CEM205-Human Resource Management

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Florence Phua

Email: f.phua@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Effective human resource management (HRM) contributes significantly to overall organizational performance. People are a key source of a firm’s competitive advantage and so, the processes, practices, and implications of HRM must be considered seriously. However, due to a range of practical pressures and factors that are either associated with or embedded within the industry, the vital role of HRM in construction is often overlooked.  The module will cover the essential elements of HRM and their implementation in the UK and international construction industry. It draws substantially on HRM concepts, theories and practices from different industries to facilitate understanding of the issues and concerns that are applicable to both construction and non-construction firms. It will explain and clarify how an informed, well-structured and participative approach to HRM can deliver substantial benefits to all stakeholders: employers and employees as well as their shareholders and clients.


  1. To provide students with an appreciation of the characteristics and practices of the construction industry and the role of HRM in both project- and non-project based organisations

  2. To introduce students to current perspectives on key HRM concepts

  3. To provide students with an understanding of the theories and practical considerations of HRM and its implications for construction firm performance and strategic positioning

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students will be able to understand the theory, core processes and practices of HRM and gain an appreciation of their impact on organisational and individual performance. In addition, students will have gained sufficient understanding of the complexities and implications of effective HR strategies for organisational management and critically evaluate the principles upon which different HRM practices and policies are developed in different organisational and industry contexts.

Additional outcomes:

The assignment will give students the opportunity to develop skills in critical thinking, time management and problem solving. It will enhance the student’s ability to work and learn independently. The development of these skills is supported through interactive group discussions and in-class exercises which relate to the lecture topics. Assignment and further reading will enable students to make connections between various HRM theories and principles to form an informed view of the role of HRM in practice.

Outline content:

This module is designed in a logical, step-by-step manner to help students develop their analytical skills to understand what may often seem to be nebulous or complex HRM issues. Emphasis will be placed on the joint development and integration of theory and practice. The guiding principle of the module is that theory and practice are inextricably linked. Students will be actively encouraged to make the appropriate links through assignment, practical tasks and independent study. The tentative outline content for the module is indicated below.

i) HRM in the construction industry context

-           Structure of the industry

-           The industry and its environment

-           Management of (project) organizations

-           Evaluate the importance of HRM in the construction industry

ii) Principles and theories of HRM

-           Evolution and development of HRM in modern management

-           Current principles and theories

-           Role of HRM in overall organizational context

iii) Processes and practices of HRM

-           Identify core processes and practices of HRM

-           Design, implementation and implications of HRM strategy and policy

-           Organisational dynamics, structure and design

iv) Strategic HRM and future development

-           Long term strategies for HRM development in construction industry

-           High involvement, high commitment HR systems

-           Dynamic fit between HR systems and the changing environment

Global context:

HRM is not a country- or industry-specific discipline. By making clear the domestic and international construction practices and their contexts, students will understand that every construction activity, and hence, to a large extent the success or otherwise of projects, is dependent on the people who carry out the work. This means that elements of HRM are involved in every aspect of the construction process, from inception to completion. Students will learn to appreciate the relevance of HRM in the broader sense.  

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

To make students’ learning experience intellectually challenging, and practically useful this module will use a variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, case studies and interactive group discussions. A particular emphasis will be placed on the critical evaluation of accepted concepts and principles.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15
Seminars 9
Guided independent study 76
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One assignment consisting of questions/issues relating to the lecture topics to be carried after the end of the timetabled module.

Formative assessment methods:

There will be a range of formative assessment methods embedded within the module delivery. Principally, for this module, the formative assessment feedback will take place during class interaction as the students’ learning and understanding of the subject evolve and progress. A central ethos of the module is interactive and participative.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
To be reassessed by re-submission of coursework/assignment only. You are required to contact the School to confirm reassessment arrangements.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 21 September 2018


Things to do now