Human Resource Strategies for the International Manager

Coursework Assignment

Rationale for the Assessment

This coursework assessment is worth 50% of your overall mark.  The aim here is for you to critically analyze and diagnose real-world scenarios by applying theoretical models taught on the module, within a defined context.  Students in the past have found it helpful to contextualise course content and assessments within the background of ethical and progressive management practices.  This is an approach which allows students to engage in a manner which is empowering for them and allows them to contemplate the difference that they can potentially make to the future of international business practice.

Setting the Scene:

The concept of a ‘smart city’ is a rapidly growing phenomenon.  Although there are slightly different definitions of what constitutes a smart city, most experts would agree that smart cities make use of smart technologies and data as the means to solve sustainability challenges – economic, social and environmental issues. Smart technologies can be classified, broadly, as ICT solutions. They range from expensive hardware solutions such as city control centres, smart grids and autonomous vehicles, through to much lower cost solutions such as smartphone apps, online platforms that crowdsource citizens’ ideas and low-cost environmental sensors. Data is also central to smart cities, in particular the use of big data and open data.  The ‘original’ smart city is Songdo, in South Korea, which began development as early as the year 2000.  Now, more than 16 years and $35 billion later, Songdo has provided inspiration for other smart city initiatives around the world.


Background reading may include, but should not be limited to :


You are writing a brief for a specialist recruitment agency.  The agency is currently headhunting technical staff from their London office to work on a developmental project with staff in the original smart city, Songdo, in South Korea.  Placements are for two years’ duration, and ‘hard’ skills, including technical skill sets, have already been agreed.  Your advice has been sought on how to recruit based on ‘soft’ skills, namely competencies in the following HRM areas: leadership, motivation and communication.  In drawing up your guidance, you should indicate how cultural understandings of these three HRM areas may differ in South Korea compared to the United Kingdom.


Your task

You will need to:

  • Conduct some background reading on the concept of ‘smart cities’ and on Songdo, South Korea, in particular;
  • Read critically the academic literature on the three HRM areas specified: leadership, motivation and communication;
  • Explore the literature on Culture and Cross-Cultural Management so that you understand how cultural factors affect the three HRM areas;
  • Draw up a set of recommendations for the recruitment agency based on your analysis of the competencies needed for the recruitment of engineers as described above.

Prepare a report for the recruitment agency’s senior management team identifying the main HRM problems and challenges faced when hiring engineers from one country for a placement in a very different cultural country setting.

  1. a) The report should address relevant HRM theory and practice in the following areas:
  2. Culture
  3. Leadership

iii.        Motivation

  1. Communication

It is recommended that the initial section on culture is informative but concise, and is included within the Introduction.  Your understanding of cultural difference should be made clear in your discussion of (ii), (iii) and (iv).

  1. b) Provide detailed recommendations about what the recruitment agency should consider to address the three HRM areas when headhunting. Your report must illustrate a sound understanding of theoretical models taught on the module and relevant knowledge from reading and research in International Strategic Human Resource Management.  With all the above areas you must take into consideration the significance of Culture and Cross-Cultural Management.

How to approach the assessment task:

This is a formal report and should be written in the 3rd person. You will need to include numbered headings and/or subheadings.

A suggested structure is as follows:

  • Executive Summary (excluded from word count)

A concise overview of all parts of your report and the conclusions reached. Key results, concepts/theories applied and main findings – including recommendations – should be clearly stated here.

  • Table of Contents (excluded from word count)

Headings and subheadings should be numbered and page numbers provided. Whatever numbering system you use, it needs to be clear and consistent throughout and matches those in the report. Do not include the heading ‘Executive Summary’ here.

  1. Introduction (Suggested word count: 500)

Introduce the purpose and structure of your report. This should include (a) background on the smart city concept and the Songdo initiative (b) relevant cultural factors comparing South Korea with the United Kingdom.  The cultural analysis should be informed by theory – you will need to be very selective here.  Remember that you will need to refer to cultural aspects throughout your report; there is no need to put ‘everything on culture’ in your introduction.

  1. Analysis of: Leadership, Motivation and Communication (Suggested word count: 750-800 words per area, including recommendations, which should count for about 150-200 words out of the 750-800)

Discussion of the three HRM areas: leadership, motivation and communication within the context of the smart city placement described.  Each area must address at least two HRM theories (e.g. two leadership theories in the leadership section) while also addressing cultural factors within the theme of leadership.  It is important that you use this section to demonstrate your understanding of the issues presented.  Any descriptive elements should be assigned to an appendix.

