Module Details

BE470-7-SP-CO: Contemporary Issues In Hrm

Year: 2017/18
Department: Essex Business School
Essex credit: 10
ECTS credit: 5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Professor Philip Hancock
Teaching Staff:
Contact details:

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

Over recent decades, social and political shifts have culminated in the emergence of Human Resource Management (HRM) as an organizational practice distinct from more traditional 'personnel' approaches to managing people at work. An HRM approach takes a strategic view of the organizations' employees as drivers of competitive advantage and HRM functions - resourcing, performance and reward management, employment relations, and learning and development - are correspondingly aligned with this aim. However, the roots of HRM in the neo- liberalism of the 1980's in the USA and UK in particular mean that the 'employee advocacy' role of the traditional personnel manager has been eclipsed in favour of activities that further managerialist ends, making a critical interrogation of HRM an essential part of any socially responsible management education. This module is an essential part of the MSc Management suite of programmes and on successful completion, students will have a critical understanding of the theory and practice of HRM, as well as an awareness of how HR practices impact both on the individual and wider social structures.

Module Aims

i) To introduce students to the theory and practice of HRM
ii) To provide critical approaches to understanding the impact of HRM on a range of stakeholders
iii) To consider the strategic influence of HRM on business performance
iv) To review contemporary HRM developments and debates

Module Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

i) Demonstrate an understanding of key perspectives, theories and concepts that inform historical and contemporary understandings of HRM
ii) Analyse the effects of HRM practices and ideologies within a wider social, economic and political context
iii) Critically evaluate the significance of HRM for firms' performance
iv) Show awareness of current debates and challenges facing HRM in a contemporary context

Learning and Teaching Methods

The module will be delivered in 5 x 3-hour workshop style classes, combining interactive lectures and student-led discussions.


100 per cent Coursework Mark


One 1,200 word assignment (20%) One 2,500 word assignment (80%)

Other information

Postgraduate Administrator - Jade D'Mello

Further information