Interrogating Organizational Meta-principles Regarding Talent

MNCs have an active presence in a number of different countries; as such, they confront two challenges. First, each regional center must operate effectively within its immediate task environment, recognize local opportunities and threats, and respond and adapt to country-specific conditions. Second, the MNC must also preserve a sense of organizational continuity in terms of a consistent culture, coordinated strategic direction, and integrated leadership and governance throughout all of its differently located units. These two forces—one centrifugal, diverging, and moving toward fragmentary difference; the other centripetal, converging, and moving toward unifying similarity—must be continuously balanced. As part of that balancing process, each MNC must uniquely decide on the degree to which its headquarters and national units are centralized, coordinated, or autonomous in their operations [29].

So far as talent is concerned, the MNC presents an interesting case. The international reach of their different national presences provides the MNC with the opportunity to recruit, develop, and retain talent that would not have otherwise been available domestically. However, two understandings are required to capitalize on this opportunity. First, talent has to be seen as spread widely and generally, not as being limited, restricted, or aggregated in specific geographic regions—particularly the organization’s headquarters and its home country. Second, talent needs to be understood not as an abstract personal attribute or potential capacity, but as something that is contextually determined, situationally salient, and differently recognized [5, 24].

It is suggested that a deeper exploration of these competing assumptions about talent—assumptions that are sometimes not clearly articulated but which are implicitly embedded in talent management practice—can provide the MNC with a better understanding of how it really understands talent, how it might effectively mobilize and deploy its global talent, and how it might be possible to create a comprehensive HR architecture within the organization that can facilitate such redistributions [30, 31].

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