Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to School of Hospitality Management and Tourism Technological University Dublin, 2018.


Global talent management (GTM) has become a critical factor of organisational practice in multinational corporations. The key assumption is that GTM is a source of competitive advantage for organisations. The aim of this research is to explore and understand the talent identification process in multinational hotel corporations (MNHCs). Drawing from multiple theoretical perspectives – human and social capital as well as agency and social network theories – the study takes an interpretivist stance to examine critically the talent identification process. By means of a qualitative collective case study design, three MNHCs were selected and 73 semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with key stakeholders from these organisations. The interviews were held with human resources and operations leaders at business unit and corporate levels. Findings show that the organisations developed a competency-based GTM strategy and applied various tools to differentiate the workforce. Firms conceptualise pivotal talent as high performers and high potentials. In addition, pivotal positions such as the general manager of a hotel, were identified. The MNHCs established a core talent identification construct with minor variations across regions at a corporate level, but with sometimes considerable differences in the implementation across business units. The developed talent identification model shows that individual human and social capital attributes remain the dominant factors of the formal identification process. The two-level model further illustrates the discrepancies between the corporate GTM strategies and the actual global implementation at a business unit level. Relationships and social networks play a critical role during the talent identification. The current study contributes to the GTM knowledge with an extensive empirical research in the often disregarded context of MNHCs and the exploration of elected talent management theories. It provides greater clarity of the concept of pivotal talent and its identification.