Two students talking on the stairs

MSc Human Resource Management

Essential preparation for managing human resources in the knowledge economy

About The Course

This programme, which is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), offers in-depth analyses of Human Resource Management, the centrality of knowledge to organising, and the role of change in contemporary organisations. You will learn about the importance of the human resource in organising, and the conditions for fostering the development of knowledge and the enabling of change, and you will hone the capabilities and skills necessary to manage people and knowledge effectively.

This is not a programme that will teach you simplistic ‘models’ or techniques, but one that will help you develop the sophisticated conceptual and analytical skills that employers are looking for. Such skills, in understanding people in an organisation context, are crucial attributes of effective professional managers today.

Our staff research and publish at the very highest level, and you will be taught by distinguished academics who are acknowledged leaders in their field. The programme is driven by the values of the Department, and aims to foster critical and reflective thinking, pragmatism and a student-centred, supportive environment.

 

Key Facts


12-month course, starts in October

30-35

Average class size


Designed for graduates from various disciplines or HR practitioners seeking a deeper understanding of HRM.


Interactive learning design helps you develop transferable skills.


Group activities and study visits connect your learning to industry.

CIPD logo

Accreditation

Our MSc Human Resource Management is recognised as equivalent to the CIPD Advanced Level Diploma in Human Resource Management. Upon successful completion students can gain Associate (Assoc CIPD) level of professional membership. As a level 7 award this provides a route for future upgrade to Chartered CIPD membership.

Course Content

The degree begins with a week of intensive activities designed to introduce you to the programme and make clear what will be expected of you. Induction will also allow you to find out more about the University and Management School and the facilities available. A series of activities and social events, including two off-site visits to places of interest, will allow you to get to know your fellow students and the staff in the department.

During your first term from October to December, you will study the below modules.

(Please note that the Advanced Study and Professional Skills module listed below is optional. However, it contains material which is compulsory for those wishing to gain CIPD accreditation.)

  • Organisations in the 21st Century: New Forms of Organising in the Contemporary World

    This module introduces contemporary organisations as institutional structures in which management functions. We begin by considering the formal organisation (and the role of management) which was developed through the twentieth century, and which provides the basis for much of our present day understanding of organising.

    The main part of the module deals with the contemporary situation and it is argued that the present time is one of extraordinary change in organisations, which offers a considerable challenge to orthodox organisational theory. The material presented looks at what seems to be happening to organisations large and small, and examines key issues in contemporary organisation including bureaucracy, managerial control, technological change and leadership. The latest range of organisational theories, such as institutional theory, discourse analysis and critical realism will be introduced to frame the understanding of ‘new realities’ in organisation.

  • Human Resource Management I: Contexts, Controversies and Critiques

    This module introduces the major debates and perspectives on Human Resource Management. It critically examines controversies about the nature of HRM, placing it in context to understand how it developed and what it constitutes in contemporary ‘globalised’ organisations. The module examines those issues that are seen as central to the practice of HRM, such as recruitment and selection, performance management, and remuneration strategies. Karen and Kay will draw on their own research to provide an insight into the HRM process, explored in a way that critiques its taken for granted ‘normality’, and unpacks the assumptions underlying this central organisational function.

  • The Production of Managerial Knowledge I: The rise of management ideas and concepts

    How has management emerged as crucial form of organising work throughout the 20th Century and why is it so important? Where do management ideas come from and why do we see management in the specific ways we do? What counts as management knowledge? This module asks these questions and shows in detail how knowledge about people, work and organisations is produced, how it relies upon certain assumptions and how these assumptions have changed over time.

    The aims of this module are to examine the influence of scientific ideologies in the domain of management and organisation studies and to explore the cultural authority of science. On the one hand, we shall examine the ‘downstream’ impacts of scientific knowledge. On the other, we focus upon the ‘upstream’ conditions associated with the production of scientific knowledge. Recently, radically different concepts of the nature of science have been developed, which entails careful consideration of the process involved in the achievement of scientific knowledge. The module introduces important contemporary modes of thought on organising, including the rise of evidence-based management, complexity theory and actor network theory.

  • Advanced Study and Professional Skills

    This module is designed to provide you with the resources you need to develop your postgraduate study skills and to have a positive impact on your levels of attainment on the programme. The module is not credit-bearing and is not formally assessed, but remains an important part of the programme that helps you develop and provides an opportunity to reflect upon your skills and strengths.

