Global Development Institute Blog

MSc Human Resource Management (International Development) is a practical introduction to the philosophy, values, policies and practices of human resource management in the context of developing or transitional countries.  Students take part in fieldwork – visiting companies and contexts – to deepen their understanding of theory by seeing it in practice.

A visit to automotive company Jaguar was organised as part of the course to provide the students with an opportunity to gain insights into some of the human resource and international management challenges faced by multinational organisations.

About the company:

Students visited the Jaguar Land-Rover Factory Halewood Plant. Jaguar Land Rover is a multinational automotive company with its headquarters in Whitley, Coventry, United Kingdom, and a subsidiary of Indian automotive company Tata Motors. The principal activity of Jaguar Land Rover Limited is the design, development, manufacture and sale of vehicles bearing the Jaguar and Land Rover marques. Both marques have long and complex histories prior to their merger – Jaguar going back to the 1930s and Land Rover to the 1940s, first coming together in 1968 as part of the ill-fated British Leyland conglomerate; and later existed independently of each other, and latterly as subsidiaries of BMW (in the case of Land Rover), and Ford Motor Company (in the case of Jaguar).

Jaguar Land Rover has been a subsidiary of Tata Motors since they established a specific division for the acquisition of Jaguar Cars Limited and Land Rover from Ford in 2008. On 1 January 2013 the operations of Jaguar Cars Limited and Land Rover were merged as Jaguar Land Rover Limited and the parent organisation was renamed  Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC.

students in high vis jaguar

Students from Msc HR (ID) at the Jaguar plant.

Benefits of the visit:

From the experience and factory tour students developed an understanding on the entire process of how cars are manufactured – from the moulding of sheet metal to intricate final touches. Students could communicate with staff members and discuss ideas. Students were able to see how skilled technicians and sophisticated machines work seamlessly together on production lines to perfect some of Jaguar’s top-range cars. It gave students new insights on employee training and development and talent management.

Students of the MSc HRM (ID) Programme reflected on their visit:

“It not only gave us detailed background on the development and transformation of the enterprise, but also demonstrated how advanced technology had been embedded into lean production strategy delivering an effective and efficient operating business.”

“Robots are widely utilised in the production line to replace manual work, tremendously reducing demand on manpower; high technology has also been employed in systems such as JIT (just in time) and quality control, to ensure productivity does not to compromise high quality; their risk management systems brought us insights of the importance of the working environment factor as well as an individuals’ performance.”

“We were totally amazed by witnessing how their teamwork perfectly aligned with advanced technology to make a Land Rover from pieces of raw metal to a polished new car, within 48 hours.

This visit linked the workplace practice to our academic knowledge, and benefited us with better understanding of how human resource development can contribute to organisational success. We greatly appreciate this opportunity and give a round of applause to the school (specifically professor Paul Barry and Lujia Feng) and Jaguar Land Rover.

students in awe of man from jaguar also in high vis

The visit provided the chance to talk to Jaguars staff about policy and practice

MSc HRM (ID) representative, Bei Liu

  • “I was amazed by the fact that most basic manufacturing process were undertaken by robots. However, there are still human employees in the factory to do some complicated work. It leads to a thinking of how to manage human resource in an era of ‘modern manufacturing’ (more robots and less human beings).”
  • “The entire assembly line is seamless. This also inspires me that the future of human resource allocation will have a huge change.”
  • “I am worried that the high-technology may lead to unemployment. It was very eye-opening.”
  • “An interesting visit which broadened my horizons. By observing the production line, many issues on human resource management can be recognized. For example, how can the organisation motive workers and help them work in a happy environment? The environment of work is not very healthy because of the noise. So how can the organisation ensure the compensation and protection of employees is an important issue related to the HR. This visit inspires me to think about these things.”
  •  “This visit gave us the opportunity to communicate with the staff in the factory and know their human resource management strategies, which helps our further study and career development. For example, the factory has reasonable shift arrangement and feasible function division, so the employees can have a rest and focus on their tasks. This is really helpful for us to link what we’ve learned from the textbook with the practical context.”
  •  “We asked questions about the workers’ work and life so it was a very good chance to visit an organisation in a different context and help us know different management style of different industries.”

  MSc HRM (ID) students

Thanks again to Maureen, McGuire in Jaguar Education Business Partnership Centre (EBPC) for making this visit possible and thanks to our factory tour guides, John Downey, Les Church, Mervyn Dorricott and Damian Hayden for their great presentation and guide work.

Paul Barry and Lujia Feng

Note:  This article gives the views of the author/academic featured and does not represent the views of the Global Development Institute as a whole.