Human Resource Management Short Course : Unisa HR Courses

The Unisa course in Human Resource Management aims to ensure effective human resource management that is crucial for the long-term survival of South African organisations. People in organisations determine their success or failure, and managers and supervisors need to cope with the changing demands of the workplace. If managers and supervisors wish to act professionally, they must understand and be able to diagnose and solve problems.  This programme, which is accredited by the South African Board for People Practice, affords students the opportunity to develop these competencies. It also forms part of the Centre for Business Management’s ongoing task to develop people to deal with people.

This short learning programme is designed with a view to exposing students to both the theoretical and practical aspects of human resource management in South Africa.

The purpose of this programme is to equip students with the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities in order to perform various human resource management functions at the foundation level in an organisation. This programme, which is accredited by the South African Board for People Practice, affords students the opportunity to develop essential competencies needed within an HR context

Duration of the programme

Twelve months

Registration requirements

A National Senior Certificate or equivalent qualification is required for enrolment in this programme. Persons not in possession of such a qualification will be considered for admission on the basis of alternative admission criteria such as relevant work experience (you will be required to submit proof of this in the form of your CV and references or other prior learning.

Programme content

The learning content of the programme consists of the following four compulsory modules:

The Human Resource Function (PHRM01L)


Module purpose The purpose of this module is to provide students with an introductory exposure to the field of HRM, as part of their preparation to become competent in managing human resource functions in organisations
Outcomes In order to be declared competent in this module, students have to demonstrate that they are able to:
• appreciate the South African context of human resource management
• appreciate the importance of strategic human resource management and the fit between human resource strategy and organisational strategy
• explain the structural dimensions of an organisation and its human resource department
• explain the importance of workforce planning in the context of human resource management
• demonstrate how performance management and career management assist in the utilisation and development of employees
• discuss ways to retain good employees by providing a working environment conducive to sustained productive effort
Content CONCEPTUAL AND CONTEXTUAL PERSPECTIVES AND ISSUESHuman resource management: an introduction and conceptual orientation
• HRM: foundation and definition
• HRM: embedded in management, organisations and society
• HRM and value creation
• HRM and complexity
• HRM requires involving different role players
• HRM is evolving

South African human resource management in context
• South African HRM in a historical context
• South Africa and the African context: international shift and dynamics
• South Africa’s people in societal context
• South Africa’s economy in context
• Politics, policy and the state in South Africa: issues and relevance
• South Africa’s fraternity of HR practitioners

Empowering towards equal opportunity: the key HRM challenges of our era
• The HRM conformance challenge: South Africa’s relevant legislative framework
• The HRM performance challenge: towards socioeconomic inclusiveness, equity and valuing diversity

Labour Relations (PHRM02M)


Module purpose The aim of part I of this module is to systematically study the macro-aspects of South African labour relations as they apply to management, in the context of a systems approach.

The aim of part II of this module is to acquaint students with the fundamental principles pertaining to the management of labour relations, primarily at organisational level.

Outcomes  In order to be declared competent in this module, students have to demonstrate that they are able to:
• explain relevant terminology and various theoretical perspectives of labour relations management in South Africa and indicate their practical relevance
• identify and cursorily describe the key role players, stakeholders and institutions relevant to South African labour relations and explain their roles
• explain South Africa’s statutory labour relations system and demonstrate a working knowledge of its main components, specifically in relation to the management implications of this system
• cursorily describe other relevant pieces of labour relation and show how these are relevant to management
• discuss the informal dimensions of labour relations and highlight a number of international perspectives on this field
• apply the principles of managing the mainly divergent interests and conflict dynamics pertaining to the primary role players in labour relations in organisations
• explain how to build constructive relations at the workplace, between labour relations role players
• examine labour relations management from a strategic and holistic perspective
Content  PART I:  A MACROPERSPECTIVEConceptual and contextual perspectives and issues
• Theoretical and academic reflection and consideration
• Role players, stakeholders and relevant institutions
• The historical context of South African labour relations

The formal framework governing labour relations in South Africa
• South Africa’s statutory labour relations system
• Other relevant labour legislation

Pushing boundaries: interactional and international dynamics and issue
• Socio psychological dynamics, collective bargaining and industrial democracy for economic and psychosocial empowerment
• Interactive and international labour relations perspectives and issues

Managing the mainly divergent interest and conflict dynamics
• Managing conflict, handling grievances and negotiating
• Industrial action and strike management
• Discipline and dismissal

Managing for more common ground: building constructive workplace relations
• Communication, group dynamics and interpersonal interaction
• Worker participation

