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International Human Resource Management

Module description


The aim of this module is to consider the context, theory and practice of international human resource management (IHRM) – with a particular focus on HRM issues in an international context as well as working abroad. The module aims to critically consider the emergence of IHRM as a discipline and its practices within a global context. Emphasis is placed on debates associated with the utilisation of human resources in an international context, including cultural differences and diversity, expatriation. It aims to analyse specific HRM areas in the international arena such as international staffing and expatriation.




This module looks at International Human Resource Management and how it responds to globalisation, so countries all over the world are brought into consideration. Expatriation and how companies manage their expatriated staff during international assignments is a major theme explored in this module.



Most of the resources for this module are available on the ELE (Exeter Learning Environment).


External Engagement

Previously, we have had the author of the text book, International and Comparative Human Resource Management, give a talk on outsourcing and off-shoring. International experts/practitioners on topics relevant to the module will be invited to deliver a guest lecture.



This module equips youwith key skills for working abroad: knowing what to expect, what the pitfalls might be, what to look out for and how to do it better. Youare taught about different cultures from around the world and the importance of acquiring good cultural training and appreciation before working abroad. Also, you are taught how to manage the expatriation/repatriation cycle throughout the module. 

Full module specification

Module title:International Human Resource Management
Module code:BEMM059
Module level:M
Academic year:2023/4
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Rossana Guttilla - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






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


Module aims

The aim of this module is to consider the context, theory and practice of international human resource management (IHRM) – with a particular focus on HRM issues in an international context as well as working abroad. The module aims to cover critical consideration of the emergence of IHRM as a discipline and practices within a global context.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. describe the theoretical underpinnings of international HRM;
  • 2. apply HR theories to HR practice with sensitivity to the international context, as well as multicultural and ethical concerns in international work-life;
  • 3. analyse the process of selecting career options and job search, with specific reference to the processes involved in successfully applying for postgraduate employment in different global contexts;
  • 4. critically analyse HRM rhetoric, implications, and opportunities in an international context;
  • 5. produce appropriate theoretical and practical solutions to organisational problems in the international arena;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. clearly explain of the importance of the competitive environment (in relation to management generally and international HRM specifically) and how changes in the external social and economic environments influence international HRM decisions;
  • 7. engage in debates on cultural and contextual environments and their effects (in relation to management generally and international HRM specifically) with multicultural and multilingual groups of peers;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. think analytically and conduct critical analysis of practical challenges in international human resource management;
  • 9. apply reason and justification within discussion;
  • 10. practise independent study skills, including critically assess credibility of (electronic) data obtained from various sources;
  • 11. demonstrate written communication skills;
  • 12. apply theory and conceptual frameworks to practical problems.

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
Scheduled Learning and Teaching20Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Seminars
Guided Independent Study124Reading, researching and writing assignments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critical thinking skills through problem-solvingCase Study analysis in groups (during seminars)3-5, 8-10, & 12Oral feedback given to the groups collectively (seminar)

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
Individual assignment 1301,000 words1-12Written feedback (ELE)
Individual written assignment 2702,500 words1-12Written feedback (ELE)

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written Assignment 1 (30%)Written Assignment (30%, 1,000 words)1-12Reassessment Period
Written Assignment 2 (70%)Written assignment (70%, 2,500 words)1-12Reassessment Period

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics: 

  • Introduction to IHRM
  • MNCs and HRM
  • Cultural differences and diversity
  • Strategic decision making in IHRM
  • The Expatriation Cycle
  • Staffing the multi-national company
  • Working in Multi-Cultural teams

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading –

Reiche, B. S., Harzing, A. W., & Tenzer, H. (Eds.). (2018). International human resource management. SAGE Publications Limited.

Reiche, B. S., Stahl, G. K., Mendenhall, M. E., & Oddou, G. R. (Eds.). (2016). Readings and cases in international human resource management. Taylor & Francis.


Relevant journals include (non-exhaustive list):

International Journal of Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management Review

Human Resource Management (US)

Human Resource Management Journal (UK)

International Business Review

Human Resource Development International

Human Resource Management Review

Journal of International Management

International Journal of Management Reviews

International Studies of Management & Organization

International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management

Cross-Cultural & Strategic Management

Employee Relations

Journal of Global Mobility

Journal of World Business

International Journal of Intercultural Relations

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

The module has a fully developed site on ELE where an extensive array of module materials can be found including lecture outlines, and suggested reading on a per topic basis.

Origin date


Last revision date