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Examining Talent Management Practices in a Canadian Not-for-Profit Context: A Theory-Driven Template Analysis

Examining Talent Management Practices in a Canadian Not-for-Profit Context: A Theory-Driven Template Analysis

Melanie McCaig, Davar Rezania and David Lightheart

Volume : 77-2 (2022)


Despite significant interest in the field of talent management (TM), research has been largely confined to talent management in large corporations. Recent reviews have identified two significant gaps in the literature: 1) excessive focus on large for-profit organizations in North American, Asian and European private sectors; and 2) lack of consensus on TM definitions and activities in organizations. This article examines how TM is perceived and practised in a Canadian context. We used a theory-based approach and drew on previous conceptualizations of TM to examine the perspectives of 30 Canadian decision-makers. Using a conceptual model based on Bolander, Werr, and Asplund (2017), we observed that non-profit organization (NPO) decision-makers have a unique inclusive and competitive view of TM. Their view is defined predominantly by humanistic (acquired talent, inclusive, inputs and outputs) and competitive factors (recruitment dependence and skill development). They felt that talent should be inclusive and acquired, and many indicated that they were looking for people who could be trained. Their emphasis was on cultural fit, motivation and ability to grow intellectually and professionally, rather than on just acquiring the key skills needed for certain roles. The results indicate that TM is an organizational activity and needs to be understood and supported by the whole organization. Specifically, an inclusive view of TM requires adaptable organizational systems, such as collective agreements and accounting systems, which record how value is created in the organization. Future research could compare and contrast the views of those undertaking other functions in the organization, such as accounting, with the views of HR managers.


  • humanistic talent management,
  • talent development,
  • Canada,
  • organizational nature,
  • inclusive,
  • competitive,
  • nonprofit


Malgré la reconnaissance de l'importance du capital humain pour le succès des organisations sans but lucratif (OSBL), les recherches existantes se sont principalement concentrées sur la gestion des talents dans les grandes entreprises. Cet article examine la façon dont la gestion des talents est perçue et pratiquée dans le contexte canadien en mettant l'accent sur les OSBL. Nous adoptons une approche fondée sur la théorie et nous nous appuyons sur les conceptualisations précédentes de la gestion des talents pour examiner les perspectives de 30 décideurs canadiens. En utilisant une analyse du modèle basée sur le cadre théorique de Bolander, Werr et Asplund (2017), nous observons que les décideurs des OSBL ont une vision unique de la gestion des talents qui est à la fois inclusive et compétitive. Ils incarnent un type principalement humaniste (talent acquis, inclusif, intrants et extrants) avec des facteurs de type concurrentiel (dépendance au recrutement et développement des compétences). Les participants suggèrent que le talent devrait être inclusif et acquis, et beaucoup ont indiqué qu'ils recherchent des personnes capables d'être formées. L'accent est mis sur l'adéquation culturelle, la motivation et la compétence de se développer intellectuellement et professionnellement, plutôt que seulement acquérir les habiletés clés nécessaires pour certains rôles. Cette étude apporte une nouvelle optique canadienne en fournissant des aperçus empiriques de gestionnaires d'entreprises sans but lucratif. En fait, cette étude apporte une plus grande discussion de la conceptualisation et la pratique dans ce domaine.


  • Gestion humaniste du talent,
  • Développement et formation du talent,
  • Formation inclusive,
  • Organismes sans but lucratifs,
  • Organismes à but non lucratif,
  • Canada,
  • vision inclusive et compétitive de la formation


You can access the full pdf for free by clicking here


This study is partially funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Grant# 430-2020-00096 


Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

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