HRMU9S3: Fundamentals of HRM

Semester:  Autumn

Level:  8

Credit Value:  20

Module Coordinator:  Staff, Management, Work & Organisation Division

Contact Hours:  30 hours

Assessment:  2,500–3,000 word essay (35%); seminar participation (15%) & final examination (50%)


By the end of the module students should be able to understand and critically analyse: the wider organisational context in which human resource management (HRM) occurs; what HRM ‘is’; the fundamental functional areas of HRM practice; basic issues in the management of the employment relationship; and basic welfare issues affecting employees. The module will enable students to understand the role of HRM at various points in the employment relationship; from organisational entry and skills development, to the management of performance and reward, to mechanisms of employee voice, to managing the welfare of employees.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the module students will be able to understand and evaluate:

The fundamentals of the employment relationship, organisational structure and work organisation. Different perspectives on the management of the employment relationship. Different ways of designing organisations and work; the implications these have for managerial control. Ways in which resistance to managerial control may be conceptualised.

Definitions of HRM. Different authors’ perceptions on what HRM is; how HRM has evolved; the differences between HRM and Personnel Management.

The fundamentals of recruitment and selection. Pre-recruitment activities such as job analysis; different recruitment methods and their use; differences between recruitment and selection; different selection methods and their reported validity; the most commonly used combination of methods, ‘the classic trio’, and especially the employment interview.

The fundamentals of training and development. The differences between training and development; factors that affect an organisation’s willingness to train; different types of human capital developed through training.

The fundamentals of motivation, performance management and pay. Different motivation theories; their strengths and weaknesses; how these may be applied to HRM (e.g. to performance and pay). Methods of performance management; pros and cons of performance management; issues in evaluating performance at work. How pay may be determined and awarded (e.g. piece rates, a rate for the job, pay for performance); problems inherent in different pay systems.


The fundamentals of employee involvement, representation, participation, empowerment and team-working. Individual and collective ways in which employees may be involved in the workplace; the differences between involvement and participation; direct and representative methods of participation; how work may be organized to allow empowerment and team-working. The basic role and function of trade unions; issues with trade union membership.


Fundamentals of employee welfare: Factors affecting employees’ satisfaction in the workplace and basic trends in job satisfaction. Basic issues in equality and diversity management; the differences between equal opportunities and managing diversity; Stress and strain in the workplace and how this might be managed.


This module information is representative of what is included in the module in a given year. Details of actual reading, lectures and coursework may vary year to year and will be available at the beginning of the semester.

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