Talent Management in Culturally Diverse Organizations

Abstract

When examining culturally diverse organizations in the GCC countries, one constant aspect is the fact that the individual business cultures that the workers have been exposed to differ significantly from each other resulting in varying perspectives when it comes to how they perceive the concept of talent management. It is based on this that this paper attempts to examine the talent management practices of culturally diverse companies in the GCC to determine their overall level of effectiveness as well as how do they compare to current talent management standards based on academic and corporate data on the subject. By performing this particular type of examination, this study can in effect help to improve the current practices within the company by suggesting operational guidelines for talent management based on the research that was done. It is expected that this paper will contribute significantly towards improving talent management practices for culturally diverse organizations in the GCC thereby enabling them to further improve within the upcoming years. The main weakness of this study is in its reliance on interview results as the primary source of data to determine the general opinion of employees regarding their preferred method of talent management. There is always the possibility that the responses could be false or that the employee in question does not know anything at all regarding the various methods involving talent management and job satisfaction that will be indicated by the researcher.

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Reviewing Literature on the Issue

Consisting of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the U.A.E and Qatar, the GCC Countries (Gulf Cooperation Council) represents a growing regional block within the Middle East that seeks to present a united front when it comes to regional and global economic and political interactions. It can be described as a nascent version of the EU yet lacking in the necessary interconnected economy, joint currency and ease by which citizens of one country can visit the other (Hunter, Murphy, Grealish, Casey & Keady, 2011). However, with GCC influence and regional integration comes the creation of local organizations that consist of individuals from each member state. Despite being in close regional proximity resulting in similar cultures and religions, there are issues related to talent management that need to be taken into account (Edwards, 2012).

Before proceeding, it is important to first define talent management to understand how the concept applies to organizations with diverse amounts of employees in the GCC. Talent management can be described as the process by which a company develops an employee’s skills throughout their time within the company to take on a variety of job roles, as well as to manage their progress up the corporate ladder through leadership roles (Mohlala, Goldman & Goosen, 2012). Aside from this, talent management is concerned with retaining talented in the company through a variety of intrinsic or extrinsic strategies which are meant to convince employees that it is in their best interest to remain with the company for an extended period of time (Garavan, 2012). Combined, these strategies help to create the pool of talented employees that companies rely on to ensure that their internal operations work smoothly.

The problem with culturally diverse organizations in the case of the GCC is how each employee perceives the concept of talent management and how it applies to them (Coget, 2011). Despite the regional proximity of the GCC countries which brings about cultural and religious similarities among the different employees, there are significant social differences among them which manifested in the creation of different business cultures in each country (Ananthan & Sudheendra Rao, 2011). For example, an employee from Saudi Arabia is exposed to an entirely different business culture as compared to someone from Qatar and the U.A.E. As such, it is necessary to determine what strategy in relation to talent management would be effective when it comes to dealing with individuals with cultural similarities yet entirely different perspectives when it comes to business culture (Andersson, 2012).

Employee motivation plays an important role in talent management practices due to its correlation in creating employees that are more motivated to work, more interested in their job and, as a result, stay longer with their respective companies (Dawson & Abbott, 2011). Motivation is a crucial aspect of talent management since no matter how well a company develops its employees through a plethora of training programs and seminars, if said employees find little willingness to apply what they were taught in a productive and enthusiastic manner then the training itself would have been a useless venture (James & Mathew, 2012). As such, to meet these challenges company often has to retain employees by offering certain benefits while at the same time instituting costly training practices to improve performance (Gambetti, Graffigna & Biraghi, 2012). Without properly aligning talent management practices with what employees desire, it is likely that a company will find itself filled with dissatisfied employees that are more likely to leave than stay (Maltais, 2012).

