MIRHR Course Descriptions

Not all elective courses are offered in any given year and some may be available only in alternate years.  Course availability may be subject to change due to such factors as faculty research leaves and departmental resources.  Some courses may be offered only during the day or only in the evening.  Consult the MIRHR timetable for current information.

IRE 1002H Applied Statistics in IR/HR

This course is designed to provide you a familiarity with the scope and application of statistical analysis. Topics include the following basic statistical techniques: descriptive measures, elementary probability, sampling, estimation and testing and regression. Examples are drawn from business and economics. The course will enable you to read statistical studies intelligently and critically.

Prerequisite :  No prerequisite required.

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IRE 1010H Economic Environment of IR/HR

Foundational aspects of economic theory that are of relevance to a career in industrial relations and human resources are the subject matter of this course. The theoretical analysis is supplemented by empirical evidence related to the Canadian labour market. Topics covered include competitive labour markets and the incidence of payroll taxes; employee behaviour, the labour-leisure choice model and alternative work-time arrangements; firm strategy, production, costs, present value, and fringe benefits; the impacts of unions and collective bargaining on the labour market; the impact of the macroeconomic environment on various HR and IR outcomes such as strike activity, union certifications and the magnitude of wrongful dismissal awards; the impact of government monetary and fiscal policy on unemployment, inflation and wage settlements.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.

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IRE 1126H Labour Market Policy

The course is designed to provide knowledge of one of the key environmental inputs of the industrial relations system — that being the labour market. Emphasis is placed on how the labour market functions (and malfunctions), its results, and how it affects, and is affected by, the industrial relations system within which it operates. The basic tools of labour economics will be provided, but the emphasis is on applying them to various policy issues such as: the incentive effects of income maintenance programs; retirement decisions and the impact of pensions; the effect of market structures (e.g., monopoly, public-sector employment) on wage and employment; the role of wage structures; the impact of institutional constraints such as gender discrimination, unemployment insurance, wage subsidies and negative income tax plans; special topics such as pay and employment equity, volunteer activity, labour shortages, health and safety, workers’ compensation, immigration and the brain drain.

Prerequisite : IRE1010H Economic Environment of IR/HR OR equivalent.

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IRE 1260H Labour Arbitration

This course is intended to provide an overview of the labour arbitration process applicable to unionized employees. The course will focus primarily on grievance arbitration and examine both procedural and substantive issues, including the scope of arbitration, pre-arbitration and arbitration processes and select issues in arbitration – discipline and discharge, contract interpretation, disability accommodation, privacy and discrimination. Mediation and med/arb as alternative dispute resolution mechanisms will also be discussed. The format will be a combination of lecture/seminar, class discussion, in-class exercises, video review and mock arbitration. Students will participate in mock arbitration hearings.

Prerequisite : IRE 1270H Law of Labour Relations OR IRE1338H Law in the Workplace OR equivalent.

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IRE 1270H Law of Labour Relations

This is an introductory course in Canadian labour relations law intended to prepare students to identify and address labour relations law issues that they may encounter in the field. The first part of the course will consider the labour relations system under the Ontario Labour Relations Act and specifically issues such as: acquisition of bargaining rights by a trade union; defining an appropriate bargaining unit; and determining the employees to be included in a bargaining unit. The second part of the course will examine unfair labour practices, the collective bargaining process, the duty to bargain in good faith, and the regulation of strikes, lockouts and picketing. The third part of the course will address the grievance arbitration process, including specific issues such as discipline and discharge, policy grievances respecting the interpretation of the collective agreement, and grievances challenging management prerogative.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.

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IRE 1338H Law in the Workplace

This course is intended to provide an overview of the three main legal regimes governing the employment relationship: common law, the statutory framework and collective bargaining law. The focus is largely on the Ontario experience, although some of the case law and discussions will emanate from other Canadian jurisdictions. The course will provide students with an overview and working knowledge of the principles, theory, and law of the employer-employee relationship. Students will gain an understanding of the employment relationship in both the non-unionized and unionized contexts. The course will explore the basic nature of the employment relationship from formation to termination, minimum standards legislation and regulations (including human rights law), and collective bargaining law.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.

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IRE 1362H Organizational Behaviour

The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with fundamental Organizational Behaviour (OB) principles and applications. Students will develop an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of the field and examine individual, group, and organizational processes that shape how people act and interact with others at work. Topics include personality, motivation, leadership, group dynamics/teams, organizational culture, and change. The major learning objectives are to learn how OB theories and principles help build and foster a high performing workplace, to learn how OB theory and research can influence HR program design and evaluation, and to strengthen critical analysis skills to evaluate current organizational concepts and challenges.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.

