses. The module is primarily concerned with the development of skills, and specifically seeks to develop and improve a range of definable skills that are pivotal to successful management practice and to effective leadership. These include thinking and decision-making skills, the management of financial information, managing budgets, a range of team work and interpersonal skills and others associated with developing personal effectiveness and credibility at work. The module also seeks to develop furthermore-specialised skills that are of significance to effective higher-level people management and provides opportunities for applied learning and continuous professional development. Finally, the module seeks to help learners make the most of their formal programmes of study with the inclusion of key postgraduate study skills and requires critical reflection on theory and practice from an ethical and professional standpoint.

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

  • Evaluate major theories relating to motivation, commitment and engagement at work and how these are put into practice by organisations.
  • Debate and critically evaluate the characteristics of effective leadership and the methods used to develop leaders in organisations.
  • Manage themselves more effectively at work or in another professional context.
  • Manage interpersonal relationships at work more effectively.
  • Make sound and justifiable decisions and solve problems more effectively.
  • Lead and influence others more effectively.
  • Interpret financial information and manage financial resources.
  • Demonstrate enhanced IT proficiency.
  • Demonstrate an essential people management skill set.
  • Demonstrate competence in postgraduate study skills.

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Dissertation Outline (30 ECTS)
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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