MSc International Human Resource Management and Comparative Industrial Relations / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Course unit details:
Multinationals and Comparative Employment Systems

Unit code BMAN70051
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit seeks to explain the growing role of multinational companies (MNCs) and the changing character of the international division of labour, in the context of a growing internationalization of business and trade and persistent differences in the employment systems of different countries. The course unit assesses the changing international business context. It considers the different dimensions of globalisation and introduces the student to features of ‘national employment systems’, focusing on systems of corporate governance and welfare, training and labour market regulation (wage-setting and employment protection). It explores how these employment systems interact with the variety of structures and strategies of MNCs, drawing on both international business and international HRM literature. A key feature of MNC HR practices is the degree of adaptation between home and host countries, with further variations across industry sectors. The course concludes with a consideration of the processes of offshoring and institutions governing pan-national labour standards. These issues are explored through careful readings of survey and case study results.


BMAN70051 Programme Req: BMAN70051 is only available as a core unit to students on MSc HRM & IR and MSc IHRM & CIR and as an elective to students on MA Political Economy


This course unit has the objectives of enabling students to understand and explain:

  • the implications of the growing internationalization of business and trade for the employment policies of companies;
  • the character of persistent difference in national employment systems among advanced capitalist countries;
  • how differences in employment institutions in different countries shape and constrain employment policies of multinational companies;
  • the various ways multinational companies manage labour to meet complex cross-national operations in the production and delivery of goods and services
  • the challenges to national employment systems posed by the increasing presence of multinational companies and the case for new forms of (pan-)national employment regulation and control..

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course unit students will be able to:

  • identify changes in the key characteristics of the international business environment;
  • explore research questions around the changing nature of the multinational company and its influence on national employment systems;
  • demonstrate skills of comparative analysis of national employment systems.

Assessment methods

2 hour examination (100%)

Feedback methods

Informal advice and discussion during a lecture, seminar, workshop or lab.

Written and/or verbal comments after students have given a group or individual presentation.

Generic feedback posted on Blackboard regarding overall examination performance.


Recommended reading

Ruibery, J. and Grimshaw, D. 2003. The Organisation of Employment: an International Perspective, London: Palgrave.

Edwards, T. & Rees, C. (eds.) (2017) International HRM: Globalization, National Systems and Multinational Companies (3rd Edition), Harlow: Pearson Education.

Harzing, A.-W. & Pinnington, A.H. (eds.) (2014) International Human Resource Management (4th Edition), London: Sage.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 123

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Arjan Keizer Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Informal contact methods

Office hours: to be announced at the start of the semester


Return to course details