Course Descriptions

Semester 1: May-July (Summer 1)

Competitive Advantage and Profitability
This course introduces you to the tools and frameworks used in market evaluation and assessment of the competition. As you explore advanced business concepts and practices, you will learn what makes a particular business profitable and how it achieves competitive advantage in a given market. You will dig into real-world case studies and gain a more nuanced understanding of business and organizational mechanics. Your grasp of the essentials will prepare you think practically about developing a competitive, profit-driven business strategy.

Strategic Positioning in Markets
Central to your business strategy is identifying your strategic position. Strategic positioning is essentially how your firm “stacks up” to the competition and helps to define the scope and scale of your business. To survive and thrive you need accurate data-driven models for self-assessment and competition analysis. This course will cover product or service differentiation and help you stake your claim in a particular market segment. You will delve into fascinating case studies from fashion icon Gucci to jewelry giant Zales and review several of the greatest do’s and don’ts in the history of strategic positioning.

Capacity, Surplus, and Performance Measurement
The key to good managerial reporting lies in deciding which system best helps managers make better decisions, with the shortcomings that cause the fewest problems. This course explores one of the most challenging issues in measuring the margins created by individual managers, departments, products and services: allocating the costs that are incurred simply to provide productive capacity. You will learn the pluses and minuses of investing in capacity, the creation of surplus, and the risks associated with fixed capacity costs help you assess and plan for economic downturns or increased competition. In examining the economics of your business, you will understand which costing systems best meet your needs.

Measuring and Improving Efficiency
Measuring and encouraging efficiencies in different parts of an organization rely on accurately identifying and isolating the areas responsible for those efficiencies. This course introduces you to effective techniques for setting prices for the exchange of products and services between different units in a business. The goal is to improve decision-making and to isolate each unit’s responsibility for the elements of business strategy under their control.

Aligning HR Strategy with Organizational Strategy
A thorough understanding of your organization's value creation model and ability to develop competencies through processes, technology, and people are essential to ensuring that the HR organization is aligned vertically and horizontally to produce superior results. With this understanding, HR will be able to articulate how it can improve processes, people and customer outcomes, and financial results. This course develops the skills needed to assess how organizations create value and to align the HR function to execute the organization's strategy. Participants analyze the Balanced Scorecard approach as a means of vertically aligning the HR system with organizational objectives. They learn how to create a vertical-alignment strategy and use it to improve HR decision-making, people outcomes, processes, customer outcomes, and financial results. And they learn the skills required to plan and assess horizontal alignment of HR systems and practices. Finally, the course discusses best practices related to workforce partitioning, performance variability, value identification, and employee impact.

Semester 2: August - December (Fall)

Residential Session #1 - Strategic Human Resource Management
The primary goal of this course is to help HR professionals better understand their business strategy, and to explore the ways that the management of human capital can help the company achieve its strategic objectives. The course provides a review of business strategy and HR strategy as well as how to analyze linkages among the two.  In addition, it examines metrics that can be used to evaluate the alignment and effectiveness of HR systems.  Finally, the course provides students with the insights and tools they need to work successfully as human resource management consultants, both as HR managers operating within a firm to improve organizational effectiveness and as external consultants providing project support to an internal HR organization.

Residential Session #1 - Labor Relations Strategy and High Performance Work Systems
This course is designed to introduce students to the development of a labor relations strategy at both national and workplace levels, with a particular focus on the restructuring of work. You will examine what an IR system is and how it functions, explore the basic considerations in developing labor relations strategy, and develop a framework to deal with typical IR issues, strikes, conflict resolution and re-structure.

Developing an Agenda for Change
The many economic, competitive, and global factors that influence how organizations conduct business are constantly changing and evolving. The ability of organizations to understand these influences on their organizations and to respond to and adapt to these changes is critical for long-term growth and survival. This course discusses change as a political process driven by individuals and leaders within the organization who emerge as change agents. To be effective, individuals must recognize the areas within the organization over which they can exercise control and the areas over which they cannot.

Mapping the Political Terrain of Allies and Resistors
Implementing an agenda for action is a political process driven by individuals within the organization who emerge as change agents. Essential to their success is the understanding that all new initiatives attract both allies and resistors. This course teaches leaders how to frame their agenda in a way that helps them identify and assess potential allies and resistors to their initiatives. With this understanding participants will be able to anticipate and prepare for arguments resistors may use in their attempts to derail the initiative.

Negotiating Support and Buy-In for Your Agenda
In these highly uncertain and turbulent times, going it alone is no longer a route to success; as a result, effective leaders build coalitions of support for their agenda and change initiatives. Leaders develop such coalitions by establishing their own credibility and the credibility of their agenda. This course is designed to help learners develop a "roadmap" for negotiating support for their action agenda, convey an understanding of the principles of bargaining power and influence in the process of negotiating a strategic initiative, apply this conceptual model to their action agenda in their organization, and analyze the political agendas of others in the organization, identify sources of support for their agenda, and develop a strategy for building support for their initiative.

