Human Capital, Mobility and Diversity in Firms

STR445 Human Capital, Mobility and Diversity in Firms

Autumn 2024

  • Topics

    The course provides business and economics students with a deeper empirical understanding of (a) the operation of labour markets and the input factor labour to firms’ production and (b) gender differences in labour markets and gender diversity in firms, and the discussion and solution to cases in management and strategy. STR445 addresses the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of economic and social sustainability, in particular, SDGs 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth), and 10 (reduced inequalities).

    The course consists of three parts. Part I starts with a general introduction to labour markets, the input factor labour and firm production.  Part II covers topical issues related to gender diversity and firm outcomes.  Part III covers topics on diversity management.


    Part I: Firms and Labour markets

    1. Labour Supply and Labour Demand

    2. Human Capital and Mobility

    3. Labour Supply and the Household

    4. Discriminatory Behaviour


    Part II: Gender diversity and firm outcomes

    1. Work and Family

    2. Segregation, mobility and careers

    3. Networks, mentors and role models

    4. Behavioral gender economics


    Part III: Diversity Management

    1. Firm performance

    2. Management style

  • Learning outcome

    Students will obtain skills that inform on strategic human capital decisions, such as recruitment, retention and training, and diversity management decisions. For example, students learn how a firm decides whether to invest in training, how to improve decision-making in recruitment and retention through e.g. debiasing strategies or anonymization of applications, how policies, such as gender quotas, operate to increase gender diversity, and what to learn from existing descriptive and causal empirical evidence.


    Upon completion of the course, the student can…

    • assess how labor markets operate in relation to society and the firms
    • discuss the relevant regulations, such as anti-discrimination laws, family policies, gender quotas
    • discuss gender differences in labour markets and in firms
    • identify empirical evidence on important questions related to the input factor labour and gender diversity; this includes international statistics as well as evidence from evaluation studies
    • assess the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of economic and social sustainability in relation to the labour markets and firms, in particular, SDGs 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth), and 10 (reduced inequalities).


    Upon completion of the course, the student can…

    • apply academic knowledge and relevant results of research to practical problems, such as recruitment, team building, unconscious bias, and make well-founded choices.
    • reflect upon his/her own academic practice and adjust it during the dialogues with co-students in groups and in group discussions and discussion of case studies
    • identify, evaluate and refer to information and scholarly subject matter and present it in a manner that sheds light on the problem.

    General competence

    Upon completion of the course, the student can…

    • read empirical evidence that includes descriptive statistics and simple regression analysis output
    • identify relevant professional issues of gender diversity and gender differences in the workplace
    • communicate important subject matters such as models, problems, and solutions, both in writing and orally
    • exchange opinions and experiences with others with a background in the field, thereby contributing to the development of good practice.

  • Teaching

    The course consists of lectures including one guest lecture, case based discussions, group discussions and two written assignments.

    Lectures will be held in an auditorium on campus. Lectures encourage student participation and discussions of cases and topical issues are part of the course STR445.

  • Compulsory Activity

    Two group based assignments graded approved/not approved. The assignments contain context-rich problems with a set of questions, and short cases that students are asked to solve in groups. 

    The assignments must be answered in English. 

    Previously acquired course approval is still valid. 

  • Assessment

    Individual 4 hours digital school exam where students solve context-rich problems with a set of questions and short cases. The exam must be answered in English.

  • Grading Scale

    A - F

  • Computer tools


  • Literature

    Blau, Francine D. and Anne E. Winkler (2021): The economics of women, men and work, ninth edition, Oxford University Press.

    -Selected articles and cases.

  • Permitted Support Material


    One bilingual dictionary (Category I) 

    All in accordance with Supplementary provisions to the Regulations for Full-time Study Programmes at the Norwegian School of Economics Ch.4 Permitted support material and  


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered autumn 2024.

Course responsible

Professor Astrid Kunze, Department of Economics