Talent Management in Organizations

Executive Summary

The research proposal seeks to explore the challenges facing talent management in many organisations that operate globally. Besides, it investigates how human resource management integrates cultural diversity into talent management practices. The study will be based on a qualitative research method where semi-structured interviews will be applied. The study will also investigate the employees’ perceptions of talent management programs and their level of effectiveness in promoting productivity at both individual and organisational levels. The advent of globalisation and internalisation, in particular, has changed the composition of organisations’ workforce (Mallol, Holtom & Lee 2007). Today, a company in a country in one continent can import human capital from a country in another continent. It is evident that the cultural backgrounds from which they originate shape people.

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This phenomenon of employing people from diverse backgrounds has resulted in multiculturalism in organisations (Reilly 2015). Researchers view it as a strength that companies are utilising to build a competitive advantage over their rivals. This observation is true since people from diverse cultures and backgrounds are endowed with varied talents (Mallol, Holtom & Lee 2007). When harnessed properly, cultural diversity can elevate an organisation in many aspects. A growing body of literature shows that many organisations face serious challenges emanating from diversity. Conflicts in the workplace can easily occur on the grounds of ethnic and cultural diversity. According to (Neves & Melé (2013), problems associated with diversity include stereotyping, discrimination, low employee turnover, absenteeism, loss of leakage of employees to other companies among others.

Organisations through human resource management (HRM) have devised talent management practices to help in harnessing the benefits of workforce diversity (Mallol, Holtom & Lee 2007). However, research has continually shown that organisations still experience problems associated with multiculturalism (Neves & Melé 2013). The present research proposal aims at investigating the challenges faced by large organisations in talent management practices. The proposed study follows an in-depth analysis of the literature review regarding the current situation of talent management practices in large organisations.

The research proposal will adopt the qualitative approach, which is more interactive than the quantitative approach. The research will be conducted on two Qatar companies. The companies have been selected for their similarity in size and their line of business that entails technology. Additionally, the two companies share similar management and competence needs. One company will be taken as a case study while the other acts as an external company. Comparison of the case study with the external investigation will help in improving the validity and reliability of the proposed research study. This research proposal will use semi-structured interviews to collect data from employees and managers in the two companies.

This paper provides a detailed research proposal with an elaborate research design and data analysis framework that ensures that gathered data will be presented clearly to provide a realistic look at the status of talent management approaches utilised and the challenges faced by the two mega-companies. Various methods that will be used in the research will include interviews, random informal conversations, internal, and external investigations. The sampling decisions are also represented in the proposal. The representative sample section covers the sampling frame, size, and design. Furthermore, the proposal provides details on the methods of data analysis that will include semi-structured interviews. The strengths and limitations of the methods are also explained. Finally, the proposal provides a time scale for the proposal.

Aims of the Investigation

The research proposal focuses on establishing the challenges facing talent management in large organisations. It also seeks to investigate how human resource management integrates cultural diversity into talent management practices. The study adopts a qualitative research approach where semi-structured interviews will be utilised. The study will also investigate the employees’ perceptions of talent management programs and their level of effectiveness in promoting productivity at both individual and organisational levels.

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Objectives of the Project

The specific objectives of the research proposal include:

  • To find out how cultural diversity is represented among different organisations
  • To find out the level of diversity in different organisations
  • To find out why different organisations have a culturally diverse set of employees
  • To establish opinions of different human resource management personnel regarding the presence of cultural diversity and how it affects the talent management practices that are present in given organisations
  • To find out whether there are any challenges that organisations face and how the management addresses talent management shortcomings in a culturally diverse organisation
  • To establish opinions of different organisations on diverse cultures and implementation of talent management processes
  • To establish how cultural diversity is integrated into different companies’ talent management practices
  • To find out the outcome of taking into consideration cultural diversity in a company’s talent management practices

Expected Outcomes

Based arguments on from the literature review, several hypothetical outcomes can be envisaged. First, there is a high likelihood of cultural representation through workgroups in organisations. Second, global companies are likely to entail a high degree of cultural diversity. Third, many firms encourage multicultural employees to reap the benefits of a talent pool. Moreover, talent management in a diverse workplace presents numerous challenges to the HR departments. There is low likelihood of cultural integration into the varied talent management practices.

Context of the Investigation

The proposed research study will be conducted in an organisational context of a global scale. The two Qatar-based organisations are of similar size and have competence needs. They are global technologically oriented organisations that hire human capital across borders. Hence, the companies deal with culturally diverse employees. The need for talent management practices in these organisations is inevitable (Reilly 2015).

