SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMN624061
Module Leader David McGuire
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Human Resource Management
  • B (January start)
  • A (September start)
  • C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Programme entry requirements

Summary of Content

Workforces and workplaces are evidently and potentially becoming increasingly diverse in many, though not all, organisations and countries. Culture and multi-culturism in their widest sense are consequently becoming more multi-layered concepts and a sets of practices in contemporary workplaces. Diversity and cultural factors influence the way business is conducted in different countries and international/ multi-national organisations, arguably raising the need to manage diversity actively. Awareness of the nature and impact of diversity management within workforces and in workplaces is therefore important in managing human resources effectively. This module aims to develop insights into key elements of managing workforce and workplace diversity at individual, national and organisational levels. The purpose is to support cross-cultural capability and inculcate a global mind-set by stimulating self-awareness and widening frames of reference, in keeping with cross-cultural sensitivity and literacy.


Diversity in contemporary workplaces : e.g. nature of diversity factors in labour markets and workplaces; contextual factors shaping patterns of, and preoccupations within, diversity in advanced and developing economies. Nature and impact of diversity factors at work : critique of specific diversity factors e.g. gender, heritage, disability, age, aesthetics, in specific contexts such as the UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Approaches to diversity internationally: e.g. diversity in human resource management in a range of regions/ countries such as North and South America, the European Union, Poland, The Commonwealth, South Asia, and China. Models of national culture : e.g. exploration of elements within national cultures; critique and evaluation of key models of national culture including Hofstede and GLOBE. Types and levels of workplace culture : e.g. discussion of business, corporate and organisational cultures, counter-and sub-cultures; organisational and cross-cultural communication including linguistics, culture mapping and culture coding at work, and global leaders' cross-cultural knowledge sharing. Concepts and practices in diversity at work : e.g. fairness, equality, stereotyping, socialisation, bias and discrimination, intersectionality, misogyny and sexism, racism, flexible/agile working, disproportionate representation, occupational and vertical segregation. Model of cross-cultural competency : e.g. in values, attitudes and behaviours. Business case for organisational diversity : e.g. benefits, opportunity costs, and challenges in managing diversity. Employability skills : e.g. personal effectiveness and interaction skills, listening, participation, assertiveness, co-operation, individual and team work, verbal and non-verbal communication, questioning and inquiry skills, influencing skills, cross-cultural sensitivity and literacy.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Evaluate the context and range of diversity among people in contemporary workforces and workplaces;2. Discuss the nature and impact of workforce and workplace diversity factors e.g. gender, heritage, disability, age, aesthetics;3. Critically appreciate approaches to diversity in the workplace in different areas of the world and analyse key models of national culture;4. Analyse typologies of, and influences on, workplace cultures;5. Explore and critique key concepts and practices in diversity at work; and6. Devise a model of cross-cultural competency in values, attitudes and behaviours, and a business case for organisational diversity in keeping with development of diversity consciousness and a global mind-set.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Based on encouraging student-centred learning, the learning and teaching strategy of this module seeks to develop knowledge and stimulate awareness in the subject area. Theoretical knowledge is presented across the span of module delivery. This is underpinned by applied research. Complementing and extending the body of theoretical knowledge is a parallel set of seminar work which revolves around a variety of activities which apply this knowledge in practical ways, using blended learning media, e.g. Padlet. Examples of seminar activities are self-assessments, perceptual exercises, case study work and student presentation of an aspect of their module assessment. These dimensions relate directly, in an incremental way, to the summative assessment which is informed by diagnostic peer and lecturer feedback in seminar presentations. An example of the assessment brief (an individual, academic essay) is: 'Evaluate and compare the approach to a diversity factor of your choice, from the module syllabus, in your own country and another cultural context. Theoretical concepts and organisational practices should be included, as appropriate'. Thus there is an explicit focus on internationality in the assessment. The skills workshop element of the module centres on the formulation of a module of cross-cultural competency and business case for organisational diversity. Underpinning the assessment feedback is ensuring students understood their mark/result in informative and constructive qualitative commentary. Across the module, students are encouraged to put forward their own examples, experiences and expectations of diversity and cross-cultural working. A notable feature of the module is its being research led by the current research interests and publications of the module team members and contributors. Examples include journal publications on high performance working practice cultures and Generation Y careers, alongside doctoral work on: gender, age and disability diversity management in Saudi Arabia; knowledge sharing for effective cross-cultural communication among global business leaders; and gender, age and national culture in career development. Also, internal and external module contributors per se bring a variety of cultural perspectives and practical experiences to their teaching. External contributors are from academia and international organisations in the private and public sectors. Internationalisation in the curriculum, among module contributors and in student compositio n for example, are key features of the module. PRME principles are assimilated into the module, particularly those focusing on inclusiveness and responsible leadership. GCU Learn is used to focus, reinforce and extend students' learning. A repository of all module information and further reading for each main syllabus area, it is also a site of peer support among students on the module. 12 hours of module delivery will take place as part of the international study abroad trip to Milan, Italy. The teaching will be delivered by qualified academics at the University of Bicocca. This will provide students with a different teaching and learning experience as well as deepening student understanding of cultural and diversity issues. Teaching at the University of Bicocca will include lectures and seminars as well as case studies and industrial visits where students will gain an appreciation of real-life workplace diversity issues.

