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HRMG200 Applied Human Resource Management

Teaching organisation

3 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

A sustainability-oriented vision of human resource management (HRM) has become the new standard for HRM and is critical to the achievement of sustainable business strategies in a globalised world. In sustainable HRM, success extends beyond the single financial performance bottom line, considering simultaneously human/social and environmental sustainability. Developing the knowledge and capabilities to develop and embed sustainable business practices is an essential skill for human resource managers. If students are able to do this, they will need knowledge and understanding of the sustainability-oriented aspects of HRM functions and practices. In this unit, students will develop their knowledge of HRM theory which focuses on the integration of sustainability principles, the role of sustainable HRM in achieving corporate sustainability, the tension/paradox created in achieving diverse but complementary sustainability outcomes and ways to effectively manage those tensions using the paradox and stakeholder perspectives. Students will apply their knowledge by focusing the management of staff on achievement of corporate sustainability. The aim of this unit is to provide knowledge and understanding of HRM in the context of sustainability and to develop the understanding and skills necessary to design and implement HRM practices that meet stakeholders needs and contribute value to businesses. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Critically review research and practices in sustainable HRM to extend strategic HRM for common good (GA2, GA5)

LO2 - Critically evaluate the different frameworks, philosophies and theories for sustainable HRM to facilitate organisations to implement sustainability in business strategies (GA4, GA5)

LO3 - Discuss sustainable and unsustainable impacts of performance oriented HRM practices on stakeholders from the corporate social responsibility perspective (GA3, GA5)

LO4 - Develop ethical approaches to implementing, measuring and reporting on sustainable HRM strategies and practices to minimise the unsustainable impacts of these practices on stakeholders (GA5, GA8)

LO5 - Apply effective written and oral communication skills in the sustainable HRM context, both individually and in groups (GA5, GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

Introduction to sustainable HRM 

Institutional context for sustainable HRM

Stakeholder theories for common good

Sustainable HRM theories 

Sustainability characteristics of HRM strategies and practices for sustainability outcomes

The paradox perspective of sustainable HRM for common good

Sustainable HRM role in achieving corporate sustainability outcomes

Green HRM for environmental management

Implementation, measurement and reporting on sustainable HRM practices 

Techniques to measure sustainable and unsustainable impacts of HRM practices 

Sustainable HRM roles for implementing 

Global sustainable HRM practices 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit takes an active learning approach to guide students in the analysis and synthesis of knowledge associated with the diagnosis and resolution of complex sustainability issues in HRM. Students are able to explore the knowledge base underpinning sustainable HRM in a series of interactive on campus workshops. These workshops are designed to support students to actively participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge both individually and in groups. By participating in these workshops, students will systematically develop their understanding of the critical aspects of sustainable HRM and how to manage the tension/paradox in achieving diverse sustainability outcomes for organisations. This unit takes an analytical and reflective approach to support students in developing the complex skills required to effectively implement sustainable HRM in organisations by gaining professional knowledge through research, reflecting on experiences, and achieve relational learning by sharing organisational examples and insights in group discussions. This approach is designed to interest students who prefer independent learning and also to learn within a social environment to gain skills to understand and implement sustainable HRM in organisations. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete and submit three graded assessment tasks and achieve an aggregate mark of at least 50%. Marking will be in accordance with a rubric specifically developed to measure student’s level of achievement of the learning outcomes for each item of assessment. Students will also be awarded a final grade which signifies their overall achievement in the unit. The assessment strategy for this unit allows students to sequentially develop their capabilities  to become ethical and credible activist, and critical and enquiring thinker in sustainable HRM. In order to develop this level of capability, students will demonstrate their knowledge of sustainable HRM in a critical essay; further develop their understanding of sustainable HRM through a case study writing and analysis and then apply their knowledge and understanding of various theories, strategies, implementations, measurement and reporting of sustainable HRM in a critical reflective journal. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Critical Essay

This assessment task consists of a 1200-word critical essay. This task requires individual students to apply and integrate the theories, models and concepts from this unit and present sound argument to justify their preferred model considering the common good responsibility.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Critical Essay

Artefact: Written essay 


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 2: Case writing and analysis

This assessment task consists of a 1500-word written business case about a company which implements corporate sustainability business strategies. This task includes two parts. First, using their developed communications skills students are required to write a case with sustainability issues in a company (800 words). Second, prepare a ‘cheat sheet’ with sustainability theories and concepts relating the sustainability issues in the case with the content of this unit. This task requires students to work collaboratively in groups of three (or less) to appraise common good perspective in this case report using sustainable HRM knowledge. 

Submission Type: Group

Assessment Method: Case report 

Artefact: Written case study


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 3: Reflective journal

This assessment task consists of a 1500-word individual critical reflective journal on six topics. This task requires students to critically reflect on their learning throughout the unit and demonstrate their higher order thinking skills to become socially responsible and credible activist to facilitate businesses to focus on common good.

Submission Type: Individual 

Assessment Method: Critical reflective journal

Artefact: Written learning journal 


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Mariappanadar S 2019 Sustainable Human Resource Management: Strategies, Practices and Challenges. 1st ed., Macmillan International, UK.

Enhert, I., Harry, W. and Zink, K.J. eds., 2014. Sustainability and Human Resource Management: Developing Sustainable Business Organizations. Springer.

Macke, J. and Genari, D., 2019. Systematic literature review on sustainable human resource management. Journal of Cleaner Production, 208, pp.806-815.

Guerci, M., Decramer, A., Van Waeyenberg, T. and Aust, I., 2019. Moving beyond the link between HRM and economic performance: A study on the individual reactions of HR managers and professionals to sustainable HRM. Journal of Business Ethics, 160(3), pp.783-800.

Alcaraz, J.M., Susaeta, L., Suarez, E., Colón, C., Gutiérrez-Martínez, I., Cunha, R., Leguizamón, F., Idrovo, S., Weisz, N., Correia, M.F. and Pin, J.R., 2019. The human resources management contribution to social responsibility and environmental sustainability: explorations from Ibero-America. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 30(22), pp.3166-3189.

Barrena-Martínez, J., López-Fernández, M. and Romero-Fernández, P.M., 2019. Towards a configuration of socially responsible human resource management policies and practices: Findings from an academic consensus. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 30(17), pp.2544-2580.

Mariappanadar, S. and Aust, I., 2018. The Dark Side of Overwork: An Empirical Evidence of Social Harm of Work from a Sustainable HRM Perspective. International Studies of Management & Organization, 47(4), pp.372-387.

Dumont, J., Shen, J. and Deng, X., 2017. Effects of green HRM practices on employee workplace green behavior: The role of psychological green climate and employee green values. Human Resource Management, 56(4), pp.613-627. 

Ehnert, I., Parsa, S., Roper, I., Wagner, M. and Muller-Camen, M., 2016. Reporting on sustainability and HRM: A comparative study of sustainability reporting practices by the world's largest companies. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(1), pp.88-108.

Mariappanadar, S. 2016, Health Harm of Work from the Sustainable HRM perspective: Scale Development and Validation. International Journal of Manpower 37 (6), 924-944.

Mariappanadar, S. 2014, Stakeholder harm index: A framework to review work intensification from the critical HRM perspective, Human Resource Management Review, 24(4): 313-329.

Kramar, R 2014, Beyond strategic human resource management: is sustainable human resource management the next approach?, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25:8, 1069-1089.

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