    The module is delivered through a blended study strategy and is based on a series of classroom-based sessions, independent learning tasks and an interactive, online learning environment. You will have access to many resources and will engage in arrange of activities to improve your academic skills and team-working abilities further. We will cover critical reading, essay and report writing, and exam preparation, as well as provide opportunities to develop cohesive learning groups. During the Michaelmas term you will build a portfolio of material that demonstrates your capabilities and will help you complete your formal assessments on other modules.

  • Employment Relations

    The aim of the module is to develop the students' knowledge of the employment context and employment relations in contemporary economies. This will include developing their understanding of the employment market and the inter-relationship between industry context and employment practices. The knowledge and understanding of a range of dimensions of employment, such as contractual relations, remuneration and reward schemes, and diversity, within the context of a changing terrain, will be enhanced (see curriculum design content).

The second part of the course runs from January to March, and includes the below modules:

  • Knowledge and Global Organisations

    Whilst 'knowledge' and its 'management' might be of concern for all organisations, global organisations arguably experience the need for and challenge of ‘managing’ knowledge most acutely. At its most fundamental, this relates to one of the core rationales for being a global organisation: to learn, and leverage the benefits of learning, in multiple different contexts. More subtly, this also relates to how global organisations are themselves communities in which relational ties can facilitate the emergence of spaces of collaboration, creativity and innovation. This module examines these issues in a critical and analytical fashion.

    With ‘being global’ now taken for granted in many organisations, and the largest organisations in the world such as GE and Wal-Mart having revenues greater than the GDP of many countries, it is crucial to understand why and how knowledge and learning are ‘managed’ in such contexts. The module begins by examining how the globalisation strategies of manufacturing organisations are built around knowledge-based rationales and mechanisms, before proceeding to examine the case of global service organisations, with particular attention paid to the way these organisations use their knowledge and power to shape the structures of the global economy.

  • The Management of Organisational Change: Challenges and Debates

    What is meant by ‘change’? How can organisational change be analysed? This module to provides students with a broad theoretical and practical understanding of some key concepts and issues in managing organisational changes.

    The contemporary world is characterised by a range of social, political, economic, technological, ecological and organisational changes that challenge accepted understandings and practices. This module introduces contributions from the social sciences that are useful in thinking about change. The focus is upon the development of an account of change that steers between reformist tinkering and revolutionary upheaval.

    As managers and others seek to engage with change it is important that taken for granted assumptions and simplistic solutions about organisational life are both articulated and rethought. Prevailing assumptions in the managerial literature are compared to contrasting approaches within organisation studies. The contention of the module is that the emerging socio-technical-politico-economic context necessitates a reflexive appreciation of the complexities and uncertainties of change and intervention.

  • Human Resource Management II: The rise and growth of HRM

    HRM II builds upon the foundations of HRM I. We will continue to examine examples of some of the most important current HRM practices. This module aims to build a wide-ranging cultural image of HRM practices today. We will show that the essence of HRM is to govern one of the central questions of all our lives: who are we when we work today? How does HRM seek to take control over this fundamental question?

    We will explore areas such as employability, performativity and self-realisation. We will look at the complex apparatus of recruitment today, from job advertisements, CVs, to power words and images of ideal human subjects. We will see how performance control and appraisal systems make their cultural contribution to contemporary management in tight connection with work motivation and the idea of self-actualisation. We will also consider how human resources have become the strategic assets of contemporary organisations in the knowledge economy and try to understand what is implied in central trends in contemporary work, including talent management, employee wellness and happiness at work, ‘play@work’ and workplace architectures in 21st-century organisations.

  • The Production of Managerial Knowledge II: Analysing management in practice

    We live in a complex world in which the actions of individuals, groups, organisations and governments are justified or informed by knowledge claims that frequently have their roots in research. Accordingly, this is a module with practical goals as well as academic content. The main purposes are twofold: first, to introduce some of the basic ideas of research methodology and the standard techniques of research relevant to the study of organisational settings; and second, to reach an understanding of research as a process of social communication, one in which knowledge is produced for specific purposes and for the benefit of identifiable audiences.

    The module is also a key stage in your preparation for the research project you will undertake for your dissertation.

  • Advanced Study and Professional Skills

    This module is designed to provide you with the resources you need to develop your postgraduate study skills and to have a positive impact on your levels of attainment on the programme. The module is not credit-bearing and is not formally assessed, but remains an important part of the programme that helps you develop and provides an opportunity to reflect upon your skills and strengths.

