Original Research

Do talent management strategies influence the psychological contract within a diverse environment?

Paul Poisat, Michelle R. Mey, Gary Sharp
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a1044 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.1044 | © 2018 Paul Poisat, Michelle R. Mey, Gary Sharp | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 February 2018 | Published: 30 July 2018

About the author(s)

Paul Poisat, Graduate School of Business, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
Michelle R. Mey, School of Industrial Psychology and Human Resource Management, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
Gary Sharp, Department of Statistics, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

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Orientation: Even though globalisation has resulted in a more diverse workforce and working environment, talent management strategies have not evolved catering for the diversity experienced in organisations. It is assumed that talent management strategies developed on Western principles can be applied effectively to employees in emerging markets. However, the success of these strategies in creating a high-performance work culture is widely questioned.

Research purpose: This study aims to empirically determine the relationship between talent management strategies on the psychological contract, and whether this relationship influences employee retention within diverse working environments, which includes generational cohorts, gender and ethnicity.

Motivation for the study: As talent management strategies impact differently on the psychological contract of individuals across the generations, gender and ethnicity, it therefore implies that a fit for purpose talent management strategy must consider these variables. The reason for this study was to determine the influence of talent management strategies on the psychological contract and ultimately retention within the diverse environment of different generations, genders and ethnicity.

Research approach/design and method: A structured, closed-ended Likert-type validated questionnaire was distributed to employed persons of differing ethnicity, gender and generations and emanating from various professions within the private and public sector (n = 711). A quantitative survey design was used.

Main findings: A significant relationship between the work environment and the psychological contract on retention exists. On the contrary, no significant differences exist between growth and development and financial security. Unlike other research conducted on generational cohorts, this study revealed a strong correlation between talent management strategies and generational cohort preferences.

Practical/managerial implications: Talent management strategies need to be flexible and inclusive in terms of generational differences, including but not limited to ethnicity and gender. Human resource practitioners are made aware that the work environment impacts most significantly on the psychological contract and ultimately on retention.

Contribution/value-add: This study subscribes to the international literature and provides empirical evidence that demonstrates the importance of generational cohorts, gender and ethnicity when executing talent management strategies. This study empirically provides the basis for human resource (HR) practitioners to develop a customised generational talent management strategy to retain high performing individuals.


managing talent; psychological contract; retention; generational cohorts; diversity


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