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COPENHAGEN BUSINESS SCHOOL

COURSE OUTLINE

Human Resource Management


Dana Minbaeva, MBA, Ph.D.
Professor in Strategic and Global HRM
Department of Strategic Management and Globalization
dm.smg@cbs.dk
Place: Rvarebygningen, Porcelnshaven 22
Objectives
The objective of this course is to provide a better understanding of key components
and concepts of strategic human resource management. Drawing upon a wide range of
disciplines, including organizational behavior, strategy, psychology, and economics,
we present, discuss and apply theories, frameworks, and tools to manage human
resources more effectively and support the strategic objectives of their firms.
Our focus is on large complex firms rather than small or medium-sized enterprises,
although a number of issues that we will cover are of direct relevance for a broad
spectrum of firms. We will present examples from firms operating in Scandinavia as
well as other regions of the world.
The course is taught using the case-based teaching and participant-centered learning
in Harvard Business School style that involves high-energy discussion, debate, and
interaction. Students are strongly encouraged to bring their own views into the
discussion and to share insights and learning with fellow students.
Evaluation Structure
The final evaluation is an individual oral exam based on a 3-page group synopsis. The
groups will be pre-defined. The assignment will be handed out at the last session of
the course. The exam will last 20 minutes including evaluation and feedback. The
questions will cover all of the readings and cases included in the syllabus. Students
will be graded on the knowledge of the course syllabus, soundness of their case
analyses, ability to relate cases and apply the theoretical frameworks we have derived
during class discussion. In discussing cases, because there are no right answers,
students can do well by taking and defending, as well as challenging, a wide variety
of positions.

The best way to prepare for the exam is to attend all of the sessions, to read all
assigned cases before class, and to discuss and analyze the cases both in the study
groups and in class. Under no circumstances do we recommend leaving all of the
reading until the end of the semester.
Learning Objectives
At the end of the course, participant should be able to:

Describe, critically discuss and apply theories concerning the main themes of
the course
Evaluate the relevance and usefulness of HRM models and theories for
analyzing and resolving organizational issues and challenges
Examine how managers can develop and responsibly implement effective and
efficient human resource practices that support the strategic objectives of their
firms.

Grading
The following Danish standard grading scale will be used
12: For an excellent performance.
10: For a very good performance.
7: For a good performance.
4: For a fair performance.
02: For an adequate performance.
00: For an inadequate performance.
-3: For an unacceptable performance.
The synopsis is not graded separately but provides a ground for the examination
grade.
Elements of evaluation

Base of evaluation

Weight

Oral examination

Individual

100%

The synopsis is to be submitted to the FTMBA office in two hard copies and as one
pdf. document in the hand-in folder on Learn . Deadline: October 15. The exam paper
must not exceed 3 pages and should respect the formatting in Guidelines for Written
Assignments, which are also available on Learn.
The oral exam will take place over 3 days: 22, 23, 24 October. A separate exam
schedule will be available via Learn 2 weeks before the exam.

Textbooks and reading


Course materials consist of cases, collection of articles and a textbook. Articles and
case studies will be in the course binder. Assigned articles can also be found in
electronic form via CBS Library. Follow up articles and recommended reading will be
uploaded on CBS Learn.
The textbook recommended for this course is Truss, C., Mankin, D. and Kelliher, C.
(2012) Strategic Managing of Human Resources, Oxford University Press. Why
this book? This book takes a strategic perspective that focuses on key overarching
themes at the strategic level. It discusses the context of strategic HRM from an
external and internal perspective and most importantly offers implications for
practice. The book also offers some background knowledge necessary for better
understanding of complexities of different perspectives on SHRM. Last but not least,
the book is contextualized in European institutional environment and hence provides a
good balance for the cases and articles assigned for the course which are mainly
coming from North America. Students will be introduced to the book, important and
not so important parts of it, and provided with how to read it- guidance at the
beginning of the course.

