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First, read the following journal article by Gloria Ferguson Pobst: Meeting the Challenge of Knowledge Worker Shortages with Strategic Talent Management.

Next, based on the challenges you reviewed in the textbook (refer back to Chapter 9) regarding global talent management in Brazil, analyze and explain how the concept of jeitinho can be leveraged as a method to manage managerial talent.

Finally, which solution strategy mentioned in the Pobst article would you use to meet the knowledge worker shortage challenges? Explain your reasoning.

In responding to your peers’ posts, respectfully critique the strategy your peer discussed. Do you agree with their rationale? Why or why not? 

Peer Reply #1
Brian Vespa  
Hello Class,
Brazilians have a unique way of bending or breaking the rules to deal with difficult situations that emerge in different social concepts (Ariss, 2014). This is called jeitinho, the Brazilian way of getting things done, in summary, how to get by in life as a Brazilian. The example that was given in the article “The Brazilian Way of Doing Things,” there was an example of a man who had to pay bills during his lunch break, and when he arrived at the bank, the queue was about a two hour wait. He happened to see a friend who was second in line. Should he stay inline or skip the line and catch up with his friend? He did what almost anyone else would do who is rushing to complete a task, “skip the line”. As the article states, many people in the world would do something like this; however, Brazil has a unique way of practicing formalism. This concept can be related to the workforce.
In the Pobst article, I would use Talent Development to meet the knowledge worker shortage challenges and offer this as a solution strategy. Each talent management strategy provides great tools that can benefit any organization; investing in your current employees is essential. According to the article, investing in staff is far less expensive than replacing them, which is estimated to cost about one and a half years of departing staffer’s annual salary (Pobst, 2014). When you strategically invest in workers, you attract and retain all the best applicants. You also develop a healthy working culture that is not afraid of creativity, transition, disappointment, and success. There are several ways an employer can develop talents for their employees. One way is to assign stretch assignments. Allowing an employee to be a part of an assignment that would help build a skill or give them visibility within another department. If employees are stagnant in their roles and completing their day-to-day tasks, they are missing out on skills and resources that they could be obtaining to improve their skillsets and knowledge. That could mean cross-unit projects, job rotations, publications, patents (Pobst, 2014). Training development opportunities are essential to the continued growth and success of employees. They are also crucial to ensuring their retention and growth. Companies should be innovative in offering a range of incentives for employee growth. Every year, the incentives you must train and grow your employees should be expanding. 

