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The University of Southampton

MANG6154 Strategic Human Resources Management

Module Overview

This module covers the area of strategic human resource management, offering a comprehensive cover of the advances in the HRM field for PG students.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module aims to highlight the complex interactions of human resource management and strategy. On one hand, the course underscores how the management of people is strategic or crucial to success. Thus the module highlights the complex human issues which invariably affect the formation and execution of strategy. On the HRM side, the course examines how HR strategies are not ends in themselves and thus need to be integrated with other management functions and with the overall sense of direction (or strategy) of the firm. The module examines these issues with an analytical view of recent developments in the field of human resource management. It sets changes in human resource practices against the background of business strategy and objectives, and links human resource practices to business performance and outcomes. In light of the above the module aims to enable students to: • critically evaluate contemporary strategic human resource management (SHRM) frameworks and concepts; • understand aspects of continuity and change in the field of human resource management and in relation to strategic human resource management specifically; • critically examine the main arguments of best fit versus best practice approaches to strategic human management; • consider the affinities of human resource management and the resource based view of the firm; • identify relevant metrics in strategic human resource management and how to put HR policies into action; • evaluate and understand how HR strategies can affect business performance. • gain confidence in translating findings of scholarly publications for practitioners

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the main differentiating features and characteristics of the strategic human resource management paradigm;
  • aspects of continuity and change embedded in the strategic human resource management paradigm;
  • the complex relationships between business strategy and human resource management;
  • the contribution that strategic human resource management can make to promoting and achieving the organisation’s strategic intent;
  • different ways in which HRM can be strategically pursued within organisations and its links with organisational performance.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify and evaluate key HR issues which critically impact on organisational performance and strategic direction;
  • interpret and integrate human resources management into the strategic thinking, direction setting, planning and operation of the organisation;
  • identify relevant metrics in strategic human resource management;
  • demonstrate the interventions needed to generate commitment among key Stakeholders and business partners for a strategic HR agenda;
  • make sense of and critique scholarly publications on HRM.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • recognise the strengths and limitations of contemporary organisations in relation to specific paradigms (e.g. strategic human resource management);
  • develop in-depth and critical evaluation skills using multiple and competing perspectives in written arguments;
  • develop effective policies, with regard to e.g. strategic human resource management, with appropriate sensitivity and responsiveness to the current role assumed by the HR function and future aspirations;
  • evaluate the significance of empirical evidence in understanding e.g. strategic human resource management issues;
  • contribute effectively to contemporary organizations in terms e.g. of awareness of the complexity and importance of strategic human resource management.


• Human Resource Management: What and Why? (Chapter 1) • Strategy and Strategic Management (Chapter 2) • Strategic HRM: ‘Best Fit’ or ‘Best Practice’? (Chapter 3) • Strategic HRM and Sustained Competitive Advantage (Chapter 4) • Building a Workforce: the Challenge of Interest Alignment (Chapter 5) • Management Power, Employee Voice and Social Legitimacy (Chapter 6) • Workforce Performance and the ‘Black Box’ of HRM (Chapter 7) • Chapter 8: HR Strategy in Manufacturing (Chapter 8) • HR Strategy in Services (Chapter 9) • HR Strategy in Multidivisional Firms (Chapter 10) • Chapter 11: HR Strategy in Multinational Firms (Chapter 11) • Final Thoughts: Main Themes and Next Steps (Chapter 12)

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Case studies • Directed reading • Small and large group discussions • Organizational Storytelling • Interactive Group Activities Learning activities include: • Case study problem solving • Directed reading • Action learning set discussions • Critical reflection

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Boxall, P. and Purcell, J (2015). Strategy and Human Resource Management. 

Human Resource Management Journal (UK and US). 

Module Resources. Publications and case studies from Major HRM Professional Associations including CIPD and SHRM Fictional and non-fictional stories and movies that focus on realities of the world of work.

The International Journal of Human Resource Management. 

Human Resource Management Review. 



Class discussions


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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