Cranfield School of Management | Module summary

Cranfield School of Management

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Year 1 – core modules & project

Strategic International HR Management

There has been significant new thinking around the strategic aspects of the international HR function and its role in adding competitive advantage to the organisation. This module will help you to appreciate how these developments have affected your function and your ability to deliver the necessary inputs to the running of the organisation. We will explore the key methods for adding value to your organisation and examine the design of agile structures and strategies.

Organisational Behaviour in an International Context

The behaviour of organisations, and the people within them, naturally differs. It is necessary for you as a successful international HR practitioner to understand those differences and accommodate them accordingly. This module looks at organisational behaviour concepts from an intercultural perspective and gives you an understanding of how different behaviour and personalities affect employee motivation, leadership styles and communication processes. We will also take you through the success criteria for the composition and management of international, cross-cultural teams.

Research Methodology

In order to fully prepare you for undertaking your thesis, and conducting research in your career following completion of your MSc, you will need to combine an understanding of contemporary management issues with theoretical and practical knowledge of appropriate methodologies for conducting research at this level.

Through an introduction to the basic principles of management research and an analysis of the various techniques involved in research design, you will be equipped to plan and manage complex research projects to the necessary requirement.

We will give you guidance on a number of broad topics, such as:

  • principles of research
  • the research process
  • problem formulation
  • data collection
  • data analysis
  • report writing
On completion you will understand the nature of management research and the breadth of approaches appropriate to this field of study. Your research skills will be developed to a level where you can create rigorous research designs, evaluate different methods of conducting research and use qualitative and quantitative tools and techniques in an international context.

Dimensions of Cross-Cultural Understanding

The issues of leadership, team working, negotiation and communication take on a new dimension when you are managing across borders and cultures. Through an experimental working of key cultural framework models we will explore the practical processes for effective intercultural leadership and team working as well as cross-cultural negotiation and communication.

You will learn to understand the limitations of your own inter-cultural knowledge and skills - and the means to address them. This will help you manage the unique people-related problems that occur in an international environment. You will learn to operate with appropriate sensitivity and responsiveness in cross-cultural situations, assert viewpoints in a culturally sensitive way and exert influence and persuasion in situations where communication is difficult.

Global Business Environment

Globalisation brings new opportunities and threats to both organisations and individuals. Competing successfully now, and in the global economy of the future, is the challenge facing modern businesses. An understanding of how factors such as capital markets, trade relationships and globalisation impact the strategies of businesses operating across borders is essential to the modern HR practitioner.

This module will build your awareness of factors that drive change in a global economy, impacting both national economies and corporate bodies. You will need to understand these forces, and use your global macroeconomic knowledge to devise effective international resourcing policies.

International Employee Relations

HR management differs between continents, countries and even regions within countries. You need to be fully aware of these differences in areas such as labour markets, education systems, employment laws and trade unions and how they interact with national cultural expectations to create distinctive employment systems.

We will explore the factors behind these differences to help you to critically evaluate the implications of the contextual versus the universalist paradigm for current international HR management practice. You will study workplace organisation and employment relations processes in the EU, the USA, Japan and South East Asia and will learn to assess how changes in employee management and development in one country might impact on operations in others. Your ability to organise people to meet local, national and international HR needs will also be further developed.

In-Company Group Project

The group project gives you the opportunity to use your skills and team working ability to research, report and present on an HR issue or problem in a real organisation. The project is divided into two parts:

  • a group presentation of research findings to the other students and faculty members
  • a written group report of the research process and results
This will enable you to apply analytical techniques in a practical context, use HR tools to draw inferences from your analysis, develop critical appraisal ability and sharpen your presentation skills.

Year 2 – core modules & thesis

Marketing Concepts for the International HR Function

Marketing concepts are increasingly being used in an international HR context and this module will give you a broad understanding and analysis of where and when they should be applied. You will be introduced to the concepts of:

  • organisational image from a global perspective
  • employer branding
  • employee value propositions
  • internal marketing of the global HR function
You will be able to identify the internal and external factors that affect organisational image from an international viewpoint and devise an effective employer branding strategy. You will understand the key factors behind the development of a global marketing strategy for the HR function and be able to create employee value propositions that are tailored to the needs of a diverse workforce.

International Compensation and Benefits

Determining award structures across national borders and creating the right reward systems to enhance global mobility are key success factors for you as an international HR practitioner. Two areas of reward are analysed in this module - strategic reward management within international organisations and trends in compensation and benefits for international assignees.

This detailed analysis will enable you to understand and explain factors that influence national reward systems as well as determining which reward systems should remain local and which should be standardised across countries. You will be able to assess the pros and cons of creating global financial involvement schemes and understand the key components of local, trans-national and expatriate payment and benefit schemes.

Accounting and Finance for International HR Practitioners

Organisations need international HR professionals to possess a solid grounding in the principles of other basic management skills. This module will provide you with the means to understand and interpret your organisation's international financial strategy. Important financial aspects are covered such as international accounting standards, financial ratio analysis, measuring profit or loss across countries and cash flow forecasts.

You will be able to recognise the effect of decisions, transactions and events on the financial performance of your organisation and interpret published financial statements intelligently. Your international HR decisions will be made easier through the use of management accounting information and you will be able to recognise the limitations of using that information.

International HR Management Practice

The challenge for an international HR manager is having to implement practices that meet the demand for global integration while maintaining the necessary local flexibility. Your resourcing, rewarding and development strategies have to be adapted when working in a cross-border environment. This module will guide you through appropriate designs for international career, management training and recruitment. You will also understand the essential components of employee development, reward management, performance management and communication in an international context as well as being able to develop a strategic approach to managing the expatriate cycle.

Consulting and Influencing Skills

Developing your effectiveness in consulting and influencing requires you understand your own competencies as well as your relationship skills with other team members.

You will become a more effective international consultant through personal reflection on your own abilities and through developing an understanding of the relevant tools and techniques that aid successful consulting in a multi-cultural environment. You will be aware of the different consultancy mindsets within an international context and be informed in the specific styles and forms of consultancy relevant to the international HR strategist.

Specialist Regional Human Resources Topics

HR policy has evolved in distinctly different ways in different regions of the world. It naturally falls upon international HR managers to understand those variances in order to devise an effective HR strategy. Through a study of the business environment and related socioeconomic factors in areas such as Europe, North America, Japan, South East Asia, Africa and South America you can put those differences into context from a broad international perspective. The regional strategies of multinational organisations and how they differ from local strategies are also covered.

This will help you to formulate international HR strategies for an organisation operating within specific regions, and be able to provide up-to date comment on how regional factors will impact upon the worldwide business operation.

You will also develop a full understanding of regional employment law, employee relations and other specific HR systems.


The thesis project provides you with an opportunity to further investigate an area of particular interest to you and your organisation, and to develop an international HR specialist's capacity to carry out research combining organisational and academic perspectives.

In the Research Methodology module you will have covered a number of important topics which will fully prepare you for undertaking complex research projects.

This is your chance to apply skills acquired throughout the programme to your own area of interest or specific problems or issues associated with your own situation.

You will work closely with your thesis supervisor, who will provide expert guidance, advice and insights into leading-edge thinking in your subject area. They will offer unrivalled support throughout the entire project, from the planning stage through to delivery - both whilst you are here and when you return to work.

Cranfield Masters in International Human Resource Management - contact us
Cranfield Masters in International Human Resource Management - fees iTunes

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