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High potential programs and employee outcomes: The roles of organizational trust and employee attributions

Amina Raza Malik (School of Business, Trent University, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada)
Parbudyal Singh (School of Human Resource Management, York University, Toronto, Canada)
Christopher Chan (School of Human Resource Management, York University, Toronto, Canada) (Faculty of Law and Business, Australian Catholic University, North Sydney, Australia) (Institut de Gestion de Rennes, Université de Rennes 1, Rennes, France)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 13 November 2017




The purpose of this paper is to understand how and under what conditions employees’ participation in high potential (HiPo) programs leads to various employee outcomes (i.e. affective commitment, job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs), and turnover intent).


Data were collected by a cross-sectional survey among 242 employees who had HiPo programs in their current organizations.


Findings provided support for the mediating role of commitment-focused HiPo attributions in the relationships between HiPo program participation and employee outcomes (affective commitment, job satisfaction, OCBs, and turnover intent). The results also demonstrated significant interaction effects of HiPo program participation and organizational trust on commitment-focused attributions. Additionally, the results provided support for several mediated-moderated models.

Research limitations/implications

This study opened the “black box” by examining the processes through which talent management (TM) shapes employee attitudes and behaviors, and demonstrated that these relationships are not necessarily direct.

Practical implications

To ensure employees’ career success, organizations need to build trustworthy relationships with their employees, and must consider the processes related to the talent identification, as well as the messages this identification communicates to employees about their contributions.


This study is the first to examine employees’ attributions about their participation in HiPo programs. Further, this study is also the first to empirically investigate the role of employees’ perceptions of organizational trust in the context of TM.



This research is partially supported by ASAC-CJAS PhD Research Grant. The authors would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback on the earlier version of this paper.


Malik, A.R., Singh, P. and Chan, C. (2017), "High potential programs and employee outcomes: The roles of organizational trust and employee attributions", Career Development International, Vol. 22 No. 7, pp. 772-796.



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