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The human resource professional

This module will consider the role and contribution of the HR professional and will provide opportunities for students to examine and develop their own skills for this role. Topics covered will include an introduction to human resource management, managing performance, leadership and change management, and the nature of professionalism and ethics. Students will also develop the skills needed to work effectively as an HR professional. These include self-management, leading and working in teams, communication skills, using ICT and managing financial resources.

Vocational relevance

This module is part of a qualification that is intended to provide a route to professional membership of the CIPD if you wish to develop a career in HR management. It will also provide training in research and academic skills if you want to develop an academic career in the field of HR management.

More generally, by studying a postgraduate business qualification you can expect your salary to increase and for it to have a positive impact on your career progression, as well as bringing improvements to the organisation.

Qualifications

B863 is a compulsory module in our:

B863 is an optional module in our:

Postgraduate Loans 

If you study this module as part of an eligible qualification, you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan. For more information, see Fees and funding.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.

Module

Module code
B863
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
SCQF 11
FHEQ 7
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

In this first module of the MSc you will consider the role of the HR professional and the skills needed to be effective in this role. You will consider the implications of recent research findings in the field of human resource management for your own practice, for example in increasing levels of engagement and improving performance, in acting ethically and in managing change. You will compare this with the practice of HR professionals in other contexts, drawing on case studies and the experience of your fellow students working in different geographical areas and sectors; and you will also look at the development over time of thinking about the role of HR professionals in order to understand how this may influence current thinking. The emphasis throughout will be on considering what HRM practices are associated with positive organisational outcomes.

You will develop and practise the skills you will need to be effective as an HR professional, including as a leader and a senior manager. These include self-management, leading and working in teams, making decisions, managing and communicating information, including financial information, consultancy skills and helping others to learn. You will also develop postgraduate study skills and digital literacy skills.

Perhaps most importantly this module will develop your skills as a reflective practitioner, committed to continuously learning from reflection on your practice and on the critical application of new theories and ideas to inform this practice.

You will learn

  • to understand the role of the HR professional, the nature of professionalism and approaches to addressing ethical dilemmas
  • to review recent research and to assess its relevance for practice in a range of contexts
  • to assess the relevance of theory for practice and apply it where appropriate to improve practice
  • to review theoretical approaches to leadership and team-working and to develop the skills needed to be effective as a leader and as a team member
  • to critically assess the range of concepts and issues that are associated with managing performance in the workplace, and the interrelationships between these factors 
  • to develop the skills and understanding needed to address change management issues and to work at a strategic level in the organisation
  • to develop skills essential for HR work such as: leading and working in teams, making decisions, managing financial information, communicating effectively and helping others to learn.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your tutor will help you with the study material, mark and comment on your assignments and provide advice and guidance. You will contact your tutor by email, telephone or via your tutor group forum on the B863 website. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

Future availability

The role of the human resource professional starts once a year – in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in November 2021

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    All entrants must hold a BA/BSc degree awarded by a recognised university, or equivalent. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    03 Nov 2018 Apr 2019 -

    Registration now closed

    This module is expected to start for the last time in November 2021.

    Future availability

    The role of the human resource professional starts once a year – in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in November 2021

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    Ways to pay

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options. To find out more see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    An extensive variety of specially written resources presented in different media (print and online) and designed exclusively for this module. Audio-visual material, published articles, case studies and access to The Open University library.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.