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

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Comparative Industrial Relations

Unit code BMAN71911
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


The Comparative Industrial Relations course unit examines industrial relations within a broad socio-economic context, focusing for the most part on the national cases of France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, and the United States. The analysis of developments within the European Union and the impact of these development on the national cases considered will be assessed, as will the development of the European Union as a source of industrial relations policy. The central theme of the course is the employment relationship, and the objectives and methods of the parties in industrial relations: trade unions, management/employers and governments. The approach is both descriptive and analytical.



BMAN71911 Programme Req: BMAN71911 is only available as a core unit to students on MSc IHRM & CIR and as an elective to students on MSc HRM & IR


The Comparative Industrial Relations course unit introduces students to a range of issues pertinent to different industrial relations systems which operate in a range of countries. It is designed to provide a general background to the subject with particular emphasis on the role of the state, employers and trade unions. It also reviews the development of European forms of regulation and practice.


Learning outcomes

To enable students:

•       To understand the factors that shape different systems of industrial relations; the processes through which they are determined; and the tensions that can arise in employment relations.

•       To appraise the nature, objectives and methods adopted by the social partners in attempting to influence job regulation.

•       To analyse and assess critically present provisions, policies and practices of the various interest groups within industrial relations.

•       To examine and assess critically policies implemented by the European Union and its effects on the national systems of industrial relations.

•       To understand the issues of research methods that arise from the comparative study of industrial relations systems.


Assessment methods

100% coursework: essay of between 3,000 and 4,000 words 

Feedback methods

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

Written and/or verbal comments on assessed or non-assessed coursework.

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


Recommended reading

Students are advised to read extensively from books and journals in order to prepare for seminars and assignments. No single text is recommended as the set course book, but the following books are the most useful:

Frege, C. and Kelly, J. 2013. Comparative Employment Relations. London: Routledge.

Bamber, G., Lansbury, R., Wailes, N. and Wright, C. (2016) International and Comparative Employment Relations: National Regulation, Global Changes. London: Sage.

Ferner, A. and Hyman, R. 1998. (eds.). (2nd Edition). Changing Industrial Relations in Europe. Oxford: Blackwell.

Marginson, P. and Sisson, K. 2004. European Integration and Industrial Relations. Houndmills: MacMillan.

Van Ruysseveldt, J. and Visser, J.1996.(eds.). Industrial Relations in Europe. London: Sage


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 125

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stefania Marino Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Informal Contact Method

Office hours

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