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, reward and employee retention, international labour relations as well as corporate reputation.

Additional Information:


This module looks at International and Comparative 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 students with 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. They are taught about different cultures from around the world and the importance of acquiring good cultural training and appreciation before working abroad. Also, students are familiarised with the expatriation and repatriation cycle throughout the module.

Full module specification

Module title:International Human Resource Management
Module code:BEMM059A
Module level:M
Academic year:2017/8
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Sarah Gilmore - 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 and apply HR theories to HR practice with sensitivity to the international context, as well as multicultural and ethical concerns in international work-life.
  • 2. critically analyse HRM rhetoric, implications, and opportunities in an international context.
  • 3. demonstrate knowledge of legal and organisational frameworks for employment, produce appropriate theoretical and practical solutions to organisational and legal frameworks.
  • 4. understand the grievance, discipline and dismissal process in relation to employment in an international work-context.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. clearly explain 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.
  • 6. engage in debates on cultural and institutional 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

  • 7. think analytically and conduct critical analysis of practical challenges in international human resource management, including the credibility of (electronic) data obtained from various sources.
  • 8. apply reason and justification within discussion, presentation and written assignments.
  • 9. practise independent study skills, engaging with and developing an understanding of legal and professional frameworks.
  • 10. 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
Contact hours21Lectures
Contact hours6Seminars (2-hour seminars across three weeks)

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
'Real life' case studySolving two questions in groups3-5, 8-10, 12Oral feedback given to groups

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 written assignment803,000 words max1-3, 5-10Written feedback (ELE)
MCQ reading test201 hour exam (20 questions)3, 4, 9

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual written assignmentRe-submission of written essay (3,000 words) 80%1-3, 5-10August
MCQ reading testRetake MCQ test 20%3, 4, 9August

Re-assessment notes

Students are asked to re-sit only the assessment element that they are referred or deferred.

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction to IHRM
  • MNCs and HRM
  • Cultural differences and diversity
  • Institutional diversity
  • Expatriation
  • Staffing the multi-national company: recruitment and selection
  • International reward & employee retention
  • International labour relations & employee participation
  • Reputation in the international context

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading – students are expected to own a copy of the core text:

  • Özbilgin, M.F., Groutsis, D., & Harvey, W.S. (2014), International Human Resource Management. Cambridge: University Press.

Relevant journals include (non-exhaustive list):

  • International Journal of Human Resource Management
  • Human Relations
  • Human Resource Management Review
  • Human Resource Management (US)
  • Human Resource Management Journal (UK)
  • International Business Review
  • Academy of Management Journal
  • 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
  • Scandinavian Journal of 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