The Global Leadership Challenge: HRM and Talent Management in Multinational Corporations
The project is funded by Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (TEKES) and the Academy of Finland
Why the interest in 'Talent Management' ?
- Individuals believed to differ widely in their performance
- Market for talent becoming more transparent and efficient
- Organizational commitment cannot be taken for granted
- Shifting demographics: drop in the 35- to 50-year-olds
- Widespread failure to develop and promote female managers
- Continued globalization of firms, markets, and education◦ Need in staff with global and local understanding (global mindset)
- Need to respond to competition from new competitors
- Talent exists in surprising places-not only in a home country
- Everybody else is talking about it
A key question for Finnish multinational organizations is how to make sure adequate talent and leadership skills are being developed and retained within the organizations, in order to secure the talent required to lead organizations and adjust them to meet future challenges. Indeed, human resources and their management are today acknowledged as crucial for the competitiveness of the global firm.
The interest in talent management is driven by an increasing need of multinational corporations to focus on the coordination, control and development of their international activities, and the consequent demand for managers who are able to deal with global integration and co-ordination work. The global reach of the activities of today's multinational organizations requires the development of an international leadership cadre since the organizations' future performance largely depends on how they will be able to pick up signals from and adjust to local forms of competition. A global approach to managing talent may also improve corporations' abilities to attract, develop and retain leaders for their global operations.
Objective of the project
As a response to the above challenges, the Global Leadership Challenge (GLC) project will study and benchmark key corporate practices which constitute the value base and build up the talent pool in organizations.
The objective of the project is to examine the perceived effectiveness of four key HRM practices - talent development, performance management, compensation and reward management, and value-based management - and shed light on how they are related to relevant employee attitudes and organizational outcomes. First, we examine the roles played by the HR department and line management in developing and implementing the focal HRM practices. Second, we will examine how the corporate- and unit-level policies, tools, and processes within the four areas of HRM are developed, and study the processes through which they are implemented throughout the firm.
In addition to the objective of increasing our knowledge base concerning Finnish multinationals' challenges and successes (benchmarking) in the defined area, the project aims to contribute to the development of the identified HRM practices, in the first instance in the studied partner organizations, but also more generally by disseminating the acquired knowledge and understanding within the Finnish business community. One of the end results of the project will be a measurement instrument (which has some flexibility built into it to suit the requirements of different organizations) through which the organizations can keep track of their talent management activities and, importantly, their outcomes for the organization. In this regard, we see the value of such an instrument lying in its more rigorous and more reliable measurement of key employee activities and attitudes in organizations, thus serving as a better guide for future managerial action. In essence, the value of the instrument is based on the conclusion that organizations seldom utilize the full potential of the information that they routinely collect through their employee satisfaction surveys.
Project outcomes and benefits
The project will go beyond the state of the art by combining and leveraging the expertise of both academics and practitioners. The benefits for the partner companies will be as follows:
- Based on quantitative data collection participants will be able to benchmark the effectiveness of their HRM practices with 11 leading Finnish/Nordic multinational corporations partner companies. Each partner will receive several company specific reports in which their firm is directly compared with the others.
- The participating companies will also in the future have a prioritized opportunity to utilize the developed measurement instrument to evaluate the effectiveness of their HRM practices on a more continuous basis by linking them with their own employee satisfaction surveys.
- In-depth case-studies will dig deeper into the implementation of key HRM practices the results of which will also be reported to the participating companies.
- Interactive seminars with participants from partner firms, the core academic project group and externally invited experts will allow the partner firms to discuss ideas and learning in a collaborative and confidential setting. Representatives of all partner firms will have access to the workshops, which allows networking between the participants and contributes to the dissemination of the research findings among practicing managers.
- In total, each participant will receive two initial benchmarking reports and, at the end of the project, a report presenting the main results of the study.
- The results of the project will also, through scholarly publications, be communicated to the wider academic community and more widely to practitioners in other firms through publications in more popular journals.
For more information on the research design, please click here.
Site of research and research team
Site of research
Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki
- Professor Ingmar Björkman (Head of department; Project leader);
- Researcher Mats Ehrnrooth (Project manager)
- Post-doctoral researcher Kristiina Mäkelä (Academy of Finland)
- Post-doctoral researcher Jennie Sumelius
- Doctoral student Catarina Ahlvik
- Doctoral student Mathias Höglund
- Doctoral student Sofia John
- Research assistant Anton Beletskiy
- Research assistant Philip Gylfe
University of Vaasa, Vaasa
- Project researcher Adam Smale
Key findings and selected publications
Sample company reports
Survey I based reports:
Surveys I & II based reports: