HRMU9S3: Fundamentals of HRM

Semester: Autumn

Level: 8

Credit Value: 20

Module Coordinator: Dr Saira Lee, Management, Work & Organisation Division

Contact Hours: 20 hours lectures, 8 hours seminars

Assessment: 50% Examination, 50% Coursework (35% essay, 15% seminars)

Module Overview:

The broad aim of this module is to introduce students to the functional areas and key components of Human Resource Management (HRM), whilst providing them with a critical perspective on the practice and theory of this area. 

This 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, mechanisms of employee voice and 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 conflict, employee representation, employee involvement, participation, empowerment and team-working.  Causes and manifestations of conflict.  The basic role and function of trade unions and issues with trade union membership.  Individual and collective ways in which employees may be involved in the workplace.  The differences between involvement and participation and how work may be organised to allow empowerment and team-working. 


Fundamentals of employee welfare: Health, safety and welfare at work.  Basic issues in equality and diversity management.  The differences between equal opportunities and managing diversity.  Stress in the workplace and how this might be managed.

Reading Lists:

Core textbook for the module:
Gilmore, S. and Williams, S. (2013) Human Resource Management.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Recommended supplementary book for the module:
Grey, C. (2012) A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Studying Organisations.  London: Sage

The module outline will also contain topic-specific literature in the reading list.


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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