ASOA15013U  Human Resource Management

Volume 2017/2018

MA Theory and Themes  (MSc Curriculum 2015)

Course package (MSc Curriculum 2015):
Knowledge, organisation and politics

BA-Undergraduates from foreign countries (exchange students) can sign up for this course.


Since the mid-20th century, the importance of the individual has been increasingly emphasised within sociology. This has also been the case within related and interdisciplinary founded disciplines such as management theories. The appearance of a more knowledge-based production and the subsequent growing need for optimising the management of human resources are important reasons for the strong interest for HRM in today’s working life. During the last decades, the administration and the supervision of employees have become increasingly important in terms of HRM in private as well as public enterprises. It has increasingly been recognised that employees have to be considered not only as labour, but also as ’living people’ who possess a manifold of skills and resources which must be utilised optimally both to the benefit of the enterprise as well as to the benefit of the individual employee.

The concept of HRM has its theoretical and practical roots in the Anglo-Saxon world. Considered in a comparative perspective, however, the implementation of HRM concepts in Denmark are characterised by a certain time lag and the use of HRM strategies are relatively low. Among other things, this is caused by the specific structure of Danish industry, characterised by mainly small and medium size companies, but also due to the relatively low priority of HRM in Danish enterprises until only recently. Furthermore, in the aftermath of the sweeping public sector reform during the last decades, the increasing use of HRM-strategies in public administration plays an important role as regards the implementation of HRM concepts in Denmark.

Main issues within the HRM analysis of enterprises are, for instance, the question of recruitment and access possibilities, qualification levels and transaction costs, job design and promotion rules, career options and engagement, management development and evaluation systems, but also further training and employee participation. Furthermore, comparisons of various cultures are important when it comes to the issue of the so-called international HRM, focusing on how national business systems differ in terms of institutional configurations. This is important for multinational companies in the first place, but it is also relevant when considering whether different national management strategies are characterised by convergence or divergence. Finally, the institutional embeddedness of enterprises is an important issue, for instance, regarding changes in the relationship between the labour market parties due to an increased implementation of HRM concepts at enterprise level.   

Learning Outcome

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course and having completed the essential readings and activities students should be able to demonstrate



a) central theories in the field of HRM



b) analyse enterprises according to a HRM approach,

c) assess changes in the management of the human resources in private as well as public enterprises or voluntary organizations



d) designing further studies in the field of HRM strategies both regarding the enterprise level as well as the comparative perspective,

e) enabling a critical classification of HRM analysis as well as its relation to neighbour disciplines.      

Bratton, John & Gold, Jeff (2012), Human Resource Management. Theory and Practice, 5th ed., Houndmills et al.: Palgrave Macmillan.

An additional e-compendium, various critical perspectives such as postmodernism (e.g. Legge), the new spirit of capitalism (Boltanski & Chiapello), and further perspectives such as NPM (e.g. Bach), diversity management (Due Billing), IHRM (e.g. Communal & Brewster) trade unions (Guest) will be included.

The extent of the course literature will be app. 1400 pages (15 ETCS) / 1600 pages (20 ETCS - gl. studieordning).

Basic knowledge in the field of sociology might be an advantage.
Lectures including discussion. During the course, students will be encouraged to apply the acquired theoretical and methodological approaches on selected cases, e.g. by using some of the planed enterprise visits where meetings with HRM managers or employee representatives will be organized.
Students may expect to receive advice during the course, regarding the making of their individual portfolio assignment.
During the semester, students must hand in three working papers, e.g.
1. The question of investigation within the framework of organizational studies, including methodological and theoretical considerations (app. 3 pages).
2. The analysis and discussion of the question of investigation (app. 9 pages).
3. The conclusion and further perspectives (app. 3 pages).
Subsequently, the students will receive feedback after each working paper with the aim of improving their final individual portfolio assignment for the exam. The students will also be encouraged to present their topics and ideas in group discussions for the other students.
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Type of assessment
Individual or group. A portfolio assignment is defined as a series of short assignments during the course that address one or more set questions and feedback is offered during the course. All of the assignments are submitted together for assessment at the end of the course. The portfolio assignments must be no longer than 20 pages. For group assignments, an extra 10 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Exam registration requirements

Sociology students must be enrolled under MSc Curriculum 2015 to take this exam.

Credit students must be at master level.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Submission dates and time will be available at KUnet, Exchange students and danish full degree guest students please see the homepage of Sociology; and


At re-exam, the form of examination is the same as ordinary exam.
If the form of examination is ”active participation” the re-examination form is always “free written take-home essay”.

Criteria for exam assesment

Please see the learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 150
  • Exercises
  • 20
  • Project work
  • 187
  • Total
  • 413