Research proposal and literature review

This research proposal consists of several parts that provide a relevant direction for the development of a research project on the topic of talent management and knowledge management in contemporary organisations. The first part introduces the mentioned topic by providing adequate background details that aim at exploring the direct link between talent management and knowledge management initiatives used by companies. The second part is the literature review consisting of solid evidence obtained from management literature. The third part of the proposal includes the proposed research methodology, which is quantitative in nature, as the selected data collection method is survey. Advantages and disadvantages of this type of research methodology are clearly outlined along with the suggested model of data analysis.
Part 1: Introduction and Background

The present study intends to explore the close relationship between talent management and knowledge management as related to the constantly developing HR field. It is important to understand how the implementation of knowledge management activities can contribute to better functioning of modern organisations especially in terms of talent management procedures and reinforcing the potential of employees (Arthur, 2012). It can be indicated that the combination of talent management and knowledge management is beneficial for the operations present at companies (Aiman-Smith et al., 2006; Analoui, 2007). Talent management has been found useful to motivate employees to demonstrate their skills, as this would be possible through raising awareness about the importance of knowledge management. Different knowledge management concepts can be identified as directly related to talent management initiatives in organisations (Analoui, 2007). Such concepts are related to recognising the potential of knowledge employees, presenting adequate orientation to create and share knowledge as well as demonstrate activities pertaining to the retention of solid knowledge.
For that reason, the purpose of the study is to demonstrate the relationship between talent management and knowledge management. This issue has been adequately explored in the literature in an attempt to find out essential aspects pertaining to each of the two concepts (Armstrong, 2007). Yet it is expected that the present study can provide significant insights into different methods and strategies that relate to using the advantages of talent management and knowledge management in practice (Ingham, 2006).
Three main research questions are identified for the present study:
Research Question 1: What is the relationship between talent management and knowledge management in the context of contemporary organisations?
Research Question 2: How can knowledge management contribute to extending the impact of talent management initiatives across organisations?
Research Question 3: How can organisations improve the aspect of learning among employees as well as empower them?
Such research questions are considered helpful and thus will be covered in the study by providing adequate answers. Specific objectives are identified for the study:
To assess and enhance the impact of both talent management and knowledge management initiatives across organisations;
To determine employee contribution and attitude towards the functioning of the organisation and outline of specific strategic goals;
To include a series of recommendations on how the relationship between talent management and knowledge management can be enhanced to achieve optimal results
Part 2: Literature Review
This section of the study outlines major points related to the connection between talent management and knowledge management as outlined in the literature. The introduction of knowledge management programs is found beneficial to develop and enhance mechanisms of talent management initiatives. This in turn will result in more empowered employees who tend to be more satisfied with their job and thus more productive in the long term. A substantial part of the literature review section refers to exploring the link between talent management and knowledge management. The emphasis is on the attitude demonstrated by employees regarding the combination of these two essential concepts of the HR field.
The Link between Talent Management and Knowledge Management
It has been argued that talent management is mostly associated with enhancing the potential of new employees as well as recruiting and retaining existing ones. In the process of retaining employees, the focus is on the most competent and qualified workers in the organisation. Other elements emphasised by talent management include educational and training opportunities, progression planning, and organisational expansion (De Wit and Meyer, 2005). The benefits of talent management have been recognised in the literature (Aiman-Smith et al., 2006). Such an activity is subject to control by the HR department. Researchers have focused on the optimal ways that can be used to expand the skills of their employees, which would be possible through the development of relevant strategic objectives (Analoui, 2007). Organisations should be adequately prepared to correspond to any changes or aspects of financial performance. The contribution of talented employees should be considered in the process of organising adequate talent management and knowledge management initiatives.
In addition, researchers have argued that the interrelation of knowledge management and talent management is mostly maintained for the accomplishment of particular strategic goals (Aiman-Smith et al., 2006). As a specific area in the HR field, talent management requires significant attention in order to utilise the optimal potential of employees in the workplace. On the other hand, knowledge management has been perceived as introducing regulatory mechanisms that can facilitate or motivate employees to achieve their full potential. This can be done through the creation, accumulation and application of solid knowledge mechanisms in the organisational context (Aiman-Smith et al., 2006; De Wit and Meyer, 2005). It has been identified that knowledge connection management is a specific field within the broad domain of knowledge management, as it has been considered such differentiation is important to expand the knowledge in modern organisations.
The focus of employee performance has been emphasised in the literature especially in a direction of recruiting talented employees and advancing the possibilities of information technology (Evans et al., 2007). As a result, companies would be able to use and share knowledge in an efficient manner. The idea is to enhance organisational performance at all possible levels (Haesli and Boxall, 2005). The effective execution of talent management and knowledge management in organisations requires an adequately constructed process, which is related with the identification of talented employees, creating solid knowledge base, and sharing such knowledge efficiently. In addition, it is important to motivate employees to practice such knowledge in the best possible manner by demonstrating creativity and innovation. According to research, knowledge management mechanisms can be rather effective if they are combined with models of talent management and thus focused on the capabilities and structure of organisations (Green, 2000).
