Students learn about international human resource management in Sweden

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) and health policy and administration (HPA) students in the combined LER 499/HPA 499 course, Human Resource Management and Healthcare in a Social Welfare Context: The Swedish Experience, spent the past week in Sweden immersing themselves in the culture of the country while learning valuable lessons on international human resource management and health care. Students in the program spent the spring 2018 semester preparing for the trip, which took place May 9 to 19.

The program is offered as an embedded program with Jönköping University.

Labor and employment relations students were led by Elaine Farndale, associate professor of human resource management and director of the Center for International Human Resource Studies. Diane Spokus, associate teaching professor and associate director of HPA Undergraduate Professional Development was instructor for HPA 499. Farndale and Spokus co-taught the in-classroom portion of the course during the spring semester.

The trip included company visits to Ikea, Husqvarna and Volvo, along with faculty presentations at Jönköping University, the Karolinska Institute, and Gothenburg University on topics such as the Swedish labor market and labor legislation. Other culturally enriching opportunities included visiting the Vasa Museum, a maritime museum in Stockholm that houses its namesake, a 64-gun Swedish warship built in the 17th century. The embedded course took students from Jönköping to Stockholm to Gothenburg, all while students blogged each day about their experiences abroad. Those blogs can be read here. The program concluded with a Gothenburg Islands tour before the students returned to the United States.

Students wrote in their final blog posts that the best part about the trip was putting their classroom knowledge to the test in the real world, and that even though they learned a lot in class, the most they learned was from embedding themselves into the Swedish culture.

“The combination of the classroom learning and actually visiting helped us to learn from different ways,” wrote one student. “From the corporate visits we were able to apply what we learned in class to the real corporate environment and deeper understanding of the human resource management through listening to the lecture of human resource experts in top companies.”

Last Updated May 24, 2018