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Assignment Briefs 08-27-2022

Critically evaluate the impact of different HRM models on organisational performance, illustrating how they can add value for HR managers

For the Human Resources in Context examination, you have a maximum of 48 hours to complete and upload your answers from the time the questions are released on Moodle.

You are required to answer three questions in total:

  • Answer one question from each of the three sections (Section A, Section B and Section C).
  • Enter your answers to the three questions in one Microsoft Word document.
  • Include a heading for each answer stating the section and question number, for example: ‘Section A, question 2’.
  • Do not copy the question wording into your answer as it will affect the similarity score of your response.
  • As a guide, the word count for each answer is 800–1,000 words, excluding references.
  • Remember to correctly reference all of your sources.
  • Please add your reference list at the end of each answer.

All questions are equally weighted.

The examination marking criteria is provided for information.

Final Assessment Mark:

  • Please note that all marks are provisional, subject to external moderation and ratification by the Assessment Board.
  • The provisional mark reflects the academic quality of your assessment and is provided to assist you in understanding your feedback against the marking criteria provided.
  • However, provisional marks do not take into account any penalties (e.g. for late submission) that may be applied in accordance with the Taught Postgraduate Assessment Regulations.
  • Provisional marks have not yet been externally moderated and so may be subject to change. Your final mark will be confirmed once this has been ratified by the Assessment Board. You will be informed of any re-assessments following the Assessment Board.

Please note – the assessment deadlines reflect the time zone that is set in your Moodle profile. Please ensure your Moodle profile is set to the correct time zone for your location.

Examination questions

Section A

Answer one question from this section only.

  1. Critically evaluate the impact of different HRM models on organisational performance, illustrating how they can add value for HR managers.
  2. Evaluate how organisation and business strategy is shaped by the internal and external environment and how this may impact HR policy and practice, using appropriate methodologies and theory to illustrate your rationale.
  3. Critically discuss the extent to which the HRM role can justify its strategic place on the Board and its contribution to the business and wider stakeholder group. Cite practice examples to illustrate your points.

Section B

Answer one question from this section only.

  1. To meet market competition and high customer expectations, organisations try to respond to globalisation by drawing on HR strategies and practices. Critically analyse the extent to which globalisation has led to an increased focus on the achievement of competitive advantage through HR strategy.
  2. Evaluate the current impact of a range of globalisation and international factors on one organisation of your choice. Critically examine how this organisation might best respond to related challenges.
  3. What is the impact of the global context on HR? Discuss with regard to the challenges that the HR function faces by external economic, political and societal trends.

Section C

Answer one question from this section only.

  1. How can HR Analytics be used to improve the quality of decisions about the workforce? Discuss with regards to performance management and employee engagement.
  2. Computer and Internet based technologies are changing the landscape of HR. Evaluate this statement by discussing the impact of technological innovations on the functions of recruitment and selection and training and development.
  3. Critically discuss the role of International Labour Standards. Please consider the challenges/tensions the HR function is facing while balancing the role as employee champion versus strategic partner.