It can be argued that knowledge management mostly relates to essential aspects of technology development and organisation, with the utmost goal to create adequate knowledge procedures across organisations. It is significant to note that successful knowledge management can be achieved if companies ensure efforts to combine these two areas of the HR field (Frank and Taylor, 2004). Knowledge management application can help organisations manage their knowledge base properly, while talent management application can reinforce the talent of employees and supervise them accordingly (Evans et al., 2007). In this context, it is important to differentiate some of the most viable knowledge management competencies to include dimensions of organisational behaviour, structure and empowerment of knowledgeable employees.
Knowledge Management and Organisational Capabilities
Knowledge management is a dynamic area of the HR field pertaining to the identification of essential capabilities and dimensions of organisational performance (Frank and Taylor, 2004; Green, 2000). The most relevant idea is to generate knowledge principles continuously, which would contribute to better functioning of organisations. The HR department is usually responsible for raising awareness regarding the importance of knowledge management and knowledge creation at all levels of the organisation (Evans et al., 2007). Therefore, it would be possible to identify knowledge management mechanisms as rather structured in nature as well as controlled by managers with the purpose to manage and control knowledge effectively. The process of accepting certain knowledge forms may be challenging, but the combination of knowledge management and talent management can significantly facilitate the performance of organisations (Evans et al., 2007). Knowledge management indicates the necessity to ensure constant reinforcement of certain HRM activities. Researchers have argued about the importance of measuring the performance of each employee especially through feedback, which has been found effective not only for the organisation but also for the professional development of employees (Frank and Taylor, 2004). In terms of performance, it has become important to implement a relevant strategy and present a strong vision; hence, companies are expected to introduce clear strategic goals for future initiatives that can combine successfully talent management and knowledge management. As a result, this would improve both the external and internal capabilities of the organisation, as shown in the literature (Green, 2000).
However, short-term and past-oriented financial pointers cannot become distinctive indicators that can appraise the overall company’s performance anymore. In this context, intangible assets such as knowledge management and talent management rather than tangible financial assets are a measure of a company’s strategic value (Smart, 1999). As a result, knowledge management has emerged as a quite important branch of management in the sense of developing intangible asset monitor systems to evaluate performance indicators of the workforce as well as provide certain details about financial performance (Sewell, 2005). The intangible asset monitor is a system consisting of performance pointers that can link such intangible assets in a relevant manner.
Moreover, the classification of intellectual capital has become a priority to many organisations in an attempt to enhance their internal structure and acceptance of certain criteria for employee performance, which may contribute to extensive growth (Frank and Taylor, 2004). For that reason, researchers have proposed the implementation of Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) emerging as a strategic management parameter that includes both financial pointers and nonfinancial indicators (Green, 2000; Sewell, 2005). Such a strategic learning system is able to modify a particular business theory through the implementation of strict monitoring mechanisms. The goal is to assess an organisation’s knowledge management and talent management initiatives. At the same time, knowledge management emerges with significant objectives related to the improvement of all parameters of organisational knowledge, introduction of innovative mechanisms that support knowledge and motivation of employees (Evans et al., 2007). The combination of knowledge management and talent management activities is useful for enhancing organisations to achieve essential strategic objectives through a clearly defined path of possibilities (Redman and Wilkinson, 2006). Yet, it can be indicated that knowledge management has not significantly contributed to the actual organisational performance. Its combination with talent management activities has been found a preferable option to enhance organisational performance (Green, 2000). The cost-effective parameters of such a combination of activities should be considered as well.
Researchers have indicated that the BCA can realistically measure knowledge management and talent management performance through the method of cost analysis (Nonaka, 1994). In this sense, knowledge management refers to an entire philosophy of training employees in order to enhance their collaboration and integration within the organisation. Therefore, researchers have suggested the method of knowledge management scorecard (KMSC) as a relevant way to evaluate performance through the lens of knowledge management (Evans et al., 2007).
Effective Combination of Talent Management and Knowledge Management
The conceptualisation of the link between talent management and knowledge management is required in order to expand the potential of employees to bring greater value to the organisation. Talent management has been found important in eliciting a sufficient amount of intellectual knowledge (Nonaka, 1994). In addition, the notion of talent management clearly adheres to the principles outlined by strategic management. It aims to strengthen the dimensions of knowledge in organisations through the identification and reinforcement of talented employees, as the leading point made in the literature is that once these employees have been recognised, they should be retained in the long term (Sewell, 2005). The concept of talent management also refers to the affective domain of the HR department especially in terms of facilitating a proper vision for emotional intelligence.
