MG478      Half Unit
The Management of Human Resources in Global Companies

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Chunyun Li, NAB 3.18


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (Human Resource Management/CIPD) and MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (International Employment Relations and Human Resource Management). This course is available on the Global MSc in Management, Global MSc in Management (MBA Exchange), MBA Exchange, MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (Organisational Behaviour) and MSc in Management (1 Year Programme). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course focuses on the management of human resources in global corporations. The central theme in the course is the link between HR strategy and business strategy. The course involves an examination of how diverse global firms articulate and execute global HR strategies and how these strategies are reflected in a variety of HR practices such as global talent management, global performance management, global value chains and labour standards, global diversity policies, global employment relations, and the management of HR in global mergers and acquisitions. Given the limitations of empirical studies of HR practices in global corporations, the method of instruction is through the analysis of cases, supplemented by lectures and guest lectures from Global HR leaders. This is a more practical course, but informed by HR theories that students would have been exposed to in the introductory HRM course (MG480 Management of Human Resources: Strategies and Policy), as well as other courses. Students without the required theoretical background will be provided with supplemental readings.

In the course modules, we will:

  • Evaluate the strategic choices facing global corporations, including the choice between adopting highly centralized or predominantly decentralized HR policies, with regard to a range of HR issues such as performance and talent management and diversity.
  • Understand HR considerations in the outsourcing and offshoring of work; and the role of HRM in managing international mergers and acquisitions.
  • Analyse how institutions and culture affect the HR practices and employment relations in diverse global corporations from advanced and emerging market countries.
  • Analyse the challenges faced by global corporations in structuring global assignments with specific reference to global mobility (expatriation and repatriation of global managers), and how corporations are dealing with global talent management.
  • Taking a global value chain approach, examine how global firms extend their HRM/ER policies to their supply chain, and evaluate the efficacy of methods to improve labour standards and human rights in global supply chains.



15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

Teaching will be supplemented by guest lectures from leading industry practitioners.  

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

During the first week of classes, students will be instructed in the art of case analysis, and will be instructed as to what is required in case memos.  The objective of the case analysis is to develop students' ability to analyse concrete company experiences in order to generate insights for both the practice of HRM in global companies and the development of new theory.

formative take-home case analysis will be given in Week 5, which will be completed during the reading week and written feedback will be provided. This case analysis is a time-limited project that requires an analysis of the case problem, a solution to the case, and a statement of broad take-aways (anchored in either practice or theoretical literature). In particular, students should be able to articulate what are the key lessons from the case for HR theory and practice.  

Indicative reading

Edward, T., and Rees, C. (2017). International HRM, Globalisation, National Systems and Multinational companies (3rd Ed.). Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited.

Ellet, W. (2018). The Case Study Handbook; Revised Edition: A Student's Guide. Boston, USA: Harvard Business Review Press.

Wright., P.M and Ulrich, M, D. (2017). A Road Well Travelled: The Past, Present and Future Journey of Strategic Human Resource Management. The Annual Review of Oragnizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 2017, Volume 4, pp 45-65.

Brewster, C. Mayrhofer, W. and Smale.A. (2016) Crossing the Streams: HRM in Multinational enterprises and comparative HRM. Human Resource Management. Human Resource Review. Vol.26 (4).


Class participation (10%).
Case analysis (30%) and take-home assessment (60%) in the ST.

For the case analysis memos, each student will be expected to provide an individual solution to the case and articulate the lessons learned from the case. The take home assessment  will consist of an unseen case analysis and an essay question.

The take home assessment  will be released to students at the end Lent Term.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2020/21: 134

Average class size 2020/21: 14

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication