Postgraduate taught 

International Human Resource Management & Development MSc

Understanding Transnational Corporations MGT5352

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

Transnational corporations (TNCs) dominate the world economy and shape societies in myriad ways. This course provides students with a sound basis for understanding these organisations, including their history, their work and management across nations, and their broader societal role and impact.


This course has been scheduled to run across 6 x 3 hour lectures in Semester 2.

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed through one individual assignment, supported by a formative learning process. The individual assignment will comprise a 3,000 word individual essay.

Course Aims

This course aims to help students develop a well-rounded and critical understanding of TNCs as organisations and socio-political actors. The course first focuses on understanding the history and contemporary scale and significance of TNCs. The course then considers influential theories of the TNC, offering different accounts of why TNCs exist, how they manage their people and operations across countries, and how they impact on societies globally.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of TNCs, including their history, their work and management, and their societal impact;

2. Describe, compare/contrast and critically appraise a range of theories and evidence on TNCs, highlighting their contributions and limitations; 

3. Explain how history, national institutions and (geo)politics influence TNC activities;

4. Select, critically evaluate and apply relevant theoretical frameworks to reflect on and explain the work and effects of TNCs;

5. Exercise holistic thinking through explaining how the various course topics to be studied interrelate. 

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.