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IRE 1600H International Developments in Labour and Human Resource Policy

Undergraduate Course Code:  IRE 494H1

This course introduces students to emerging trends in international policy in key labour and human resource issues. Although national laws governing employment have been in place for a long time, these regulations have proved inadequate to address all the challenges in a world economy that is increasingly linked across nations, regions and continents. We consider: employment policies and practices of workplaces impacted by trade and organizational linkages across national boundaries; labour standards within the context of freer trade; international unions and other worker organizations; international collective bargaining; and the role of global institutions such as the United Nations (UN), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Bank. The course also examines codes of conduct and similar other private attempts to regulate labour conditions and the role of international corporations.

Prerequisite : One of IRE 1609H (Human Resources Management), IRE 1610H (Industrial Relations) and IRE1362H (Organizational Behaviour).

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IRE 1609H Strategic Human Resource Management

This is an overview Human Resource Management (HRM) course intended to give the modern business leader a broad understanding of how and what is involved in delivering competitive advantage through effective HRM. The key theme for the course is the creation of alignment between business strategy and objectives, structure, and what it is that people are actually doing to create value, personally and professionally. In short, the alignment of: strategy, structure and people. Value creation by employees, for customers and on behalf of shareholders, will also be a key theme of the course. The course begins with a look at organizational strategy, leading to subsequent sections on: workforce planning and role clarity; attraction, recruitment, selection and integration; reward and recognition; performance management and appraisal; training and development; people change management; employment legislation & health and safety; industrial and labour relations; talent and career management; and, organizational culture.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.

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IRE 1610H Industrial Relations

This introductory course will place emphasis on the practical application of basic skills required to manage either in unionized workplaces or in workplaces that might be faced with a certification application. Lectures, readings, simulations, and assignments will serve to acquaint the student with the structure and functioning of the Canadian industrial relations system, basic employment law concepts, the union certification process, negotiation and administration of collective agreements, strikes and dispute resolution, and Canadian industrial relations in an international context.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.
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IRE 1611H Sociology of Industrial Relations

This course introduces students to sociological approaches to work and industrial relations. It briefly explores the history of industrial relations leading to contemporary issues and events through the lens of key sociological thinkers such as Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Michels. Students are therefore introduced to classical theories and then these perspectives are applied to analyze current labour market and employment relationships. The objective of this course is first to demonstrate how an understanding of industrial relations can be informed and enriched by classical and contemporary sociological perspectives. Second, it is to enable students to familiarise themselves with sociological perspectives so that they can compare and contrast, support or oppose, distinct approaches to industrial relations and the nature of work. This new familiarity will facilitate a critical view of the theories that will be explored and applied in the course.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.

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IRE 1615H Labour and Globalization

The recent economic crisis has revealed the interconnectivity of the contemporary world. Financial crises that began on Wall Street spread to government takeovers of automobile companies that included imposed concessionary bargaining on both sides of the Canada-US border. Countries around the world – both developed and developing –, their business sectors, citizens and workers have all been coping simultaneously with this crisis. This course focuses on a number of themes that globalization and the new economy raise for workers, unions and the state. Through seminar discussions, presentations and the completion of a research essay, students will have the opportunity to explore these themes in greater depth and come to an appreciation of the increasing complexity of industrial relations in a globalizing world.

Prerequisite : IRE 1610H Industrial Relations OR equivalent.

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IRE 1620H Labour Relations Problems in Historical Perspective

This graduate course in industrial relations is conducted as a seminar, which examines current issues in labour relations, and investigates their historical background as a way of placing them in historical perspective. The approach is interdisciplinary, and the readings and discussions relate the present to the past and vice versa. Historical methodology and historiography are not covered, as the course is intended to supplement the study of industrial relations with a selection of readings pertinent to current themes. Topics covered include: Hours of Work, Occupational Health and Safety, Technological Change, Unions Globalization and the Environment, Immigrant Workers Experience, Whistle-blowers, Gender in the Workplace, The Employee Representation Debate, and the Unorganized Employee.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.

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IRE 1625H Public Sector Labour Relations

The objective of this course is to give students a solid basis for understanding contemporary issues in public sector collective bargaining and labour relations. Although the course will focus on the Canadian experience, there will be some material related to the broader North American context. The course will examine historical, legislative, constitutional, fiscal and political factors in the new paradigm. In particular, questions about collective bargaining rights, right to strike, privatization, and precarious employment will be raised and addressed through an analysis of recent experience of collective bargaining in federal, provincial, municipal and education sectors.

