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Strategic talent management in hotels during COVID-19: upper echelons and dynamic attention-based perspectives

Thomas N. Garavan (Department of Management and Marketing, CUBS, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland and Business School, National College of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland)
Corina Sheerin (Business School, National College of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland)
Serge Koukpaki (Unithena Global Education Ltd and Universidad Catholica San Antonio de Murcia, Spain)
Fergal O'Brien (Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)
Rola Chami-Malaeb (Department of Marketing, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon)
Cliodhna MacKenzie (Department of Management and Marketing, CUBS, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland)
Joan Buckley (Department of Management and Marketing, CUBS, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 7 December 2022

112

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this longitudinal study is to qualitatively investigate the role of the general managers (GMs) and senior managers (SMs) in strategic talent management (STM) in hotels during COVID-19. Using upper echelon theory and the dynamic attention-based view, this paper explores the role of upper echelon theory cognitive characteristics (orientation towards STM and decision-making approach) and three dynamic attention-based view attention dimensions (communication, resource attention to the HR function and new configurations of STM) in influencing STM.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses semi-structured interviews with hotel GMs and SMs at two time points over the duration of COVID-19 in six hotels (family-owned, boutique and international hotel chain) located in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Singapore and India.

Findings

The findings of this study reveal that GMs and SMs across the different hotels differed in their orientation towards STM and their decision-making approaches and this influenced cognitive and resource attention to STM. GMs and SMs remained cognitively attentive to STM through their communications around STM, and they revealed resource attention through resources to the HR function and new configurations of STM practices during COVID-19. The authors identify three distinct configurations of STM practices in operation in hotels during COVID-19.

Practical implications

This study’s findings reveal important practice implications in that GMs and SMs have a key role to play in the implementation of STM and the need to reconfigure how STM is undertaken during the crisis. This contrasts with the more espoused role suggested for these talent actors in the literature.

Originality/value

The authors used a longitudinal qualitative research design to surface the dynamic role of GMs’ and SMs’ cognitive and resource attention to STM in hotels during COVID-19 and the key role that orientation towards STM and decision-making approach affected both cognitive and resource attention dimensions.

Keywords

Citation

Garavan, T.N., Sheerin, C., Koukpaki, S., O'Brien, F., Chami-Malaeb, R., MacKenzie, C. and Buckley, J. (2022), "Strategic talent management in hotels during COVID-19: upper echelons and dynamic attention-based perspectives", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-04-2022-0516

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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