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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2015

Lisa Downs

– The purpose of this paper is to provide practical how-to information for those looking to develop high-potential employees within their organizations or for their clients.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide practical how-to information for those looking to develop high-potential employees within their organizations or for their clients.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a combination of recent surveys and studies of what is happening with the development (or lack thereof) of high-potential employees as well as recommendations of key components for high-potential programs based on the author’s direct experience.

Findings

Though not a research paper, this work finds that while some organizations have programs in place to develop high potentials, many still do not, despite it being viewed as helpful in recruiting and retaining top talent.

Practical implications

The information provided can be used by both internal practitioners and external consultants to implement high-potential employee development programs for any size of organization.

Social implications

High-potential employees represent future leaders. Without developing them, organizations run the risk of high attrition costs along with a lack of qualified talent to fill leadership pipelines.

Originality/value

The value of this paper is twofold: it offers detailed information to set the tone with stakeholders when it comes to talking about and developing high-potential talent, and it provides a starting point with first steps for successful program implementation.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 47 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Rebecca Slan‐Jerusalim and Peter A. Hausdorf

The purpose of the present study was to describe the high potential identification practices of Canadian organizations and to assess elements of these practices as they…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the present study was to describe the high potential identification practices of Canadian organizations and to assess elements of these practices as they relate to managers' perceptions of organizational justice.

Design/methodology/approach

The study reviewed the literature on high potential identification practices and organizational justice to develop a survey for managers attending a leadership conference. Distributive and procedural justice was regressed against the elements of these programs (e.g. the extent of manager input into the program, the openness of communications) to determine the impact of program elements on justice outcomes.

Findings

The paper reveals that approximately one‐third (38 percent) of companies reported having a high potential identification program. High potential was most often defined in specific organizational terms based on competencies. Typically, information used to identify these individuals was based on: personal experience with the person, performance appraisals and past performance or results. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses (n=123) indicated that high potential identification programs containing manager input, open communication and formal program evaluation significantly predicted procedural justice. None of the predictions for distributive justice were significant.

Originality/value

This study is the first to empirically investigate the impact of high potential identification practices on managers' perceptions of organizational justice in North America. Manager's justice perceptions reflect an important criterion to evaluate high potential identification programs. The current study found that manager's perceptions of procedural justice were higher when they had more input into the development of the program, when the communication strategy was more open, and the program was evaluated. Despite these important elements, many organizations do not incorporate them into their programs, which have implications for their success.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 26 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2014

Igor Kotlyar, Leonard Karakowsky, Mary Jo Ducharme and Janet A. Boekhorst

– The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine how status-based labels, based on future capabilities, can impact people's risk tolerance in decision making.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine how status-based labels, based on future capabilities, can impact people's risk tolerance in decision making.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper the authors developed and tested theoretical arguments using a set of three studies employing a scenario-based approach and a total of 449 undergraduate business students.

Findings

The findings suggest that labeling people in terms of future capabilities can trigger perceptions of public scrutiny and influence their risk preferences. Specifically, the results reveal that individuals who are recipients of high-status labels tend to choose lower risk decision options compared to their peers.

Research limitations/implications

The study employed scenarios to examine the issue of employee labeling. The extent to which these scenarios have truly captured the dynamics of labeling is questionable, and future research should employ a field-based study to examine whether the reported effect can be observed in a “real” work context.

Practical implications

Organizations are concerned about their future leadership capacity and often attempt to grow leadership talent by identifying high-potential employees early on. The results of this study suggest that such practice may have an unintentional negative effect of reducing high-potentials’ tolerance toward risky decision making, thus potentially impacting these future leaders’ decision making in the realm of corporate strategy, R&D, etc.

Originality/value

The issue of how labeling individuals in terms of future capabilities can impact their risk preference has been largely ignored by organizational research. This paper suggests that the popular practice of identifying high-potential employees may have unintentional negative effects by lowering their risk tolerance.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 35 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Article
Publication date: 28 January 2014

Nicky Dries and Sara De Gieter

The purpose of this paper is to examine the implicit beliefs both high potentials and HR directors hold about the terms of the exchange relationship between high potential

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the implicit beliefs both high potentials and HR directors hold about the terms of the exchange relationship between high potential employees and their organizations. The paper positions the study within the framework of the psychological contract, exploring specifically whether strategic ambiguity and information asymmetries in high potential programs create a heightened risk of psychological contract breach.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 20 high potentials and 11 HR directors from nine different organizations were interviewed. Open and axial coding of the qualitative data was performed by three raters.