Prerequisite : IRE1610H Industrial Relations OR equivalent.

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IRE 1630H Negotiation Skills for IR/HR

Undergraduate Course Code:  IRE 472H1

As human resources and labour relations professionals, our ability to negotiate effectively is paramount to our performance as the majority of our workday is spent influencing colleagues, vendors, clients and other stakeholders. This course is about becoming a better negotiator through the understanding of theory, practice, and self-reflection. As this course is highly interactive, students are expected to prepare by completing the course readings and applying that knowledge directly in class every week. Periodically, we will also be joined by human resources and labour relations professionals who will discuss the types of negotiations they face in the course of their work, and how they handle these situations to achieve a desired outcome.

Prerequisite : IRE1610H Industrial Relations OR equivalent.

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IRE 1635H Collective Bargaining

This course examines the collective bargaining process, including underlying theories, current practice, and likely future trends. It examines the major elements to be considered by unions and management in their preparation for collective bargaining and in the negotiation of labour contracts, how to align collective bargaining strategy with HR and business strategies, how to apply interest-based and traditional approaches to negotiations, and how to resolves disputes and build trustworthy relationships. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a collective bargaining simulation, which will allow them to apply their knowledge and hone their negotiation skills.

Prerequisite : IRE1610H Industrial Relations OR equivalent.

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IRE 1640H Contemporary Trade Unionism

Recently, trade unions have faced many challenges including: economic recession; a crisis in manufacturing employment with closures, outsourcing and mass layoffs; cuts to public sector employment and moves to privatize it; as well as attacks on the right to strike. Meanwhile the private service sector, at least up until the current economic crisis, has seen continued growth, albeit with relatively low levels of compensation. At the same time, full-time more secure employment has declined, while precarious (non-standard) insecure employment has increased. These same decades have witnessed the rise of neoliberal policies and a decline in the nation-state’s willingness to intervene in the economy, regulate transnational corporations, enforce employment standards, and reform labour legislation. Such developments have challenged trade unions making it more difficult for them to organize new members, help maintain good jobs and expand union coverage. This course will examine such challenges plus issues such as the role of women in unions, diversity, pensions, coalition activity and more.

Prerequisite : IRE1610H Industrial Relations OR equivalent.

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IRE 1650H Managing Workplace Conflict

This is an introductory course on managing and resolving workplace conflict. The focus is on studying the various theories related to the nature of conflict and the processes and techniques of conflict resolution in both union and non-union settings. Using this theoretical groundwork, the course will examine and evaluate a variety of third-party dispute resolution systems such as mediation and arbitration. The core of the course will be the study of conflict management systems within organizations and their systematic approach to preventing, managing, and resolving conflict. Students will learn how to identify existing workplace conflict management systems; the phases, components, and considerations when designing and implementing a conflict management system; and the critical elements for evaluating and monitoring the system.

Prerequisite : IRE1610H Industrial Relations OR equivalent.

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IRE 1655H Health & Safety

This course will focus on the organisational, legal, social, political and economic dimensions of occupational health and safety. The course will begin with a discussion of the key constructs and components of the occupational health & safety system, and the principal actors in it. We will review how regulation and its enforcement work, and the breadth of their reach. We will also discuss the primary and secondary prevention mandate historically held by workers’ compensation, and how it has evolved over time. The bulk of the course involves looking beyond the basic components and mandate of the occupational health and safety system to understand system design, the recognition of health and safety risks, and the management of risk in the workplace.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.

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IRE 1715H Special Topics in IR/HR: Consulting Models, Practices, and Applications for IR/HR

The course has two objectives: (1) to introduce you to the field of consulting and (2) to enhance your consulting skills. It focusses on external consulting but will discuss internal consulting briefly. Our class process will be participative. As much of your learning will come from discussions and experiential exercises with your peers, it’s vital you come prepared to make contributions of quality to the content and process of our classes. In our discussions, we’ll practice our appreciative inquiry skills.

Prerequisite : IRE1609H Strategic Human Resource Management OR equivalent.

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IRE 1715H Special Topics in IR/HR: Coaching and Mentoring

Do you have the skills to mentor? How would you use your experiences with mentors to develop your own coaching style? How effective are mentoring programs in organizations and should you participate in them as a mentor or mentee? The recent surge in coaching across the business community shows a rising demand for coaching services, but are consultants providing effective guidance? In this course we will discuss coaching models and how they work in diverse environments (e.g., sports, academic, business or politics), but the primary focus will be coaching within a management context. We will examine the differences between the mentoring literature and the coaching literature and analyze how this might affect the practices in each. We will look at the types of organizational culture needed to support effective coaching and mentoring and how the design and type of evaluation used for the programs can influence their impact on people. Finally, we will read and discuss how coaching programs are designed for special populations (e.g., executives & minorities).