Mobilizing the Coalition for Action
In most organizations, it is no longer sufficient to identify what needs to get done, and how it should get done. A leader must have the skills to implement his or her initiative and to overcome the dynamics of opposition and resistance that exist in every organization. This course is designed to help you apply the leadership style appropriate to the situation, put a change coalition in place, react to changing conditions in the organization to ensure successful implementation, and anticipate and prepare for the future.

Establishing Momentum
Effective leaders not only develop good ideas and create action, but also implement the ideas and sustain action. You can be charismatic. You can be charming. But your skill as a manager will be evaluated in terms of your ability to get things done. Once you have gotten an initiative off the ground, you need to ensure that your coalition has the ability to produce results and drive momentum. A proactive leader must have the managerial competence to build the coalition's capacity to keep the initiative moving forward and growing, and the performance-management skills to keep it operating effectively. This course is designed to help learners develop a “roadmap” for establishing momentum for their coalition's agenda, apply facilitative and directive leadership styles appropriately in teams and organizations, maintain organizational capacity in order to allocate resources and prioritize effectively, monitor performance in order to evaluate progress and make corrections, and apply these skills to a change agenda in their organization.

Sustaining Momentum
Leaders need to provide the vision, exercise political agility, and establish the organizational culture necessary to keep their initiatives vital and moving forward. Proactive leaders must have the skills to keep the "soul" of their coalition alive and relevant to the needs of the organization. This course is designed to help learners manage organizational culture to sustain momentum, become politically agile in ensuring continued support for their agenda, and manage their coalition—and their agenda—for the long-term.

Semester 3: January (Winter)

Diversity and Inclusion for Bottom-Line Performance
The management of diversity and inclusion has evolved from handling day-to-day compliance issues to leveraging diversity for competitive advantage. Organizations that no longer see diversity as a legal or moral requirement, but as a competitive advantage, have an opportunity to improve performance at the financial, employee, customer, and community levels. Diversity and inclusion practices must be embedded in an organizational culture to make a positive impact on performance. This course summarizes the evolution of diversity and inclusion management; outlines key management practices for improving performance, contextualizes diversity in terms of current challenges, and provides direct linkages between diversity and the bottom line at the organizational and functional levels.

Semester 4: January - May (Spring)

Building a Talent Management Culture
As the existing "war for talent" intensifies and becomes increasingly global, organizations must develop strong talent-management practices that are tightly aligned with business strategy. Successful organizations build talent management cultures to take advantage of their human capital. They focus on attracting top talent, identifying and developing future leaders, and retaining the best prospects in the high-potential talent pool. This course focuses on developing a strategic approach to managing core talent. Such an approach begins with the development of an employment brand in order to attract the best talent to the organization, promote the organization as a preferred employer, and produce superior recruiting outcomes. Organizations must then identify and implement an integrated marketing and communication strategy to build brand awareness. The complexity of managing employee retention and engagement includes understanding the root causes of talent-retention problems. The course identifies practices and solutions for increasing the likelihood of top talent remaining with the organization and becoming its future leaders.

Employee Engagement
Employee engagement can be broadly defined as employees consistently acting in the best interests of the organization. Linked to critical outcomes including absenteeism, turnover, customer satisfaction, operational performance, and financial performance, employee engagement is a vital driver of an organization’s bottom-line performance. This course focuses not only on why employee engagement is important and valuable, but also on how to foster and measure employee engagement and link it to key organizational metrics and outcomes. It examines the business case to pursue employee engagement as a strategic initiative and evolve beyond the transactional approach of traditional employee relations to a strategic approach focusing on relationship-oriented and emotional measurements of employee commitment. It also develops the competencies necessary to build employee engagement in your organization, the risks involved, and the implications for the HR professional in adopting this approach.

HR Analytics for Business Decisions
HR leaders help drive business performance by delivering competitive advantage through people. Performance relies on measures, so you need to be adept at planning and interpreting your organization's "people metrics." This requires a solid grasp of HR analytics: the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data designed to improve decisions about talent and the organization as a whole. The use of analytics is changing the way HR professionals quantify the value that people—our biggest asset—have on the organization's ability to succeed in the market or in its mission. In this course, you take a strategic view of your organization's use of HR data and its measurement systems. The course prepares you to determine the HR metrics that align with your company's strategic goals. It explains the characteristics of high quality data and equips you to find and collect that data, inside or outside your organization. It provides a high-level introduction to common analysis techniques and some mistakes to avoid when interpreting data, or when assessing reports and interpretations offered by others. In the final section of the course, you will learn to take the results of your data collection and analysis and communicate your findings in a compelling manner so that change follows.

