Managing talent across national borders: the challenges faced by an international retail group

Boussebaa, M. and Morgan, G. (2008) Managing talent across national borders: the challenges faced by an international retail group. Critical Perspectives on International Business, 4(1), pp. 25-41. (doi:10.1108/17422040810849749)

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the influence of national institutional contexts on a multinational's project to develop a transnational talent management system. Design/methodology/approach – The study combines a comparative analysis of British and French conceptions of management with qualitative empirical data drawn from interviews, observation and documents collected in France and the UK. Findings – The concept of “talent management”, as understood by UK managers, could not simply be reproduced in the French setting where the idea of managing talent took on a different meaning. The attempt to do so through a UK‐instituted programme ignored this difference and resulted in the complete failure of the headquarters' project to develop a transnational talent management system. Research limitations/implications – Theoretical implications include the importance of an institutionally sensitive approach to the study of talent management within multinationals. A limitation of the study is that it is based on a single case study. Originality/value – The paper is a case study of a cross‐national talent management programme from a comparative institutionalist perspective rather than that of mainstream international management. It highlights the conflicts and tensions involved in implementing management systems uniformly across national borders. The paper's Anglo‐French focus also contributes a comparative angle that is relatively rare in institutionalist studies of MNCs (multinational companies). Finally, the paper sheds light on the newly emerging and yet under‐researched concept of “talent management”, connecting this idea with existing debates on multinationals and institutional change and reproduction.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boussebaa, Professor Mehdi
Authors: Boussebaa, M., and Morgan, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Critical Perspectives on International Business
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN:1742-2043

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