Challenges Implementing Talent Management in Culturally Diverse Organizations

Subject: Decision Making
Pages: 18
Words: 4987
Reading time:
18 min
Study level: PhD


Talent management is currently one of the primary concerns in many organisations around the world. Companies are not just looking for highly educated and experienced employees in the job market, but they are also looking for highly talented individuals who can think creatively when undertaking assignments in their respective departments. Creswell (2013) explains that the stiff market competition and numerous challenges that firms have to deal with regularly make it necessary to embrace creativity and innovativeness. It is the reason why companies have become sensitive to issues about talent management. Institutions of higher learning are also under pressure to identify and nurture highly talented learners who can develop transformative ideas in various industries.

Addressing challenges in implementing talent management in culturally diverse organisations is critical. Qatar is one of the regional countries that have invested a lot of resources in institutions of higher learning to help promote creativity and talent among learners. In this section of the paper, the researcher will explain the methodology that will describe various steps that will be taken to ensure that the desired data is collected and analysed to inform the study. The chapter starts by describing qualitative and quantitative methods. The researcher will then explain why the qualitative method was considered more appropriate for the research than quantitative methods. The study will explain the theoretical perspectives behind the methodology, the research design and strategy that will be used, sampling criteria and sample size, time horizons, methods of data collection, ethics, reliability, and data analysis. The primary goal of the research is to answer the following question: What is talent management?

Research Methodology

According to Bowling (2014), talent management as an area of research has attracted the attention of many scholars over the recent past. It is critical to determine how talent can be promoted from a tender age when one is still in learning institutions to the stage when they are in gainful employment. When conducting research, it is prudent to address research gaps based on what other scholars have found out. In this methodology section, the researcher will look at the approach that will be used to obtain primary data from respondents in this study.

Qualitative vs Quantitative Methods

When conducting research, one of the most important decisions that one has to make is whether to use qualitative or quantitative methods to achieve the desired goals. Bryman (2016, p. 51) defines quantitative methods as that which “emphasise objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys, or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques.” When using a quantitative method, the primary goal of the researcher is to determine the magnitude of the issue under investigation. A researcher will need to develop structured questions to help in collecting data that can easily be assigned numerical values, coded appropriately, and analysed using mathematical methods. The quantitative method allows a researcher to determine the impact of various independent variables on the dependent variable. When using quantitative methods in this study, the researcher will not only be interested in identifying challenges in implementing talent management in culturally diverse organisations but also the magnitude of each challenge. When this method is used, it will be possible to rank factors identified as posing threats to the implementation of talent management.

It is possible to choose qualitative method as the appropriate approach to conducting the study. Bryman (2016, p. 82) defines qualitative research as “primarily exploratory research used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations, and insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research.” As shown in that definition, this method seeks to explore reasons or motivations behind a given issue. It focuses on answering questions such as why and how a given phenomenon occurred the way it did. It makes it possible to understand what can or could have been done to address the problem and achieve the desired outcome. It allows a researcher to use open-ended questions that enable respondents to explain their answers. Instead of just providing a yes or no answer, this method allows respondents to explain their choices. They need to provide justifications to answers that they provide in the study. By using this method in this research, it will be possible to identify and explain challenges in implementing talent management in culturally diverse organisations.

Rationale for Choosing Qualitative Method

Creswell (2013) advises that one should be very keen when selecting the most appropriate method of conducting research. Care should be taken to ensure that the selected method is in line with research goals and objectives. The quantitative method can help in identifying and quantifying challenges (independent variables) that affect the implementation of talent management in culturally diverse organisations. However, this research goes beyond the identification and quantification of these variables. It is necessary to have a detailed explanation of each of these challenges and why they affect the implementation of talent management in selected entities. As such, qualitative research will be the most desirable approach. Using qualitative methods will enable the researcher to have an in-depth investigation of the issue at hand.

It will be possible to identify and analyse each factor individually and how it relates to the implementation of talent management. When cultural intolerance is identified as one of the challenges, this method will help in explaining why it is a hindrance, how it affects the implementation, and what can be done to address the issue. The method also makes it possible to gather information that may be unique to a given organisation. Challenges that may hinder implementation of talent management in a culturally diverse organisation such as Aljazeera Networks may not be the same at Qatar Airways. Allowing respondents to explain their answers will enable the researcher to understand variations that exist depending on different organisational factors. When collecting primary data, sometimes it is undesirable to have a structured response that does not factor in justifications behind such responses. Sometimes the response given is contrary to popular beliefs or expectations.