Human Resources in Context References session 1 Barney, J. (1991) Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage, Journal of Management, 17 (1), pp.99–120. Boxall, P. and Purcell, J. (2000) Strategic Human Resource Management: Where Have We Come from and Where Should We Be Going?, International Journal of Management Reviews, 2, pp.183–203. Boxall, P. and Purcell, J. (2011) Strategy and Human Resource Management (3rd edition), Palgrave: Basingstoke. Chandler, A.D. Jr. (1962) Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the history of the American industrial enterprise, MIT Press: Cambridge. CIPD (2015) Human Resource Management in Content Advanced Level Qualification Examiner’s Report, CIPD: London. Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/7hrc-examiners-report_2015-may_tcm18-15336.pdf (accessed 4 November 2017). Farnham, D. (2015) Human Resource Management in Context: Insights, strategy and solutions (4th edition), CIPD: London. Fombrun, C.J., Tichy, M.M. and Devanna M.A. (1984) Strategic Human Resource Management, John Wiley: New York. Johnson and Scholes (1997) Exploring Corporate Strategy, Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River. Ketchen, D.J. and Eisner, A.B. (2009) Strategy 2008–2009, McGraw Hill and Irwin: Columbus. Legge, K. (1995) Human Resource Management: Rhetorics and realities, MacMillan Business: Chippenham. Mintzberg, H. and Waters, J.A. (1985) Of Strategies: Deliberate and emergent, Strategic Management Journal, 6, pp.257–272. Mitchell, R., Agle, B. and Wood, D. (1997) Toward a Theory of Stakeholder Identification and Salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts, The Academy of Management Review, 22 (4), pp.853–886. Available at: https://www. jstor.org/stable/pdf/259247.pdf (accessed 4 November 2017). Paauwe, J. and Boselie, P. (2003) Challenging ‘strategic HRM’ and the relevance of the institutional setting, Human Resource Management Journal, 13 (3), pp.56–70. Pfeffer, J. (1994) Competitive Advantage Through People, Harvard Business School Press: Boston. Pfeffer, J. (1998) The Human Equation, Harvard Business School Press: Boston. Porter, M. E. (1979) How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy, Harvard Business Review, 57 (2), pp.137–145. Prahalad, C.K. and Hamel, G. (1990) The Core Competence of The Corporation, Harvard Business Review, May–June, pp.79–90. Redman, T. and Wilkinson, A. (2009) Contemporary Human Resource Management: Text and cases (3rd edition), Pearson: Harlow. Schein, E. (1985) Organizational Culture and Leadership, John Wiley and Sons: San Francisco. Storey, J. (2001) ‘Human Resource Management Today: An assessment’, in Storey, J. (editor) Human Resource Management: A critical text (2nd edition), Thompson Learning: London, pp.3–20. The Guardian (10 September 2009) Sony’s PlayStation 3 Slim has tough game ahead of it [online]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2009/ aug/25/sony-playstation-games-slim-gamescom (accessed 1 November 2017). Torrington, D. and Hall, L. (1995) Personnel Management: HRM in action, Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River. Tyson, S. (1995) Human Resource Strategy, London: Pitman Publishing. Wernerfelt, B. (1995) A Resource-Based View of the Firm, Strategic Management Journal, 16, pp.171–174

Human Resources in Context References session 2 Appelbaum, E., Bailey, T., Berg, P. and Kalleberg, A. (2000) Manufacturing Advantage: Why high performance systems pay off, Cornell University Press: New York. Baird, L. and Meshoulam, I. (1988) Managing Two Fits of Strategic Human Resources Management, Academy of Management Review, 13 (1), pp.116–128. Barney, J. (1991) Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage, Journal of Management, 17 (1), pp.99–120. Barney, J. and Wright, P. (1998) On becoming a strategic partner: the role of human resources in gaining competitive advantage. Human Resource Management, 37 (1), pp.31–47. Boxall, P. and Purcell, J. (2003) Strategy and Human Resource Management. Palgrave: Basingstoke. CIPD (2007) The Changing HR Function, CIPD: London. CIPD (2011) Autumn Outlook, CIPD: London. Cook, P. (n.d.) The Best Fit Model of HR Strategy [online]. Available at: https:// www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141020083130-253129-hr-strategy-in-romania/?utm_ content=buffer6f03d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_ campaign=buffer (accessed 31 October 2017). Delery, J.E. (1998) Issues of Fit in Strategic Human Resource Management: Implications for research. Human Resource Management Review, 8, pp.289–309. Farnham, D. (2016) Human Resource Management in Context: Insights, strategy and solutions, CIPD: London. Fombrun, C.J., Tichy, M.M. and Devanna M.A. (1984) Strategic Human Resource Management, John Wiley: New York. Grant, R.M. (1991) The Resource-based Theory of Competitive Advantage, California Management Review, Spring 1991, pp.114–135. Huselid, M.A. (1995) The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices on Turnover, Productivity and Corporate Financial Performance. Academy of Management Journal, 38, pp.635–670. Kochan, T.A., and Barocci, T.A. (1985) Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, Little Brown and Company: Boston. Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2012) Human Resource Management at Work (5th edition), CIPD: London. Miles, R.E. and Snow, S.S. (1984) Designing Strategic Human Resources Systems. Organization Dynamics, 16, pp.36–52. Pfeffer, J. (1994) Competitive Advantage Through People, Harvard Business School Press: Boston. Pritchard, K. (2010) Becoming an HR Strategic Partner: Tales of transition, Human Resource Management Journal, 20 (2), pp.175–188. Purcell, J., Kinnie, N., Hutchinson, S., Rayton, B. and Swart, J. (2003) Understanding the People Performance Link: Unlocking the black box, CIPD: London. Reilly, P. (2000) HR Shared Service and the Realignment of HR: Report 368. Institute of Employment Studies: London. Schuler, R.S. and Jackson, S.E. (1987) Organisational Strategy and Organisational Level as Determinants of Human Resource Management Practices. Human Resource Planning, 10 (3), pp.125–141. Schuler, R.S. and Jackson, S.E. (1987) Linking Competitive Strategies With Human Resource Management, Academy of Management Executive, 1 (3), pp.207– 219. Taylor, S. and Woodhams, C. (2012) Studying Human Resource Management, CIPD: London Ulrich, D. (1997) Human Resource Champions, Harvard Business School Press: Boston. Ulrich, D., Younger, J. and Brockbank, W. (2008) The Twenty-first-century HR Organization, Human Resource Management, 47 (4), pp.829–850

