The University of Southampton

MANG6178 Contemporary Issues and debates in Human Resource Management

Module Overview

This module aims to give a broad overview and knowledge of some of the contemporary issues that exist within an HRM context across a global workplace. The module is interactive and includes speakers from industry to keep HRM issues current and relevant to students’ learning.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

to assist you to explore contemporary themes and issues associated with HRM from a critical and multi-dimensional perspective. The unit aims to provide theoretical perspectives that allow for a more critical and analytical review of current practice and thinking in HRM. Contemporary concepts such as postmodernism and critical theory will provide suitable means to critique HRM practices and their underlying theories The course aims to enable you to: • Debate and critically evaluate contemporary themes of HRM, such as diversity management, employability and career-management, CSR and ethical issues and assess how these impact on HR policies and practice of contemporary organisations. • Understand and handle the multiple and often competing perspectives that pertain to the HRM in the context of modern organisations. • Recognise distinctive human resource challenges of diversity management, ethical and responsible management, career management and people management in organisations, which dominate the contemporary issues and debates in HRM.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • a range of theoretical perspectives suitable to analyse and critique “theories in use” and taken for granted assumptions;
  • differences in theoretical perspectives in relation to approaches in HRM in contemporary organisations;
  • principles and main challenges of diversity management, and implications for policy makers and HR specialists;
  • changing notions of career and career development, with an emphasis on boundaryless careers and career self-management;
  • corporate social responsibility (CSR) and HRM implications, including ethical and responsible leadership;
  • global workforce and challenges facing HR practitioners.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • develop and maintain up-to-date knowledge of contemporary themes and issues associated with HRM, with their implications at strategic, policy and operational levels;
  • evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of HR function in terms of diversity management in contemporary work organisations;
  • plan for and organise recruitment, selection, appraisal, training and career development of employees, taking into account the contemporary issues of diversity, career management, and ethical and responsible leadership;
  • manage or professionally influence management of human resources in organisations of different size, scope and ownership structure;
  • operate with appropriate sensitivity and responsiveness in managing global workforce and changing needs of employees in terms of work-life balance and flexible work arrangements.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • work in, and contribute to, more effectively, contemporary organisations in terms awareness of contemporary issues involved in HRM;
  • develop effective HRM policies and practices with appropriate sensitivity and responsiveness to diversity management, pursuit of CSR as a part of the HR function in addition other strategic areas of organisational management;
  • recognise the limitations of contemporary organisations in managing challenges involved in diversity management, ethical and responsible management, global workforce management and how to tackle those limitations;
  • develop in-depth and critical evaluation skills using multiple and competing perspectives in constructing written and oral arguments;
  • develop your personal skills including; resourcefulness in problem solving, academic and report writing, reflective and problem based learning skills, team, knowledge sharing, debating and presentation skills.


• Theoretical approaches for critical thinking – what are organisations? • Diversity management: Are we talking real concern relating to global challenges or just political correctness? • Highly Educated and Employable? The Importance of employability in 21st century organisations. Changing concept of careers and implications to career management. • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and HRM implications: What does it mean to be socially responsible within an increasingly financially driven market economy? • Entrepreneurship – Can anyone be an entrepreneur? The tension between Innovations versus performance driven organisations. • Global workforce: What does it mean to you? The boundaryless world of work; IT, global competition and transferability of skills. • Collaborative Learning workshop – examining your barriers to collaborative learning in diverse cohorts.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: Lectures, case studies, directed reading, small and large group discussion, debating, learning tasks and mini- presentations during lectures, and practitioner involvement. Learning activities include: • Learning tasks and mini-presentations as groups • Case study problem solving activities • Directed reading • Individual journal portfolio • Group work • Collaborative workshops

Independent Study170
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Human Resource Management journal. Journal

Ashleigh, M.J. & Mansi, A (2012). The Psychology of People In Organisations. 

Journal of Management. Journal

The International Journal of Human Resource Management. Journal

Konrad, A. M. (2006). Cases in Gender and Diversity in Organisations. 

Human Relations. Journal

Meyer, E & Ashleigh, M.J. George J.M & Jones, G.R (2007). Contemporary Management (European Edition). 



Tutor and Peer Assessment


MethodPercentage contribution
Collaborative learning task 30%
Extended Essay  (3500 words) 40%
Portfolio  (3000 words) 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 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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