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«Global talent management and the role of social networks Master Thesis Business Administration Track: International Management School of Management ...»

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Global talent management

and the role of social networks

Master Thesis

Business Administration

Track: International Management

School of Management and Governance

University of Twente

P.O. Box 217

7500 AE Enschede

The Netherlands


Lena Dresselhaus

Bodelschwinghstr. 5

48496 Hopsten-Schale


E-Mail: l.dresselhaus@student.utwente.nl

Student number: s0205613

Supervisory committee

Dr. H.J.M. Ruël

Dr. T.V. Bondarouk


Global talent management and the role of social networks Preface With this thesis, I finalize my Master of Science in Business Administration at the University of Twente. This Master thesis is the result of an extensive literature review and an interesting, new research methodology, namely the Delphi method, in order to investigate global talent management and the role of social networks.

I would like to express my gratitude to all the people who helped me in one way or another in the completion of my Master of Science.

First of all, I thank my supervisor Dr. Huub Ruël for his support. Throughout the whole process, he has given me a lot of freedom to work on my thesis. His knowledge, professionalism, interest in research, contacts and guidance has helped me to complete this study. Furthermore, I like to thank my co-supervisor Dr. Tanya Bondarouk for her assistance, especially for participating in my methodology part.

Besides, I like to take this opportunity to give thanks to all the participants in the Delphi methodology. Without their attendance and feedbacks, it would not have been possible to finish this research and come to the achieved conclusions and recommendations.

Also, I would like to express my gratitude to my family, my friends and fellow students for their unconditional support and patience, but also for their time and encouragements to keep me motivated.

Finally, I would like to communicate my sincere thanks to the proofreaders who gave me meaningful, honest and helpful feedbacks and criticisms.

Lena Dresselhaus Enschede, December 2010 Page 2 Master Thesis – Lena Dresselhaus Global talent management and the role of social networks Executive summary Purpose of the research The purpose of this Master thesis is to contribute to the knowledge about global talent management (GTM) and the role of social networks. Current challenges and circumstances are responsible for the need of GTM within multinational corporations (MNCs). Elements, instruments as well as core objectives will be elaborated with this study. This will be achieved with the help of different expert groups. The goal of this research is to create a GTM model including social networks that intends to support MNCs on the implementation phase. In order to accomplish the research objectives, the following research question will be answered: How can social networks support MNCs in their GTM?

Design methodology This research makes use of the Delphi method. This is especially a successful approach for exploring new concepts, like GTM and the role of social networks. Four principal characteristics can be determined for this technique: anonymity of Delphi participants, iteration, controlled feedback, and statistical aggregation of group response (Rowe & Wright, 1999). With the help of questionnaires, opinions of different expert groups (HR managers, HR researchers and Master students) will be collected in two rounds in order to answer the research questions.

Findings The findings of the research result in differences and similarities among the three expert groups.

They all assessed the necessity of GTM in MNCs. The HR managers and HR researchers scored the same elements and instruments which have to be implemented in a successful GTM system. But concerning the application of social networks, the participants have different views. Especially the Master students are open-minded about social networks and therefore, they advocate the use of this tool. The HR managers, however, are sceptical towards this new media and did not integrate social networks in GTM to a great extent until today.

Conclusions A combination of the literature review and the findings of the questionnaires lead to a suitable GTM model for MNCs. Accordingly, the GTM model will comprise six elements, namely selection, identification, attraction, development, retention and motivation. With the application of the instruments “on the job training”, “cooperation with universities”, “off the job training” and “talentoriented career model” the organizational goals should be achieved. These goals are performance improvement, but also employee satisfaction and employer branding. Social networks function as a tool for the different instruments in order to fulfill the GTM elements and to achieve the GTM goals.

Page 3 Master Thesis – Lena Dresselhaus

Global talent management and the role of social networks Recommendations Recommendations can be given for the three participating expert groups. The Master students represent an essential target group of GTM. Thus, they have to be integrated in the process of GTM implementation in MNCs. They should always express their opinions and requirements towards their workplace. Besides, they are the people who grew up with social media and therefore, it should be their task to convince HR managers of the usability of social networks in GTM. The HR researchers already investigated this new HR issue, but they are just at the beginning of development. As a consequence, they should continue to focus on GTM and the role of social networks and also try to convince the HR managers of the effectiveness of this topic by conducting more research. The HR managers realized the importance of GTM in their MNCs, but they have to spend more time, more money and more effort into this HR topic as it reflects an essential opportunity for their organization.

Besides, they should focus more on social networks, never mind that it does not belong to their daily routine. GTM and social networks are great tasks for them, but HR managers have to accept this challenge. It would be advisable to visit seminars and read more articles and books about GTM and social networks to gain more information. It is important that the HR managers are positive about this HR issue in order to implement a successful GTM model including the tool social networks.