Human Resources in Context References session 3 Barney, J. and Clark, D. (2007) Resource-Based Theory: Creating and sustaining competitive advantage, Oxford University Press: Oxford. Becker M.A. and Huselid, B.E. (2005) The Workforce Scorecard: Managing human capital to execute strategy, Harvard Business School Press: Boston. Brooks, M., Wiley, J. and Hause, E. (2006) Using Employee and Customer, Perspectives to Improve Organisational Performance, Customer Service Delivery: Research and Best Practices, February. CIPD (2010) Next Generation HR Project, CIPD: London. CIPD (2001) Podcast 52 - Using Metrics to Drive Value Through People. Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/podcasts/using-metrics-drive-value-through-people (accessed 2 November 2017). CIPD (2014) Model of HR Matrix, CIPD: London. Guest, D. (2011) Human Resource Management and Performance: Still searching for some answers, Human Resource Management Journal, 21 (1), pp.3–13. Heskett, J.L., Jones, T.O., Loveman, G. W., Sasser, W. L. and Schlesinger, L.A. (2008) Putting the Service–Profit Chain to Work, Harvard Business Review, July– August. HR Metrics (2017). Available at: http://thehrmetrics.com/why-measure/ (accessed 31 October 2017). Huselid, M.S. (1995) The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices on Turnover, Productivity and Corporate Financial Performance, Academy of Management Journal, 38 (3), pp.635–670. Kaplan, R.S. and Norton, D.P. (1992) The Balanced Scorecard: Measures that drive performance, Harvard Business Review, January-February. Lawler, E.E., Levenson, A. and Boudreau, J. (2004) HR Metrics and Analytics: Uses and Impacts, HR Planning Journal, 27 (4), pp.27–35. Mankin, D. (2009) Human Resource Development, Oxford University Press: Oxford. McCray, S. (2008) The Top 10 Problems with Outsourcing Implementation (and how to overcome them) [online]. Available at: https://www.ssonetwork.com/ business-process-outsourcing/articles/the-top-10-problems-with-outsourcingimplementatio (accessed: 6 November 2017) Patterson, M.G., West, M.A., Lawthom, R. and Nickell, S. (1997) Impact of People Management Practices on Business Performance, IPD: London. Porter, M. E. (1979) How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy, Harvard Business Review, 57 (2), pp.137–145. Ramstad, P. and Boudreau, J. (2003) ‘Strategic HRM Measurement in the 21st Century’, in Efron, M., Gandossy, R. and Goldsmith, M. (editors) HRM in the 21st Century, John Wiley: New York, pp.79–90. Torrington, D., Hall, L., Taylor, S. and Atkinson, C. (2017) Human Resource Management (10th edition) Pearson: Harlow. Truss, C., Mankin, D. and Kelliher, C. (2012) Strategic Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press: Oxford. Ulrich, D. and Brockbank, W. (2005) The HR Value Proposition, Harvard Business School Press: Boston.