  1. Recommendations (Suggested word count: see above; 500-600 words if treating this section separately)

This is where you set out realistic and practical recommendations to address the issues identified in the preceding analytical part of the report.  Recommendations should (a) arise naturally from the preceding discussion and (b) offer a clear means of operationalisation.  In other words, a manager reading your report should be able to understand exactly what they need to do from reading your recommendation.  A good approach is to offer one or two recommendations per HRM area, and treat these in detail.

You have a choice in setting out your recommendations.  Either you can put all of your recommendations in one place towards the end of the report, or you can put the relevant recommendation at the end of each section.  The advantage of giving the recommendation in each individual section (e.g. leadership, including leadership recommendations) is that it helps you to ground your recommendations in your discussion.


  1. Conclusion (Suggested word count 200)

Synthesize your main argument(s) and summarize key findings in your report.

  1. References (excluded from word count)

Westminster Harvard Referencing System should be applied. Please refer to the University’s ‘Referencing Your Work: Using Westminster Harvard’ booklet or download an online version in Library Search and for accurate application of Westminster Harvard Referencing system.

  1. Appendices (excluded from word count)

It is not a requirement of the report to attach appendices, but you may wish to include a glossary or a detailed visual graph.

Note: simple visuals, such as easy to read graphs, can be included in the body of the report.  More detailed statistical or visual data is best included as an appendix.  If you are doing this, you should refer to the relevant appendices in the body of your report.

References and Appendices are excluded from the word count but will be considered part of your overall submission and therefore contribute to your overall mark

Marking Criteria

Marking Criteria Weighting
Quality and variety of secondary research (sources); Westminster Harvard referencing – accuracy of referencing format. 30%
Critical arguments and conclusions – discussion of the three HRM areas: leadership, motivation and communication within the context of the smart city placement described.  Each area must address at least two HRM theories (e.g. two leadership theories in the leadership section) while also addressing cultural factors within the theme of leadership.  40%
Recommendations – these should address the problems identified in the diagnostic/analysis part of the report. 20%
Presentation, layout and clarity of writing – the report should be clearly written, with accurate grammar, spelling and sentence construction.  The report should follow an acceptable report layout and adopt an appropriate scholarly tone throughout. 10%
Total 100%


Submission Instructions:

Individual submission on Turnitin via Blackboard.

We strongly advise that you submit your assessment at least 3 hours before the deadline and that you DO NOT use a Safari browser to submit your work. This way if there are any technical issues you will have time to sort them out.

Technical Difficulties with Submission:

If you have a financial hold situation, a hardcopy plus electronic version will be accepted via the WBS Registry Coursework Lobby before the deadline. Please do not email your coursework to your Module Leader or your Seminar Leader unless you have been asked to do so. The Registry does not accept such a submission in most cases.

If you are having technical difficulties on the date of submission please contact the Service Desk (+44 (0) 20 7915 5488). Make sure a ticket is logged for you and note down the reference number.

Penalties for Late Submission:

Any assessment submitted late online will be penalised unless you submit a claim for Mitigating Circumstances and the claim is accepted by the Registry. There will be penalties for any coursework submitted even one second after the deadline without an approved Mitigating Circumstances claim. The penalty for courseworks submitted individually online within the 24 hours late period is a reduction of 10% of the mark.

Avoiding Plagiarism:

Your assignment must demonstrate your own work and ideas. You may use graphs and clipart as appropriate. All written work must be the work of the individual student. Similarities between the works of students will be reported as collusion.

Presenting an assessment work which you have previously submitted for assessment as part of the same or another module or course, or at another institution is known as self-plagiarism. This relates to the principle that a student may not receive credit for the same piece of work more than once unless specifically required to resubmit work as a requirement of re-assessment.

Any quotations and references that you include in your assignment will be identified by the Turnitin programme as being similar to other sources. Therefore it is vital that you reference correctly. Any evidence of plagiarism will be reported.

A Turnitin similarity content of 0% will be investigated by the Plagiarism Committee as it is regarded as being an indicator of an attempt to circumvent the plagiarism software.  Since your document should have several different references the TurnitIn programme should identify them.




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