Various examples can be also found in relation to how talent management and knowledge management can be adequately combined to create the south positive impact and retain qualified and experienced employees in the long run (Sewell, 2005). It appears that there are plenty of successful companies that have demonstrated their aim to combine these two branches of management in an effective way. For instance, Igus, which is a leading manufacturer of energy systems in Germany, is a clear example of such successful organisations (Igus Official Website, 2014). The company is noted for its commitment to arranging all aspects of management in a clear and efficient way by reinforcing the potential of employees so that they can contribute to optimal organisational performance.
It has been argued that the necessity of including both talent management and knowledge management in contemporary organisations can contribute to improved performance, productivity and adequate employer-employee relationships. The focus is on the formation and implementation of a clear HR strategy for organisations to operate in particular markets or industry sectors (Green, 2000). As illustrated in the literature review, the concept of combining talent management and knowledge management has been subject to extensive discussions among management scholars. It has been identified that both systems should be carefully considered upon the implementation of a particular organisational strategy. Scholars have focused on the necessity to direct the HR department in a proper direction by taking advantage of the strong aspects of both talent management and knowledge management (Evans et al., 2007). Yet, greater emphasis is put on exploring the effects of different knowledge management frameworks that could further lead to the accomplishment of various strategic management goals. This literature review also emphasised that the combination of talent management and knowledge management initiatives is associated with rather positive effects on employee performance and productivity as well as job motivation. The adoption of a positive attitude among employees is a clear sign of the effectiveness of the mentioned combination of management approaches.
An extensive focus on the talent management and knowledge management initiative has been outlined in the research literature. Despite the usefulness of training and development programs, the mentioned initiative has been considered more important in relation to specifying long-term implications. In addition, different recommendations have been introduced of how to expand the positive effect of talent management and knowledge management activities in today’s organisations (Evans et al., 2007). The improvement of organisational control mechanisms has been extensively discussed in the literature. As a result, researchers have indicated the importance of extending employee learning and empowering them to succeed as professionals in a particular area of expertise (Green, 2000). Therefore, the presented literature review fulfilled the objective of enabling individuals to understand the complexity of the talent management and knowledge management initiative.
Part 3: Research Methodology
Prior to proposing the most viable research method to be used in this study, it is important to clarify that focusing on research philosophy is inseparable part of the entire research process. Quantitative research methodology is considered most appropriate to answer the presented research questions and achieve the stated objectives. In this way, the researcher needs to focus on collecting a substantial amount of numerical information that would be sufficient to explain particular research phenomena (Balnaves and Caputi, 2001). In terms of presenting a clear paradigm of research philosophy, the emphasis is on the use of positivist research philosophy, in the sense of providing an adequate explanation for human behavioural patterns from the perspective of cause and effect. The social environment has been identified as an optimal place to collect the information necessary for presenting research findings (Nonaka, 1994). Moreover, the possibility to achieve a high level of generalisability of findings is a relevant way to ensure greater objectivity of the obtained information. to generalise the findings to the wider population.
Advantages and Limitations of Quantitative Research Methodology
The basic aspect underlying the specificity of quantitative method is its focus on retrieving sufficient numerical information, which would allow the researcher to conduct an in-depth statistical analysis (Balnaves and Caputi, 2001). The retrieval of quantitative data is statistically dominated and thus emerges with substantial accuracy considering that it is not open to various interpretations as in qualitative research design. One of the benefits of adopting quantitative research methodology is that it contributes to the easy collection of data, as it can be visually presented with charts and figures. Another benefit of this type of methodology is associated with the possibility to carry out a research at a large scale due to inclusion of extensive statistical details (Green, 2000). A disadvantage of the research method selected for this study is that it may represent a rather costly option compared to qualitative research design (Vogt, 2006). A second disadvantage of quantitative research methodology relates to changing numbers as a result of specific operations and calculations, as this may have a negative impact on the overall results obtained in the study (Nonaka, 1994).
Sampling Procedure
The sampling procedure used to construct a relevant sample of participants is random sampling, which refers to selecting individuals on a random principle (Balnaves and Caputi, 2001). There is a sense of unpredictability associated with this sampling procedure, as the intention of the researcher is to ensure optimal objectivity of results. It can be stated that all people from a particular segment have the equal chance to participate in the study. The simple technique pertaining to random sampling is the availability of random number tables, which serve a notification purpose in the sense of informing the researcher to select study subjects at a particular defined period and thus participants are generated on a random principle (Vogt, 2006). However, it should be noted that the use of randomisation devices may be also considered in this study, as it has been found to produce effective results in terms of avoiding bias in research (Maxim, 1999). The application of random sampling is a proper way to produce legitimate results as well as adequate findings and implications for long-term practice.
