Mb110 Human Resources Management Fall 2008-2009
Professor Judy Gordon email@example.com
Fulton 430A 617-552-0454
Office Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 9-10
The effective management of human resources is the key to organizational success. Organizations are seeking new
ways of dealing with problems of globalization, labor shortages or excesses, rapidly changing technology, union-
management relations, and changing demographics in the workplace. Managers and human resources professionals
use a wide range of techniques for handling these and other challenges and ensuring that their employees and
organizations are competitive and high performing.
Managing human resources is a significant component of the strategic management of an organization. Within the
strategic context, this course surveys the functions, processes, and techniques of human resources management. It
examines HRM from the perspective of human resources systems used and implemented by managers and human
After completing this course, students should be able to
1. describe the strategic role of HR in creating competitive and high performing organizations;
2. perform a job analysis and state its role in human resource management;
3. know and implement the steps in recruiting and selecting employees and identify the strategic issues related
4. identify and select appropriate training options and show how they build and sustain the desired workforce;
5. create a career development system that includes organizational solutions for dealing with the interaction of
work and family;
6. design a performance management system and show its links with an organization’s strategic plan;
7. understand the components of a compensation and benefits system and demonstrate their impact on
selection, retention, motivation, and performance;
8. discuss key labor relations issues, including the unionization, negotiation, and grievance processes;
9. know the basic aspects of occupational safety and health;
10. specify the major issues and challenges in managing a global workforce.
The course takes both national and international perspectives on human resources issues. It uses a variety of
pedagogical approaches – lectures, discussions, case analyses, classroom problems, videos, and guest speakers. The
following presents the list of topics, as well as the assigned cases for each class session.
Week Date Topic Reading Class Written
Assignment Assignment Assignment
1 9/2 Introduction
9/4 The Global D chps. 1, 3 Jack Nelson’s
Environment Problem (D p.
System (D p. 99)
2 9/9 The Legal D chp. 2 Bandag
Context Automotive (pp.
9/11 Job Analysis D chp. 4
3 9/16 Human D pp. 166-172 in Sonoco Products
Resource chp. 5 Company (A)
Planning and (pkt)
9/18 Recruitment D pp. 172-201 in
4 9/23 Selection D chps. 6, 7 Angelo’s Pizza
9/25 Selection (cont.) Blinds To Go
5 9/30 Training and D chp. 8
10/2 Performance D chp. 9 Rob Parson at
Management Morgan Stanley
6 10/7 Performance Assignment 1 –
Management HR case analysis
10/9 Social Networks
7 10/14 Career D chp. 10
8 10/21 Strategic Pay D chps. 11, 12 Camp Dresser &
Plans and McKee (pkt)
10/23 Benefits D chp. 13 Striking for
Benefits (D p.
9 10/28 Fair Treatment D chp. 14
10/30 Managing Transforming
Change Resources at
10 11/4 Union Assignment 2 –
Organization Innovative HR
11/6 Labor Laws D chp. 15
11 11/11 Collective
12 11/18 Strikes and Disciplinary
Other Work Action (D p.
11/20 Internal Assignment 3 –
13 11/25 Occupational D chp. 16 BP Texas City
Safety and (pp. 756-760)
14 12/2 Managing D chp. 17
Exam 12/13 Final
period 12:30PM examination
Dessler, Gary. Human Resource Management, 11th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2008). (D above)
A packet of five cases – (1) Sonoco Products Company (A): Building a World-Class HR Organization, (2) Blinds
To Go: Staffing a Retail Expansion, (3) Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley (A), (4) Camp Dresser & McKee: Getting
Incentives Right, and (5) Transforming Human Resources at Novartis: the Human Resources Information System
(HRIS) (pkt above)
There are three written assignments:
(1) A case study and analysis related to an HR situation you have experienced is due on October 7.
(2) A description of an innovative practice or program in human resources management and a
description of a union negotiation is due on November 4.
(3) An analysis and evaluation of a human resources system in an organization of your choice is due
on November 20.
Note: I am willing to read one draft of a paper and give you general comments for improving it. You must show me
the draft no later than 3 days before the paper is due so that you have adequate time for revision.
There will be a midterm examination and a final examination. The final examination is currently scheduled for
Saturday, December 13 at 12:30. There will be no make-ups for either examination unless there are extenuating
circumstances. Please plan your Christmas travel plans accordingly.
Grades will be determined as follows; late papers will automatically be dropped one full letter grade.
Assignment 1 – HR Case Analysis 15%
Assignment 2 – Innovative HR and Union Negotiation 15%
Assignment 3 – Human Resource Systems Analysis 20%
Midterm Examination 15%
Final Examination 20%
Class Participation 15%
All students are expected to understand the university’s policy about academic integrity; it can be found at
http://www.bc.edu/offices/stserv/academic/resources/policy/ - integrity. Any violations of this policy will result in
student’s receiving penalties prescribed by the university. The library’s Web site provides a list of writing resources
to assist students in citing sources. These resources can be found at http://bc.edu/libraries/resources/readyref/#writ.
