Postgraduate taught 

International Human Resource Management & Development MSc

Operational and Strategic HRM MGT5350

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course addresses the nature and key elements of both Operational and Strategic HRM. It draws attention to the differences between the two and the importance of the relationship between them, as two sides of the same coin. Main definitions, models, theories and challenges of both are introduced and critically explored. In considering the day to day running of operational HRM the main functions of recruitment and selection, performance management and pay and reward are introduced and debated. In tandem the strategic elements of HRM in assuring that HR policies are working towards achieving organisational goals are critically addressed. Challenges for the delivery of strategic and operational HRM within specific international and sectorial contexts are discussed and debated.


This course has been scheduled to run across the final six weeks of Semester 1. Eight hours of asynchronous lecture content is available on Moodle. Each week, students will have:

■ four hours of live classes (three out of the six weeks these will be two hours of lectures + two hours of tutorials) and

■ one hour of online sessions (for students who cannot attend face-to-face)


These will also be supplemented by 3*2hour practical workshops.

Excluded Courses



Summative assessment will consist of: group presentation (ILOs 1-3, 20% with peer evaluation, 15 min presentation), group report (ILOs 1-3, 30% with peer evaluation, 3000 words) and written exam (ILOs 3-5, 2 hour exam where case study is provided to students the day before).

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

This course aims to enable students to:


1. Develop a critical understanding of HRM and its strategic place in managing organisations in national and international contexts.

2. Apply knowledge of key operational areas of HRM to national and international contexts.

3. Critically evaluate the role of performance management in supporting the strategic objectives of the organisation in different business environments.

4. Focus on and differentiate between both the practical and strategic aspects of recruitment, selection, employee retention and dismissal, in order to acquire the knowledge and skills required for resourcing and talent management within a global context.

5. Acquire knowledge and understanding of environments in which professionals plan, implement and evaluate employee reward policies to support strategic organisational goals.

6. Foster the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of approaches to HRM in a variety of operational settings and contexts.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


1. Differentiate between Strategic and Operational HRM and explain the interrelations between them.

2. Summarise, evaluate and critically apply the key debates surrounding the theory and practice of operational and strategic HRM.

3. Apply insight in addressing the opportunities and challenges associated with utilising strategic HRM in different contexts and for different stakeholders.

4. Plan, design and implement operational HRM functions in line with organisational strategy.

5. Use cultural and contextual understanding and sensitivity in responding to the differences and challenges of implementing operational HR practices in different contexts.

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.