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WM912-15 People in Organisations

Taught Postgraduate Level
Module leader
Tejal Fatania
Credit value
Module duration
1 week
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description


Module aims

This module is intended to provide a knowledge and understanding of the importance of strategic management of the people resource in organisations and how this relates to the wider organisational context and business strategy. It is based on the premise that people are the key and most important resource in the organisation and translate other resources into added value. It explores all elements of successful and effective people management practice.
It is a generic module and therefore is applicable across a range of courses. Relevance is achieved through case studies, relevant examples and reading material.
Organisations achieve their objectives through people. The strategic and operational management of people is a crucial concern therefore for any organisation and its leaders and managers who are keen to succeed as more complex business models and organisation structures emerge. Understanding how to gain the motivation and commitment of an organisations most important resource is crucial for modern leaders and managers as they shape and reshape organisations to meet business need.
Management of the employment relationship is fundamental to the achievement of a high performing organisation. Technical and analytical expertise is no longer enough and this module reinforces the message that people management is a strategic issue and of relevance and concern for all levels of leadership in the business.
At a practical level it equips students with knowledge and appreciation of a broad range of core concepts, theories and models as a toolkit of understanding and analysis to aid them in facing the challenge and complexity of leadership in modern rapidly changing organisations. Module delivery is interactive and draws upon the participant’s organisational experience as much as possible.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Strategic Human Resource Management and theoretical models
Organisational behavioural theory on: motivation, personality, teams and groups and
organisational structure and culture.
Exploration of the wider organisational context (organisational strategic intent and competitive
business strategies, changing forms of organisations and wider themes of corporate responsibility
and ethics) as it relates to contemporary people management
The employment relationship, engagement and employer branding as key themes in the creation
of a High Performing Organisation
Human resource practices and their role within a Strategic Human Resource Management approach
Organisational change and transition as part of an SHRM approach to business effectiveness
Leadership theory and action both related to self and others

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Recognise and define the key characteristics of a Strategic Human Resource Managment approach and analyse and evaluate organisational approaches in a range of contexts.
  • Evaluate , explore and define the contribution of strategic people management to organisational success.
  • Apply a range of organisational and behavioural theories within a strategic organisational context and critically evaluate the contribution of these approaches to creating a High Performing Organisation
  • Critically evaluate a range of leadership approaches including their own and its contribution to the creation and management of a positive employment relationship.
Indicative reading list

Core Module Texts::
Boxall, P. and Purcell, J. (2016) 4th ed.
Strategy and Human Resource Management
ISBN 9- 781137- 407634
Buchanan, D. and Huczynski, A. (2017) Organizational Behaviour: An Introductory Text
Prentice Hall
ISBN 0-273-72859-8 Mullins, J. (2016) 11th ed Management and Organisational Behaviour Prentice Hall ISBN 978-1-292-08848-8
Torrington, D., Hall, L., Taylor, S., and Atkinson, C. (2014) 9th ed. Human Resource Management Pearson ISBN 978-0-273-78663-4

Additional Reading:
Kew, J. and Stredwick, J. (2008) 2nd ed. Business Environment: Managing in a Strategic Context C.I.P.D ISBN 978-1-84398-204-3
Hamel, G. (2007) The Future of Management Harvard Business Press ISBN 1-4221-0250-5
Holbeche, L. (2004) Aligning Human Resources and Business Strategy Elsevier/Butterworth Heinmann ISBN 0-7506-5362-0
Torrington, D., Hall, L., Taylor, S., and Atkinson, C. (2014) 9th ed. Human Resource Management Pearson ISBN 978-0-273-78663-4
Pfeffer, J. and Sutton, R. (2006) Hard Facts Dangerous Half Truths and Total Nonsense Harvard Business School Press ISBN 1-59139-862-2
Nicholas Ind (2001) Living the Brand Kogan Page ISBN 0-7494-3351-5
John Child (2005) Organization: Contemporary Principles and Practice Blackwell ISBN -14051-1658-7 Chris Grey (2005) Studying Organisations Sage ISBN 978-1-4129-0191-8
J L Heskett, W Earl Sasser, Leonard A Schlesinger (1997) The Service Profit Chain Free Press ISBN 0-684-83256-9 Jody Hoffer Gittell (2005) The Southwest Airlines Way McGraw Hill ISBN 0-07-145827
Arnold J and Randall R et al (2010) 5th ed Work Psychology: Understanding Human Behaviour in the Workplace Pearson/FT ISBN 978-0-273-71121-6
Sparrow P and Cooper C L (2003) The Employment Relationship: Key Challenges for HR Butterworth Heinmann ISBN 0750649610
Holbeche L (2005) The High Performing Organisation Elsevier/Butterworth Heinmann ISBN0750656204
Marchington M and Wilkinson A (2004) 3rd ed Human Resource Management at Work CIPD ISBN 1843980622 Thompson P and McHugh D (2002) 3rd ed Work Organisations: A Critical Introduction Palgrave
Schein E H (1994) 3rd ed Organisational Psychology Prentice Hall
Brewster C., Sparrow P., Vernon G., and Houldsworth E. (2011) 3rd Ed. International Human Resource Management McGraw-Hill Education
For other texts that are relevant to specific areas of Human Resource management practice or areas of Organisational (behavioural) theory, please consult the module leader or module contributors for help. The Moodle site also has many more resources available to the students.

Subject specific skills

Case study analysis and critical identification and evaluation of people management or required interventions in an organisational setting.

Transferable skills

Teamworking, Problem Solving, Critical Analysis; Presentation; Written Communication; Verbal Communication

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 7 sessions of 1 hour 30 minutes (7%)
Seminars (0%)
Practical classes (0%)
Online learning (scheduled sessions) 6 sessions of 2 hours (8%)
Online learning (independent) 7 sessions of 3 hours (14%)
Other activity 4 hours (3%)
Private study 37 hours 30 minutes (25%)
Assessment 65 hours (43%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

37.5 hours self-study for post module work

Other activity description

This is time allowed for one to one supervision and module debriefs post module


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
Critical evaluation of SHRM approach within organisation and of an HR issue relevant to personal practice. 100% 65 hours

Students will be required to examine a relevant situation or practice within their company, undertake an analysis, apply theory and concepts from the background academic literature, compare best practice approaches to addressing issues and challenges, and make recommendations as to the applicability and likely efficacy of such approaches within the company context. This will constitute 100 % of total assessment.

Assessment group R
Weighting Study time
Assessed work as specified by department 100%

100% Assignment

Feedback on assessment

Immediate oral feedback will be provided after case studies / practical workshops, which will be
focussed upon the learning targets of each session. Feedback will also be provided to any
questions which arise from students within the lecture session.

Written feedback of approximately 500 words will be provided for the Post-Module
Assignment within a four week period after the date of submission. This feedback will be focussed
upon the strengths and weaknesses of the work with regard to the module learning objectives
and the post-module assignment marking guidelines. Suggestions for improvement will also be


This module is Core optional for:

  • MSc in Business Leadership

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 1 of TESS-H1P1 Postgraduate Taught Engineering Business Management