The Use of Talent Management Instruments and Procedures in Germany: A Broad Explorative Study of Effectiveness and Success Factors
Journal of Human Resource Management
Volume 4, Issue 6, December 2016, Pages: 77-99
Received: Nov. 25, 2016; Accepted: Dec. 7, 2016; Published: Jan. 5, 2017
Views 4579      Downloads 293
Jens Landwehr, Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, Seminar of Personnel Economics and HRM, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
Article Tools
Follow on us
While talent management has become a fixed term on HR agendas worldwide, it appears that that quality of talent management practices, infrastructure, and success measurements of talent management in German organizations is still low. This explorative empirical study – one of the largest ever done on this topic in Germany - shows that roles and responsibilities in the talent management process remain often unclear, processes and tools such as an IT infrastructure are often weak, and success measures are often not applied. But there is also surprising evidence that companies in Germany largely apply the wrong measures. It seems that in many German organizations, instruments and procedures are being applied which either have a rather neutral or even can have a counterproductive effect on talent management success. Reversely, instruments which can be linked empirically to talent management success, are not being applied as consistently as you would expect based on HR professionals knowledge on the subject matter. This paper presents the results of an explorative study on the scope of talent management in German organizations, the use of specific instruments and procedures, and links the use of instruments to various measures of success, most notably the assessment by talent management professionals. The results are both startling and surprising: Instruments most widespread in German organization are those which often have a neutral or even negative effect on talent management success. Starting with the question, how important talent management from the perspective of the organization, the study provides a detailed view on the use of specific measures and the processes applied by German organizations. Based on the responses of 125 participants of an online survey with talent managers and other HR professionals, we found a lack of commitment to talent management processes by leadership as a possible explanation for the state of talent management in Germany.
Talent Management, Success Factors, Success Measures, Infrastructure, Information Technology, Benchmarking, HR Processes, Explorative Study
To cite this article
Jens Landwehr, The Use of Talent Management Instruments and Procedures in Germany: A Broad Explorative Study of Effectiveness and Success Factors, Journal of Human Resource Management. Vol. 4, No. 6, 2016, pp. 77-99. doi: 10.11648/j.jhrm.20160406.12
Copyright © 2016 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Aston, C. and Morton, L. (2005), ‘Managing Talent for competitive advantage,’ Strategic HR Review, 4: 28-31.
Arthur, M. B. (1994) ‘The boundaryless career: A new perspective for organizational enquiry,’ Journal of Organizational Behaviour, 15, 295-306.
Axelrod, B., Handfield-Jones, H. and Michaels, E. (2002), ‘A new game plan for C players,’ Harvard Business Review, January, 81-88.
Becker, B., Huselid, M., Ulrich, D. (2009), ‘The HR Scorecard. Linking people, strategy and performance’.
Beechler, S., & Woodward, I. C. (2009), ‘The global war for talent,’ in: Journal of International Management, 15(3), 273-285.
Bernardin, H. J., Cooke, D. K. and Villanova, P. (2000), ‘Conscientiousness and agreeableness as predictors of rating leniency,’ in: Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 232–234.
Boselie, P., Dietz, G. and Boon, C. (2005) ‘Commonalities and contradictions in HRM and performance research’, Human Resource Management Journal, 15, 67-94.
Boxall, P. and Purcell, J. (2008), ‘Strategy and Human Resource Management’, 2nd Edition, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Brown, P., Tannock, S. (2008) ‘Education, meritocracy and the global war for talent’, in: International Journal for Human Resource Management, Received 15 July 2008; final version received 8 December 2008
Busck, O., Knudsen, H., Lind, J. (2010), ‘The transformation of employee participation: Consequences for the work environment,’ in Economic & Industrial Democracy, August 2010, Vol. 31 Issue 3, 284-305, 21p.
Cappelli, P. (2008), ‘Talent Management for the Twenty-First Century,’ in Harvard Business Review, March 2008, 74-81.
Cappelli, P. (2008), ‘Talent on Demand, Managing Talent in an age of uncertainty’.
Christiansen, R. (2010), ‘Roadmap to strategic HR: Turning a great idea into a business reality’.
Clutterbuck, D. (2010), ‘Talent and succession planning,’ in HR Vision, January 2010.
Collings, D. G. and Mellahi, K. (2009), ‘Strategic Talent Management: A review and research agenda,’ in: Human Resource Management Review, 19: 4, 304-313.
Cooper, C., Kenneth, K., Carlton, C. (2000), ‘Effective Competency Modeling and Reporting - A step-by-step guide for improving individual and organizational performance’.
De Mello, Cristina; Wildermuth, Souza; Pauken, Patrick David (2008), ‘A perfect match: decoding employee engagement — Part II: engaging jobs and individuals,’ in Industrial & Commercial Training; 2008, Vol. 40 Issue 4, 206-210, 5p.
Fietze, S., Holst E., & Tobsch, V. (2010). ‚Germany's Next Top Manager: Does Personality explain the Gender Career Gap?’ Joint Research and Discussion Paper No. 3., International Institute of Management, University of Flensburg and Department of Border Region Studies, University of Southern Denmark, Flensburg/Sonderburg.