Towards total quality labour relations (TCLR): holistic and strategic perspectives and challenges
• Managing labour relations strategically: holistic and integrative perspectives
• Enhancing labour relations quality through control and integration

Training and Development (PHRM03N)


Module purpose  The purpose of this module is to prepare students for managing the training and development function at an organisation’s foundation level.
Outcome The student must be able to
• explore learning theories, establish effective learning principles and critically examine adult learning theories and principles
• apply relevant aspects of training-related legislation (SAQA, NQF and skills development legislation) to the workplace, and identify the macro factors that impact on training and development in South African organisations
• apply the functions of the skills development facilitator in organisations and facilitate the compilation of a workplace skills plan with guided support
• design a small-scale training programme which includes determining training needs, programme design, presenting training programmes and evaluating training
• apply the requirements of managing training and development in an organisation
• apply the concepts and key steps of the process of strategic human resource development for determining a strategy for human resource development for an organisation
• discuss the importance of management development in the light of the manager’s role as a change agent in the enterprise, and describe the various management development methods that can be used in an organisation
Content Learning theories
• The learning process
• More about learning
• Learning theories
• Adult learningThe National Training and Education Strategy
• Legislation and other macro factors affecting training and development in South Africa: an introduction
• Implementing legislation:  SAQA and NQF
• Standards

Skills development
• The Skills Development Act (SDA) and the Skills Development Levies Act:  an overview
• The Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs)
• The workplace skills plan, the skills development facilitator and earnerships

Stage 1 of the training cycle: training needs assessment
• Training needs assessment
• Different levels at which training needs are experienced
• Models for determining training needs
• Formulating training needs

Stage 2 of the training cycle: developing a training programme
• Formulating learning outcomes
• Factors that influence the selection of content
• Selecting instructional strategies and media
• Developing a lesson plan

Stage 3 of the training cycle: presenting a training programme
• Creating a learning environment
• Types of presentation
• Presentation skills
• The role of the facilitator in presenting the training programme

Stage 4 of the training cycle: programme evaluation and learner assessment
• Evaluating a training programme
• Types of training evaluation
• Training evaluation techniques and instruments
• Assessment and moderation in education, training and development
• Principles of assessment
• Methods and instruments of assessment

The management and administration of training in an organisation
• The systems approach to training and the management thereof
• Training and the management functions
• The place and role of the training function
• The need for a training and development policy and an annual training plan
• Administration of training
• Managing a skills development course

Strategic human resource development
• Strategic business planning
• Strategic human resource development

Management development
• Management, leadership and management development
• Management development methods

Human Relations (PHRM04P)


Purpose The purpose of this module is to help students gain an understanding of human relations in order to apply such knowledge to enhance the effectiveness of the organisation. This includes a focus on human behaviour at individual, group and organisational level in organisations.
Outcomes In order to be declared competent in this module, students have to demonstrate that they are able to:
• explain why knowledge of human relations is imperative for effective management
• distinguish between the variables and different levels of organisational behaviour
• demonstrate a clear understanding of the foundations of individual behaviour in organisations
• apply knowledge of individual behaviour to increase productivity and reduce absenteeism
• demonstrate an awareness of his or her perceptions, values, attitudes and abilities as an individual in an organisation
• demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of group behaviour
• design effective work teams
• determine how communication patterns, leadership styles, power and politics, intergroup relations and levels of conflict affect group behaviour
• analyse how organisational culture affects human behaviour
• manage change in organisation
Content Introduction to human relations
• What are human relations in a global and diverse context?

The individual
• Foundations of individual behaviour
• Values, attitudes and job satisfaction
• Personality and emotions
• Perceptions and individual decision making
• Motivation: from concepts to application
• Stress management

The group
• Foundations of group behaviour
• Understanding work teams
• Communication
• Leadership and trust
• Power and politics
• Conflict

The organisation
• Foundations of organisational culture
• Organisational change

Evaluation and examination

Students will be assessed by means of assignments completed during the course of their studies, and a formal two-hour examination for each module, which can be written at any of Unisa’s examination centres countrywide. Examinations for all four modules are written in January and February. Students will be admitted to the examination provided that they submit assignment 01 on or before the due date and that their fees have been paid in full.

To pass a module, a student must obtain a final assessment mark of 50% (assignments contribute 20% to the final mark and the examination mark the remaining 80%).


On successful completion of the four modules, you will receive a certificate from Unisa
Credits and status regarding SAQA

The Centre for Business Management, is an integral part of Unisa, which is a public higher education institution established in terms of its own statute and the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997. As such, the institution does not have a registration number (or accreditation number) because it does not require registration. Registration numbers are allocated to private higher education institutions because they are required to register in terms of the same Act. Hence the short learning programmes offered by the Centre for Business Management do not have to be accredited by SAQA.