Any student who deserves accommodations for learning reasons should contact me at the beginning of the semester.
ASSIGNMENT 1: PERSONAL CASE
You are to select an experience that you have had or are currently having in an organization that relates to
either recruitment, selection, training and development, or performance management. You are to provide
a simple description of the situation. Next, diagnose what HR problems exist in the situation. Then
analyze the case. Apply course theories or concepts to evaluate the effectiveness of human resources
practices in the case. Finally, make recommendations for improving the HR practices and addressing the
problems you identified.
Your paper will be graded on the quality of your presentation and discussion. High quality papers will
1. succinctly but complete describe the situation or experience;
2. identify the major problem or problems;
3. clearly apply course theories or concepts to analyze the case;
4. make a clear link between the analysis and your recommendations for improvement.
Papers should be typed double-spaced using Times New Roman 12-point font with 1” margins. Please
put a cover page on your paper with the title of the paper and your name. Your paper should be carefully
edited for voice, tone, grammar, etc. Spelling, typing, or grammatical errors are not acceptable. Your
paper should be approximately 4 pages in length (about 1200 words).
This paper is due on October 7 at the start of class.
ASSIGNMENT 2: INNOVATIVE HR PRACTICE OF PROGRAM AND DESCRIPTION OF A
This paper has two parts.
Part I requires you to describe an innovative human resources management practice or program. Some
examples might be atypical recruiting programs, special compensation/incentive programs, or innovative
training programs. You can locate information about innovative practices in trade magazines, journals,
books, and newspapers, as well as on relevant Web sites. You should describe the innovative practice or
program and indicate why it is innovative. Then you should indicate why it would be effective (or
ineffective), using course concepts and theories in your answer.
Part II requires you to describe a recent union negotiation, including a discussion of the issues and their
resolution. You can use any published information about the negotiation (i.e., newspapers, magazines,
Web sites). You should (1) describe the situation, (2) identify the main negotiating issues for
management, (3) identify the main negotiating issues for the union, and (4) either discuss how they were
resolved, why a strike resulted, or the current status of the negotiation. You need to include all four parts
in your paper.
Be sure to include a list of references at the end of the paper. You do not need to include citations in the
paper. The references do not count in the page limit. Note: You may not use Wikipedia as one of your
In grading your paper I will consider the following:
1. how well you describe the innovative program or practice and how clearly you showed why it
2. the quality and completeness of your description of the union-management negotiation,
identification of issues for union and management, and commentary about their resolution or lack
3. the quality and length of your reference list; a minimum of three references for each part is
Papers should be typed double-spaced using Times New Roman 12-point font. Please put a cover page
on your paper with the title of the paper and your name. Your paper should be carefully edited for voice,
tone, spelling, grammar, etc. The paper should be approximately 4 pages long, that is, 2 pages each for
Parts I and II (approximately 1200 words total).
This paper is due on November 4 at the start of class.
ASSIGNMENT 3: HUMAN RESOURCES INTERVIEWS AND SYSTEM ANALYSIS
Your task is to evaluate one human resources management system in an organization of your choice.
Please select one of the following areas to evaluate:
Human Resources Planning Decruitment Career Development
Recruitment Training and Development Compensation
Selection Performance Management Collective Bargaining
You should interview three people in that organization to gather information about the human resources
system. At least one person should be from the human resources department. You may conduct the
interviews in person, by telephone, or using email. Please develop a set of questions to ask each person
that you interview.
In no more than one page, describe the system. Feel free to attach more information about the system in
appendices. In 3-4 pages, evaluate the effectiveness of the system. Be sure to apply course concepts,
frameworks, and perspectives in showing how close the system is to state-of-the-art human resources
management practices. For example, if you evaluate the selection system, the paper should begin by
showing whether and how it follows the steps for effective selection and then extend the analysis from
there. Try to make your evaluation as comprehensive as possible. Be sure to support your conclusions
with specific examples or other data. In 1-2 pages, offer recommendations for improving the system.
These recommendations should indicate how the system could be changed to reflect more closely state-
of-the-art practices. They should be closely linked to your analysis. Also discuss the issues involved in
implementing these recommendations, e.g., cost, training, overcoming resistance to change. If you prefer,
you may combine the evaluation and recommendations. In an appendix, summarize the three interviews.
Be sure to indicate with whom you spoke and their views on the human resources system you selected.
This summary should not be a verbatim transcript of your conversations.
