HR9784 - Comparative Employment Relations

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn about the growing interest in and expectations of the role that comparative employment relations (in countries such as UK, Germany, France, Italy, USA, Japan, China and Australia), as well as UK employment law can play in Human Resource (HR) Management in organisations. You will also consider the continued significance of the European Union and how much Brexit has changed that. You will understand employment relations in developing countries, about the importance of employment relations movements in developing countries, and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and alternative forms of workers organising together (– as many multinational corporations now operate in developing countries). You will understand how the principles of comparative employment relations can be applied to HR Management to increase knowledge and enhance strategic decision making in areas such as workforce planning, performance management, and retention.

How will I learn on this module?

After developing an appropriate, brief, theoretical grounding in commonly used comparative employment relations and tools you will focus on gaining an appreciation of how they can be applied. By working with relevant theories and case studies you will develop the skills to allow you to contribute effectively as an HR manager. You will therefore learn in a very practical way in this module, with the main focus being on seminars which will allow you to ‘learn by doing’. As a master’s student, you will also be encouraged to research current comparative employment relations and how this affects independent organisations, allowing you to deepen your learning by focussing on any areas which are of particular interest to you or of relevance to your future career plans.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module is delivered through lectures, seminars, directed and independent study. While lectures will be interactive, drawing upon your own experiences and opinions as well as the directed learning you will undertake, they will also provide a theoretical basis for your learning. The seminars will complement this by allowing you to assimilate your knowledge, develop your skills, and reflect critically on potential organisational applications through completion of practical exercises and discussion with your tutor and peers.
Directed learning will centre upon a range of activities including pre-reading, preparation for interactive activities, and use of e-learning platforms. Independent learning will centre upon you identifying and pursuing areas of interest in relation to the specialist subject area or by providing deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of the subject through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading, reflection, and research.
The module is supported by a Teaching and Learning plan which outlines the formal sessions, the tutor-directed study, and independent reading.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of how comparative employment relations and employment law are applied in organisations [MLO1]

2. Critically evaluate how comparative employment relations and employment law can influence and shape people and business strategy by aiding strategic decision making [MLO2]

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Demonstrate an understanding of how policy, regulation and law influence the development of people practices [MLO3]

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. To consider the ethical considerations employers should take into account of in order to exceed minimum legal requirements [MLO4]

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will be carried out on a continuous basis within the seminars. In addition to tutor feedback on progress on the seminars’ exercises time will also be set aside regularly to discuss your individual progress and ideas.

There are two components of summative assessment on this module. One is a group presentation based on research and the other is an individual report.

Summative Assessment
Component 1 (25%)
A group presentation in which you will investigate and report on comparative employment relations. [MLOs 1, 2 and 3]

Component 2 (75%)
Individual assignment. A 2,000-word report to be submitted at the end of the module which critically analyses comparative employment relations and employment law in an organisation of your choice and demonstrates either how its understanding has contributed to organisational performance or has the potential to do so. [MLOs 1, 2, 3 and 4]

Electronic written feedback will be provided on individual work and released through the eLP.





Module abstract

Human Resource Management increasingly relies on data and evidence for strategic decision making, drawing on management information systems, predictive models of behaviour and comparative employment relations and employment law trends to do so. In this module you will be introduced to the key concepts behind this practice in a way that will enable you to operate as an effective manager. Through a hands-on approach to data analysis and decision making you will learn how to best apply and use your knowledge of analytics to improve the effectiveness and direction of organisations.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full time

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


Your Learning Experience

Find out about our distinctive approach at

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy