Academic journal article International Journal of Business

Talent Management and Teamwork Interaction: Evidence in Large Spanish Companies

Academic journal article International Journal of Business

Talent Management and Teamwork Interaction: Evidence in Large Spanish Companies

Article excerpt


Teamwork design should be carefully tackled, since flexible organizations increasingly rely on all kinds of teams as the axes of learning processes (i.e., knowledge creation) which are essential for organizational adaptation and renewal (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). In a business world where intangible resources are the most valuable source of competitive advantage (Teece, 1998) organizations are increasingly aware of the importance of effectively managing knowledge-based assets. Intellectual property, corporate image and reputation, innovation skills, employee commitment and involvement, employee creativity, among others, constitute examples of intangible assets (intellectual capital) that rely of effective knowledge management (KM) for their successful development and optimization.

Whilst the terms 'learning' and 'knowledge' are obviously an intrinsic part of the concept of 'talent' (Vaiman and Vance, 2008; Whelan et al., 2010; Whelan and Carcary, 2011), the literature on talent management (TM) has not been so far robustly connected to mainstream academic research developments on OL and KM. Facing this gap as an opportunity, OL and KM challenges stimulate us to propose TM tackling the above mentioned OL-KM connections (Vivas-Lopez et al., 2011).

Therefore, TM can crucially help optimize organizational learning processes. In this sense, it is essential to recognize the strategic character of TM (Guthridge et al., 2008; Iles et al., 2010; Mellahi and Collings, 2010; Schuler et al., 2011; Scullion et al., 2010; Vaiman et al., 2012), especially in the context of the so-called 'knowledge-based economy' (Whelan et al., 2010). Considered by some authors as a set of human resource management (HRM) 'best practices' (Tichy et al., 1982), TM extends its scope further since it crucially links HRM and broader corporate strategy (Guthridge et al., 2008; Schuler et al., 2011). Certainly, TM tackles the relationship between talent and strategy, whereby talent is a valuable, scarce and often hard to imitate resource (Boudreau and Ramstad, 2005; Lewis and Heckman, 2006).

Notwithstanding the lack of consensus around the way to define TM and the existence of a broad of variety of approaches to the field (Iles et al., 2010; Lewis and Heckman, 2006; Preece et al., 2011; Tarique and Schuler, 2010), we find Collings and Mellahi's (2009: 309) thoughtful definition as especially useful in the context of our investigation: '[...] activities and processes that involve the systematic identification of key positions which differentially contribute to the organization's sustainable competitive advantage, the development of a talent 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 with competent incumbents and to ensure their continued commitment to the organization'.

We think that this leads organizations' TM policies to pursue the ultimate aim of maximizing value created by talent, by means of organizational learning and improvement processes and also by developing knowledge assets (Vaiman and Vance, 2008). Successfully enhancing these dynamics requires the use of different types of organizational resources which are coordinated in diverse ways depending on the firm's strategy, its managers' strategic logic and also a number of firm's internal factors.

The aim of our paper is to study whether certain TM practices related to teamwork design and dynamics stimulate and develop learning (i.e., knowledge creation) processes within the organization across the different ontological levels (individual, group, and organizational-institutional). A model linking team-design based TM practices and OL is tested in our sample. Our empirical results emphasize the distinction between individual/group and institutional level of learning as the two pillars of knowledge creation processes (Akehurst et al. …

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