Global Talent Management (GTM) makes the subject of the article “The Role of the Corporate HR Function in Global Talent Management”, written by Elaine Farndale, Hugh Scullion and Paul Sparrow and published in 2010 in Journal of World Business. The discussion covers the challenges of GTM in the current global economy, reflecting more upon the corporate Human Resources (CHR) tasks into managing GTM. The authors of this article use a HR specialized language for presenting the current situation of multinational companies (MNCs) that are playing in a global economy, having increased concern for developing their competitive power by approaching GTM as one strategy meant to align the needs of the organization with the requirements of the global market in which it activates.
The article reports that the recent economic crisis imposes changes in the international mobility processes, as the number of unemployed people is increasing, which implies that a large number of potential talents are available for being contracted in global talent management processes. However, as the authors observe, just because the unemployment rates are increasing (up to 5.5% in 2009 in China or up to 5.4% in South Asian, including India), this does not automatically implies that MNCs and other players that require global talents have increased chances of finding the profiles and the levels of competencies that the require for emphasizing their competitive advantage in the global market (Farndale, Scullion and Sparrow 2010, p. 162).
Another situation, analyzed in the article treats the mobility challenges of both the talents and of the MNCs that are looking to employ global talents. While for the talents coming from another country for dealing with the global business of a MNC, the mobility implies besides adjusting to the new environment actually dealing with the MNC environment, organizational values, business model and knowing the language of the host country, for the global employer, mobility implies a bureaucratic process of transferring the worker from his country of origin in the host country and also making sure that the identified talent can integrate in the company’s structures (Farndale, Scullion and Sparrow 2010, p. 164).
The article also states that for handling this challenge, companies have to apply various human resources tools for finding suitable global managers and for properly integrating them within the organizational structures and here the role of CHR is increasingly significant for defining instruments, such as career development paths or rewards and incentives for determining the global employees to remain competitive, and also, to develop an employer branding philosophy for enhancing loyalty. In fact, as the article shows, nowadays, when the competition is fierce and the top companies activating in various activity domains search for the most qualified and the best skilled talents, are often focused on proposing employment to the same people, which sometimes implies hunting them in order to “steal” them away from competitive companies. Therefore, regarding the MNCs, the article investigates two major challenges that these actors deal with when discussing about GTM: “global competitive pressure for talent and new forms of international mobility” (Farndale, Scullion and Sparrow 2010, p. 162).
As for the challenges that HR professionals, especially the CHR have in relation with GTM, these involve global competition and the new forms of international mobility and emerging markets. The global competition challenge implies the fact that although the request for personnel to meet the global objectives of the MNCs are clear, the candidates to actually meet those requirements does not represent sufficient supply, meaning that the actual international employees that can meet the excessive demands of corporations and work in a global environment are a few, and highly wanted. For dealing with this challenge, CHR strategies imply recruiting before reaching the curve and developing the employer branding and corporate social responsibility actions for attracting and retaining the appropriate talents (Farndale, Scullion and Sparrow 2010, p. 165 - 167).
In describing the challenges that corporate HR responsible face when dealing with GTM, the authors of the examined article also discuss about the key competences and roles that they have to meet for properly managing global talents. As such, the core HR roles imply the following key competencies and activities, which are interconnected: champion of processes (monitoring and controlling the GTM); guardian of culture (creating awareness on the employer branding, demonstrating socialization and leadership); network and leadership intelligence (developing global expertise networks and having access to resources, while managing staffing flows); manages of internal receptivity (planning the supply chain of GTM and developing career management and talent flow processes) (Farndale, Scullion and Sparrow 2010, p. 162).
The article clearly presents the role of HR professionals in dealing with GTM, describing punctually the challenges and difficulties that they face in the current trends that have evolved in MNCs as a result of globalization. There are comprehensive data and an accurate research that supports the information provided, as the authors of the examined article quote theoreticians of the human resource management (HRM) trends that they refer to, providing sufficient literature for presenting an objective image of the current situation of HR professionals as they deal with GTM.
In the same way there is presented the situation of the employees which constitute potential workforce for the MNCs’ global purposes, as the article provides well referenced data regarding how this niche human resource evolved in the context of a global economy and of the economic crisis. The article is thorough regarding the challenges of the global talents, as it also describes the global workforce from the perspective of the developing countries (from Asia or Eastern and Southern Europe), or from BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), where they reside. However, at this point, an informed professional reading the currently examined article, might feel the need to find information about how people that move internationally affect the economy of the countries that they depart from and inclusively the economies of the countries in which they reach. As it is a theoretic article, it is based on already underpinned research papers, and assisted by epistemology, which is a qualitative research method that guides the researcher’s towards establishing new theories in the study field (Carter & Little, 2007, p. 1316). Therefore, if information about the economies of the countries that give talents and the countries that absorb them would have been explored within this article, the authors could have establish economic theories about GTM.
Nevertheless, as this was not the authors’ intention, it focused on GTM as an international Human Resource Management trend, which is more than a trend nowadays, due to its increasing significance for MNCs, the main market for this niche HR professionals, and which, as the authors recommend, should become a subdivision of HR roles, although it is currently regarded as an advantage within the salary package (if already employed within a MNC, for instance), therefore, more as a benefit than as a subdivision of HR.
