Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Strategic and Contemporary Issues in Human Resource Management

Course summary

Course code: INDU1148
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Business Faculty
Department: Human Res and Organisational Beh
Course Coordinator(s): Maria Papanikou / Helen Rivera



This course aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the theories and contemporary issues that are relevant to human resource management professionals today. In doing so, students will develop subject specific and key transferable skills that are necessary for employment in human resources roles. The course is organized according to Ulrich’s (1997) categorization of the roles that human resources professionals assume in organizations – strategic partner, administrative expert, employee champion, and change agent. Through exploring these roles, students will understand the strategic positioning of contemporary human resources and the demands placed on professionals in this area. Finally, this course will provide students with an opportunity to use strategy-tools to reflect on their past achievements and identify areas for improvement for furthering their career in human resources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:
1. Appreciate the complex and oftentimes competing roles of human resource professionals today.
2. Understand, contrast, and apply strategic human resource theory to “real” organisational contexts.
3. Evaluate the theory and evidence for the effectiveness of human resources on important employee-level and organisational-level outcomes.
4. Critically examine contemporary issues that challenge human resource professionals and their impact on employees and organisations.
5. Participate in conversations of a strategic business nature, and understand how human resources contribute to the attainment of organisational goals.
6. More confidently determine the “next steps” in students’ careers in human resource management.

Indicative content

Strategic & Contemporary Issues in HRM will be organized by Ulrich’s (1997) model of the roles of the human resources professional (1) Strategic Partner (strategic HRM theoretical paradigms, including universalistic, contingency, resource-based view of the firm; HR consulting); (2) Administrative Expert (job and organizational design, HRM architecture, job crafting); (3) Employee Champion (ethics, justice, voice, whistleblowing, dark triad/organizational wrongdoing, positive psychology); and (4) Change Agent (strategy tools, including SWOT, scenario planning and stakeholder analysis; HRM attributions; organizational culture and the strength of the HRM system).

Teaching and learning activity

Lectures will be complemented with various active learning techniques, including case studies, role-plays, and business games. The course will make use of web-based resources such as Moodle to provide links to all required reading materials. There will be 24, 2-hour workshops.


Group Presentation - 30% weighting, 40% pass mark, learning outcomes 1, 2 & 4.
Outline Details - Application of SRM theory to practice.
Formative Assessment - Groups submit one page describing their plan in advance.

Portfolio - 70% weighting, 40% pass mark, learning outcomes 1, 3, 5 & 6.
Outline Details - Reflection on current human and social capital using strategy tools. 5000 words.