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MNCs’ R&D talent management in China: aligning practices with strategies

Lydia Qianqian Li (Shanghai University, Shanghai, China)
Katherine Xin (China Europe International Business School, Shanghai, China)
Vlado Pucik (China Europe International Business School, Shanghai, China)
William X. Wei (School of Business, MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada)

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Article publication date: 12 March 2019

Issue publication date: 9 December 2019




This paper aims to propose practical recommendations in accordance with the strategic roles played by research and development (R&D) in multinational companies (MNCs).


This study applies a qualitative method to investigate the talent management (TM) practices implemented in MNCs’ R&D units.


The findings identify four R&D strategies and four sectors of TM practices. Furthermore, there exists an alignment between R&D strategies and TM practices.

Research limitations/implications

This paper has several limitations. This qualitative research is exploratory, and larger samples or quantitative methods are needed to ensure the wider applicability of the findings. When possible, longitudinal studies yield superior results in revealing the evolving strategic roles of R&D subsidiaries and their TM practices. The authors used China as the research context, and similar studies in other emerging countries with active R&D activities are required to further validate or complement the findings in this study.

Practical implications

This study has some practical implications for companies with regard to aligning their TM practices with R&D strategies.


R&D units play an increasingly significant role in MNCs and TM is a key issue. However, there is a lack of TM research focusing on R&D employees by taking strategies into account.



Li, L.Q., Xin, K., Pucik, V. and Wei, W.X. (2019), "MNCs’ R&D talent management in China: aligning practices with strategies", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 1086-1106.



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