Human Resource Management

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
03 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC NN24 Accounting and Management,
BSC NN27 Accounting and Management (Including Placement Year),
BSC NN42 Accounting and Management (Including Foundation Year),
BSC NNK2 Accounting and Management (Including Year Abroad),
BSC N200 Business Management,
BSC N201 Business Management (Including Foundation Year),
BSC N202 Business Management (Including Year Abroad),
BSC N204 Business Management (Including Placement Year),
BA T7N2 Latin American Studies with Business Management,
BA T7N4 Latin American studies with Business Management (Including Foundation Year),
BA P520 Journalism with Business Management,
BA P521 Journalism with Business Management (Including Placement Year),
BA P522 Journalism with Business Management (Including Year Abroad),
BSC N344 Finance and Management,
BSC N345 Finance and Management (Including Year Abroad),
BSC N346 Finance and Management (Including Placement Year),
BSC N347 Finance and Management (Including Foundation Year)

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 evidence that HRM achieves these strategic objectives and, more fundamentally, the nature and role of HRM in an organization is highly contestable. Whilst exploring the dominant theories and approaches to the subject, this module explores HRM through a critical lens. We explore the social and institutional context that shapes the way in which the employment relationship is managed. We explore and question the norms and assumptions that lie behind the dominant approaches to HRM today. We also seek to analyse some of the key employment strategies adopted by organizations today, highlighting and seeking to explain the gaps between theory and practice. Students will develop a critical understanding of the theory and practice of HRM and an awareness of how HR practices impact on individual employees and workers and reproduce wider social structures.

Module aims

1. To introduce students to the theory and practice of HRM

2. To provide critical approaches to understanding the impact of HRM on a range of stakeholders

3. To consider the strategic influence of HRM on business performance

4. To review contemporary HRM developments and debates

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
• Demonstrate an understanding of key perspectives, theories and concepts that inform contemporary understandings of HRM

• Analyse the effects of HRM practices and ideologies within a wider social, economic and political context

• Critically evaluate the significance of HRM for firms’ performance

• Show awareness of current debates and the challenges facing HRM in a contemporary context

Skills for Your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of the module, you will be able to:

• Evaluate issues related to people management from a range of different perspectives and be able to integrate these into a considered and practical approach to management
• Think critically about HRM practices by discussing current case studies and academic articles
• Work effectively and efficiently in small teams (in classes)
• Solve problems creatively and collaboratively (in classes)
• Enhance your oral communication skills through short presentations given in group work activities (in classes)
• Develop your commercial awareness by practical activities and cases (in classes)
• Encourage innovation by practical exercises encouraging you to develop solutions to human resource issues and problems (in classes)
• Reflect on your own future managerial practice in relation to HRM

Module information

Any additional information is available on the Moodle page

Learning and teaching methods

The module will consist of weekly one-hour lectures and fortnightly two-hour classes over the ten weeks of the Autumn term, with the exception of week 7 that will be reading week i.e. with no lectures and no classes for this module. Lectures In particular, the nine lectures will run from week 2 to 6 and from week 8 to 11. Classes You are allocated to a group for the classes. Once allocated to a group for the fortnightly classes, students must not change group. The classes will be an opportunity to discuss case studies and to do exercises (individually and in small groups) on different key topics of this module. Each class will last two hours. It is vital that students undertake the required reading prior to the session in order to gain as much value as possible from the classes. The assigned readings (i.e. cases and/or articles) for each class will be uploaded on Moodle before class. Each group will meet for a total of 4 classes during the term. Please check the dates of your classes on your individual timetable.


  • Nick Wilton. (2016) An introduction to human resource management, Los Angeles: SAGE.
  • Wilton, Nick. (2019) An introduction to human resource management, London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Nick Wilton. (no date) An introduction to Human Resource Management.
  • Guest, David E. (1987-09) 'HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS', in Journal of Management Studies. vol. 24 (5) , pp.503-521

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework ASSIGNMENT ONE 13/11/2019 30%
Coursework ASSIGNMENT TWO 12/12/2019 70%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Stefano Cirella and Dr Huiyan Fu



External examiner

Prof Simon Lilley
University of Leicester
Available via Moodle
Of 65 hours, 65 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Business School

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.