What is needed in the case of this analysis is to determine what form of an intrinsic or extrinsic strategy of talent management does each individual from a different region prefer and from there develop a method of talent management that considers this (Huang & Tansley, 2012). The end result of this analysis should be the development of a guideline that details what strategy would be effective for culturally diverse organizations in the GCC when it comes to individuals from specific regions. Through this analysis, better talent management strategies can be developed which will be more in tune with the needs of specific cultures as compared to implementing a “one size fits all” strategy that is likely to appeal to only some of the employees while isolating the rest.

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Significance of the Study

Culturally diverse organizations within the GCC countries need to be able to develop talent management strategies that are in line with what their employees want. It does not make sense to implement a strategy that only appeals to a small percentage of a company’s worker population. While it is possible to implement a broad strategy that encompasses every single worker, its effectiveness is doubtful given how people that are used to distinct business cultures may respond negatively to an intrinsic or extrinsic talent management strategy that is forced upon them.

Scope and Limitations

The independent variable in this study consists of the academic literature that will be gathered by the researcher for the literature review while the dependent variable will consist of the responses gained from the various employees that will be recruited for this study. It is anticipated that through a correlation between the talent management literature and the employees recruited for this study, the researcher will in effect be able to make a logical connection regarding appropriate/inappropriate practices currently conducted by culturally diverse organizations in the GCC and make specific recommendations to increase their capability to match their talent management strategies to what their workers want.

Overall, the data collection process is expected to be uneventful; however, some challenges may be present in collecting data involving employee opinions regarding the talent management strategy that would be appealing to them. Such issues though can be resolved through access to online academic resources such as EBSCO hub, Academic Search Premier, Master FILE Premier and other online journal databases. It must be noted that the time constraint for this particular study only allows structured interviews with an unrepresentative number of people, and also limited flexibility when conducting the interview.

The main weakness of this study is in its reliance on interview results as the primary source of data to determine the general opinion of employees regarding their preferred method of talent management. There is always the possibility that the responses could be false or that the employee in question does not know anything at all regarding the various methods involving talent management and job satisfaction that will be indicated by the researcher. While this can be resolved by backing up the data with relevant literature, it still presents itself as a problem that cannot be easily remedied.

Research Question

What specific talent management practices are more appealing to employees from either Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the U.A.E and Qatar based on the unique business cultures they were exposed to?

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Objectives

The main objective of this study is to investigate possible methods involving talent resource management that can be implemented by culturally diverse organizations in the GCC to better align their practices to what their employees actually want.

Other objectives within the study consist of the following:

  1. To determine the current talent management practices currently in play within culturally diverse organizations in the GCC and propose specific methods that can be realistically implemented by these organizations to further improve their current practices involving talent management.
  2. To show that job satisfaction is inherently connected with performance and employee retention rates resulting in the need to align talent management practices to those desired by their employees.
  3. Contribute towards corporate best practices that would enable employers to not only derive better levels of performance from their employees but would also enable them to reduce the number of employees that leave the company.

Research Design

The justification for choosing an interview approach for this particular study is grounded on the fact that the participant will have the ability to respond to the researchers’ questions more directly and thus provide more information than a simple questionnaire. An analysis of related literature will be used to compare the study findings with research on various strategies utilized in talent management in culturally diverse organizations to help in the development of the needed guideline.

Data Collection

The interview will provide an opportunity for the interviewees to share their knowledge about talent management and their attitude about the use of skill training, job satisfaction and developing job interest. It will seek to understand what motivates a person from Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, Qatar, etc. to determine what sort of talent management strategy would apply to a person from that area. Since the questions will be open-ended, each interviewee will also have an opportunity to ask questions or take the interview in a different direction in order to share their ideas regarding the topic. It is based on this that the researcher will utilize the views garnered through the interview that will be conducted along with data from the literature review to develop a sufficient platform from which effective and above all accurate conclusions can be created. The open-ended questions that will be utilized within the study will primarily be guided by the case study objectives established by the researcher. As such, with this interview style, the researcher will be able to focus on the attitude and knowledge level of the participant about talent management. For example, the interviewer can stop and explore a statement, request more detail on a statement, keep the participant on a particular point or return to an earlier topic, and restate the participant’s point to check for accuracy.