Theoretical Basis

The modern world continues to witness numerous changes, especially in the organisational sphere (Mallol, Holtom, & Lee 2007). The business world of the modern day is not limited to borders. Increased bilateral agreements and the irresistible wave of globalisation have played critical roles in leveraging businesses across borders (VanderPal & Ko 2014). Consequently, the organisational workforce has increasingly become complex as employees from diverse backgrounds converge at common workplaces. The diverse composition of the modern organisational workforce has been highly regarded as a source of competitive advantage (Mallol, Holtom & Lee 2007). This observation owes to the fact that employees from varied backgrounds bring their talent endowments to the organisation. Thus, they create a pool of talent that if properly harnessed can give the organisation the competitive edge needed to survive in the present business rivalry (VanderPal & Ko 2014).

Despite the aforementioned benefit of diversity in the workplace, it can pose serious challenges that can potentially harm the organisation. Dealing with infinite cultures at organisational level has been deemed as a tough task for the modern human resource manager. Mallol, Holtom and Lee (2007) argue that modern HRM plays a strategic role than it was traditionally. The authors add that the department works hand in hand with the top management to set strategic policies that influence the direction in which the organisation is headed and its prospective position in the future. For this reason, managing talent is a critical role that affects organisational strategic decisions. Cultural diversity affects key business endeavours such as outsourcing (Neves & Melé 2013). Different organisations have varied cultures. It has been shown that due to cultural differences outsourcing services have become complex. The employees from the outsourced company bring norms to the other organisation (Mallol, Holtom & Lee 2007). Common issues found between parent companies and the outsourced include differences in communication protocol, varying chain of command, planning methods, and implementation, and execution of orders from managers.

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To resolve these and other related issues, talent management approaches need to be embraced by modern HRM. Cultural incompatibility can be remedied through egalitarian method, the use of motivating factors, parochial multicultural talent management strategy, ethnocentric multicultural management strategy, and the synergistic multicultural management strategy among others. These strategies show how organisations attempt to resolve the issue of multiculturalism by ignoring it, replacing it with their own culture or integrating it (Neves & Melé 2013). From the application of strategies, such as the parochial model or the ethnocentric model, their effectiveness as methods of talent management is cast into serious doubt despite the fact that they are among the most widely used strategies today when it comes to managing multicultural organisations (Neves & Melé 2013). Talent management will help organisations to reap the benefits that help in placing the organisation in a competitive position. Some researchers argue that diverse employees represent the varied demographic composition of customers (VanderPal & Ko 2014). Hence, different cultures inside the organisation can give a clear picture of customers’ expectations. This critical factor can influence production methods that yield commodities based on customers’ preferences (Neves & Melé 2013).

Methodology

The primary objective of the proposed study is to detect issues surrounding talent management in a culturally diverse setting as perceived by the human resource management (HRM) in real life. For this reason, the research adopts a case study methodology to gain a deeper understanding of an identified company. The findings will also be compared with results from other external companies with a view of improving the validity and reliability of the study. An external investigation will be performed since the companies considered for comparison are in the external environment of the case company. A qualitative approach will be supported by interpretive empirical material obtained from the other companies. The research will adopt an inductive approach as it seeks to develop knowledge through observation of phenomena of reality.

The case study will be made more reliable by investigating a company of the same size as the case study organisation. The two companies have similar competence needs. Comparing the results and findings will create a strong ground for generalisation. The two companies have HR departments that will provide a chance for the researcher to ask talent management-related questions. This miniature cross-sectional study is based on the premise that technology-based organisations confront similar challenges, especially those associated with talent management. These organisations also face similar HR challenges due to their complexity and the multicultural diversity. Research shows that large technology-based companies boast the benefits of cultural inclusion as it provides a large pool of diverse human capital. As such, this study will employ the use of interviews to retrieve information from the homogenous respondents.

The proposed study aims to investigate the impact of talent management programs on employees’ motivation, satisfaction and organisational performance. In light of this objective, the chosen methodology will try to solve the problems faced by the case study by integrating available theory in comparing how companies handle similar issues in reality. The proposed study will also make recommendations to the case company on best they should deal with talent management challenges for improved outcomes. This essence will feature the concept of applied research since it will result in providing solutions to practical problems inherent in the two Qatar-based technology companies.

Data Collection

The proposed research study will use qualitative, semi-structured interviews. This is because they are regarded as appropriate when the researcher wants to understand the world of the respondents including their opinions and ideologies concerning certain issues such as talent management among others. The semi-structured interviews aim to provide empirical material from the case study and collect data from the external company as a complement for the case study.

