Beyond competing for talent: an integrative framework for coopetition in talent management in SMEs

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Jooss, Stefan
Lenz, Julia
Burbach, Ralf
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Purpose: This paper aims to unpack how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can operationalise coopetition in talent management, addressing ongoing talent shortages in the hospitality industry which were intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: This conceptual paper draws from literature on coopetition and talent management in SMEs. Specifically, the authors take an interorganisational talent pool lens and develop a framework following the principles of open-systems theory. Findings: The authors find that the traditional use of talent pools is often impractical for SMEs because of a lack of resources and capabilities. Instead, interorganisational talent pools, through coopetition in talent management, can aid these firms to address talent shortages. The authors identify potential for SME coopetition at various stages, including attraction, development and retention of talent. Practical implications: Coopetition in talent management can aid industries in establishing market-thickening pipelines. Through co-attracting, co-developing and co-retaining talent, SMEs can create interorganisational talent pools. To develop talent management coopetition, a set of prerequisites, catalysts and potential inhibitors must be analysed and managed. Originality/value: This paper moves the talent management debate beyond competition for talent, introducing coopetition as a viable alternative. Taking an open-systems perspective, the authors develop an integrative framework for coopetition in talent management in SMEs encompassing input, process and output components. The authors reveal the dynamic and complex nature of this coopetition process, highlighting the essential role of coopetition context and illustrating open-system principles.
Talent management , Coopetition , SMEs , Hospitality industry , Talent pipelines , Interorganisational talent pools , Open-systems theory
Jooss, S., Lenz, J. and Burbach, R. (2022) 'Beyond competing for talent: an integrative framework for coopetition in talent management in SMEs', International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, (17 pp), doi: 10.1108/IJCHM-04-2022-0419