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Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS)

Human Resource Management & Development

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This course is concerned with the management of people in public organisations. The staff of an organisation are its principal resource, and therefore good practice in the management and development of human resources makes an important contribution to the effectiveness of the organisation. There are many different approaches and managers need to understand which approach is likely to work best in specific circumstances. While covering all the main aspects of HRM this course is designed to enable you to evaluate and choose between approaches.

It would be beneficial to take Public Policy & Management: Perspectives & Issues before this course and Managing Organisational Change is best taken after it.


Study Guide

You will receive a looseleaf binder containing eight ‘course units’. The units are carefully structured to provide the main teaching, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the further assigned readings. The unit files are also available to download from the Online Study Centre.


D. Torrington, L. Hall and S. Taylor, (2008) Human Resource Management, Seventh Edition, Prentice Hall. (This comprehensive textbook provides coverage of all the main HR topics.)


You will receive two volumes of Readings which contain articles and chapters from a variety of sources. Some texts are theoretical, but more often they aim to supplement the discussion of practice in the text by providing case studies of the actual practices of organisations. In this way, the readings help you engage with the process of critical choice which is at the core of this course.

DVD resources

You will also receive a DVD which provides an introduction and overview of the course by the course author, Richard Common. This will help you to understand the themes and issues covered unit by unit.

Online Study Centre

You will have access to the OSC, which is a web-accessed learning environment. Via the OSC, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the course using discussion forums. The OSC also provides access to the course Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Assess and critique generic approaches to HRM
  • Select and apply methods of HRM in the following:
    - Demand and supply forecasting
    - Recruitment and selection
    - Diversity management
    - Retention
    - Retraining
    - Employment contracts
    - Total Quality Management
    - Group and team working
    - Appraisal
    - Training and management development
    - Employee relations
    - Pay and performance management
  • Make the connections between organisational strategy and HRM
  • Understand the impact of public sector reform on HRM practices

Scope and syllabus

Course Units
Unit 1: Human Resource Management: Introduction
  • 1.1 An Introduction to HRM and its Relationship with the Course
  • 1.2 The Task of HRM
  • 1.3 The Main Debates in HRM
  • 1.4 The Importance of Context
  • 1.5 HRM in the Public Sector
  • 1.6 Human Resource Planning
  • 1.7 Conclusions and Summary
Unit 2: Resourcing
  • 2.1 Recruitment
  • 2.2 Retention
  • 2.3 Contracts of Employment
  • 2.4 Employee Resourcing in Perspective
  • 2.5 Summary
Unit 3: Performance
  • 3.1 Organisational Performance
  • 3.2 Group Performance
  • 3.3 Individual Performance
  • 3.4 Leadership and Motivation
  • 3.5 Summary
Unit: 4 Development
  • 4.1 Competences
  • 4.2 Training and Development
  • 4.3 Management Development
  • 4.4 Summary
Unit 5: Employee Relations
  • 5.1 Introduction - Frames of Reference
  • 5.2 Recognition and Consultation
  • 5.3 Health, Safety and Welfare
  • 5.4 Equalities
  • 5.5 Grievance and Discipline
  • 5.6 Employee Relations in Developing and Transitional Countries
  • 5.7 Conclusion and Summary
Unit 6: Pay
  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 Job Evaluation
  • 6.3 Pay Structure
  • 6.4 Performance-Related Pay and Other Incentives
  • 6.5 Rewards other than Pay
  • 6.6 Conclusion and Summary
Unit 7: Cross-Functional Issue
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 The International Dimension
  • 7.3 Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
  • 7.4 Work-Life Balance
  • 7.5 Measuring HR: effectiveness and efficiency
  • 7.6 Conclusion: Convergence vs. Divergence
Unit 8: Human Resource Strategy and Management
  • 8.1 Relationship between HR and Organisational Strategy
  • 8.2 Impact of Public Sector Reforms on HR Practice
  • 8.3 Conclusion and Summary

Method of assessment

You will complete two assignments, which will be marked by your tutor. Each assignment is worth 15% of your total course mark. You will be expected to submit your first assignment by the Tuesday of Week 5, and the second assignment at the end of the course, on the Tuesday after Week 8. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. You will also sit a three-hour examination on a specified date in October, worth 70% of your total mark. An up-to-date timetable of examinations is published in April each year.