Findings

Information asymmetry in high potential programs, indeed, poses a potential risk for psychological contract breach. Although strategic ambiguity can be an effective communication strategy in that it creates a power imbalance in favor of the organization, at all times a delicate balance must be maintained between leaving room for flexibility and intuitive decision making, and creating perceived promises in high potential employees that are subsequently broken. In fact, through information asymmetry organizations run the risk of achieving the exact opposite of the goals they had for their high potential programs in the first place.

Originality/value

Hardly any research has been done on the psychological effects of identifying a very small proportion of an organization's workforce as high potentials. In addition, research contrasting employee and employer beliefs about psychological contract terms is scarce.

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2007

Daniel Belet

The author's interest in learning organisation development leads him to examine large French companies' practices regarding “high potential” executives policies and to…

Abstract

Purpose

The author's interest in learning organisation development leads him to examine large French companies' practices regarding “high potential” executives policies and to question their selection and development processes and their capabilities to develop learning oriented organisations.The author also tries to explain why most large French companies are not yet familiar with this concept.

Design/methodology/approach

An analysis of the managerial and leadership characteristics of the French élite, as well as of the way they are trained in French grandes écoles and universities, can help to understand the kind of dominant style of leadership that features in the so called “high potential” executives in most large French companies.

Findings

The criteria against which these French “high potential” executives are discriminated explains largely their still very traditional hierarchical and centralised leadership styles, that are not favourable to build the more learning oriented organisations of the future. In addition most of the management development programmes for these executives stem from the traditional hierarchical leadership models that do not foster the necessary changes.

Research limitations/implications

This article is based on the results of several studies performed in France by organisational sociologists about the corporate élite and the “high potential” executives of large companies and their development policies. The author relies on his participation in field researches but also draws from his extensive professional experience and in‐depth knowledge of these large organisations as consultant, trainer and speaker.

Originality/value

This article provides a critical approach of the mainstream “high potential” model based on the learning organisation philosophy. It proposes another vision of the “high potential” executive concept that the author believes to be more adequate in facing up to the challenge of the HR management and leadership changes that most large French organisations will likely have to face in the future. It also raises the issue of the adequacy of the present leadership development offer of the higher management education system. Although slightly political it aims at generating a debate about the very concept of the “high potential” executive, which is a major key to the necessary changes in the people management and leadership practices for the organisations of the future.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 19 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2015

Nurita Juhdi, Fatimah Pa'wan and Rammilah Hansaram

The purpose of this paper is to determine key competencies used by organizations in identifying high potential employees. It also seeks to examine practices and programs…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine key competencies used by organizations in identifying high potential employees. It also seeks to examine practices and programs to manage such employees and finally to identify problems encountered in the development programs.

Design/methodology/approach

The respondents of the study were HR practitioners. Convenient sampling was used and the respondents answered survey forms that were sent out using regular mails and e-mails. As a result, 237 forms were generated and used for analyses. In order to test construct validity, factor analyses were performed and mean values of each variable were also used for interpretations.

Findings

Employers put highest emphasis on employees who were customer service oriented. Three major competences were identified – results-oriented character, interpersonal competence and technical competence/flexibility. The most common method to identify potential was performance appraisal by immediate superiors. The most common method to develop high potential employees was job enlargement and the most common problem in the development programs was in dealing with those who had personal and work-life balance.

Practical implications

Performance appraisal done by immediate supervisor may not be the best method to gauge future performance and should be coupled with performance review or discussion with the superiors. Job experience is still effective in developing potential. Specific policies that help employees to balance personal and work life are important in development programs.

Originality/value

The responses from the HR practitioners shed some lights on what major competences are important in identifying potential that can be used in talent management.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2008

Nicky Dries and Roland Pepermans

The purpose of this empirical study is to make a contribution to career theory in general, and to the literature on highpotential careers in particular, by examining the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this empirical study is to make a contribution to career theory in general, and to the literature on highpotential careers in particular, by examining the careers of real high potentials, taking place in the twenty‐first century world of work, from the perspectives of the high potentials themselves as well as those of their organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 34 interviews were conducted within three study samples: high potentials (n=14), organisational representatives employed by the same organisations that provided the highpotential participants (n=8), and organisational representatives employed by organisations that did not allow for interviewing of their high potentials (n=12).

Findings

The current study suggests that high potentials still have organisational‐traditional careers. High upward mobility, low inter‐organisational mobility and career self‐management emerged as key features of real highpotential careers.

Practical implications

Implications are spelled out with respect to the “streaming” of different types of employees in the workforce and the importance of expectations management.