Case Study

The case study will embody in-depth interviews with various stakeholders including the human resource management, other line managers, and the employees. Random informal conversations will also be conducted with HR professionals to gather tangible information regarding the challenges of managing talent in a multicultural organisation. Additionally, company documents and publications will also be collected to provide additional information on the company’s mission and corporate culture.

Internal Investigation: The case study interviews will be carried out in two stages. The first stage will involve interviews of the managers that will strive to collect information about talent management, challenges faced, and the presence of programs that the company might be using to achieve this objective. On the other hand, the second phase will engage employees in multiple interviews regarding their source of motivation in working in a culturally diverse environment where almost everyone is a stranger to the other. The interviews with employees will also aim at gathering information about their perceptions of the work and the organisation in general in relation to the issue of talent (Reilly 2015).

External Investigation: Interviews will also be conducted with the external company. Interviews with the HR professionals and employees will provide tangible information and written empirical materials for comparison with those that will be obtained from the case study. The managers’ views on the strengths and limitations of employing multicultural employees will be recorded. Similarly, employees’ perceptions of their talent management experiences at the other company will be obtained to help invalidate the results obtained from the case study.

Interviews

Interviews are qualitative data collection techniques that have the potential to gather first-hand information. For this research proposal, interviews will be recorded with the use of a speech dictation device. The interviews will later be transcribed verbatim to allow for easy synthesis of data. Transcription helps in keeping the original formulations of the respondents (VanderPal & Ko 2014). Researchers criticise the transcription method because it is time-consuming and tedious (Mojtahed et al. 2014).

The proposed research will adopt semi-structured interviews that rely on a set of pre-set questions to ensure that the interviewer establishes a background for dialogue with the respondents. The preference of the semi-structured interviews is based on the assumption that unstructured interviews lead to time wastage and can lead to biased dialogue between the interviewer and interviewee (Aleandri & Russo 2015). As such, using the semi-structured interviews will ensure that the limited time available will be utilised effectively to gather the desired information (Robles 2014). The pre-determined questions in the questionnaire will ensure that all the relevant topics are satisfactorily covered. Furthermore, the method enables the researcher to allocate adequate time for each response. In the case of the unstructured interview technique, a respondent can consume too much time on a single question/topic such that other vital topics lack time for the desired response (Sparrow, Farndale, & Scullion 2013).

The semi-structured questionnaires are designed to cover questions related to the topic of research. In addition, the questions are set depending on the position of the respondent including the managers, employees, and/or HR professionals (Scholz 2012). Similarly, the questionnaires will be designed after the completion of the background study through a literature review. For this reason, the use of qualitative semi-structured interview methods will ensure that question sets are based on an extant body of literature. It will thus, strive to study the reality on the ground concerning issues surrounding talent management (Reilly 2015). The researcher will allocate time for each respondent to talk freely. This situation will create a favourable environment for the respondents to elaborate their thoughts on the matters of talent management and their perceptions regarding the organisation (Scholz 2012).

Informal Meetings

The researchers will further hold informal meetings and conversations to gain a greater understanding of the case study company. The informal setting will also provide an in-depth insight into the role of the human resource professionals in confronting the issues surrounding talent management (Robles 2014). The researchers will take notes during these informal conversations. The purpose of conducting informal conversations is to establish a pre-visit kind of study that helps the researchers to familiarise themselves with the organisation’s setting and to gauge the preparedness of the respondents before the interview (Lee 2009).

Organisation Documents and publications

The researchers will also ask for the company’s documents including yearly publications and brochures (Robles 2014). They are sources of vital information that can add to the collected data. The documents contain important information regarding career development and management programs, talent search and management, and strategies for multicultural inclusion among other vital information (Robles 2014).

Alternative Methods

Another crucial alternative method for this study can be the use of the quantitative approach. This technique can involve sending questionnaires to the company’s employees. The questionnaires should be designed with completely structured interviews. The quantitative approach is regarded as more reliable and the results can be easily generalised (Mallol, Holtom, & Lee 2007). The limitation of this approach is that it is incapable of providing wealthy, multifaceted, and wide scope of content, which are associated with qualitative interviews.

Sampling Decisions

Representative sample

Since it is not possible to engage all the employees and HR professionals of the selected company representative samples will form the respondents. The respondents will be drawn from employees and the management.

Sampling Frame

To obtain a viable sample frame, employees will be drawn to portray diversity in ethnicity, age groups, gender orientation, occupations, educational backgrounds, and income groups. The sampling frame will be designed in manner that depicts the demographic composition of the workforce of the mega-company to enhance validity.