Residential Session #2 - Managing and Developing Talent
This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive view of how the HR system can be used to manage and develop talent. Consideration is given to both theories and practical applications involved in effectively managing and developing human capital. Topics covered include employment branding, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement and retention, identifying and developing high potential talent, executive compensation, and executive assessment and coaching.  Emphasis is placed on exploring these issues from both strategic and tactical levels to increase organizational effectiveness

 Residential Session #2 - Organizational Behavior: Managing Change
This course addresses key issues for general management and organizational change efforts including:creating effective formal structures; managing organizational culture; and dealing with common problems of intergroup interaction.Its primary aims are to help students better understand aspects of organizations that are important drivers of individual and group behavior, and develop their ability to diagnose and manage common problems. In the first part, we consider the trade-offs associated with different structural configurations, and the relationship between formal structure and organizational culture.We discuss strategies managers can use to influence culture, and when different strategies are most likely to be effective. In the second part, we examine factors that affect how well subunits function, including sources of intergroup conflict, common biases in group decisions, and arrangements that affect individual and group-level creativity.

Human Resources Leadership
Effective HR leaders look beyond managing the HR function. They don't stop at building the talent pool of the organization; they operate at the most senior levels and play a strategic role in the organization. They influence the strategic planning process to ensure alignment with the goals and values of the organization, while managing the process to ensure superior outcomes. This course introduces the SELF Model of Human Resources Leadership that defines the leadership and influencing competencies needed to balance the tradeoffs present in the formation of organizational strategy. The SELF Model focuses on HR's role in guiding strategy development to ensure that it will result in the expected Strategic, Ethical, Legal, and Financial outcomes for an organization. This course also introduces the Human Frailties framework, a tool for managing the interpersonal dynamics at the most senior levels of the organization in order to produce the most positive results.

Tactics and Skills for Negotiating
Successful negotiation demands the flawless execution of a well-crafted strategy. This course develops the skills necessary to ensure that you can think both strategically and tactically at the negotiation table and master the techniques and maneuvers that will determine your success or failure. This course provides a practical framework for managing negotiations that can be used in almost any type of negotiation. This course clearly guides you through the process of negotiating to ensure that you are able to execute your strategy and achieve your objectives. How a negotiation starts can significantly affect how it ends; this course ensures that you are able to set the initial tone for your negotiations, decide whether you should make the first move, determine how to present your proposals, and establish your negotiation style. It also provides tools to ensure that your ego does not impair your ability to gain your desired outcome. Once the negotiation has commenced, this course fully explores strategies and tactics for engaging the other party to ensure that you understand their position, can elicit additional information from them, and present your own arguments most effectively. This course focuses on developing an increased capacity to listen, ask proactive questions that will move the agenda forward, and make the appropriate arguments to achieve your objectives. Bluffing is explored in detail to provide you with mastery of the concept so you can determine if and when it is an appropriate tactic to use in a variety of situations. The strategic use of emotional expression is also explored as a potentially advantageous tactic. Finally, effective closing techniques are discussed in detail to help ensure that you end up with a negotiated agreement that meets all your objectives.

Semester 5: June - July (Summer 2)

Managing Global Employment Issues (modules 1-4)
Many of today's organizations operate in global markets where employment issues, regulations, and labor practices can vary dramatically from one country to another. HR professionals need to have a global perspective and a solid grasp of international employment issues so that the organization runs smoothly and productively. In this course, you will learn how to design and implement an integrated management system that increases efficiency, productivity, and profitability through the introduction of high-performance work practices (HPWP). You also need a forward-thinking approach to workplace diversity and understand current human rights challenges. In this course, you’ll analyze case studies and see how arbitration, mediation, and facilitation techniques used in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can mitigate productivity loss, resolve serious workplace conflict and head off costly litigation. Learn how to implement high-performance HR practices in both unionized and non-unionized settings.

Residential Session #3 - HR Leadership
This course focuses on developing the leadership and influencing competencies necessary to lead the HR function. You will develop a better understanding of the role of courage and influence in leading the HR function and making difficult decisions, explore the concept of Lean as applied to manufacturing and non-manufacturing organizations, and examine organizational design, specifically as applied to designing and managing matrix organizations.  Finally, the course will examine the business fundamentals associated with restructures and mergers and acquisitions and HR’s role in their successful execution and integration.
 
Residential Session #3 - Global and Comparative Employment Relations
This course provides an understanding of global and cross-national variation in employment relations institutional features, how these features are changing or transforming as a result of globalization and economic integration, and these change inform the development of global labor relations strategies for corporations.  The course will also focus on evolving new forms of global private voluntary regulation that have become an important element of the global HR function.  Finally, the course will provide students with an in-depth political, historical, and economic analysis of China and India and examine associated implications for employment relations. 

Negotiations
This course provides an understanding of basic principles of negotiation theory and their application to the practice of negotiating. Students will learn the different sub-processes involved in negotiations, apply principles of game theory to negotiations, examine the roles of power and tactics in negotiations, and learn interest-based approaches to negotiating.  Finally, the course will examine cross-cultural issues in negotiations.