Deciding on the Questions to be used in the Interviews

The questions for the interviews were based on an evaluation of the research questions as well as the data and arguments presented in the literature review section. The aim of the researcher was to develop the questions in such a way that they build upon the material utilized in the literature review.

Data Analysis

The primary method of data analysis in the case of this study involves an individual review. The individual review will primarily be the researcher examining the collected response data from the employees that were interviewed and comparing it to the data obtained from the literature review. By doing so, should create a better understanding of what methods of talent management are more applicable to an employee from a particular region. The researcher will then review these main themes and use this information to assist in establishing the key findings of the study. This method of data analysis is appropriate for a qualitative design.

Study Concerns

One potential concern that should be taken into consideration is the potential that the responses given by the study participant are in fact inaccurate or outright false.

Ethical Concerns

This methodology exposes the participant to an assortment of risks that need to be taken into consideration during the research process. The main risk the participant will encounter is if any of the answers that criticize or indicate dissatisfaction with talent management within their organization leak. This may have consequences on the attitude and opinion of company officials towards him and can result in victimization. To eliminate this risk, the responses will be kept in an anonymous location. This way, the only way to access the information will be through a procedure that involves the researcher. The project thus observes research ethics in sampling as well as during the data collection process.

Conclusion

Within the literature review, it was emphasized that talent management and retaining employees is inherently connected to job satisfaction as well as the degree of development and the number of new tasks associated with a job that makes it interesting thus resulting in a far greater degree of interest. While talent management itself has been shown as being an effective means of gaining a competitive advantage, it is often necessary to supplement it with methods aimed at creating and increasing job satisfaction so as to ensure that the effort the company placed in developing a particular employee is not wasted should that employee leave the company due to a lack of sufficient satisfaction with the way in which they are treated in the company.

References

Andersson, T. (2012). Normative identity processes in managers’ personal development training. Personnel Review, 41(5), 572-589

Ananthan, B. R., & Sudheendra Rao, L. N. (2011). Dynamics of retention: practices and strategies. SCMS Journal Of Indian Management, 8(4), 120-125.

Coget, J. (2011). Does National Culture Affect Firm Investment in Training and Development?. Academy Of Management Perspectives, 25(4), 85-87.

Dawson, M., & Abbott, J. (2011). Hospitality Culture and Climate: A Proposed Model for Retaining Employees and Creating Competitive Advantage. International Journal Of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, 12(4), 289-304.

Edwards, S. (2012). Maintaining the delicate balance when developing high-potential programs. T+D, 66(4), 60.

Gambetti, R. C., Graffigna, G., & Biraghi, S. (2012). The Grounded Theory approach to consumer-brand engagement. International Journal Of Market Research, 54(5), 659-687. doi:10.2501/IJMR-54-5-659-687

Garavan, T. N. (2012). Global talent management in science-based firms: an exploratory investigation of the pharmaceutical industry during the global downturn. International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 23(12), 2428-2449.

Huang, J., & Tansley, C. (2012). Sneaking through the minefield of talent management: the notion of rhetorical obfuscation. International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 23(17), 3673-3691.

Hunter, A., Murphy, K., Grealish, A., Casey, D., & Keady, J. (2011). Navigating the grounded theory terrain. Part 2. (Cover story). Nurse Researcher, 19(1), 6-11.

James, L., & Mathew, L. (2012). Employee Retention Strategies: IT Industry. SCMS Journal Of Indian Management, 9(3), 79-87.

Maltais, D. (2012). Take a coordinated approach to talent-management strategies and solutions. Employment Relations Today (Wiley), 39(2), 47-54.

Mohlala, J., Goldman, G. A., & Goosen, X. (2012). Employee retention within the Information Technology Division of a South African Bank. South African Journal Of Human Resource Management, 10(2), 1-11.

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