Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)


Department: Business School (Business)


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.


  • Business Analysis (BUSI52415).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop a critical awareness of economic issues relevant to the Human Resource Management practitioner, and an ability to apply specialised tools of economic analysis to address complex problems in Human Resource Management.


  • The Hiring decision: Employing the Desired Number and Mix of Personnel: The demand for labour in the short-run and the long-run. Substitution and scale effects. Determining the desired skill mix of personnel. Adjustment costs and the demand for labour.
  • Understanding Workers' Labour Supply Decisions: Labour force participation. The supply of hours: income and substitution effects. Worker absenteeism.
  • Human Capital Investments: The acquisition of skills through education and training. Employer screening and worker signalling behaviour.
  • Incentives, Productivity and Turnover of Personnel: the Role of Monetary and Non-monetary Compensation Schemes. Payment by input versus payment by output. Promotion tournaments as motivators. Seniority-based incentive schemes. Incentives in teams.
  • Worker-Management Relations: Economic Models of Trade Union Behaviour: Objectives of trade unions and their influence on hiring and other personnel decisions.
  • The External Labour Market Environment: Wage and employment determination in competitive labour markets. Public policy influcences, including the impact of minumum wage legislation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To acquire advanced knowledge and understanding of key economic issues relevant to the analysis of complex problems in Human Resource Management, based on a critical appreciation of relevant theory and empirical evidence. To acquire a critical understanding of the nature and role of incentives within organisations and their influence on the behaviour of personnel..
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To acquire the advanced communication and analytical skills required to apply specialised tools of economic analysis to selected complex problems and issues in Human Resource Management.
Key Skills:
  • Advanced analytical skills and problem-solving skills, and the ability to apply them in complex contexts.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • A combination of lectures, tutorial discussions and problems, together with guided reading is appropriate for conveying the knowledge and skills set out in the learning outcomes.
  • The summative examination will assess students' understanding of key economic issues and their ability to apply specialised tools of economic analysis to selected complex problems of relevance to the Human Resource Management practitioner.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 18 2 per week 1 hour 18
Tutorials 4 1 per fortnight 1 hour 4
Preparation for tutorials and group presentation, reading and revision for exam 128
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Unseen written examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
unseen written examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Group presentation.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University