Indicative Reading

Selected chapters in the following texts, e.g. Core/Essential Text: French R. (2015) 3rd edition, Cross-Cultural Management in Work Organisations , London: CIPD. Kirkton G. and Greene A.M. (2015) 4 th edition, The Dynamics of Managing Diversity: A critical approach, Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann. Mor Barak M.E. (2014) 3 rd edition, Managing Diversity: Towards a Globally Inclusive Workplace , CA: Sage Publishing. Syed J. and Ozbilgin M. (editors) (2015) Managing Diversity and Inclusiveness: An International Perspective , London: Sage. Recommended Text: Budhar P.S. (2006) Managing HR in the Middle East , London: Tay lor Francis Lt d. Browaeys M.-J. and Price R. (2011) 2nd edition, Understanding Cross-cultural Management , London: Financial Times/ Prentice Hall. Cooke F.L. (2012) Human Resource Management in China: New trends and practices , London and New York: Routledge. Gottfried H. (2013) Gender, Work and Economy: Unpacking the Global Economy , Cambridge: Polity Press. Guirdham M. (2009) Culture and Business in Asia , Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. Kamoche K.N., Debran Y.A., Horwitz F.M.and Muuka G.N. (editors) (2003) Managing HR in Africa , London: Ta ylor Francis Ltd. Klarsfeld A. (editor) (2012) International H andbook on Diversity Management at Work: Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment , Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. Kumra S. and Manfredi S. (2012) Managing equality and diversity: theory and practice, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Meyer E. (2015) The Culture Map: Decoding how people think, lead, and get things done across cultures , New York: Public Affairs. Moran R.T., Abramson N.R. and Moran S.V. (2014) 9th edition, Managing Cultural Differences , London and New York: Routledge. Ng E.S., Lyons S. and Schweitzer L. (editors) (2014) Managing the New Workforce: International Perspectives on the Millennial Generation , Edward Elgar Publishing. Ozbilgin M.F. and Syed J. (editors) (2010) Managing Gender Diversity in Asia: A Research Companion , Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. Primecz H., Romani L. and Sackmann S. (editors) (2012) Cross-cultural Management in Practice: Culture and Negotiated Meanings , Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. Spillan J.E., Virzi N. and Garita M. (2014) Doing Business in Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities , London and New York: Routledge. Tara R. (editor) (2013) Challenging Multiculturism: European Models of Diversity , Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Selected and directed articles in, for example, International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, People Management, Work . Websites, for example those for: Hofstede's cultural dimensions; the GLOBE study; Meyers's cultural map; the Commission for Equality & Human Rights; the World Economic Forum.

Transferrable Skills

Knowledge, understanding and application in subject area; business awareness; effective communication (orally; interpersonally; in writing); development of professional and ethical competencies (personal effectiveness and interactions); self-reflection; reflection from alternative perspectives; recognition of inter-cultural issues in own practice; development of an international and global mind-set; appreciation of multi-cultural diversity in citizenship and professional practice.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Seminars (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (PT) 74.00
Assessment (PT) 40.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Lectures (PT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Independent Learning (FT) 74.00
Seminars (PT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 0.00 45% Skills Workshop: Pass/fail skills assessment on diversity business case and model of cross-cultural competency. Week 4.
Coursework n/a 100.00 50% 3000 word academic essay, Week 14.