Prerequisite : IRE1609H Strategic Human Resource Management OR equivalent.

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IRE 1720H Managing Organizational Change

This course has two objectives: (1) to introduce students to the field of organization change management and (2) to enhance students’ analytic and implementation skills. It focuses on understanding organizational change, aligning human resources to organizational change, and implementing organizational change. The class process is participative. As much of the learning will come from discussions and experiential exercises with peers, it is vital that students come prepared to make contributions of quality to the content and process of classes. In discussions, students will practice appreciative inquiry skills.

Prerequisite : IRE1362H Organizational Behaviour OR equivalent.

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IRE 1725H Cross Cultural Differences in Organizational Contexts

Understanding the functioning of Western European and American organizations has been an ongoing effort for most of the 20th century. In the 21st century it is important to understand how organizations function in a wide variety of cultures. This course will focus on understanding cultural differences in behaviour in organizations. It will critically examine current research and theory in cross-cultural organizational behaviour, psychology and human resources management. In addition to providing students with a theoretical understanding of organizational behaviour in a cross-cultural context, students will also have an opportunity to develop culturally relevant interpersonal skills via a variety of exercises including role plays and case discussions.

Prerequisite : IRE1362H Organizational Behaviour OR equivalent.

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IRE 1730H Contemporary Challenges Facing Today’s Organizations

Undergraduate Course Code:  IRE 447H1

This is an advanced seminar exploring significant developments in organizations, and the challenges and opportunities facing professionals in the fields of labour relations and human resources. Emphasis is placed on developing problem solving and critical thinking skills and examining theories and concepts of employment relations.

Prerequisite : One of IRE1609H Strategic Human Resource Management OR equivalent, IRE1610H Industrial Relations OR equivalent, and IRE1362 Organizational Behaviour OR equivalent.

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IRE 2001H Foundations and Current Issues in IR/HR

This course is designed to provide students of industrial relations with a sound theoretical foundation for understanding and managing the employment relationship. Four broad principles anchor the course: 1) The employment relationship is characterized by complex socio-economic exchange among the parties; 2) The goal of employment relations theory is not only to better understand people at work in employment situations but also to facilitate better policy-making; 3) Employment relationships can be viewed at different levels; and 4) Shifts in the global economy have created new pressures on employment relationships. To solve these emerging problems we need to draw on theories developed during the formative years of modern industry in the 20th century; we also need to modify these theories where ever they prove inadequate in explaining/understanding emerging issues and problems in employment relationships.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.

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IRE 2002H Research Methods for IR/HR

This course is designed to teach students to understand and interpret research in industrial relations/human resources. The focus on how problems and theory are converted into research ideas and questions. Students will learn how to develop research questions and hypotheses and design research using a number of research methods (e.g., survey research, experimental designs). Students will also learn how to critically evaluate research and to become better and more informed consumers of research.

Prerequisite : IRE1002H Applied Statistics in IR/HR.

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IRE 2003H Research Project in IR/HR

This course builds on concepts introduced in IRE2002H Research Methods for IR/HR and is designed to teach students to conduct research in industrial relations/human resources. The focus is the whole of the research process ending with a research paper. Students will learn how to develop research questions and hypotheses, design and conduct research using a number of research methods (e.g., survey research, experimental designs), develop measures that are reliable and valid, analyze data using SPSS, and write a research paper.

Prerequisite : IRE2002H Research Methods for IR/HR.

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IRE 2004H Data Analytics and Metrics

This course will teach how to use the necessary statistical tools for data-driven decision making so as to improve the effectiveness of human resources programs. The course will focus on classical methods which include descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance and multivariate regression models. Students will use sample data in employee selection, compensation, union practices and statistical tools to evaluate and make recommendations for HR policies and practices. Identification of the appropriate statistical technique for analyzing a variety of problems will be discussed as well as the potential pitfalls from of using inappropriate techniques. The course will emphasize data investigation and mastering statistical reasoning, not mathematical rigor.

Prerequisite : IRE2002H Research Methods for IR/HR.

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IRE 2021H Business Strategy for IR/HR

The purpose of this course is to enhance your ability to understand and integrate the different functional areas of business into a cohesive whole. Students will learn about the functions of general management within the context of strategic formulation and implementation across a wide range of industries. The course will provide opportunities for students to develop strategic thinking, analytical, teamwork and communication skills. Teaching approaches include lectures, case analysis and a variety of experiential learning activities.