Human Resources in Context References session 4 Beardwell, J. and Thompson A. (2014) Human Resource Management: A contemporary approach (7th edition), Pearson: Harlow Chand, M. and Tung, R.L. (2014) The Aging of the World’s Population and Effects on Global Business, Academy of Management Perspectives, 28 (4), pp.409–429. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Masud_Chand/ publication/276183367_The_Aging_of_the_World%27s_Population_and_Its_ Effects_on_Global_Business/links/56410ca108aebaaea1f6d976/The-Aging-ofthe-Worlds-Population-and-Its-Effects-on-Global-Business.pdf (accessed 3 November 2017). CIPD (n.d.) News and opinion [online]. Available at: https://www.cipd.ae/peoplemanagement/news/private-sector-young-people (accessed 2 November 2017). CIPD (2015) Productivity: Getting the best out of people, CIPD: London. Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/work/productivity/motivatingpeople-report (accessed 3 November 2017). CIPD (2016) Factsheet. Understanding the Economy and Labour Market [online]. Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/work/trends/economy-labourmarket-factsheet (accessed 3 November 2017). Claydon, T. and Thompson, A (2010) ‘Human Resource Management and the Labour Market’, in Beardwell, J. and Claydon, T. (editors), Human Resource Management: A contemporary approach (6th edition), FT/Prentice Hall: Harlow, pp.121–158. Deloitte (2017) 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends [online]. Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/human-capital/articles/introductionhuman-capital-trends.html (accessed 3 November 2017). Denmark.dk (n.d.) Flexicurity [online]. Available at: http://denmark.dk/en/ society/welfare/flexicurity/ (accessed 3 November 2017). Galbraith, J.K. (1958) The Affluent Society, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Boston. Lindsey, B. (2007) The Age of Abundance: How prosperity transformed America’s politics and culture, Harper Collins: New York. Mullan, P. (2002) The Imaginary Time Bomb: Why an ageing population is not a social problem, I.B.Tauris & Co.: London. Office for National Statistics (2017) UK Labour Market 2017 [online]. Available at: www.ons.gov.uk (accessed 2 November 2017). SHRM Foundation (n.d.) Challenges for Human Resource Management and Business Strategy [online]. Available at: http://futurehrtrends.eiu.com/ report-2014/challenges-human-resource-management/ (accessed 3 November 2017). Svendsen, L.F. (2008) Work, Routledge: Abingdon. Taylor, J.B. (2016) Slow Economic Growth as a Phase in a Policy Performance Cycle, Journal of Policy Modeling, 38, pp.649–655. Torrington, D., Hall, L., Taylor, S. and Atkinson, C. (2017) Human Resource Management (10th ed.), Pearson: Harlow. Triandis, H. (1995) Individualism and Collectivism, Westview Press: Boulder. Twenge, J.M. and Campbell, S.M. (2008) Generational Differences in Psychological Traits and Their Impact on the Workplace, Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23 (8), pp.862–877. United Nations (2017) International Migration [online]. Available at: https:// unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/sconcerns/migration/migr2.htm (accessed 2 November 2017).

