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Study information

HR Strategy and Context

Module titleHR Strategy and Context
Module codeBEMM124DA
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Olga Andrianova (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


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.

Module aims - intentions of the module

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.

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.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 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. Apply business acumen, including organisational strategy creation, strategic planning tools (including business cases) and trends in the wider business context as well as drivers of organisational performance, methods of measuring organisational data, and knowledge of financial and commercial information and value for money principles.
  • 3. Evaluate how projects fit as part of wider programme management and how to use project management methodologies in order to deliver a project.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Design and reflect upon implementation considerations for a range of people policies, processes, approaches and practices in line with the organisations strategic plan, culture and values.
  • 5. Produce budgets / costings to support recommendations, making balanced commercial decisions, recording them appropriately.
  • 6. Select appropriate project management methodologies and resources in order to plan, lead and deliver complex projects (often as part of a wider programme) including the management of risk

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Apply a strategic and commercial mind-set to drive and enable change and create value for the organisation and its people.

Syllabus plan

  • business and HR strategy
  • linkages between HRM and other functional areas e.g. finance, IT, marketing
  • 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
  • the aims and objectives of HR work and the HRM function
  • key research into HRM, HRD and the effective management of people
  • flexibility, agility, change management
  • project and programme management
  • financial information

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.1-7Interactive and embedded feedback within ELE tasks

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 words1,3-7Written tutor feedback
Essay402000 words2Written 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 original1,3-7Next reassessment period
Essay (40%)As per original2Next 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%

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.

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. 

Key words search

HRM strategy, business environment, change, employee lifecycle, HRM practice

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date