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Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS)

International Human Resource Management

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This course aims to introduce you to the study and practice of International Human Resource Management (IHRM). To benefit from this, you need, of course, to have a basic understanding of Human Resource Management (HRM) itself. HRM has developed from personnel management, but instead of concentrating primarily on the hiring and firing of staff, it is the strategic and coherent approach to the overall management of an organisation's most valued assets – the people working there who contribute to the objectives of the business. Its main aim is to develop personnel policies that improve employee relations at work. This course will, therefore, begin with an examination of the history and nature of Human Resource Management, before embedding it in its international context.


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.


Tayeb Monir H (2005) International Human Resource Management (A Multinational Company Perspective), Oxford University Press.

This is a widely used and comprehensive account of the key issues facing multi-national corporations in their management of human resources. It also summarises the main debates in HRM, and examines HRM policies and practices in several major economies, with a number of illustrative case studies based on original research.


You will receive three volumes of Readings, which are a collection of journal articles, case studies and book extracts that are of particular relevance and interest to the topics covered in the course.

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

When you have completed this course, you should able to analyse the use of Human Resource Management principles in your own organisation, and perhaps introduce them; in addition you will be able to:

  • identify and discuss the main tasks associated with HRM
  • assess the main perspectives on management and explain their relationship to HRM
  • explain the importance of the cultural context for HRM
  • discuss the challenges that multi-national corporations face in managing HR in some major economies
  • evaluate the importance of parent–subsidiary relationships in relation to HRM
  • assess the extent to which multi-national corporations have the freedom to impose common approaches to HRM in their international operations
  • embed organisational learning and knowledge within the strategic IHRM function
  • discuss the challenges of managing culture within an international joint venture
  • examine expatriation from the perspectives of both the parent company and the overseas subsidiary/partner
  • summarise IHRM and its implications for HR practice

Scope and syllabus

Course Units
Unit 1: Study of International Human Resource Management
  • 1.1 An Introduction to Human Resource Management
  • 1.2 The Tasks of Human Resource Management
  • 1.3 The Main Debates in Human Resource Management
  • 1.4 Conclusions and Summary
Unit 2 The National Context of Human Resource Management
  • 2.1 The Importance of Context
  • 2.2 Seven Cultures of Capitalism
  • 2.3 Convergence and Divergence? The Role of Culture
  • 2.4 HRM and National Culture
  • 2.5 The Institutional Context of HRM
  • 2.6 Other contextual factors
Unit 3: The National Context of Human Resource Management – Case Studies
  • 3.1 The Importance of National Context
  • 3.2 Implications
  • 3.3 Conclusion
Unit 4 Managing HR Across the World
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Going International
  • 4.3 Parent–Subsidiary Relationship
  • 4.4 Subsidiary Perspective
  • 4.5 Conclusion
Unit 5: Differentiation and Integration
  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Differentiation and Integration
  • 5.3 Mechanisms to Achieve Integration
  • 5.4 Conclusion
Unit 6: Knowledge Transfer within a Multi-National Company
  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 Organisational Knowledge and its Significance
  • 6.3 HRM and Organisational Knowledge
  • 6.4 Transfer of Knowledge Between and Within Organisations
  • 6.5 Transfer of Knowledge within MNCs
  • 6.6 Transfer of Managerial Know-how and HRM across National Borders
  • 6.7 Conclusion
  • Appendix
Unit 7: HRM in International Joint Ventures
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Joint Ventures and National Culture
  • 7.3 Organisational Culture and IJVs
  • 7.4 HRM in Joint Ventures
  • 7.5 Conclusion
Unit 8: Foreign Assignments – Conclusion to the Course
  • 8.1 Rationales for Foreign Assignments
  • 8.2 The Cost of Expatriation
  • 8.3 Preparation for Foreign Assignment
  • 8.4 Managing Expatriates
  • 8.5 Conclusion to Unit 8
  • 8.6 Summarising International Human Resource Management

Method of assessment

You will complete two Assignments which will be marked by your tutor. Assignments are each worth 15% of your total 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. In addition, queries and problems can be answered through the Online Study Centre. 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 on the website in April each year.