The article does explain this aspect, although towards the end, indicating it as an aspect that needs to be further researched. Again, this aspect would have been interested to be further explored in more details in this article, but although the subject is in the same area, it is complementary to the examined topic.
Therefore, discussing about the goals of this article, they were clearly presented in the abstract and introduction of the current research: defining the role and challenges of the corporate human resource function in MNCs while dealing with GTM and exploring the GTM in the current context of competing for global talent and coping with the new forms and challenges of international mobility. These goals were followed throughout the article and the underpinned research was specific to answering the goals of the research.
Bem (n.d., in Darley, Zanna & Roediger, 2003, p. 10) indicate that empirical research (including theoretical articles) are supposed to start from a hypothesis, in order for the entire research to develop around it, and each section should be interconnected with the hypothesis, by describing how the notions identified in the respective section contribute to defining whether the proposed hypothesis is confirmed or infirmed.
The examined article, however, proposes no hypothesis, which means that sections cannot be directed and linked with an initial theory proposed in the beginning of the article and that the article has a different flux in its development, rather than gravitating around an idea imposed previous to the actual research.
Preoccupied with the role of empiricism in HRM research, Nienhueser argues that empirical research developed within HRM “creates a one – sided, distorted image of the reality of work and thus generates ideology” (2011, p. 267).
As the examined article also falls in the category of human resource management and it is elaborated on empirical research, a logical syllogism stays that the examined article generates ideology, as, according to Nienhueser, it creates a distorted reality, presenting a one-sided image of the reality. Looking at the article, however, this theory is not sustained, as the analyzed article presents more sides of the situation imposed in the nowadays environment on global talents, defining how the situation affects the HR professionals and the MNCs.
Studying the species of empiricism, Barber and Stainton (2010, p. 183) discuss about the epistemological empiricism, defined as knowledge based on experience, which contrasts the epistemological rationalism, which is knowledge that derives from intuition or pure reason, referring to knowledge that comes “a priori” to experience (Audi, 2003), unlike the epistemological empiricism that illustrates knowledge that is “a posteriori” to experience, generating progress through the power of the mind (Penrose, 1994, p. 50).
The examined article mingles the epistemological empiricism with the epistemological rationalism, as it makes use of facts already examined and conceptualized by other researchers following an underpinned study, which allowed the authors to first learn and then to experience, with pure reasoning, which comes as a result of joining the discussed theory already existent in the dedicated literature and critically analyzing them for coming to new ideas.
The article is based primarily on literature studies, and, as Alavi and Carlson (1992, p. 47) state, this type of work contributes to the existent research in gathering data material in empirical articles, which consists of information gathered “on empirical data and non-empirical articles, which in turn are primarily based on ideas, frameworks and speculations instead of systematic observation and data collection” (1992, in Barskeville, 2005, p. 15).
Indeed, the article developed by Farndale, Scullion and Sparrow is based on ideas and frameworks, and it grows based on speculations even. The ideas formulated within this article rely on previously developed studies, whose findings where inserted in the current research, in order to contribute to developing new ideas. Such new ideas refer to the alignment of developments in expatriate management, the sourcing for new in-country operations, the mapping activity (identifying the areas in which global talents can be found and the areas where they need to be placed) and the role of HR professionals for managing the globalization of international talents (Farndale, Scullion & Sparrow, 2010, p. 163), which represents one of the contributions of the article in the field of global HRM.
Referring to the data collection, as the information is presented in the article, the authors underpinned a specific research, comprising mainly research developed in the 21st century, which implies that the information is up to date, in line with the latest HR discussions and trends, offering a consistent basis for developing new ideas and frameworks. No coding schemes were employed in this study, as it is a theoretical article (Borry, 2005, p. 47).
The article uses entirely primary sources (which refers to research that implies the collection of original data, gathered previous to applying a clear methodology), but no secondary research (using data collected from census, where no original data was gathered) (Gratton, Jobes, 2010, p. 8). The primary data can be found throughout the article, where the authors use the in-text citations for paraphrasing the work and the findings of other authors, whereas the secondary data are not included in the examined text.
Discussing about the article’s contribution to the international HRM literature, there must be observed that the article encompasses specific research from the field of global talent management, corporate human relations or international mobility, as well as it presents punctual indications about the specific requirements of MNCs in terms of employing international HR for dealing with the global competition, which is an indirect reference to the increasing significance of HR, as the corporate actor that must meet the MNCs needs for working with global talents.
Scholars observe that recently there have been made significant contributions to address the emerging issues in international HRM, in terms of empirical studies and in developing frameworks and theories more than ever before (Stahl, Björkman & Morris, 2012, p. 2). The examined article falls in this model of studies that provides more theories for the HR specialists, but it also develops an audit of the current trends in the international mobility, which is an increasing preoccupation of international human relation management.
Nowadays, just as the examined article suggests, international mobility and global talents are hot subjects that draw the dynamics in the international human relation management and the article contributes significantly to conceptualizing the current situation in international HRM by gathering concluding data about the aspects that impact the international mobility and that generate an increased need of global talents and by developing new reasoning regarding the future of the international HRM, as influenced by the international mobility, the increased need of global talents and the changing roles of corporate human resource professionals.
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