Human Resources in Context References session 5 AccountAbility (2015) Stakeholder Engagement Standard AA1000, AccountAbility: London. Adair, J.E. (1973) Action-centred Leadership, McGraw-Hill: London. Blowfield, M. and Murray, A. (2008) Corporate Responsibility: A critical introduction, Oxford University Press: Oxford. Carroll, A.B. (1979) A Three-dimensional Conceptual Model of Corporate Social Performance, Academy of Management Review, 4, pp.497–505. Carroll, A.B. (1991) The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility: Toward the moral management of organizational stakeholders, Business Horizons, 34 (4), pp.39–48. Crane, A. and Matten, D. (2010) Business Ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization (3rd edition), Oxford University Press: Oxford. Crane, A. and Matten, D. (2016) Business Ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization (4th edition), Oxford University Press: Oxford. Crane, A. and Livesey, S. (2003) ‘Are you Talking to me? Stakeholder Communication and the Risks and Rewards of Dialogue’, in Andriof, J., Waddock, S., Rahman, S. and Husted, B. (eds.), Unfolding Stakeholder Thinking 2: Relationships, communication, reporting and performance, Greenleaf: Sheffield, pp.39–52. Donaldson, T. and Preston, L.E. (1995) The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts, evidence, and implications, The Academy of Management Review, 20 (1), pp. 65–91. Evan, W.M. and Freeman, R.E. (1993) ‘A Stakeholder Theory of Modern Corporation: Kantian capitalism’, in Beauchamp, T.L. and Bowie, N.L. (editors) Ethical Theory and Business, Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River. Fayol, H. (1916) General and Industrial Management, Martino Fine Books: Eastford. Fiedler, F. E. (1967) A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness, McGraw-Hill: New York. Frederick, W.C. (1978) From CSR1 to CSR2: The maturing of business-andsociety thought, Working Paper 279, Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh. Reprinted (1994) Business and Society, August, pp.150–154. Freeman, E.R. (1984) Strategic Management: A stakeholder approach, Blackwell: London. French, J. and Raven, B. (1959) ‘The Bases of Social Power’, in Cartwright, D. (editor) Studies in Social Power, Institute for Social Research: Ann Arbor, pp.150– 167. Harman, G. (1990) The Intrinsic Quality of Experience, Philosophical Perspectives, 4, pp.31–52. Kasturi Rangan, V., Chase, L. and Karim, S. (2015) The Truth about CSR, Harvard Business Review, 93 (1/2), pp.40–49. Kotter, J. (1990) A Force for Change: How leadership differs from management, The Free Press: New York. Maignan, I. and Ferrell, O.C. (2001) Corporate Citizenship as a Marketing Instrument – Concepts, evidence and research directions, European Journal of Marketing, 35 (3/4), pp.457–484. Marshall, T.H. (1963) Sociology at the Cross Roads, Heinemann Educational Books: London. Mayo, G.E. (1933) The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization, original publisher unknown. Owen, D.L. and O’Dwyer, B. (2008) ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: The reporting and assurance dimension’, in Crane, A., Matten, D., McWilliams, A., Moon, J. and Siegel, D.S. (editors) The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility, Oxford University Press: Oxford. Stark, A. (1993) What’s the Matter with Business Ethics?, Harvard Business Review, May–June, pp.38–40, 43–44, 46–48. Taylor, F.W. (1911) The Principles of Scientific Management, Harper and Borthers Publishers: New York. Wood, D.J. (1991) Corporate Social Performance Revisited, The Academy of Management Review, 16 (4), pp.691–71

Module summary in brief

Welcome to the Human Resource Management in Context unit. We hope you enjoy the unit, which has been designed to introduce you to the major internal and external contextual issues that shape decision-making in human resource management (HRM).

The unit is designed to provide an overview of major contemporary trends and explain their significance for organisations and HRM. We will be covering a wide range of topics over the next weeks, all relating to business and how HR can maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of performance for the particular function it supports.

We will be looking at the impact of external environmental trends on decision-making and strategy-making in HRM as well as internal trends and constraints.

In practice, HRM is one of those topics which affects every individual in the workplace in some way, and which is why it is so important to managers in today’s organisations and in an ever-changing labour market and global playing field.

The Human Resource Management in Context unit lead is Helen Smith. Like all the other units, this one is worth 15 credits. All sessions will be run online through our virtual learning environment. All of the learning, activities and assessments can be found there.

We hope that you will take away from this unit a changed perspective on the context in which HRM operates.

Assignment requirement

You have a maximum of 48 hours to complete and upload your answer document from the time the questions are released on Moodle.

  • Complete your examination answers in a Microsoft Word document.
  • If using a laptop, you need to make sure that it is always charged and/or plugged in to avoid losing your work.
  • Please make sure you save your work regularly to avoid any issues with losing your work.
  • Please submit your examination answers by the date and time specified. Late submissions will incur a penalty in accordance with the University regulations.


Recommended word count

The word count for each answer is expected to be 800–1,000 words, excluding references. However, this is only a rough guide; you will not be penalised for writing more or less, as long as you answer the question in full and keep a tight focus on this. Don’t forget to address questions as guided in your marking criteria grid.

One submission attempt

You will get only one attempt to submit this exam. Please make sure you have completed all the questions before submitting your work, checking carefully that you have answered each one in full. Ensure you upload your final version, as mistakes cannot be rectified.

Do not plagiarise

This is an open book exam, so you can and should use relevant literature to support your points. Please ensure you acknowledge all sources using in-text citations and references where possible.

All your submissions will go through Turnitin. However, you will not be able to see the Turnitin similarity score, so take care not to copy and paste from elsewhere, without using speech marks and clearly indicating the source. Use your own words to paraphrase ideas and clearly attribute content back to its source when you draw on other people’s ideas and materials.

Referencing guidance

Since this is an open book exam, there is no reason why you are not able to reference your three separate essays as you go. Please collate your references for each essay upon its completion. Manchester Metropolitan use the Harvard style of referencing.  A guide would be between 8–12 different reference sources per essay to underpin your arguments.


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