Limitations Limitations of this research can be outlined in form of the reliability. As the Delphi method represents an approach that only concentrates on a small number of participants, it is difficult to state that the results are applicable to any other MNC. Besides, the participation of the experts poses an obstacle. It is a great challenge to find enough participants of each expert group in order to accomplish this new methodology.

Future research As GTM and the role of social networks is a relatively new HR topic, it is difficult to compare new findings with old findings. But as it is still an important issue to investigate, more and more research will be done in this research field and therefore, it will be possible to compare the findings in order to go more into detail. An interesting topic, resultant from this research, is the testing of GTM elements and instruments in practice. Therefore, theses aspects should be monitored in an MNC. It would also be attractive to focus on the measurement and best implementation forms of these components in future research. Besides, as lots of previous researches are considering Asian MNCs, it would be an important task of future research to investigate GTM and the role of social networks in European or American MNCs.

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Table of contents PREFACE








1.1.1 Trends in economy and society

1.1.2 Trends in HRM






2.1.1 Definition of MNCs

2.1.2 Ranking list of MNCs

2.1.3 Advantages and disadvantages of MNCs

2.1.4 Definition of MNCs for this research


2.2.1 Definition of Talent

2.2.2 Definition of GTM

2.2.3 Target groups and persons responsible of GTM

2.2.4 Definition of GTM for this research


2.3.1 Introduction

2.3.2 Definition of social networks

2.3.3 Functions of social networks

2.3.4 Advantages and disadvantages of social networks

2.3.5 Definition of social networks for this research

















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1. Introduction

1.1 Background Today MNCs, which operate in different countries, are confronted with more and more different challenges in order to remain competitive advantage. Both general trends in economy and society as well as specialized trends in human resource management (HRM) play a decisive role for MNCs.

1.1.1 Trends in economy and society General trends characterize today’s environment of MNCs. The first great challenge is globalization.

Globalization involves more change, more trade, more competition, more customers as well as more employees and workers. According to Schuler & Jackson (2009), “competition has never been this intense and so multifaceted: it is fast developing, fast moving, very complex, extremely widespread, and unlikely to change in dramatic ways in the near future”. The markets are opened worldwide.

Global division of labour is a main element of globalization and focuses not only on production, but also on development and administration as well as lower process costs (Lurse, 2005).

Another crucial aspect is the demographic development around the world. It is remarkable that the populations of developing economies and emerging economies are expanding and getting younger.

In developed economies, however, the populations remain stable or even shrink. As a result, these major variations concerning age and region have to be considered by MNCs as they operate in different countries (Schuler & Jackson, 2009).

Furthermore, technological change is of great importance. Technology advances rapidly and innovations are necessary to survive in the organizational environment. Consequently, learning and development are key features of MNCs (Lurse, 2005).

Finally, mergers and acquisitions are also common tasks of MNCs. They strive to observe competitors and think about cooperation in order to be more competitive in a fast-moving environment (Lurse, 2005).

1.1.2 Trends in HRM Certainly, there are also specialized trends in HRM. Due to the trends in economy and society, it is possible to generate trends in HRM.

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associated with all kinds of jobs around the world. Besides, all employees can be regarded as requiring more knowledge than ever before, so-called knowledge workers. Although the need of increased competencies is quite essential, at the same time MNCs are confronted with a scarce employment market with only few people who possess these required competencies which thus presents a difficult challenge to manage (Schuler & Jackson, 2009).

Technology leadership means cost leadership. As the workforce becomes older, lifelong learning is nowadays also a basic element in remaining competitive today (Lurse, 2005). This can also be linked with the importance of the emotional well-being of employees which is more relevant than ever before. The expectation of staying with one company until retirement is no longer significant.

Instead, staff prefers family considerations and life outside of the work environment (Boston Consulting Group, 2008).

In addition to this, the international HRM is becoming more significant. So far, the authority of HRM often remains in the home country. But MNCs have to assess and implement an international HRM system. This means that leadership systems, junior employee development, management rewards as well as management development should be coordinated and steered internationally (Lurse, 2005).

Due to these changes brought about by increased competition, new technologies, a high degree of globalization, demographic change as well as the rise of the knowledge workers, every company has to react to these developments in order to remain competitive (Guthridge, Komm & Lawson, 2008).

As people play one of the most decisive parts of a company, it is evident that MNCs should use this resource to achieve a competitive advantage. Fast moving technology, like social networks, and innovations could prove to kinds of support for MNCs in focusing on their employees. These social networks, in general, can be defined as a system of social interactions between different actors (Koch et al., 2007).

In the late 1990s, the “war for talent” started an enormous discussion on a TM system. At the time, organizations were concerned with problems in attracting and retaining talented people (Armstrong, 2006). Besides, Michaels et al. (2001) argue that this war for talent has created a new business reality.

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