It is important to indicate that the results obtained from randomly selected participants are perceived as credible and accurate and thus such a sampling technique should be preferred in the research process (Balnaves and Caputi, 2001). However, there is a significant challenge associated with the selected sampling technique. It obviously cannot include all representatives of the general population, which may result in the formation of sampling errors. There is an aspect of uncertainty, but this usually emerges with any method and thus the researcher should be prepared to address similar concerns (Maxim, 1999). In order to accomplish the research objectives outlined in this study, the researcher considers the formation of a sample that consists of 250 senior managers employed in a UK based financial institution.
The aspect of internal validity is important in research, as it relates to evaluating whether the study can assess what it was initially outlined. In addition, validity refers to determining whether the obtained results can be considered truthful. There is also an aspect of external validity, which is associated with achieving a high level of comprehensive research results in the sense that they find a broad application in various research settings (Vogt, 2006). Thus, it is assumed that the present study has an adequately high level of internal validity because of the lack of insufficient knowledge on the topic or improperly introduced arguments. However, it should be considered that data insufficiency may pose a significant risk to ensuring validity of data. It is important to avoid situations leading to the generation of low internal validity from research findings (Carmines and Zeller, 1980). In addition, certain instrumentation issues in relation to the data collection tool may create additional challenges in the process of ensuring internal validity.
The possibility to generate invalid scores is also clear and similar situations should be apparently decreased in the organisational context. The issue of order unfairness is a concern which is also considered in the present study, as the focus is on the order of particular involvement conditions that should not be removed from the precise effect of those conditions (Carmines and Zeller, 1980). Other threats considered in the present research include particular errors in statistical analysis testing, improperly constructed correlations and the emergence of causal errors, which are most likely to appear in the data analysis process. In terms of exploring the dimensions of external validity, it is important to consider its important role in determining outcomes in quantitative research. External validity refers to drawing more general inferences in relation to the collection of data among participants. Specific time periods and settings are important in determining the study results, but there are problems in relation to external validity that should be adequately considered. The major problematic issue is related to survey population, which is followed by time and attempts to ensure a sufficient level of environmental validity (Balnaves and Caputi, 2001). In terms of testing survey population validity, the researcher is concerned with the idea of whether specific inferences can be obtained from a particular population segment. In case bias is demonstrated throughout the research process, it is clear that external validity is subjected to substantial threat.
Furthermore, in case the sample size is considered insufficient or lacking characteristics of randomness, it may appear that the respective calculations are irrelevant. The process of achieving greater generalisation of results to the wider population may be problematic. The concept of time validity may emerge in order to demonstrate the degree to which obtained research findings can be comprehensive as related to other time periods (Carmines and Zeller, 1980). There may be certain changes occurring in the connection between variables, implying that the perceived level of time validity in this case would be rather low. The notion of environmental validity shows that the retrieved results can be comprehensive across a variety of settings. Despite the assumed high reliability and accuracy of the selected research methodology, it should be noted that achieving proper international generalisability may be a problem especially when it refers to small surveys and case studies (Carmines and Zeller, 1980). In conclusion, it can be argued that the notions of validity and reliability are more applicable to quantitative research than qualitative research.
Part 4: Data Analysis
The process of conducting an in-depth data analysis is fundamental to achieve the research objectives of the study. Considering that the proposed data collection tool is survey is important to implement statistical analysis, which is properly constructed. Yet, it should be considered that the researcher may provide various alternative ideas in terms of analysing the information obtained from research participants (Vogt, 2006). It is important to adhere to a properly constructed strategy of data analysis considering that extensive knowledge of working with survey data is essential throughout all stages of the data analysis process. There are different paths of analysis that can be followed by the researcher in this study, as the most important aspect is to recognise the specific audience and research objectives, and thus the implementation of an appropriate analysis tool to interpret the data would be possible (Maxim, 1999).
The initial stage of data analysis is represented by Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA), which indicates that the researcher initially looks into the data set in order to determine specific categories that will be later grouped for analysis. It is a preliminary form of data analysis (Vogt, 2006), but the essential part of the process is to derive the main findings from the collected survey data. It is important to make sure at this stage that analysis files are adequately consistent with one another because the issue of data analysis inconsistencies may be quite problematic in the long term (Maxim, 1999). It is also important to mention that the survey results can be analysed with specific software applications, which are intended for similar purposes. Other basic aspects to be considered during the data analysis process include filtering, comparing and showing rules as well as using saved views of the data set. Once the researcher prepares a summary of the retrieved data, the next step would be to focus on individual responses and exporting charts. As mentioned in the research literature, the use of charts and figures significantly facilitates the visual presentation of the research findings (Vogt, 2006).
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