The effect of talent management on business success in Nigeria’s telecoms sector

Table of contents


Talent management is a key challenge for organisations in the current economic climate and, in particular, when it comes to a dynamic industry within an emerging market. With this in mind, the research proposed here looks at the role of talent management in gaining business success, with specific reference to Etisalat, a growing telecoms company within the Nigerian economy.


In emerging economies, such as Nigeria, there is a need to consider the strategy for growth within organisations, both national and multinational. This raises several questions, in terms of business strategy and specifically requires the consideration of whether or not talent management should be the central theme for this discussion. As part of this research the key themes will be to look at talent management in the context of how this aligns with busienss success and then beyond that how it works within the emerging economies. .

Motivation for the Research

Determining the level of importance of talent management and the way in which it is best incorporated into the wider business strategy is of key importance to Etisalat and the technological industry, in general, but also potentially has an impact on the other industries looking to enter an emerging market and aiming to develop and utilise home grown talent, as well as identifying how talent can be encouraged to join and develop the region. This is a dynamic region and is currently in an appropriate stage for research to be undertaken as to how to develop this, in the future.

Rationale for the Research

Countries, such as Nigeria, are under an ongoing pressure to provide a region of growth for both their own national companies and for multinational organisations looking to make the most of developing regions that may offer a strategic advantage, in the long ru. (Newman, 2001). This research offers value to the current organisation and any other company looking to going into the region. Where such development is likely, the research here will provide strong guidelines which can be used for the future.

Scope and Limitation of the Research

This research will look specifically at the issue of talent management within a large telecoms company in Nigeria which is, in itself, a limitation on the research, as the telecoms industry is dynamic and constantly changing. Therefore, although this provides a good area of research currently, it needs to be borne in mind that this is likely to change over time and also when moving from industry to industry. Furthermore, different countries will have slightly different dynamics, which will need to be taken into consideration when looking at research areas for the future.

Research Questions / Hypotheses and Objectives

The overall research hypotheses aim to prove, or indeed disprove, the link between early adoption of talent management within the organisation and ultimate business success. It is suggested, at the outset, that there is a direct link between the ability of an organisation to expand successfully and the concerted approach to talent management that is taken by the management team, at the outset.

The objective is to identify whether this is indeed a substantial link and, if so, what specific management practices are effective and which are not.

Literature Review

The concept of talent management has been well documented across a variety of different jurisdictions, including the UK. Talent management is referred by the CIPD (2010) as being “initiatives and strategies… to harness the unique talents of individual employees and convert their talent potential into optimum organisation performance”.

Although there are multiple different definitions in relation to talent management, this is seen as being one of the leading definitions. Back in 2001, the concept of talent management was established by McKinse and Company 2001, who created the concept of “the war on talent”, which was then taken on by the CIPD, with the likes of the 2012 CIPD documentation, where talent was considered to be the qualities “of those individuals who can make a difference to organisational performance either through their immediate contribution or, in the longer-term, by demonstrating the highest levels of potential”.

Bearing these principles in mind, the literature can then go to consider the role that this approach would take within the emerging market of Nigeria and with particular reference to the telecoms industry. For example, Etisalat created a strategy plan that would p 2011 – 2016 called “Engage”, with the aim of inspiring staff and encouraging greater emphasis being placed on management and its ability to engage with the staff during a period of dynamic expansion (Etisalat, 2014).

When looking specifically at the area of the telecoms industry, it is seen that Etisalat is one of the more pro-active talent management companies, with its own Academy providing learning and development opportunities for staff members in its central head office, in Dubai. As well as creating learning opportunities, there are is also an argument that the company has gained success by looking at the greater brand loyalty from the staff, with the wider perception of what is meant by talent management and how this can link with the emerging markets and companies, such as Etisala (Etisalat, 2014).

Gap in Literature

A seeming gap in the literature which is to be dealt with as part of this research is that of understanding the role of traditional talent management will have on an emerging market and, in particular, the telecoms industry. Specific consideration needs to be given to the notion that there is likely to be an issue with the mobility of staff and the willingness of individuals to move either to or from the area, in order to sustain employment.

Research Methodology

Research design

The proposed research method is deductive in nature, involving multiple different observations which ultimately provide an overall theory. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to undertake both primary and secondary research, to gather a rounded understanding of both theory and then its practical application.

Data Sources

For the literature review, the information will be primarily gathered from journals and reports surrounding the area of talent management, as well as from direct information from Etisalat. It is anticipated that this information will be gathered from free sources, as well as subscribed online journals such as Emerald Insight. Primary research will look at the opinions of HR staff, as well as those subject to “talent management” within the workplace.

Data Collection / Analysis Techniques

A total of 100 individuals will be contacted through the use of questionnaires, to determine the use of talent management and the perceptions of talent management within the workplace. Of these 100 questionnaires, a further 10 one-to-one interviews will be undertaken, to supplement and further the understanding gained as part of the wider questionnaires. This is based on availability and time constraints, as well as the desire to obtain a balanced view, overall.

Sampling Techniques

The selected individuals will be a mixture of HR professionals and staff members who are targeted as part of the talent management process. This split is thought to be approximately 80 / 20 and will allow both sides of the action to be considered alongside each other and research then undertaken into whether or not the perceptions of the staff differ from the perceptions of the managers implementing these agendas.

Practical Considerations

Ethical considerations

A potential difficulty emerges with the primary research, in that it is asking employees about their perceptions of talent management within the organisation. This is because some individuals may be concerned that expressing honest opinions could have a negative impact on their own career progression. For this reason, as well as commercial confidentiality reasons, the data collected will be entirely anonymised and pass-worded, so that the answers cannot be directly linked to the individuals in question.

Suggested Research Topics

The overall topic is the link between talent management and business success; however, there will be several sub areas of research that will also be considered as part of this; for example, how can various initiatives impact on the role of talent management, the role of talent management from the point of view of recruitment, performance management and promotion. Consideration will also be given to the mobility of individuals within the emerging world and the political aspects that may be relevant.

Project Plan

The research will take place over one academic year and 10 months of total work. This is broken down as follows:

Month 1Background research and delineation of questions and areas of research
Month 2Literature review and setting out the questionnaires for the primary research
Month 3Literature review and sending out of primary research
Month 4Collation of primary research and analysis
Month 5Collation of primary research and analysis
Month 6Review of literature based on findings of primary research
Month 7Review of literature based on findings of primary research, conclusions and summary
Month 8Conclusions and summary
Month 9Writing of report
Month 10Review and preparation of presentation

This is a reasonably flexible time frame, with recognition that there will need to be a consolidation time period at the end, to revisit key areas.

Bibliography suggested initial bibliography (to be added to during the research)

Bersin & Associates. (2012). New research finds UK talent acquisition spending rose six per cent in 2011. London: Bersin & Associates.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. (2006). Talent management: understanding the dimensions. London: CIPD.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. (2010). The talent perspective: what does it feel like to be talent-managedCIPD, London. Available: -36C6-450A-996A-01F45F0B17C5/0/5262_Talent_Perspective.pdf (Accessed 18/09/12)

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. (2012). Talent management: an overview, CIPD, London. Available: (Accessed 3/10/12)

Cheese, P. (2008). The talent powered organisation: strategies for globalisation, talent management and high performance. Cornwall: MPG Books ltd.

Etisalat (2014) Etisalat Strategu. Available at: t

McKinsey & Company. (2001). The war on talent, McKinsey & Company Inc, USA. Available: http://

Newman, E. (2012). What is the definition of CRMInside Talent Management Technology, Available at:

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