Class Schedule & Readings

Lecture 1

Date:

Time:

September 22

9.00-12.15

Topic: Introduction. HRM and Performance

Professor

Dana Minbaeva

Required Reading

Hammonds, K. Why We Hate HR.


Breitfelder, M. and Dowling, D. 2008. Why Did We Ever Go into
HR. Harvard Business Review, July-August
Chapter 8 of the textbook

Supplementary Reading

Bassi, L. and McMurrer, D. 2007. Maximizing Your Return on


People. Harvard Business Review, March
Chapters 4 and 5 of the textbook

Corporate Presentation

TBA

Lecture 2

Date:

Time:

Topic: Achieving Strategic Alignment

September 23

9.00-12.15

Professor

Dana Minbaeva

Required Reading

Groysberg, B. McLean, A., and Reavis, C. Delivering Strategic


Human Resource Management. HBS Background Note.
Becker, B. Huselid, M. and Beatty, R. 2009. Design a HR
Architecture for the Differentiated Workforce Measuring HR
Alignment. HBS Background Note.

Supplementary Reading

Chapters 6, 7 and 15 of the textbook

Case

Microsoft: Competing for Talent


Study Questions

Corporate Presentation

Bill Gates believes that Microsofts ability to attract,


motivate, and retain superior people is its core source of
competitive advantage. Do you agree? Why or why not?

How effective are Microsofts human resource policies and


practices? Have the informal processes of the 1980s been
appropriately adapted to the companys growth through the
1990s? What do you think of Ballmers recent changes to
Microsofts human resource policies and practices?

As of mid-1999, does Microsoft have a problem? Is the


rising senior management turnover inevitable? Is it
manageable? What recommendations would you make to
Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates?

TBA

Lecture 3

Date:

Time:

Topic: Recruiting, Training and Developing

October 1

9.00-12.15

Professor

Dana Minbaeva

Required Reading

Christensen, C. Identifying and Devleoping Capable Leaders. HBS


Background Note.
Ryan, K. 2012. Building a Team of A Players. Harvard Business
Review, January-February
Bunker, K., Kram, K. and Ting, S. 2002. The Young and the
Clueless. Harvard Business Review, December.
Axelrod, B., Handfield-Jones, H. and Michaels, E. 2002. A New
Game for C Players. Harvard Business Review, January

Supplementary Reading

Chapters 9 and 10 of the textbook


Ready, D., Conger, J. and Hill, L. 2010. Are You a High Potential?
Harvard Business Review, June

Case

Mark Pitts
Study Question
-

Corporate presentation

Will you make Pitts an offer?

TBA

Lecture 4

Date:

Time:

Topic: Compensation.

October 6

9:00-12.15

Professor

Dana Minbaeva

Required Reading

Hall, B. Incentive Strategy Within Organization. HBS Background


Note.
Bowen, D. E., & Ostroff, C. (2004). Understanding HRMfirm
performance linkages: The role of the strength of the HRM
system. Academy of Management Review, 29, 203221.

Supplementary Reading

Chapter 2 of the text book

Case

In a World of Pay
Study Questions:

Corporate Presentation

Can Typware AG pay Anne Prevost anything like what she


expects?

Why is Rainer Barth (HR consultant) asking all those


questions?

TBA

Lecture 5

Date:

Time:

Topic: Driving Performance. Conclusion

October 8

9:00-12.15

Professor

Dana Minbaeva

Required Reading

Beer, M. Conducting a Performance Appraisal Interview. HBS


Background Note.
Jackman, J. and Strober, M. 2003. Fear of Feedback. Harvard
Business Review, April

Supplementary Reading

Chapter 12 of the textbook

Case

The Gentlemans Three


Study Questions:
-

Should Ekdahl order another round of reviews or make do


with the data he has?

At the end of the case, you have recommendations from


several HR practitioners. Which one you find particularly
useful and why?