    The module is delivered through a blended study strategy and is based on a series of classroom-based sessions, independent learning tasks and an interactive, online learning environment. You will have access to many resources and will engage in arrange of activities to improve your academic skills and team-working abilities further. We will cover critical reading, essay and report writing, and exam preparation, as well as provide opportunities to develop cohesive learning groups. During the Michaelmas term you will build a portfolio of material that demonstrates your capabilities and will help you complete your formal assessments on other modules.

From May to September you will work on your dissertation with support from your supervisor. You will submit it at the start of September, at the end of your Masters programme. 

  • The Production of Managerial Knowledge III: Quantitative Methods in Management Practices

    The purpose of this module is to provide students with key quantitative techniques and their applications within the context of a questionnaire-based survey focusing on an aspect of management research. The main quantitative methods to be covered are: descriptive data analysis, statistical relationships (correlation and regression analysis), hypothesis testing, data reduction analysis (factor analysis) and data classification analysis (discriminant analysis).

    The module will be taught via a mixture of lectures, computer workshops and a survey exercise including design, data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of results. Examples will be drawn from several research areas across the various departments in the Management School. The computing laboratory sessions are aimed at introducing students to computer-aided data analysis using the relevant statistical packages.

  • Dissertation

    The dissertation represents the culmination of the year's work and students work exclusively on the project between June and September. It allows a student to focus on a specific area of interest and undertake a sustained period of study on that theme. Often, students choose themes that link directly to their career ambitions, which can subsequently be used to showcase their interests and abilities to prospective employers. For most students this period of independent study is an opportunity to hone their research skills and enhance their intellectual powers.

    The standard form of the dissertation is an organisational research project in which a student undertakes a case study of a particular organisation, which will involve engaging in live fieldwork. However, this is by no means the only form for the dissertation project, and research projects using a range of different procedures are allowable, including a library-based project.

    Students are invited to begin consideration of their dissertation as early as possible and a series of workshops through the year provide support on developing and refining ideas into a coherent proposal. The dissertation work is then supported by an academic supervisor based in the Department and assigned according to area of research interest.

  • Term 1

    The degree begins with a week of intensive activities designed to introduce you to the programme and make clear what will be expected of you. Induction will also allow you to find out more about the University and Management School and the facilities available. A series of activities and social events, including two off-site visits to places of interest, will allow you to get to know your fellow students and the staff in the department.

    During your first term from October to December, you will study the below modules.

    (Please note that the Advanced Study and Professional Skills module listed below is optional. However, it contains material which is compulsory for those wishing to gain CIPD accreditation.)

    • Organisations in the 21st Century: New Forms of Organising in the Contemporary World

      This module introduces contemporary organisations as institutional structures in which management functions. We begin by considering the formal organisation (and the role of management) which was developed through the twentieth century, and which provides the basis for much of our present day understanding of organising.

      The main part of the module deals with the contemporary situation and it is argued that the present time is one of extraordinary change in organisations, which offers a considerable challenge to orthodox organisational theory. The material presented looks at what seems to be happening to organisations large and small, and examines key issues in contemporary organisation including bureaucracy, managerial control, technological change and leadership. The latest range of organisational theories, such as institutional theory, discourse analysis and critical realism will be introduced to frame the understanding of ‘new realities’ in organisation.

    • Human Resource Management I: Contexts, Controversies and Critiques

      This module introduces the major debates and perspectives on Human Resource Management. It critically examines controversies about the nature of HRM, placing it in context to understand how it developed and what it constitutes in contemporary ‘globalised’ organisations. The module examines those issues that are seen as central to the practice of HRM, such as recruitment and selection, performance management, and remuneration strategies. Karen and Kay will draw on their own research to provide an insight into the HRM process, explored in a way that critiques its taken for granted ‘normality’, and unpacks the assumptions underlying this central organisational function.

    • The Production of Managerial Knowledge I: The rise of management ideas and concepts

      How has management emerged as crucial form of organising work throughout the 20th Century and why is it so important? Where do management ideas come from and why do we see management in the specific ways we do? What counts as management knowledge? This module asks these questions and shows in detail how knowledge about people, work and organisations is produced, how it relies upon certain assumptions and how these assumptions have changed over time.

      The aims of this module are to examine the influence of scientific ideologies in the domain of management and organisation studies and to explore the cultural authority of science. On the one hand, we shall examine the ‘downstream’ impacts of scientific knowledge. On the other, we focus upon the ‘upstream’ conditions associated with the production of scientific knowledge. Recently, radically different concepts of the nature of science have been developed, which entails careful consideration of the process involved in the achievement of scientific knowledge. The module introduces important contemporary modes of thought on organising, including the rise of evidence-based management, complexity theory and actor network theory.