Failing to get proper justification for such responses can be an injustice to the research. Such dissenting views may help in understanding an issue from a different angle than many have ignored. However, that is only possible when the respondent is allowed to explain it with the help of unstructured questions. They should be allowed to state why they feel a given issue should be addressed in an approach that many people oppose or do not consider. Jackson (2016) explains that sometimes views of the few may prove more beneficial because of their talent or special skills that enable them to look at the issue differently. As such, it was established that the qualitative method would be the most appropriate type of research based on the set goals and objectives.

Theoretical Perspective Behind the Methodology

It is important to explain the theoretical perspective behind the selected methodology. Social constructionism is the epistemology that informs the method chosen. Creswell (2013, p. 43) defines Social constructionism as a “theory of knowledge in sociology and communication theory that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world that form the basis for shared assumptions about reality.” In this study, this approach will help in making relevant assumptions in understanding the reality of challenges in implementing talent management in culturally diverse organisations. When developing the knowledge, it is expected that the researcher will make fundamental assumptions. Using the research onion it is possible to define the research philosophy that will explain assumptions that will be made in the study. Research philosophy focuses on the nature, source, and development of knowledge in a given study (Bryman & Bell 2015). It explains the beliefs embraced by the researcher when collecting information about a given phenomenon, and how the data should be analysed and interpreted. As shown a researcher can use positivism, critical realism, pragmatism, or interpretivism based on the set goals and objectives of the research. It is important to discuss each before starting the most appropriate one for the study.

Pragmatism. According to Fellows and Liu (2015), pragmatism research holds the view that a concept can only be accepted to be relevant if it can support action. The philosophy acknowledges that there are different ways of interpreting the world. It is irrational to insist on just one way of interpreting various factors within the environment. As such, this philosophy allows people to make their interpretation based on their broad socio-cultural background. However, it emphasises the need to ensure that the interpretation can support action. It holds that when making assumptions, it is necessary to ensure that they are based on facts (Crotty 1998). The researcher did not consider this philosophy to be the most appropriate for the study.

Positivism. This philosophy holds that knowledge can only be considered factual and trustworthy if it is gained through observation with the help of relevant instruments (Bryman 2016). When using it, a researcher must understand that his or her role is limited to data collection, analysis, and interpretation in an objective manner. In many cases, a researcher may allow gained knowledge and experience to influence the process of analysing and interpreting data. However, this philosophy restricts a researcher from interpreting based on the analyzed data (Crotty 1998). It means that the researcher must remain a neutral observer who reports findings the way it is even if it goes against one’s personal beliefs, knowledge, or experience. It is popular when conducting quantitative studies because it requires the use of observable and quantifiable data. Assumptions that this philosophy embraces- especially the one that requires a researcher to remain objective and independent when collecting and analysing data- are very appropriate for this study. However, it was not considered appropriate because of its requirement to use statistical data.

Critical realism. The philosophy holds that reality is always independent of human mind. People may hold beliefs based on their socio-cultural backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, knowledge, and other factors. However, it is important to understand that what one believes in may not be the truth. Some of the beliefs are based on misleading information. Others are held because of a lack of knowledge. As such, a researcher is not expected to rely on the beliefs of people because they may provide misleading information. The most appropriate thing is to rely on scientific research that does not depend on the beliefs and experiences of people. This philosophy was considered inappropriate in this social sciences research. When investigating challenges in implementing talent management in culturally diversified organisations, it is not possible to use scientific methods. As such, it was irrelevant in this research.

Interpretivism. This philosophy requires a researcher to make an observation of different elements in the area of study and then make interpretation of what is observed based on personal knowledge and experiences, supported by evidence-based research (Jackson 2016). It means that this philosophy allows a researcher to use personal knowledge when interpreting. The philosophy is popular among advanced researchers with a rich academic background that can support their assumptions. For them to use their knowledge and experience to make assumptions, they should be knowledgeable enough in that field. This philosophy was considered the most appropriate for the study. The researcher has gained extensive knowledge in this area of research based on classwork and independent research. The researcher will collect data from the sampled respondents to understand what their views are about challenges in implementing talent management in their organisations. Using information that is obtained from secondary sources and knowledge that the researcher has gained in the course of the study, it will be possible to make the right interpretation. The conclusion and recommendations of the study will be based on these facts.

