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HR Strategy and Context

Module description

This module operates as a foundational stage within the MSc Applied Human Resource Management and places people practice into its wider context.  Together we will explore the evolving business environment, and the position and role of the HRM function in leading organisations through an increasingly volatile, unpredictable, and dynamic context. You will be able to explain what constitutes a strategic approach to the management of human resources and the range of alternative approaches and options that exist.  In this module, we will critically discuss issues such as globalisation, developments in technology, social and demographic trends, and how changes in legislation impacts HRM strategy formulation and implementation.  In addition to this we will examine issues of crucial importance within society including ethics, sustainability and corporate social responsibility, equality, diversity and inclusion, in addition to wellbeing, again exploring and discussing the role of the HRM strategy with respect to each.

Full module specification

Module title:HR Strategy and Context
Module code:BEMM124DA
Module level:M
Academic year:2021/2
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Olga Andrianova - Convenor
Module credit:30
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The fundamental aim of this module is to develop your strategic awareness of the interaction between both the contemporary business environment and developments in the world of work, and the management of people inside organisations.  We aim to build your knowledge of major trends in the business environment in your particular context and to promote critical discussion regarding the changing role of the HR practitioner.


Skill Acquisition 

This module focuses on the broad context for HRM and therefore ensures that participants are equipped with the skills to operate effectively in the contemporary business environment and introduces them to different theories and frameworks that help learners to identify the main issues and trends in their organisation and sector.  This module specifically explores the skillset needed to develop learners’ capability to craft an HRM strategy suitable for their organisational context, lead others, and to bring about sustainable change within an organisational environment.  Participants will also end this module better positioned to motivate others, and ensure that HRM processes and systems are built with equality, diversity, and inclusion in mind.


Research in Teaching 

Considerable research explores the changing business environment. Participants will be introduced to the theories and critiques surrounding HRM strategy, globalisation, the impact of social and demographic trends on both labour pools and markets for goods and services.  Alongside this corporate social responsibility theory will be covered within this module as well as long term economic trends.  From a more practical perspective long established motivation theory and change theory will be examined, together with reward management, alongside more contemporary contributions exploring how HRM contributes to organisational flexibility and agility.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Critically discuss the employee lifecycle and the range of people practices that underpin it, including relevant regulation, compliance, governance and relevant law, developing people policy in line with this
  • 2. Evaluate ways in which technology supports the delivery of people practice and enables collaboration and the risks, opportunities and impact of technology on ways of working, both in the wider organisation and in the people profession.
  • 3. Discuss change methodology and tools and the psychology and impact of change on the workforce and the organisation.
  • 4. Critically discuss how to create remuneration and benefit approaches that are aligned to current and future organisation needs and market conditions such as equal pay.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Provide advice regarding organisational interventions designed to create desired culture and behaviours.
  • 6. Design people strategy ensuring alignment to organisational strategy

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Reflect upon how to influence senior leaders in order to position the people strategy at the heart of the business and ensure it is considered when decisions are taken across the organisation.
  • 8. Design and deliver a presentation suitable for an audience of senior leaders.
  • 9. Apply a range of consulting processes and styles as appropriate to the role of the HRM professional, including the use of diagnostic tools appropriate to the role

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Masterclasses28Faculty/Expert led workshops and seminars
Webinars5Online action learning set facilitated by module lead
Professional development93Guided independent study through online learning activities. Reading, case studies, professional practise forums, MCQs, blogs and formative assessment tasks.
Time in work174Time in work

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Weekly assignmentsGuided independent study through online learning activities. Reading, case studies, professional practise forums, MCQs, blogs and formative assessment tasks.1-9Interactive and embedded feedback within ELE tasks
Group presentation20 minute group presentation on an identified aspect of HRM practice1, 2, 4, 7Verbal tutor and audience feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Case study report 604000 words1-6Written tutor feedback
Individual narrated presentation402,000 words equivalent / 20 PowerPoint slides1, 5, 7, 8, 9Written tutor feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Case study report (60%)As per original1-6Next reassessment period
Individual narrated presentation (40%)As per original1, 5, 7, 8, 9Next reassessment period

Re-assessment notes

All passed components of the module will be rolled forward and will not be reassessed in the event of module failure.


Defer – as first time


Refer – capped at 50%

Syllabus plan

  • Business and HR strategy
  • Linkages between HRM and other functional areas e.g. finance, IT, marketing
  • Business ethics and professionalism within HRM
  • Analysing the business environment – tools and techniques (PESTLE, SWOT etc)
  • Globalisation
  • Key technological developments, including HR analytics
  • Social and demographic trends
  • Labour market developments
  • Short and long-term economic trends
  • Corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and the circular economy
  • The aims and objectives of HR work and the HRM function
  • Key research into HRM, HRD and the effective management of people
  • Equality and diversity
  • Reward management
  • Performance management theory, including individual motivation
  • Flexibility, agility, change management

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Armstrong, M. & Taylor, S. (2020) Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice.  Fifteenth Edition.  Kogan Page: London.
  • Beer, M., Boselie, P., & Brewster, C. (2015). Back to the future: Implications for the field of HRM of the multistakeholder perspective proposed 30 years ago. Human Resource Management, 54(3), 427-438.
  • Kew, J. & Stredwick, J. (2010) Human Resource Management in a Business Context.  Third Edition. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
  • Marchington, M., Wilkinson, A., Donnelly, R. & Kynighou, A. (2020) Human Resource Management at Work: The Definitive Guide.  Seventh Edition.  Kogan Page: London.
  • Taylor S. & Perkins, G. (2021) Work and Employment in a Changing Business Environment., Kogan Page: London.
  • Uysal, G. (2019). Quantitative methods in human resource management. Journal of Modern Accounting and Auditing. 15(7): 367-370.
  • Weatherly, P. & Otter, D. (2018) The Business Environment: Themes and Issues in a Globalizing World.  Fourth Edition.  Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • The module will have a dedicated page available on ELE.

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • As an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development you will also have access to the entirety of the Institute's website, including all published research reports, archived articles from 'People Management', fact sheets, discussion papers and briefings. 

Origin date


Last revision date