What does an organisation need to do in order to perform well? And what qualifies as ‘good performance’ by a public organisation? Recruiting the best employees, investing in training and development, applying a supportive leadership style, giving employees autonomy, providing suitable remuneration – or a smart combination of all these elements? Who is responsible for putting personnel policy into practice? How can you encourage effective implementation be encouraged? How do organisations engage with their social environment, and how do they fulfil their social responsibility? What is the public dimension of strategic Human Resource Management? What impact does internationalisation have on an organisation’s Human Resource Management practices? If these questions spark your interest, then we invite you to learn more about this MSc at Utrecht University.

Strategic HRM: working in a changing environment

This Master’s programme focuses on Human Resource Management (HRM), and its effects on organisational goals (good performance) employee well-beings (for example, satisfaction and motivation) and social legitimacy. We study HRM in the context of societal developments such as an ageing population, internationalisation, and technological change. This means we don’t see HR policy as a stand-alone policy domain, but rather as a domain in which developments within the organisation and within society as a whole are incorporated and integrated into management. What makes HR policies strategic is its coherence, its alignment with the organisation’s strategic goals, and with internal and external developments. 

Organisations have to deal with government regulations in the area of labour and personnel. Public and private sector organisations have to take economic and social policies at both national and EU level into account. This applies to their personnel policy too. These are not the only developments that organisations have to face. There is also social diversity, individualisation, internationalisation, the declining numbers of young people (dejuvenation), and an ageing population. In view of this, organisations need to work on sustainable employability, diversity management, and an age-conscious personnel policy. The reality of having to operate in a changing environment has prompted many organisations to make internal changes, both structural and functional in nature.

This Master’s programme involves gaining an understanding of the theory and research in this area, you will learn how to apply this knowledge when analysing policy issues that organisations have to deal with in their environment.

I have developed a strategic view of organisations and processes.
Teun Smits, Key Account Manager Benelux at Danerolles

After you graduate

On completing this Master’s programme, you will know how to establish effective Strategic HRM. This involves aligning HRM policy with organisational goals, coordinating HRM activities, and effective implementation. You will have an understanding of the relevant functional areas (such as training and development), of the relevant theories and models (for example, the AMO model for high performance organisations) and of the methods and techniques involved in designing and conducting research.

You will also possess the HRM skills needed to give presentations, to operate in teams with people from a wide range of backgrounds, to persuade others, and to draw up a policy framework based on a contextual analysis. Your expertise will also include research skills.

Finally, you will acquire HRM competences that specifically focus on personal leadership (in areas such as planning, providing guidance in the context of teamwork, dealing with adversity, etc.). Read more about your possible Career Prospects.

  • Carina Schott
    I want to know why people are motivated


Degree: This Master's programme is officially registered under its name in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes
  • Title: MSc
  • Master's degree in: Public Administration and Organisation Science
  • Programme: Strategic Human Resource Management
Accredited by the NVAO
Croho code:
Language of instruction:
Part- or full-time status:
1 year
Credits: 60 credits equals one year full-time study load (European Credit Transfer System, ECTS)
Start of studies:
Application deadline:
  • Dutch & EU/EER students: 1 April
  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 April
Tuition fees:
Law, Economics and Governance 
Graduate school:
Law, Economics and Governance