Research Design

In this qualitative research, the appropriate research design will be an explorative study. According to Bowling (2014), exploratory research is a design that focuses on developing new knowledge in a field that has not yet received extensive research. As the name suggests, the researcher will be exploring a new field that has scanty information. Crotty (1998) explains that the design focuses on the discovery of new ideas about a given study. It is important to understand that the selected topic, challenges in implementing talent management, has been explored by a few scholars who have published their findings, but not in the context of Qatar. Most of the existing books and articles are based in the western context. The researchers conducted their studies in Europe and North America. Finding relevant literature that focuses on the local factors in making their conclusion is not easy. For that reason, the researcher will be conducting an exploratory study in the local environment. Companies are struggling to attract and retain highly skilled employees.

The stiff market competition and other challenges that exist in the market make it necessary to have creative minds that can come up with innovative ideas when solving problems that may arise in the workplace. Strategies used in attracting and retaining employees have been evolving. In the past, managers used attractive remunerations as a way of making their employees satisfied and loyal to the firm. Although the method is still in use, managers are trying to find other approaches to attracting and retaining customers. One such method is making employees feel respected. Creating a perfect environment where employees can work without feeling demeaned or intimidated is also critical in attracting and retaining top talents. Lewis (2015) also explains that when employees are offered such a conducive environment, they tend to be creative in their work. However, it is worth noting that factors that American employee considers appropriate in the workplace may be different from those desired by an employee in Lebanon or Qatar.

These last two countries are predominantly Islamic. As such, employees would want to be granted some time at specified intervals to go and pray as expected of them even when they are not within the official breaks. These are factors that most western researchers have ignored in their study. In this exploratory research, it will be possible to explain specific issues within Qatar that influence the implementation of talent management in culturally diverse organisations. The study will offer critical insight into what firms from western countries should consider when moving to the local market. Thinking that financial benefits alone can help attract and retain talented employees can be a dangerous assumption when moving to local markets. They have to understand local forces in these countries, challenges that are unique because of the local forces and how to ensure that their operations can overcome these challenges.

Research Strategy

Bryman (2016) defines a research strategy as a step-by-step action plan that provides direction that is taken in ducting research systematically within the available time to provide an informative report. The strategy that is chosen should define how data will be obtained from the respondents for interpretation. When choosing the strategy to be used, Lewis (2015) notes that some factors have to be considered. One of these factors is the availability of time. It is necessary to ensure that the strategy is time-sensitive. The availability of respondents is another factor that must be taken into consideration. When it is not easy to reach out to respondents within the required time when an interview is used, then an alternative approach may be necessary. The geographic constraints must also be considered. The approach that is used when the respondents are widely dispersed is different from that which is appropriate when they are concentrated within a specific geographic area. The following strategies will be applied in this research.

Ethnography. According to Lewis (2015), ethnography refers to a systematic study of people and their culture within a given setting. It explores cultural phenomena and how they affect various factors within a workplace environment. Qatar has experienced a steady flow of immigrants over the past two decades. Many of the large companies have hired employees from Europe, North America, and the Far East to help in undertaking mega-projects that require highly skilled workers. Workers from Africa and parts of Asia have also come to this country to undertake manual jobs. The cultural diversity in these organisations means that talent management cannot be focused fully on the local socio-economic beliefs. Although Islam is still the primary factor that defines the culture of many people in the country, the influence of the immigrants and their presence in various organisations cannot be ignored. When looking at challenges that affect the implementation of talent management in such organisations, a culture will be given special consideration.

Action research. The strategy that will be taken in this project will involve some elements of action research. According to O’Sullivan et al. (2017), action research is often initiated to solve a specific problem or to reflect on a process that can be used progressively to address emerging problems. Talent management is critical for organisations that seek to achieve success in a competitive business environment. They need to identify ways of recruiting and retaining highly skilled workers that can enable them to realise the desired goals. However, the problem is that sometimes challenges emerge that hinder the ability of an organisation to implement talent management, especially in culturally diverse organisations. Action research focuses on finding solutions to such problems to ensure that the implementation can be done smoothly. The researcher will focus on finding the right solution to the challenges that these firms face. The researcher will provide a series of recommendations that should be followed by these companies to ensure that they can overcome challenges when implementing talent management strategies.

