Theories and Research in Human Resource Management

Time& place: 4 days, 20-23 November 2018, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland

Learning goal and objectives

The course will cover key theories and research within the field of Human Resource Management (HRM) in the following areas: Strategic HRM (i.e. the link between HRM and outcomes at the firm and individual level), the HR Function (i.e. the roles and required capabilities of the HR department of individual HR professionals), and International HRM (i.e. HRM in multinational corporations, comparative HRM, and global mobility). The course will also introduce participants to contemporary issues in HRM research and research methodology (e.g. HR Analytics, multilevel analyses), as well as the journal review process.

After the completion of the course the participants should have a solid understanding of the major research traditions and the theoretical approaches used to address key substance areas of HRM, and be to make critically informed decisions about how to integrate this learning into their doctoral research and related journal publications.

Instruction and examination

The course is based on the view that the participants carry the primary responsibility for their own learning, and that the main task of the instructors is to support the participants in their learning process. Thus, heavy emphasis is placed on the learning activities on the part of each participant.

Participants will be required to:

  1. i)Submit an individual ‘learning diary style’ report in which they reflect on their learning from their reading of the assigned literature listed below. For each chapter and article the report should contain: (a) own learning points (i.e. what did you learn when reading the material?), and (b) questions/issues that you would like to discuss during the reading seminars, as well as reasons why you think these questions/issues are worthy of discussion. For articles, participants must also include a critical reflection [e.g. what was poorly done or presented? what did they not agree with and why?]. The reports (max. half a page per reading) can be structured as bullet points, but the points made and the arguments used must be presented so as to be clear to the reader. The report is due no later than the day before the seminars begin. Submitting the report is a pre-requirement for taking part in the classroom seminars.
  1. ii)Participate actively in the classroom seminars (all days).
  1. iii)Within two weeks after the end of the seminars, to write and submit a personal reflection (max. 2-3 pages) on your own learning during the seminars and how you plan to use it in your doctoral research.
  1. iv)Submit an academic paper on a selected topic within Human Resource Management. The paper may be written jointly by two students or individually. The paper shall be approximately 15-20 pages in length (font size 12, double-spaced). Important: The participants are to agree upon and discuss their choice of topic as well as their approach with one of the faculty members before beginning the actual writing process.

Preliminary schedule


Introduction to HRM


Talent Management


HRM within & across levels




Strategic HRM




Big Data & HR Analytics


International HRM




Opportunity to discuss academic paper assignment (optional)






Requirements i) to iii) will be evaluated as pass/fail. Requirement iv) – the academic paper – will be evaluated on a scale of fail/1-5

and will represent the overall grade for the course.



The course is designed for those with an interest in studying people issues within organizations. The course is thus targeted at for but not restricted to doctoral students in Management, Human Resource Management, International Business, and Organizational Behavior.

Attendance at all the classroom seminars is mandatory. Students must therefore ensure they can commit to attending before applying.



Students are asked to register by sending a completed KATAJA course application form via e-mail to the Course Coordinator ( which includes their CV. Interested students must submit their application forms at the latest 2 months before the beginning of the course: application deadline 17 September 2018.

There is no fee for participation, but students are required to pay their own travel and accommodation expenses.


Instructors: (to be confirmed)

Professor Adam Smale, University of Vaasa

Professor Kristiina Mäkelä, Aalto University School of Business

Professor Dana Minbaeva, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark


Course coordinator and contact information: 

Adam Smale

Department of Management

University of Vaasa

P.O. Box 700

65101 Vaasa, FINLAND


Tel. +358 (0)29 449 8446


Course application form:

Contact address:
Thesis topic:
When officially accepted to doctoral program:
Phase of doctoral dissertation:
Motives for participating in the course: