Is talent management just old wine in new bottles?: the case of multinational corporations in Beijing

  • Xin Chuai

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Talent Management (TM), as a new managerial concept with regard to Human Resource Management (HRM), has increasingly gained concern and attention from the academic as well as business world, but there are many gaps and omissions left for further theoretical development and empirical study. Hence, understanding the differences between TM and HRM becomes necessary. Given an absence of clarity in the literature, the aim of the present study is to gain a thorough understanding of TM among Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in Beijing, to explore to what extent this managerial idea represents anything new, and to find out why organisations adopt TM. A case study method was selected as the main research methodology. The study was undertaken in Beijing, and the target companies were limited to four MNCs, respectively from the IT (two organisations), health care and education industries, and three consultancy companies. The theoretical perspective largely draws upon the literature on TM, management fashion and institutional theory. Findings show that the topic of TM has been enthusiastically pursued. However, there is not a single concise definition shared by all the case study organisations, even though different strands of understanding regarding TM are explored in this study. The thesis has also explored what is distinctive about TM, and the factors and purposes influencing the adoption of TM in China. Through comparing HRM with literature and empirical findings relating to TM, this thesis has found that TM seems to presage some new approaches to the management of the people resource in organisations, rather than a simple repackaging of old techniques and ideas with a new label. Meanwhile, this thesis strongly challenges the idea that TM is another struggle by HR professionals to enhance their legitimacy, status and credibility. Therefore, TM should not be considered as ‘old wine in new bottles’, at least with respect to the case of MNCs in China.
Date of Award12 Dec 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University

Cite this