Case study. It will be necessary to employ case studies in this research. Problems that local Qatari firms face when implementing talent management are not unique. Regional companies in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Oman have faced similar problems. Others in Europe, North America, and the Far East have also experienced similar issues. It will be necessary to find relevant cases regionally and internationally where culturally diverse companies found it challenging to implement talent management. The study will look at approaches that were taken to address these challenges and the outcome of each approach. The information can shed light on what local firms should avoid and what they need to pay special attention to based on the outcome of similar companies in other parts of the world. Patten and Newhart (2018) explain that case studies provide a real-life explanation by focusing on a specific phenomenon. It provides relevant examples that would inform the conclusion and recommendations of a study. The three selected strategies will enable the researcher to collect detailed information about challenges in implementing talent management in culturally diverse organisations in Qatar.

Sampling and Selection Criteria

Sampling is one of the most important steps when planning to conduct a study. Numerous organisations face various problems when they try to implement talent management, especially those that are culturally diverse. According to Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill (2011), when dealing with a large population, it may not be possible to collect data from everyone because of the limited time that is available for the study. Therefore, it is necessary to select a manageable sample to help in the collection of the needed primary data. Fellows and Liu (2015) advise that when selecting a sample, it is important to ensure that it represents the entire population. That is so because the findings made from the sample are often used to generalise the entire population. The generalisation can only be valid if the selected sample represents the targeted population. The researcher seeks to collect data from institutions of higher learning in Qatar. Most of these institutions are highly diversified. They have students from all over the world. They also employ academic staff from Europe, North America, and parts of Asia and Africa. A significant portion of the non-academic staff comes from developing countries in Africa and Asia. The cultural diversity in these institutions makes them unique when trying to implement talent management. Other than other factors such as skills, experience, and talents of employees, the management of these institutions must consider cultural diversity when managing talents. The researcher will only select institutions that have been determined to be culturally diverse.

Purposive sampling. As explained above, the study will use the Interpretivism philosophy that allows the researcher to use personal judgment at various stages of the research. One of the stages that the researcher’s judgment that will be used is in selecting an appropriate sample for the study. Purposive sampling will be used in this project. This non-random sampling technique allows the researcher to select participants based on factors relevant to the study. Qatar, especially the city of Doha, has experienced an influx of immigrants over the recent past. Many learning institutions now have international students and teachers from foreign countries. However, not all of them fit the criteria set in this study. Some of these institutions are not as culturally diverse as desired by the researcher. Using simple random sampling will mean that there will be chances of selecting organisations that do not meet the set standards (Bryman 2016). To avoid such scenarios, it was considered necessary that the researcher should use personal judgment in selecting these participants.

After identifying institutions, Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill (2011) advise that it is important to identify individual participants who will be engaged in the process of data collection. The researcher is keen on interviewing specific individuals who have the right information that the study seeks to obtain. Human resource managers, heads of the recruitment unit, heads of the training unit, and departmental heads are targeted for the study. The respondents must have been working in Qatar over the last five years for them to be considered competent enough to participate in this study. Given that these participants must meet specific criteria, it was necessary to use the purposive sampling technique. It enables the researcher to ensure that the chosen individuals will be capable of providing the needed data.

Sample size. The researcher will have a manageable sample size that can help in collecting valid data needed in this study. As explained above, mid-level managers will be targeted because they are always playing central roles in the implementation of most of the organisational strategies. They are best placed to provide information on talent management and challenges that are often faced in such endeavours. The researcher targets 50 participants from who the needed data will be collected. The participants will have to be a close representation of the entire population of study. The selected sample size is reasonable given that this is a doctoral dissertation that seeks to address a problem that affects local organisations. It will be possible to collect data from this sample within the available time.

Time Horizons

Time is an important factor that must be taken seriously in a given study. In the research onion, the time horizon is in the sixth layer and must be defined in clear terms to inform decisions that the researcher makes in terms of data collection. In the research onion, it is clear that a study can be longitudinal or cross-sectional. Jackson (2016) explains that some studies can take a very long period depending on their nature and purpose. Some studies can take as long as five years. They fall into the category of longitudinal research. The researcher will embrace cross-sectional research.

Cross-sectional. Patten and Newhart (2018) define cross-sectional research as one that has to be conducted within a short time. The need to research within a short time (less than six months) may be informed by various factors. First, it may be because the phenomenon under investigation is dynamic and if a long time is taken to investigate the issue, the outcome may no longer be relevant by the time the study is out. When investigating challenges in implementing talent management, time is of the essence because of the dynamism of forces. Factors that influence talent management today may not be the same after some months. New variables may emerge or be eliminated that may change dynamics. The second reason why it may be necessary to embrace cross-sectional research is when one is conducting an academic study. In academic projects, a researcher is required to complete the project within a specific time.

