A Value Capture Model: Talent Management and Its Role on Affective Commitment and Turnover Intentions

Hande Ozek and Paolo Del Conte

Istanbul Yeni Yuzyil University, Istanbul, Turkey


In 1997, a group of consultants from McKinsey & Co declared war on talent (Chambers et al., 1998; Michaels et ah, 2001). After interviewing quite a number of managers, the researchers noted that one of the primary differences between successful and unsuccessful organizations was that the most successful organizations had leaders who were tightly focused on talent. Since then, talent management also has become a topic of considerable debate in the academic literature and a central element of managerial discourse and organizational practice (Boudreau & Ramstad, 2007; Codings & Mellahi, 2009; Groysberg, 2010; Lewis & Heckman, 2006; McDonnell, 2011).

Its growing significance appears premised on the assumption that talent management is a key source of competitive advantage for the companies. This, coupled with changes in worldwide demographics that have reportedly led to talent supply issues, has been a key driving force of interest in talent management (Tarique & Schuler, 2010). Companies that have put into practice talent management to solve their employee retention problem (Rani & Joshi, 2012). The issue with many companies today is that their organizations put great effort into attracting employees to their company, but spend little time in retaining and developing. From the strategic management view, it is important to make performance sustainable, permanent, and high; this is possible with employee commitment. Starting from this point, we wanted to determine the relationship between talent management, affective commitment, and turnover intention.

Organizations have been driving the practice and discourse on talent management. In contrast, the academic field of talent management is characterized by a lack of theoretical frameworks in recent years (Lewis & Heckman, 2006; Scullion et al., 2010). During our deep literature review of the last 20 years, talent management is mostly studied in subjects related to human resource management (Karatop 2015; Liu & Pearson, 2014; Thunnissen, 2016), organizational development (Garavan et al., 2012; Sahai & Srivastava, 2012), and retention (Festing &c Schafer, 2014; Hughes & Rog, 2008). Although successful planning and retention is one of the subjects that is tied to talent management literature, moreover, commitment and retention are highly related to each other (Gustafsson et al., 2005; Hennig-Thurau, 2004). Researchers that are directly searching for the relation between talent management, affective commitment, and turnover intention are few. So, we aimed to fulfill the knowledge gap and reveal the relation of talent management with affective commitment and turnover intention. We also wanted to add value to literature by doing the research in two different countries, Italy and Turkey, and determine the differences in talent management. In addition to this, the purpose of our study is also adding value to the practice by pointing out that talent management could increase the affective commitment of the employees and decrease their turnover intentions.

Literature Review/Theoretical Background

Talent management is usually positioned as a normative and exclusive practice that focuses on the development of a small proportion of high- performing and high-potential employees in an organization (Gallardo- Gallardo et al., 2013). Codings and Mellahi (2009) have broadly defined talent management as

talent management involves systematic identification of key positions which differentially contribute to the organization’s sustainable competitive advantage, the development of a talented pool of high potential and high performing incumbents to fill these roles and the development of a differentiated human resource architecture to facilitate filling these positions to ensure their continued commitment to the organization, p. 304

Joyce and Slocum (2012) highlight that organizations are failing to “capitalize on the opportunity for strategic success that a talented management team can bring” (p. 184) and that the importance of talent management is being overlooked. The researchers relied on a 200-firm study, drawn from 40 industries over a ten-year time period. Joyce and Slocum’s (2012) findings show that executives are the key assets of organizations and that their work to build and sustain talent is critical.

Executives are highly important for talent management because engagement on talent issues must transmit from the top through the organization. The focus and responsibility for finding, growing, developing, and engaging talent must become truly embedded throughout the organization. Clear alignment of measurement and assessment, as well as development of leaders at all levels in their ability to multiply the talent that works for them, is vital. The essence of the talent- powered organization is to build distinctive and integrated capabilities aligned with business strategy, so that they demonstrably outperform their competitors (Cheese, 2008).