In grading the paper, I will be looking for the following:
1. the breadth and depth of your knowledge of the system being described – you should provide as
much detail as possible using appendices to attach examples, samples, or other relevant data;
2. the quality of your data, as reflected in the appendix that describes the interviews and in the
examples you give in the body of the paper;
3. the completeness of your analysis – you should apply all relevant course concepts to evaluating the
4. the precision of your analysis – you should show that you understand fully state-of-the art practices
in the relevant area(s) of human resources management;
5. the support for your analysis – you should provide sufficient examples to show the validity of the
points you are making;
6. clarity of expression – your presentation should be coherent, carefully written, and accurately
Papers should be typed double-spaced using Times New Roman 12-point font and should be
approximately 6-8 pages long. Please put a cover page on your paper with the title of the paper and your
name. Your paper should be carefully edited for voice, tone, grammar, etc. Spelling, typing, or
grammatical errors are not acceptable. The final paper will be graded on both presentation and content.
This paper is due on November 20 at the start of class.
Students are expected to participate in and help shape the learning environment in this course. Students
should come prepared for each class by reading the assigned chapter(s) from the text, preparing any
assigned cases, and being generally informed about management issues (through regular reading of
Fortune, Business Week, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, or other reputable business magazines or
newspaper sections). You will be evaluated on whether you distinguish yourself through high quality and
Here are some general guidelines about participation:
Excellent Participation (A):
• Volunteers relevant information from reading and personal experience, while also
accommodating the needs of others to participate
• Provides information that moves the discussion forward rather than reiterating what others have
said or sidetracking the discussion
• Asks timely questions for clarification or further exploration of the topic at hand
• Demonstrates excellent ability to apply, analyze, and synthesize course material
• Demonstrates willingness to take risks in attempting to answer questions that the class finds
• Misses class only for an unavoidable emergency
Good Participation (B):
• Participates regularly and voluntarily in class discussions
• Offers comments that are useful and relevant to topics being discussed
• Demonstrates ability to apply, analyze, and synthesize course material
• Misses classes rarely
Fair Participation (C):
• Participates in class discussion when solicited
• Offers comments that are relevant to topics being discussed
• Attends class regularly, but misses more than others
Poor Participation (any of the following) (D):
• Participates in discussion occasionally and reluctantly
• Offers comments that are often irrelevant, inaccurate, and not useful
• Misses class frequently
Unacceptable Participation (any of the following) (F):
• Fails to participate, even when solicited
• Offers comments that are inappropriate
• Offers comments or behaves in ways that are distracting or disruptive
• Misses class regularly
CASE QUESTIONS AND PREPARATION 2008-2009
In general, cases should be prepared as follows:
1. Diagnosis. Analyze the environment and the organization. Analyze the job. Identify strengths and
weaknesses of the current HR policies, practices, and systems.
2. Evaluation. Specify the nature of state-of-the-art HR policies, practices, and systems. What would
best practices entail? How does the existing situation compare to state-of-the-art or best practices?
3. Design. Suggest ways to improve the existing HR policies, practices, and systems. What changes are
necessary for them to become state-of-the-art or best practices?
4. Implementation. Specify the person(s) responsible for the changes. Indicate the schedule and
resources required. How will you know that the changes are effective?
The following are more specific questions about each case that is not in the textbook.
Sonoco Products Company (A): Building a World-Class HR Organization
1. What was happening to the packaging industry at the time of the case? How will these changes
affect Sonoco’s HR function?
2. What are Sonoco’s current strengths and weaknesses in terms of its culture and people?
3. What were Cindy Hartley’s objectives for changes at Sonoco?
4. How successful were the HR changes at Sonoco?
5. What is the right HR structure for Sonoco – centralization or hybrid? What are the pros and cons
of each option?
6. Will the changes be sustained? What should Cindy Hartley attend to next?
Blinds To Go: Staffing a Retail Expansion
1. What was the BTG store like? Its employees?
2. Why is Blinds To Go having difficulty attracting and retaining retail staff?
3. Are the elements of the organizational design at the retail store level aligned to facilitate the
retention of new employees?
4. Do employee referrals work?
5. What recommendations would you give BTG to improve their staffing practices?
Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley (A)
1. How would you describe the performance management system at Morgan Stanley? What appear
to be its strengths and weaknesses?
2. What is Paul Nasr’s dilemma regarding Rob Parson?
3. Is Rob Parson a quality performer? What does the performance management system say about his
4. Should Nasr promote Parson?
Camp Dresser & McKee: Getting Incentives Right
1. How does a professional services firm differ from other types of organizations?
2. How would you characterize CDM – its culture, employees, organization, environment?
3. How effective is the BIPS program?
4. What problems existed in using BIPS to make decisions about individuals’ compensation?
5. What changes in the compensation program should be made?
Transforming Human Resources at Novartis: The Human Resources Information System (HRIS)
1. How would you characterize the environment of Novartis?
2. How would you characterize the HR system at Novartis? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
3. Why is a new HRIS necessary?
4. What should Novartis learn from others who have implemented the proposed HRIS?
5. What issues should Novartis consider in planning its HRIS implementation?