Sample Size

For retrieving reliable primary data from the respondents, appropriate sample size will be taken into account. In this regard, the employees and managers will be selected from different sections and departments of the entire organisation. Concentrating on one among the multiple departments can lower the accuracy and validity of the data. Therefore, the researcher will strive to involve all the relevant departments in the selected company to ensure full representation.

Sample Design

The proposed study will employ non-probability sampling based on quota sampling and convenience sampling. These sampling designs are associated with high level of accuracy and reliability.

Data Analysis

After the data has been collected, it shall be subjected to data analysis for interpretation. The primary data collected via semi-structured interviews will be analysed. The aim of this section will be data content analysis that will embody editing, transcriptions, scrutiny, precoding, and validation (Mallol, Holtom, & Lee 2007). The data will then be presented in the form of tables, graphs, charts, and diagrams for interpretation.

Strengths and Limitations of the Method

The credibility of a research study is determined through validity and reliability. Validity and reliability can be low or high (Miriam et al. 2013). High validity implies that the obtained research findings can be generalised across the entire population. Semi-structured interviews are capable of providing highly valid and reliable data (Ready & Conger 2007). The in-depth interviews will give the researchers a thorough understanding of the respondents and gauge the accuracy of their responses (Neves & Melé 2013). Additionally, the qualitative semi-structured interview method will provide the researchers with a chance to get a comprehensive picture and high content than other techniques such as surveys conducted through email (Ready & Conger 2007).

A key limitation of the semi-structured method is that recording of the interview can lower the validity of the study. The researchers will not be in a position to tell if the respondents provide truthful information or not. Moreover, involving the senior managers in the same interviews with their juniors can create an uncomfortable environment. Thus, they might fail to provide detailed information, especially when exposing the challenges facing talent management in the organisation (Miriam et al. 2013).

Time Scale

The proposed research study will take place in 40 months. Arrangements will be made between the researcher and the companies so that convenient days and hours are agreed upon. This arrangement will ensure that interviews and informal meetings will not interfere with the organisation’s flow of activities and planned time. An appropriate time will be chosen when the respondents are likely motivated to answer questions. Lunch breaks can provide such kind of a favourable atmosphere for interactions.

References

Alejandro, G & Russo, V 2015, ‘Autobiographical Questionnaire and Semi-structured Interview: Comparing two Instruments for Educational Research in Difficult Contexts’, Procedia – Social and Behavioural Sciences, vol. 197 no. 1, pp. 514-524.

Lee, K 2009, ‘Culturally Competent Capacity Builders’, OD Practitioner, vol. 41 no. 2, pp. 37-41.

Mallol, C, Holtom, B & Lee, T 2007, ‘Job Embeddedness in a Culturally Diverse Environment’, Journal Of Business & Psychology, vol. 22 no. 1, pp. 35-44.

Miriam, E, Alon, L, Raveh, H, Ella, G, Rikki, N & Efrat, S 2013, ‘Going Global: Developing Management Students’ Cultural Intelligence and Global Identity in Culturally Diverse Virtual Teams’, Academy Of Management Learning & Education, vol. 12 no. 3, pp. 330-355.

Mojtahed, R, Nunes, M, Martins, J & Peng, 2014, ‘Equipping the Constructivist Researcher: The Combined use of Semi-Structured Interviews and Decision-Making maps’, Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, vol. 12 no. 2, pp. 87-95.

Neves, J & Melé, D 2013, ‘Managing Ethically Cultural Diversity: Learning from Thomas Aquinas’, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 116 no. 4, pp. 769-780.

Ready, D & Conger, J 2007, ‘Make Your Company a TALENT FACTORY’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 85 no. 6, pp. 68-77.

Reilly, P 2015, ‘Managing across borders and cultures’, Strategic HR Review, vol. 14 no. 1/2, pp. 36-41.

Robles, B 2014, ‘Economic Inclusion and Financial Education in Culturally Diverse Communities: Leveraging Cultural Capital and Whole-Family Learning’, New Directions For Adult & Continuing Education, vol. 141 no. 1, pp. 57-66.

Scholz, T 2012, ‘Talent Management in the Video Game Industry: The Role of Cultural Diversity and Cultural Intelligence’, Thunderbird International Business Review, vol. 54 no. 6, pp. 845-858.

Sparrow, P, Farndale, E & Scullion, H 2013, ‘An empirical study of the role of the corporate HR function in global talent management in professional and financial service firms in the global financial crisis’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 24 no. 9, pp. 1777-1798.

VanderPal, G & Ko, V 2014, ‘An Overview of Global Leadership: Ethics, Values, Cultural Diversity and Conflicts’, Journal of Leadership, Accountability & Ethics, vol. 11 no. 3, pp. 166-175.

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