The literature on the competitive advantage has taken a shift and has acknowledged that the internal resources have a crucial role to play in the performance of the organization (Wright et ah, 2009). The resource- based view of the firm gives importance to building unique, hard-to- imitate, and valuable resources as well as a dynamic way to integrate those resources to generate success for the organization. In this regard, as was suggested by Barney (1991), resources that are valuable, rare, inimitable, and nonsubstitutable have the potential to provide firms with a sustainable competitive advantage. A set of resources that seem to match this criteria are talent assets. Talent management is essential when the organizations will like to build winning teams to solve determinate problems or weaknesses in departments that will be formed by talented personnel (Davis et ah, 2007).

Lewis and Heckman (2006) identified three key streams of analyzing the effectiveness of talent management practices. A first stream refers to an analytical technique to tie talent management to financial performance; a second stream emphasizes the process of analyzing and optimizing the talent management system, and authors aligned with the third stream appear to see analytics as a set of metrics and measures for use by different users.

Talent management is involved with all the human resource management (HRM) processes with exact emphasis on the attraction, development, and retention of talents (Lewis & Heckman, 2006). In other words, it can be said that talent management encompasses almost all the elements of HRM (Stewart & Harte, 2010). Although talent management and HRM present a correlated theoretical base, lies et ah (2010) and Cappelli (2008) stress that talent management uses the same instruments as HRM and organizational development, but talent management emphasizes finding talented people, accordingly, the focal point is the “talent pool” that is both internal and external of the organization. Talent management programs are created to provide talent pools for supplying certain job categories and focus on the development of specific individuals who are qualified to create a succession in the organization.

Given the essential role of human resource managers in developing and monitoring talent management systems, talent management also has the potential to promote the role of HR practitioners to strategic partners. Morton (2005) mentions that “this kind of strategic business partnering further refines HR’s role from being transactional to one that is more essential to the business” (p. 13). Therefore we can emphasize that talent management plays a vital role for HRM practitioners to gain strategic importance.

When reviewing the literature, it appears that one of the most important reasons that talent management plays an essential role in the organization is that it ensures that organizations retain the essential talent needed. Retention is improved when employees are offered compensation and benefits, have a supportive work culture, can develop and advance, and balance work-life activities (Messmer, 2006), and it is viewed as a strategic opportunity for many organizations to maintain a competitive workforce (De Long & Davenport, 2003). The companies that have talent management not only have the right talent planning but also develop the talent of their employees. Talent management is generating a part of their workplace culture. All these features create a work environment that employees would not like to leave. Correspondingly, in this study, it is assumed that talent management would play an essential role in the turnover intentions of the employees.

In addition to this, another reason that talent management became highly important is that in the companies that have talent management have employees who are engaged and committed to their organizations. As it is defined by Maslach et al. (2001), employee engagement is “persistent, positive affective-motivational state of fulfillment” or in other words being charged with energy and fully dedicated to one’s work. Job engagement stresses the assumption of “optimal functioning” at work in terms of well-being. Engaged employees are individuals who take action to improve business results for their organizations. Hewitt Associates (2004) emphasize that “[ejngaged employees stay, say, and strive-stay with and are committed to the organization, say positive things about their workplace, and strive to go above and beyond to deliver extraordinary work” (p. 12). According to Morton (2005) “Talent management is integral to engaging employees in the organization” (p. 11).

In many companies, a key part of the HRM strategy is hiring and retaining highly committed employees (Gong et al., 2009; Kehoe & Wright, 2013). Organizational commitment refers to a psychological attachment that employees develop toward membership in their organizations (Allen & Meyer, 1990; Mowday et al., 1979; O’Reilly & Chatman, 1986). The context of an employees’ commitment might be to a company as a whole or to some part of it. That is, employees may be committed to specific features of their work (Becker, 1992; Becker et al., 1996; Hunt & Morgan, 1994; Siders et al., 2001).

Employees tend to appreciate organizations that provide opportunities for feelings of meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact, and likely will reciprocate by being more committed to the organization (Seibert et al., 1999). Further, it is contended that organizational commitment strengthens the positive association between effective talent management and retention. As Mowday et al. (1982) note: “committed employees are willing to give something of themselves in order to contribute to the organization’s well being” (p. 27). Consequently, it is argued that organizational commitment is a powerful bridge between talent management and retention of employees.

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