Originality/value

Not only are the viewpoints of individuals largely absent in the literature on highpotential careers, the majority of publications on the subject‐matter are also non‐empirical and take a rather normative stance. The interview study presented in this paper looks into the assumptions of real highpotential careers from the perspectives of the high potentials themselves as well as those of their organizations, providing empirical data that are interpretive and descriptive rather than normative.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 37 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 6 April 2012

Nicky Dries, Tim Vantilborgh and Roland Pepermans

A survey study was conducted in seven best practice organizations in the field of talent management. By cross‐checking their existing high potential lists, the authors…

Abstract

Purpose

A survey study was conducted in seven best practice organizations in the field of talent management. By cross‐checking their existing high potential lists, the authors aimed to examine to which extent assessments of learning agility were able to predict being identified as a high potential or not above and beyond a baseline prediction by job performance. Furthermore, they aimed to investigate whether learning agility increased with career variety.

Design/methodology/approach

The study had a case‐control design, comparing supervisor ratings of employees recently identified as high potentials (n=32) with supervisor ratings of a carefully matched control group of non‐high potentials (n=31).

Findings

Learning agility (mediated by job content on‐the‐job learning) was found to be a better predictor of being identified as a high potential than job performance. Career variety was found to be positively associated to learning agility.

Research limitations/implications

This study's design did not allow for the demonstration of causal effects. Longitudinal studies are needed to further clarify the causality of these findings and their implications for organizational performance.

Practical implications

Organizations should do well to incorporate measures of learning agility into their high potential identification and development processes. Furthermore, they need to reflect on how HRM practices might enhance their high potentials' career variety and commitment.

Originality/value

The current study responds to urgent calls in the literature for more empirical research on the identification and development of high potentials, as well as on career variety.

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2007

Nicky Dries and Roland Pepermans

This paper aims to demonstrate the utility of using some indication of emotional intelligence (EI) to identify high potential in managers. Presupposed correspondences…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to demonstrate the utility of using some indication of emotional intelligence (EI) to identify high potential in managers. Presupposed correspondences between the EI Personal Factors Model (Bar‐On) and Briscoe and Hall's metacompetency model of continuous learning are elucidated.

Design/methodology/approach

The study sample consisted of 51 high potentials and 51 “regular” managers, matched onto one another by managerial level, gender and age. All participants completed an online survey containing Bar‐On's Emotional Quotient Inventory, Blau's career commitment scale and a self‐anchored performance item.

Findings

EQ‐i subscales: assertiveness, independence, optimism, flexibility and social responsibility appear to be “covert” highpotential identification criteria, separating between high potentials and regular managers. Furthermore, high potentials display higher levels of job performance and, supposedly, less boundaryless career attitudes.

Practical implications

Using emotional intelligence – or at least some of its subscales – in identifying high potential may well contribute to the validity of such processes. Furthermore, the importance of cultivating positive emotions at work is spelled out in relation to highpotential identification and development policies and retention management.

Originality/value

In the majority of studies on high potentials, direct supervisors serve as research samples or a non‐empirical, rather normative approach is taken to the matter. The empirical study presented in this paper is rather unique since it departs from the viewpoints of highpotential individuals, thus delivering added value to the study domain.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 28 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Article
Publication date: 3 January 2017

Violetta Khoreva, Vlad Vaiman and Maarten Van Zalk

The purpose of this paper is to enhance the theoretical and empirical understanding of the process through which talent management (TM) practice effectiveness impacts high

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to enhance the theoretical and empirical understanding of the process through which talent management (TM) practice effectiveness impacts high-potential employees’ commitment to leadership competence development.

Design/methodology/approach

Structural equation modelling was utilized to analyse survey data representing a sample of 439 high-potential employees from 11 Finnish multinational corporations.

Findings

First, the authors found that the more high-potential employees perceived TM practices to be effective, the more they were committed towards leadership competence development. Next, the findings revealed that the association between TM practice effectiveness and commitment to leadership competence development operates by means of psychological contract fulfilment. Finally, the authors found that female employees possessed a stronger reaction to the effectiveness of TM practices by demonstrating higher levels of commitment to leadership competence development than male employees.

Originality/value

This study supports social exchange theory, which postulates that when organizations invest in their employees, the employees are likely to reciprocate these corporate investments in positive ways. The findings indicate that TM practices may help high-potential employees to make sense of their employment relationship and communicate to employees those attitudes and behaviours that organizations value. The authors thus advocate that in order to have the desired effect, such as for instance the increased commitment to leadership competence development, it is crucial for organizations to invest in those TM practices that are perceived as effective by employees.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 39 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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