    • Advanced Study and Professional Skills

      This module is designed to provide you with the resources you need to develop your postgraduate study skills and to have a positive impact on your levels of attainment on the programme. The module is not credit-bearing and is not formally assessed, but remains an important part of the programme that helps you develop and provides an opportunity to reflect upon your skills and strengths.

      The module is delivered through a blended study strategy and is based on a series of classroom-based sessions, independent learning tasks and an interactive, online learning environment. You will have access to many resources and will engage in arrange of activities to improve your academic skills and team-working abilities further. We will cover critical reading, essay and report writing, and exam preparation, as well as provide opportunities to develop cohesive learning groups. During the Michaelmas term you will build a portfolio of material that demonstrates your capabilities and will help you complete your formal assessments on other modules.

    • Employment Relations

      The aim of the module is to develop the students' knowledge of the employment context and employment relations in contemporary economies. This will include developing their understanding of the employment market and the inter-relationship between industry context and employment practices. The knowledge and understanding of a range of dimensions of employment, such as contractual relations, remuneration and reward schemes, and diversity, within the context of a changing terrain, will be enhanced (see curriculum design content).

  • Term 2

    The second part of the course runs from January to March, and includes the below modules:

    • Knowledge and Global Organisations

      Whilst 'knowledge' and its 'management' might be of concern for all organisations, global organisations arguably experience the need for and challenge of ‘managing’ knowledge most acutely. At its most fundamental, this relates to one of the core rationales for being a global organisation: to learn, and leverage the benefits of learning, in multiple different contexts. More subtly, this also relates to how global organisations are themselves communities in which relational ties can facilitate the emergence of spaces of collaboration, creativity and innovation. This module examines these issues in a critical and analytical fashion.

      With ‘being global’ now taken for granted in many organisations, and the largest organisations in the world such as GE and Wal-Mart having revenues greater than the GDP of many countries, it is crucial to understand why and how knowledge and learning are ‘managed’ in such contexts. The module begins by examining how the globalisation strategies of manufacturing organisations are built around knowledge-based rationales and mechanisms, before proceeding to examine the case of global service organisations, with particular attention paid to the way these organisations use their knowledge and power to shape the structures of the global economy.

    • The Management of Organisational Change: Challenges and Debates

      What is meant by ‘change’? How can organisational change be analysed? This module to provides students with a broad theoretical and practical understanding of some key concepts and issues in managing organisational changes.

      The contemporary world is characterised by a range of social, political, economic, technological, ecological and organisational changes that challenge accepted understandings and practices. This module introduces contributions from the social sciences that are useful in thinking about change. The focus is upon the development of an account of change that steers between reformist tinkering and revolutionary upheaval.

      As managers and others seek to engage with change it is important that taken for granted assumptions and simplistic solutions about organisational life are both articulated and rethought. Prevailing assumptions in the managerial literature are compared to contrasting approaches within organisation studies. The contention of the module is that the emerging socio-technical-politico-economic context necessitates a reflexive appreciation of the complexities and uncertainties of change and intervention.

    • Human Resource Management II: The rise and growth of HRM

      HRM II builds upon the foundations of HRM I. We will continue to examine examples of some of the most important current HRM practices. This module aims to build a wide-ranging cultural image of HRM practices today. We will show that the essence of HRM is to govern one of the central questions of all our lives: who are we when we work today? How does HRM seek to take control over this fundamental question?

      We will explore areas such as employability, performativity and self-realisation. We will look at the complex apparatus of recruitment today, from job advertisements, CVs, to power words and images of ideal human subjects. We will see how performance control and appraisal systems make their cultural contribution to contemporary management in tight connection with work motivation and the idea of self-actualisation. We will also consider how human resources have become the strategic assets of contemporary organisations in the knowledge economy and try to understand what is implied in central trends in contemporary work, including talent management, employee wellness and happiness at work, ‘play@work’ and workplace architectures in 21st-century organisations.

    • The Production of Managerial Knowledge II: Analysing management in practice

      We live in a complex world in which the actions of individuals, groups, organisations and governments are justified or informed by knowledge claims that frequently have their roots in research. Accordingly, this is a module with practical goals as well as academic content. The main purposes are twofold: first, to introduce some of the basic ideas of research methodology and the standard techniques of research relevant to the study of organisational settings; and second, to reach an understanding of research as a process of social communication, one in which knowledge is produced for specific purposes and for the benefit of identifiable audiences.

