What you will study
In this second module of the MSc you will have the opportunity to locate HR policies and practices within the economic, political and social contexts within which they operate. In addition, you will also examine HR policies and practices in the organisational context and this includes, for example, how HR specialists are situated within the managerial team. This organisational context may enable HR specialists to exercise considerable influence and autonomy or conversely it may mean that HR as a specialism is highly constrained.
This module will provide you with an understanding of the environmental contexts of contemporary work organisations within which managers, HR professionals and workers interact. It examines how organisation leaders respond to a range of dynamic challenges in arenas as diverse as the competitive market environment, the legal and regulatory framework, the changing social and technological context.
You will be able to explore how organizational leaders, those in the HR function and line managers with HR responsibilities, need to recognise that corporate decisions and HR choices are often shaped by forces beyond their immediate control.
HRM whether at the strategic or operational levels is essentially about choices and choices take place within a constellation of contexts. The choices are myriad: for example, what size and type of workforce to engage? What mix of skills the workforce should have? Whether to construct a workforce profile based around permanent full time employees or some mix of temporary, part time, self-employed, contracted, outsourced, off-shored labour. The answers to these sorts of questions (and these are just a few of many, many, more) usually depends upon an understanding of the business strategy and the organizational mission. These in turn need to be attuned to economic, political and social contexts.
The module explores and clarifies the nature of Human Resource Management Strategy; it then goes on to examine the changing nature of the key environmental (contextual) forces within which such strategizing takes place. The interaction between strategy and context is the focal concern of the module.
In this module you will explore the skills needed for HR specialists to be effective in the complex and multi-layered contexts as outlined above. You will evaluate recent research findings in the field of human resource management and seek to assess their implications for HR practitioners.
You will be able to make constructive comparisons with practice in different sectors and different countries. You will be using a range of cases studies and will be able to draw from these learning about the range of possibilities and the factors which may constrain or allow adoption of these ideas.
You will learn
- How HR practice and HR professionals are located within contemporary managerial and organisational contexts;
- How HR strategies are related to business strategies;
- How HR strategies are situated within different market and quasi-market contexts, how the state and public sector contexts influence HR strategy and practice;
- The dynamic nature of global competition;
- Social and technological trends and their significance for HRM practice;
- The importance of regulatory, legal and governmental factors for HRM;
- Local, national and international labour markets;
- How to construct resourcing and talent management strategies for different segments of the workforce, and an ability to contribute to diversity management and flexible working;
- Skills to manage recruitment, selection and induction activities effectively and efficiently while operating within legal frameworks;
- How to plan for short and long term talent deployment, for succession planning and to use information on employee turnover as the basis for developing staff retention strategies.