The report is meant to assess the skills that the researcher has gained within a specific period. Using the report written by the student, a lecturer is expected to assign relevant marks. This is one such project. As an academic study, time is of the essence. The study must be completed within the time set by the school. Cross-sectional research is also appropriate when the study is focusing on a specific issue other than a wide variety of issues. In this study, the specific issue being investigated is how talent management is affected by different factors in culturally diverse organisations. This method also allows the researcher to use qualitative research when conducting the investigation. These are the fundamental factors that made the researcher choose this time horizon for the study.

Methods of Data Collection

Once a sample has been identified, the next phase is the collection of primary data from the respondents. Jackson (2016) advises that method of data collection should be chosen based on the nature of the study, time available for the research, and physical availability of respondents. The researcher intends to use face-to-face interviews to collect the needed data from the informants. Bryman (2016) notes that physically interacting with respondents when collecting information is always beneficial and improves the chances of gathering the needed information. Informants are offered an opportunity to ask any question they may have about the study. Their concerns will be addressed effectively before they start answering questions. Using standard semi-structured and unstructured questions, Creswell (2013) explains that is possible to gather information from each of the respondents with the help of a questionnaire that will be prepared. This approach makes it easy to request a clarification from respondents in case their answers are not clear or go against what was expected based on the researcher’s knowledge, information gathered from secondary sources, and responses provided by other participants.


It is important to observe ethical considerations when conducting this academic research. According to Gravetter and Forzano (2018), one of the most important ethical requirements when planning to collect data from a specific organisation is to obtain relevant permission from the management. The researcher will make a formal request to the management of the selected institutions. According to Silverman (2006), a researcher should contact sampled respondents and explain to them the relevance of the study once permission is granted. Their role in this research will be explained to ensure that they fully understand what they are requested to do. Participation in this study will be voluntary, and no form of direct or indirect coercion or deception will be involved. The researcher will ensure that informants are not subjected to any harm because of their participation in this study. That will be achieved by maintaining confidentiality and anonymity of respondents,

Reliability and Validity

Jackson (2016) says that it is advisable to ensure that the reliability and validity of the study are maintained. In this study, the researcher will use triangulation to enhance the reliability of the study. Other than the primary sources of data, the researcher will use a wide range of secondary data sources. The knowledge of the researcher in this field will help in enhancing the validity. The researcher has ensured that the chosen methods of collecting, analysing, and interpreting data are within the scope. The researcher expects minimal challenges if any in the entire process of collecting and analysing data. The choice of participants (experienced mid-managers involved in implementing strategies in their culturally diverse organisations) will also enhance validity in the study.

Data Analysis

The analysis of primary data will take the qualitative approach. The researcher will be interested in interpreting the information collected from participants to explain the challenges that these institutions of higher learning face when implementing talent management because of their cultural diversity. As Creswell (2013) explains that qualitative data analysis does not just involve the identification of the specific challenges but also how they affect organisations and measures that can be taken to manage them. In this study, the researcher seeks to use thematic data analysis. Sekaran and Bougie (2016, p. 89) describe thematic analysis as one that “emphasises pinpointing, examining, and recording patterns or themes.” When using this method, the focus is to identify patterns that can be used to predict future occurrences of events associated with the issue under investigation. Some of these problems related to talent management keep recurring. Developing a pattern can help explain the past and present factors to predict possible future occurrences. The information can help local organisations in Qatar and those in the MENA region to be prepared to manage these challenges.


Talent management is critical in modern organisations, especially those operating in a highly competitive environment. Managing a highly talented team of employees enables a firm to embrace creativity and innovativeness. As explained above, embracing innovation is one of the best ways of managing the competitive environment. It enables a firm to understand the emerging needs of customers and how they can be met in the best way possible. In this research, the focus will be to collect data from institutions of higher learning within Qatar. The researcher intends to use qualitative methods in the process of collecting data. As explained above, qualitative research makes it possible to go beyond the identification and quantification of factors. It creates room for a detailed explanation of why a given phenomenon occurred the way it did. This method will enable the researcher to identify challenges in implementing talent management in culturally diverse institutions and how they affect these organisations. The researcher will observe ethical considerations in this study.

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