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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Common Courses (Management School)

Postgraduate Course: Multinational Enterprises & Comparative Employment Relations (CMSE11286)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits15 ECTS Credits7.5
SummaryThis course aims to provide students with an integrated overview of the key conflict in HR and employment relations' that is, how the world of employment relations is becoming increasingly internationalised while differences in the employment systems of different countries continue to persist.
Course description Aims, Nature, Context

The course investigates several key and inter-related features of the changing global business environment and their impact upon HRM and employment relations. First, it explores the impact of globalisation and different MNC variants (in terms of organisational structures and strategies) primarily from an institutional/business systems perspective. Second, it explores how these diverse models interact with the variety of structures and strategies of multinational companies (MNCs), drawing on both international business and international HRM literature. Of prime interest is the interaction of home and host country effects in shaping HR practices of MNCs, as well as the potential for variation across industry sectors. Third, students undertake a more in-depth, comparative analysis of 'national employment systems' - key areas of study include differences in production regimes, welfare provision, training and education systems, and the organisation of trade unions.

This course unit has the objectives of enabling students to understand and explain:

1. the implications of the growing internationalisation of business and trade both for the human resource policies of companies and for the organisation of labour and employers;
2. the characteristic features of country systems of employment and industrial relations across a range of principally developed, and to an extent, less developed countries;
3. how country differences in employment systems shape and constrain human resource policies of multinational companies;
4. the various ways multinational companies manage labour to meet complex cross-national operations in the production and delivery of goods and services;
5. the challenges to labour posed by the increasing presence of multinational companies.

On completion of the course, students should:

1. be able to discern and comment critically upon the chief institutional and cultural premises driving managerial approaches to HR/employment relations in multinational firms;
2. demonstrate ability to understand and synthesise a wide range of complex issues in the field of international HRM and comparative employment relations;
3. display in written work developing abilities to digest, synthesise and critically evaluate contrasting perspectives from the literature in reaching sustainable/practical conclusions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 150 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Formative Assessment Hours 40, Summative Assessment Hours 12, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 3, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 67 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Preparation 75hrs, Research 30hrs, Writing-up 10hrs, Exam revision 10hrs
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 75 %, Practical Exam 25 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Individual final assessment - Open book exam format (50%): covers Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 3.
Individual Case Study Assignment (25%): covers Learning Outcome 3.
Group Presentation (25%): covers Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 3.
Feedback Detailed feedback on the assessed group presentations (within the prescribed university guidelines) as well as feedback on the individual assessment (within the prescribed university guidelines).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. identify and debate the employment and HR effects of globalisation and subsequent changes in the international business environment;
  2. critically explore research questions around the changing nature of the multinational enterprise and the challenges faced by social partners within and outside these global organisations;
  3. demonstrate skills of comparative analysis of national employment/industrial relations systems.
Reading List
Resource list:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On completion of the course students should:

1. have secured an understanding of comparative employment relations' processes that impact MNCs- performance, including the design and implementation of policies and practices in a range of employment areas such as collective bargaining and pay negotiations, international HRD, and employee voice;
2. have critical awareness of the international transfer of HR policies and practices both effecting and affected by multinationals - considering both external/structural variables as well as internal/micro-political factors;
3. have the ability to locate appropriate academic and practitioner resources on comparative and international employment relations issues;
4. be able to competently communicate and exchange ideas in both large and small group settings;
5. be able to gather, analyse and use information in order to present a balanced argument;
6. be able to plan, organise and prioritise work effectively;
7. have improved their analytical, writing and presentation skills according to accepted disciplinary conventions.
Course organiserDr Sara Chaudhry
Tel: (0131 6)51 5672
Course secretaryMiss Lauren Millson
Tel: (0131 6)51 3013
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