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The coursework will be based on an investigation into a contemporary issue in any subject areas that covered in the module, i.e. in the broad domain of international human resource management or CSR/Ethics/Diversity.

Task Details on Research Based Coursework

The coursework will be based on an investigation into a contemporary issue in any subject areas that covered in the module, i.e. in the broad domain of international human resource management or CSR/Ethics/Diversity. The research topics are likely to fall into, though you are not restricted to, the two broad domains:

  • Specific aspects of International HRM e.g. attraction and selection, rewards, psychological and cultural adjustment, performance management, etc.
  • Specific aspects of diversity, corporate social responsibility, ethics and HRM

Please note: you cannot carry out a study on your own country, so any research must be in another country context.

Selecting a research topic

To give you an idea on choosing a research topic, we have listed below some general topics, along with associated research questions. It is important that you view these as the starting point for research and that in developing the research question and some specific objectives linked to the topic, you will be able to identify a focused and workable research topic.

 

Ethics and social responsibility for multi-national organisations

A research study on this subject could explore the role of HR professionals in influencing, informing, designing, monitoring and promoting social responsibility and ethical behaviour in organisations. Using case study material can you build a case for whether HR has a role of not in CSR?

 

Cross-border mergers and acquisitions

A research study on this subject might explore the role of international HR in managing the process of mergers and acquisitions. How successfully do organisations manage the many HR policy areas that need to be considered when bringing similar industries but possibly different culture together?

Global reward systems

A research study on this subject could explore the nature and variance of reward and compensation systems and policies in a country of your choice. What factors do HR reward specialists need to consider in designing a reward policy which has to operate across a multi-national corporation?

Recruitment & Selection  of international managers

A research study on this subject could focus on the recruitment of international managers and the role of HR and line managers in the design of the process. Here choosing a specific sector e.g. banking or insurance would help in critically analysing the effectiveness of the range of recruitment policies and processes. You might prefer to explore the selection process using the same criteria or combine them into one study.

The use of expatriate staff

A research study on this subject could explore how HR professional resource staff to work on international assignment. What issues and challenges do those working abroad face in terms of adjustment to new country cultures and how can HR prepare them for this experience. Grounding you study in good case studies will help apply the research.

The exploitation of child labour

A research study on this subject could study the role of HR in designing, implement and monitoring policies that ensure sub-contractors so not contravene the employment law requirement of the country of study.  It could alternatively research the economic, political and social factors that give rise to workplace child exploitation and explore possible strategy to resolve such exploitation. Whichever approach you choose make sure your research uses examples of organisations who act ethically and those who make statements on ethical working but allow such exploitation to continue.

Discrimination against ethnic minorities

A research study on this subject could explore the diversity literature and consider the business case versus the social justice case for diversity. To what extent does discrimination take place in terms of the employment of those from ethnic backgrounds and how HR does act to ensure that all employees are treated fairly e.g. organisational justice. Is there a case for affirmative action, can you manage diversity and should you?

Cross-cultural management & HRM

A research study on this subject could explore the issues of national and organisational culture and the complexities of managing a diverse workforce. How does HR drawing on the research in the field help in designing management development programme to raise awareness of cross-cultural issues.  What are the factors and issues that those working on international assignment need to be aware of and how can HR help in supporting managers? Look for case studies that exemplify the management behaviours in a multi-national environment.

Women as international managers

A research study on this subject can explore the issues that may prevent women reaching director and senior management level. Does what is called the` glass ceiling` exist and if so how can HR influence and support more women in to management roles.  Is this an area for affirmative action or should promotion be based on merit not gender?

Here are some examples of research questions which have been set by past students:

  1. Women as international managers: opportunities and challenges they face in today’s globalized world with special reference to the United States
  2. How does the national culture impact on reward practices in Japan?
  3. Critically evaluate the business case for an increasing trend in workforce diversity in Australia.

Coursework could adopt the following outline

Please note that this is analytical research piece based on secondary data. It does not require you to conduct a primary research.

RATIONALE

You should say why the topic you have chosen is important to you and why you feel it is important to research this area of International HRM or diversity. You should carry out an initial search of the literature to make sure that there is sufficient research available to enable you to complete the assignment.

RESEARCH QUESTION

Please include the title of the research here which should be in the form of a question.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

These should break down the research questions into a number of objectives. (No more than ¾ objectives. These should be worded in academic language, so terms such as;

  • Critically analyse ….
  • Explore and evaluate …
  • Investigate …
  • An evaluation of …

LITERATURE REVIEW

This is the main part of the coursework where you start to present the research literature that you feel will inform the main research study.

Here you discuss and analyse the range of research papers, text books, case studies and other research materials that you think you will use to help answer the question.

This coursework should follow the normal academic requirement for referencing (APA Referencing Style) and you can include a separate page which lists all the references used in the proposal.

CONCLUSIONS

Here you should summarise the key arguments and findings as a result of your mini research.


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