Postgraduate taught 

International Human Resource Management & Development MSc

Human Resource Management in Context: Understanding Organisations and External Environments MGT5344

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

The managerial and business context within which managers, HR professionals and workers interact is subject to significant environmental turbulence, change and uncertainty. Through drawing on academic debate, the course develops an understanding of the main internal and external environmental contexts of contemporary organisations. It explores how those leading and managing organisations respond to such dynamic environmental contexts. The course provides students with the opportunity to reflect on how organisational decisions and HR choices are shaped by both internal and external forces beyond their immediate control. This course therefore explores the implications of these changing environments on professional practice and provides opportunities for applied learning and continuous professional development.


The course applies a blended learning design with an indicative balance of 50% on campus, 50% online. It is normally timetabled to run intensively over two weeks early in Semester 1.

Excluded Courses



-Problem-centred group recording (30%): create a 6 minute long video in your group.

-Written Individual assessment (70%): 1500 word assignment.

Course Aims

This course aims to enable students to :


1. Develop an academically informed understanding of the nature of contemporary organisations and their principal environments.

2. Become familiar with the managerial and business environments within which HR professionals work.

3. Examine the market and competitive environments of organisations and how organisational leaders and the HR function respond to them.

4. Demonstrate awareness of how organisational and HR strategies are shaped by and developed in response to internal and external environmental factors.

5. Gain insight into how globalisation and international forces, demographic, social and technological trends shape and impact on organisational and HR strategies and HR practices.

6. Build critical understanding of how government policy and legal regulation shape and impact on organisational and HR strategies and HR practices.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. Show a critical awareness of the choices, dilemmas and constraints that managers and HR professionals in different types of organisation face in relation to their internal and external contexts.

2. Summarise, and critically evaluate the key theoretical and empirical debates that explore the effects of internal and external environments on the practice of HRM.

3. Apply key theoretical ideas and debates to a variety of HRM-related contextual issues and global challenges.

4. Identify opportunities for applied learning and continuous professional development in the light of organisational and environmental change.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.