Gabler, N. (2007), Personalentwicklungsjahrbuch.
Germain, J. (2010), ‘How to DRIVE your Troublesome Talent forward to success,’ in Manager: British Journal of Administrative Management, Spring 2010, Issue 70, p18-19, 2p.
Greenhaus, Parasuraman, & Wormley (1990), AMJ.
Groysberg, B., Nanda, A., Nohria, N. (2004), ‘The risky business of hiring stars.’ in Harvard Business Review 1–10 (May 1).
Groysberg, B., McLean, A., Nohria, N. (2006), ‘Are leaders portable?’ in Harvard Business Review 1–10 (May 1).
Groysberg, B., McLean, A., Nohria, N. (2008), ‘How star women build portable skills’ in Harvard Business Review 1–8 (February).
Hough, L. M., & Oswald, F. L. (2008), ‘Personality testing and I-O psychology: Asking questions, offering answers, discussing unknowns, and providing direction,’ in: Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 1 (3).
Jäger, W. (2009), Talent Management ist Personalmanagement, in Talent Management, Strategien, Umsetzung, Perspektiven‘
Knoblauch, J. (2010), ‘Die Personalfalle. Schwaches Personalmanagement ruiniert Unternehmen,’ Campus 2010
Lewis, R. E., & R. J. Heckman (2006), ‘Talent management: A critical review,’ in Human Resource Management Review, 16: 139-154.
Losey, M., Ulrich, D., Meisinger, S. (2010), ‘The Future of Human Resource Management, 64 Thought Leaders explore the critical HR issues of today and tomorrow’.
Martin, J. and Schmidt, C. (2010), ‘How to Keep Your Top Talent,’ in Harvard Business Review; May 2010.
McDonnell, A., Lamare, R., Gunnigle, P., Lavelle, J. (2010), ‘Developing tomorrow's leaders—Evidence of global talent management in multinational enterprises.’ In: Journal of World Business; Apr2010, Vol. 45 Issue 2, p150-160, 11p.
Meifert, M. T., (eds.) (2010), ‘Strategische Personalentwicklung. Ein Programm in acht Etappen,’ Springer 2010.
Meyer, C.; Kirby, J. (2010), ‘Leadership in the age of transparency’, in: Harvard Business Review, Apr2010, Vol. 88 Issue 4.
Michaels, E., Handfield-Jones, H. and Axelrod, B. (2001), ‘The War for Talent’, Boston, Harvard Business School Press.
Moser, R., Saxer, A. (2008), ‘Retention Management für High Potentials, Konzeptionelle Grundlagen – empirische Ergebnisse – Gestaltungsempfehlungen,’ Vdm Verlag Dr. Müller 2008.
Pfeffer, J (2001). ‘Fighting the War for Talent is Hazardous to Your Organization‘s Health.’ Organizational Dynamics, 29(4), 248–259.
Pfeffer, Jeffrey and Robert I. Sutton (2006) ‘Evidence‐Based Management’ in Harvard Business Review, 84(1), 2006, 63‐74.
Rammstedt, B. (2007), ‘Who worries and who is happy? Explaining individual differences in worries and satisfaction by personality.’ in: Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 1626-1634.
Sliwka (2008), ‘Transparency, Inequity Aversion, and the Dynamics of Peer Pressure in Teams: Theory and Evidence,’ in: Journal of Labor Economics 26 (2008), 693-720.
Stage & Houghton (2009), ‘IMI’s Aspire program feeds its senior leader pipeline through self nominations,’ in Wiley Interscience, July/August 2009.
Stage, Victoria, Houghton, Russell (2009), ‘IMI's Aspire program feeds its senior leader pipeline through self-nominations,’ in Global Business & Organizational Excellence, Jul/Aug 2009, Vol. 28 Issue 5, 16-25.
Stahl, G. K., Bjorkman, I., Farndale, E., Morris, S. S., Stiles, P., Trevor, J. & Wright, P. M. (2007), ‘Global Talent Management: How Leading Multinationals Build and Sustain Their Talent Pipeline,’ Faculty & Research Working Paper. Fontainebleau, France, INSEAD.
Tansley (2011), "What do we mean by the term “talent” in talent management?", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 43 Iss: 5, pp. 266.
Tarique & Schuler (2009), ‘Global talent management: Literature review, integrative framework, and suggestions for further research,’ in Journal of World Business, April 2010, Vol. 45 Issue 2, 122-133.
Tett, R. P., & Burnett, D. D. (2003). ‘A personality trait-based interactionist model of job performance.’ Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 500–517.
Ulrich, D. (2008), ‘The HR value proposition’.
Ulrich, D. (2006), ‘Delivering results: A new mandate for HR Professionals’.
Ulrich, D. (2006), ‘Human Resource Champions, What are the top five business challenges your executives must pay attention to?’
Van Nuland & Hanke, ‘Exploring the motivation jungle: Predicting performance on a novel task by investigating constructs from different motivation perspectives in tandem,’ in International Journal of Psychology; August 2010, Vol. 45 Issue 4, 250-259.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186