Examining talent management practices in small and medium enterprises in Jordan

  • Mohammad Alzbaidi

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Talent management has seen an increasing interest in the last decade as organisations face critical challenges to acquire and retain talented individuals who contributes to their success and create sustainable competitive advantage. However, talent management challenges have become more significant due to the rapid growth of small and medium sized enterprises. Rather than fiercely competing with multi-national companies to attract talent, SMEs have tended to develop talent internally and focus on retaining them. Also, while the prime focus is on the development of human capital, organisations often neglect the socio-cultural context in which decisions are made. Thus, in order for talent management to be effective, organisations need to address the broader national context when implementing such practices.

    Wasta, the practice of favouritism based on family and tribal relations has been widely used in Jordan to secure jobs, pay rises and other benefits. Research at the macro-level was conducted to understand the impact of cultural and institutional environmental on talent management in an internal context. This research contributes empirically to the literature of talent management by examining practices influenced by a national context and utilised in SMEs that differ from those processes adopted by large and multinational companies. Therefore, this thesis aims to examine the influence of micro and macro-environmental factors on strategic talent management within SMEs in Jordan. As talent management focusses exclusively on the organisational level, this research extends beyond organisational level by applying a multidimensional model, integrating factors at the macro level (Wasta), micro level (the talent management process) and strategic talent management performance.

    A mixed method research (confirmatory and explanatory) design was utilised to address the specified research questions. A quantitative method was employed to test and confirm the hypothesis developed throughout the study. A qualitative method was used to explain the relationships between variables and explain the institutional factors that affect the strategic talent management process. Due to serious challenges with data collection in Jordan, convenience and snowball sampling were applied as the most appropriate sampling techniques. Data was collected from the manufacturing and ICT sectors as the sectors with the largest number of SMEs in Jordan. Based on a total of 250 surveys, the outcomes revealed the significant effect of Wasta on retention performance mediated by strategic retention management. The findings were further supported and explained through explanatory qualitative results and expanded to an institutional context by applying a regulatory, cognitive and normative framework.

    The key theoretical contribution of this research was the development of a multidimensional model that can be used to examine the impact of environmental factors on talent management processes and talent retention performance. This research also provides a conceptual framework that shows how the talent management process is effectively implemented to retain talented employees and how the impact of Wasta and institutional factors affects strategic retention performance through the process of strategic talent management. In doing so, this study attempts to help key stakeholders and HR consultants at organisational level, as well as policymakers at sectorial and national levels identify how to utilise their pools of talent as well as to address the impact of Wasta on retention performance in Jordanian organisations.
    Date of AwardMay 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorAbdoulie Sallah (Supervisor), Kirsten Stevens (Supervisor) & Dongmei Cao (Supervisor)

    Cite this