Prerequisite : No prerequisite required.

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IRE 3615H Performance Management Systems

Rewards influence individual motivation and thus affect individual and team performance. But reward systems cannot succeed if employees’ performance is not adequately measured. Performance management systems are complex programs to design properly and even harder to implement effectively. In this class we will study performance measurement and incentive program design to motivate and develop employee performance. Key topics include performance assessment; employee motivation, discipline, and performance conciliation; and design and implementation of compensation and benefits systems to attract and retain talent, while facilitating achievement of the strategic objectives of the organization.

Prerequisite : IRE1609H Strategic Human Resource Management or equivalent.

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IRE 3620H Consulting in Compensation

Students will be given an opportunity in this course to apply their compensation knowledge in a real-life work setting with an organization that has agreed to be the “subject” for the course. Students will analyze compensation practices and strategies that affect employee behaviours and firm performance. The course will cover theoretical, research and applied developments in compensation. Topics include the employee value proposition, base pay, incentives, benefits, executive compensation, and compensation strategy among others. The main objective of the course is that students understand the integral role of compensation in organizations and have the opportunity to solidify their in-class learning in a real life work-setting.

Prerequisite : IRE3635H Compensation OR equivalent.

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IRE 3635H Compensation

In many organizations, compensation is the single largest budget component. A 1% difference in compensation could mean hundreds of thousands dollars saved or spent without gain. The design of compensation systems also affects organizations’ attractiveness to job seekers and the behaviour of current employees. This course provides students with an understanding of the principles, processes, issues and techniques involved in establishing compensation and reward programs in organizations within a framework of fairness and equity. Compensation will be looked at from the perspective of base pay, benefits, and incentive pay. As well, students will be introduced to the relationship between motivation theories and effective remuneration and reward programs. The course will focus on the major components in developing an effective compensation and rewards program such as legislation, principles of equity and fairness, job evaluation, compensation surveys, benefits and incentives. Current events in relation to compensation and rewards will be explored.

Prerequisite : IRE1609H Strategic Human Resources Management OR equivalent.

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IRE 3640H Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment and selection are the foundations of the HR system. This course will cover advanced topics in recruiting and selection with emphasis on empirical and theoretical approaches to understanding these processes. Topics will include organizational recruitment strategies, the legal issues surrounding recruitment and selection, how to screen job applicants, and the role of employee testing and employee interview in making selection decisions. The purpose of this course is to develop a deep understanding of valid and reliable selection, with an emphasis on the role that it plays in the HR system, and to give students the skills to develop an effective and legally defensible selection system for any organization.

Prerequisite : IRE1609H Strategic Human Resources Management OR equivalent.

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IRE 3645H Training and Development

Training and development involves planned activities directed at enhancing the learning of job-relevant knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes by employees to improve on-the-job performance and job behaviour, and to enhance the overall effectiveness of organizations. In this course, students will learn about the training and development function and how it fits within the larger organization and environmental context, as well as specific topics such as needs analysis, training design, training methods, delivery, transfer, and the evaluation of training programs. The course focuses on training theory and research as well as the application of training in organizations.

Prerequisite : IRE1609H Strategic Human Resources Management OR equivalent.

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IRE 3650H Human Resource Planning and Strategy

The objective of this course is to provide an understanding of the essential elements of Human Resources Planning (HRP) in organizations. Students will acquire knowledge in analyzing, assessing and planning for human resource requirements with respect to organizational business plans and strategies. Quantitative as well as qualitative concepts, approaches and techniques are emphasized.

Prerequisite : IRE1609H Strategic Human Resources Management OR equivalent.

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IRE 3655H Leadership

Leadership captures the attention of movie makers, historians, politicians, organizational scholars and practitioners, to name but a few. The crux of our curiosity centres on questions like: What makes an effective leader? What drives leaders? Who becomes a leader? How do we evaluate leadership? How do leaders exercise influence among others? For the past 50+ years scholars of organizational behaviour have invested considerable thought and research energy into answering these questions in the form of models, theories and paradigms of leadership. As our world becomes increasingly more complex and dynamic, it is difficult for any one theory to truly address our questions and provide the insights we seek. Instead today’s leadership theorists are taking a radically different approach to understanding leadership. Case studies are a methodology to problem solve and think about “what happened” and “what could happen next”. We will read several of these throughout the course. Finally, we will write and use in-class exercises to practice our interpersonal skills and build a model of leadership uniquely suited to who we are.

Prerequisite : IRE1362H Organizational Behaviour OR equivalent.

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