Organisations can claim their education and training expenses for students registered with the Centre for Business Management from the relevant Sector Education and Training Authority, in terms of the levy/grant system, provided they meet the requirements of the Skills Development Levies Act. A SAQA registration or accreditation number is not required for this purpose.

The Programme in Human Resource Management consists of 96 credits (24 per module) and is offered on level 6 of the National Qualifications Framework. The 24 credits per module mean that the average student will require 240 notional hours to master the module. The notional hours include the time spent on reading, doing activities, completing assignments, preparing for the examinations, writing the examinations, and so forth.


The course is offered in English only. (However, the assignments and examinations may be written in English or Afrikaans, which are the languages of tuition at Unisa.

Teaching method

The programme is offered through distance learning. Lecturers communicate with students by means of study guides supplied on registration, tutorial letters, the unique myUnisa website and email. There are no classes for this programme, other than the study school offered in the middle of the year (see below).

Study Material
Once you are registered and the minimum payment has been made, you may download the study material from myUnisa (  We encourage students to make use of this facility, in order to afford you the opportunity to commence your studies as soon as possible, while waiting for the package to arrive through the post.

Study school

The programme is complemented by an optional three-day study school in Pretoria, at no additional cost, except for students’ accommodation and meals.

Registration, commencing date and fees

Registration for this programme commences on 26 November 2012 and should be completed by 15 March 2013.

The total fee for this programme is R5 840 (including tutorial matter, tuition and examination fees, but excluding textbooks), and is structured as follows:



Amount payable

on registration (60%)


Amount payable

on 15 May 2013 (30%)

Amount payable

 on 15 August 2013 (10%)

Total fee


R 876.00

 R 438.00

R 146.00

R 1 460.00


R 876.00

 R 438.00

R 146.00

R 1 460.00


R 876.00

 R 438.00

R 146.00

R 1 460.00


R 876.00

 R 438.00

R 146.00

R 1 460.00


R 3,504.00

R 1,752.00

R 1,022.00

R 5,840.00


Levy payable by students in foreign countries

Students with an address or examination centre outside South Africa are required to pay the following additional compulsory levy when they register:


Levy per module

A: Students residing or writing examinations in African countries adjacent to South Africa


B: Students residing or writing examinations elsewhere in the world


*NOTE: The foreign levy fees are subject to change.

This levy is not transferable or refundable.

Students, who, after registration, change their postal address to a foreign address or their examination centre to a foreign examination centre, will immediately be liable to pay the foreign levy as specified above.

Public and private sector organisations may apply for a group discount for employees enrolling for the programme.

On receipt of your registration form and the minimum amount, the prescribed study material for the registered modules, as well as a unique student number, will be dispatched to you.  Note that you will only be registered for those modules for which the minimum amount payable on registration has been received.

Payment may be made by means of cheque or credit card.  Please include a cheque in favour of the University of South Africa or your credit card details together with your registration form. Do not include any cash with your registration form.

Direct bank deposits can only be made once a student number has been allocated.  Should you wish to make use of this payment option, submit your registration form to the Centre for Business Management. You will then be notified of your student number and the banking details, whereafter your registration will be finalised upon receipt of payment. Do not attempt to make any payments without a student number since this will considerably delay the registration process.

Prescribed books for the programme


Swanepoel, BJ, Erasmus, BJ, & Schenk, H.  2009  South African human resource management. 4th edition.  Pretoria: Juta. ISBN: 978-0-70217-750-2.


Nel, PS, Kirsten, M, Swanepoel, BJ, Erasmus, BJ & Poisat, P. 2012. South African employment relations: theory and practice. 7th edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik. ISBN: 978-0-627-02944-8.


Erasmus, BJ, Loedolff, PvZ, Mda, T & Nel, PS. 2013. Managing training and development in South Africa.  6th edition. Cape Town: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978 019 905403.


Robbins, SP, Judge, TA, Odendaal, A & Roodt, G.  2009.  Organisational behaviour:  global and Southern African perspectives.  Cape Town:  Pearson Education South Africa.  ISBN: 978-1-86891-853-9.

The books can be obtained from any academic bookstore.  Since the prices vary, exact prices cannot be supplied. However, the total cost for the prescribed books will amount to approximately R2 000.

Registration enquiries

You may direct any registration enquiries to the assistants dealing with the programme. Their contact details are as follows:

Telephone number:  012 352 4309/4283/4324
Fax number:   086 682 9235
Email address:

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