      The module is also a key stage in your preparation for the research project you will undertake for your dissertation.

    • Advanced Study and Professional Skills

      This module is designed to provide you with the resources you need to develop your postgraduate study skills and to have a positive impact on your levels of attainment on the programme. The module is not credit-bearing and is not formally assessed, but remains an important part of the programme that helps you develop and provides an opportunity to reflect upon your skills and strengths.

      The module is delivered through a blended study strategy and is based on a series of classroom-based sessions, independent learning tasks and an interactive, online learning environment. You will have access to many resources and will engage in arrange of activities to improve your academic skills and team-working abilities further. We will cover critical reading, essay and report writing, and exam preparation, as well as provide opportunities to develop cohesive learning groups. During the Michaelmas term you will build a portfolio of material that demonstrates your capabilities and will help you complete your formal assessments on other modules.

  • Term 3

    From May to September you will work on your dissertation with support from your supervisor. You will submit it at the start of September, at the end of your Masters programme. 

    • The Production of Managerial Knowledge III: Quantitative Methods in Management Practices

      The purpose of this module is to provide students with key quantitative techniques and their applications within the context of a questionnaire-based survey focusing on an aspect of management research. The main quantitative methods to be covered are: descriptive data analysis, statistical relationships (correlation and regression analysis), hypothesis testing, data reduction analysis (factor analysis) and data classification analysis (discriminant analysis).

      The module will be taught via a mixture of lectures, computer workshops and a survey exercise including design, data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of results. Examples will be drawn from several research areas across the various departments in the Management School. The computing laboratory sessions are aimed at introducing students to computer-aided data analysis using the relevant statistical packages.

    • Dissertation

      The dissertation represents the culmination of the year's work and students work exclusively on the project between June and September. It allows a student to focus on a specific area of interest and undertake a sustained period of study on that theme. Often, students choose themes that link directly to their career ambitions, which can subsequently be used to showcase their interests and abilities to prospective employers. For most students this period of independent study is an opportunity to hone their research skills and enhance their intellectual powers.

      The standard form of the dissertation is an organisational research project in which a student undertakes a case study of a particular organisation, which will involve engaging in live fieldwork. However, this is by no means the only form for the dissertation project, and research projects using a range of different procedures are allowable, including a library-based project.

      Students are invited to begin consideration of their dissertation as early as possible and a series of workshops through the year provide support on developing and refining ideas into a coherent proposal. The dissertation work is then supported by an academic supervisor based in the Department and assigned according to area of research interest.

Learning Environment

You'll be immersed in an interactive learning environment, with emphasis on developing the transferable skills required to succeed. Through group activities and study visits, you will become part of a cohesive learning community and gain a strong understanding of contemporary issues in organisations as well as the latest techniques to address them. You will also explore an advanced skills module to prepare you for the workplace, and group tasks to reinforce your team-working skills.

Scholarships

Our programme-specific scholarships for 2018 are aimed at high achieving applicants from across the world, and all the details can be found below. We also offer other scholarships - visit our Apply for Masters page to find out more.

ScholarshipAmountEligibilityHow to Apply
Open Scholarship

Up to £6,000

Multiple awards available

Applicants who demonstrate a high-level combination of academic achievement and relevant work experience. Our assessment criteria includes academic achievement, English Language competence, work experience and other relevant experience.

All applications are automatically considered before receiving the offer of a place on the programme. Awards are made based on the personal statement along with the degree transcript (including English language where appropriate) and references.

Awards are made throughout the year until all funds are allocated.

 Home/EU 5 scholarships of £5,000 Based on academic excellence for students studying MSc Human Resource Management or MSc in Politics, Philosophy and Management.

Please indicate as part of your application if you wish to be considered for one of these scholarships. Awards are made throughout the year so please apply early.

If you are not successful in obtaining a Home/EU Scholarship, you will be considered for an Open Scholarship.

Total scholarships and discounts awarded will be capped at the full tuition fee, and no part of this award is redeemable for cash or other services at Lancaster University.

Careers

The Careers Team at LUMS helps you shape your career plans and supports your job-hunting process in a variety of ways, including personalised one-to-one support and interactive workshops on areas such as career strategies, writing CVs and applications, interview skills, psychometric testing, what to expect at assessment centres, and online networking strategies.

Learn more

Student Profiles