Peer reply #2
Hi class,
Jeitinho (Brazilian Portuguese: [ej t ?u], translates to “little way”) refers to a strategy unique to Brazilian society focused on finding a way to achieve a goal by bending or breaking the rules or social norms (Pilati & Fischer, 2022). It is a social process that is commonly used as a problem-solving strategy. The strategy is commonly used in the analyses for fields such as anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and psychology.
Anthropologist Roberto DeMatta states that it is “like an instrument which helps navigate the turbulent ocean of Brazilian everyday life…” (DeMatta, 1991).Jeitinho is not always viewed as a positive system, however. In political and economic situations, jeitinho is thought of as a negative aspect due to the tricks, lying, or cheating to obtain some purpose but in social relations is seen in a positive light. Jeitinho can be leveraged as a method to manage managerial talent by training managers to forecast problems that occur during the project or development of the product, teaching adaptability, and learning to lead with diversity. Managers can also learn from the jeitinho method of communicating expectations to the culturally different team members (Pilati & Fischer, 2022).
The biggest takeaway from the jeitinho that management should keep in mind is the drive to “understand without issuing judgement” (Pilati & Fischer, 2022). A solution strategy mentioned in the Pobst article that I would use to meet the knowledge worker shortage challenges would be worker engagement and feedback. It is very well documented in the research that more engaged workers have a higher likelihood to stay with the company and productivity rates are increased compared to competitor organizations with less engaged employees (Probst, 2014). Proper feedback systems are another vital element of talent management. This includes continuous, systematic feedback between employees and management concerning the various characteristics of the organization (Probst, 2014). This includes things like: the work environment, corporate culture, available training programs, benefits and compensation packages, management, and general communication (Probst, 2014).Meeting the Challenge of Knowledge Worker Shortages with Strategic
Talent Management
Gloria Ferguson Pobst
University of Georgia
Knowledge worker shortages are well documented and worsening in many nations. This paper explores
the responses of Human Resource Organization Development (HROD) professionals regarding the issue.
Findings of a content analysis of the talent management literature are presented with a focus on the
research question: What talent management strategies will HROD scholars/practitioners adopt to
address shortages of key knowledge workers? Recommendations include a keen focus on retention and
development, as well as the need for more highly trained HROD professionals with a strategic focus to
manage the increasingly complex challenges.
Talent management becomes a critical Human Resources Organization Development (HROD)
strategy as knowledge worker shortages are documented in many nations and a war on talent ensues
(Abdullah, 2009; Cho & McLean, 2009; Doh, Smith, Stumpf & Tymon, 2011; Holland, Sheehan & De
Cieri, 2007; McDonnell, 2011; Osman-Gani & Chan, 2009). The retiring Boomers are being replaced
with a smaller talent pool of workers with a different mindset regarding loyalty to their employer
(Abdullah, 2009). This paper will answer the question: What talent management strategies have HROD
scholars/practitioners recommended to meet the challenge of knowledge worker shortages? The paper is
the result of a content analysis of literature focused on talent management within the last seven years. The
discussion begins with evidence of knowledge worker shortages, and then shares talent management
strategies recommended in the literature. Next, it explores how talent management may affect the future
of HROD, and in the conclusions section suggestions for future action are summarized.
The 76-million Americans in the Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964 (Aiman-Smith,
Bergey, Cantwell & Doran, 2006), are becoming eligible for social security benefits at the rate of 10,000
per day (Galagan, 2010). The Boomers were followed by 41 million people born in Generation X between
the years 1965 to 1983 (Aiman-Smith et al., 2006). The Echo Boomers born from 1984 to 2002 will be a
substantial labor force, but it will be years before they will develop the substantial experience of the
retiring Boomers (Aiman-Smith et al., 2006). This phenomenon is not restricted to America. A Boston
Consulting Group study in 2003 estimated a worldwide skilled labor shortfall of 60 million workers by
2020, including a 17 million labor shortage in the U.S. (Holland et al., 2007).
American Journal of Management vol. 14(1-2) 2014
A McKinsey research study in 1998 showed talent shortages a concern of 75 percent of top corporate
management (Holland et al., 2007; Ashton & Morton, 2005). In addition to healthcare worker shortages
(Heilmann, 2010; Osman-Gani & Chan, 2009) and science-related occupation shortages (Aiman-Smith et
al., 2006), there is a general shortage of knowledge workers as the nature of work becomes more
technically oriented and requires critical thinking (McDonnell, 2011). A good example of this more
technically-oriented work is found in the manufacturing sector. In America, and other industrialized
nations, manufacturing has evolved from low-skilled assembly lines to high tech processes including
computers and robotics (Seeds, 2011).
One definition of talent management is “anticipating the need for human capital, and then setting out
a plan to meet it” (Cappelli, 2008, p. 1). Additionally, talent management includes the development of
effective policies to ensure talent exists to support an organization’s overall objectives (Chhabra &
Mishra, 2008). Several key strategies are identified in the literature—retention, development, recruitment,
worker engagement and feedback, and mentorship. More details of each of these strategies are provided
in the next sections.
Retention is Priority Number One
A common theme among scholars regarding talent management strategies in general, and specifically
for managing the forecasted knowledge worker shortage, is the emphasis on retention (Abdullah, 2009;
Aiman-Smith et al., 2006; Ashton & Morton, 2005; Chhabra & Mishra, 2008; Strack, Baier, & Fahlander,
2008; Cho & McLean, 2009; Doh et al., 2011; Heilmann, 2010; Osman-Gani & Chan, 2009). Chhabra
and Mishra (2008) recommended that organizations “move retention to number one priority and
recruitment to number two” (p. 50). They reasoned recruitment is expensive and will become even more
so as worker shortages intensify, especially for high-demand high-skill positions—referred to as goldcollar or elite expertise workers, including highly-skilled IT workers and engineers (Abdullah, 2009;
Holland et al., 2007).
Elite-expertise workers have less interest in traditional “life-long employment and job security”
(Abdullah, 2009, p. 14). Holland et al. (2007) described how these workers are keenly interested in
keeping their skills sharp and having challenging projects on which to work. The high demand for these
workers continues to bid up their salaries, making them a challenging group to attract, retain, and manage.
However, having these workers on staff can make the difference between the organization maintaining its
competitive advantage, or not. Abdullah (2009) recommended the need for further study of this elite
group to find more effective and cost-effective strategies to ensure HROD professionals are able to
provide appropriate staff for their firms.
A retention strategy for elite-expertise workers and other high-performing workers is to “re-recruit
top performers before they get a better offer” (Chhabra & Mishra, 2008, p. 51). Re-recruitment includes
having regular discussions with top performers to remind them of their value, future opportunities in the
firm, and solicit their feedback. This could also be considered part of an engagement and feedback
strategy which will be described in a later section.
Talent Development
Data from the US Department of Labor and Merck showed “investing in staff is far less expensive
than replacing them, which is estimated to cost about one-and-a-half years of a departing staffer’s annual
salary” (Chhabra & Mishra, 2008, p. 50). The IT Industry’s success in India and South Korea has been
attributed to the wealth of its human capital resulting from a corporate strategy of training and growing
employees (Cho & McLean, 2009). The Infosys 2008 annual report stated “Our core corporate assets
walk out every evening. It is our duty to make sure that these assets return the next morning, mentally and
physically enthusiastic and energetic” (Cho & McLean, 2009, p. 321). Chhabra and Mishra (2008)
identified several options for developing talent such as “stretch assignments, cross-unit projects, job
American Journal of Management vol. 14(1-2) 2014
rotations, publications, patents” (p. 54). They noted the importance of supervisors explicitly asking
workers what motivates them, and what growth opportunities individual workers seek, since the meaning
of motivation and growth opportunities is unique to each individual. Research has shown if a firm
develops a reputation for developing workers and ensuring their long-term employability, that firm will be
able to attract more talented people (Cho & McLean, 2009). McDonnell (2011) suggested that workers be
offered an incentive for lateral moves which provide growth for the employee and greater depth of social
capital for the firm.
A corporate leader summarized his belief in attracting the best workers in this way:
We believe that we can do with people who do not have experience in a particular role,
but we cannot do with people who do not have basic competence…We firmly believe the
smarter our people, the better our organization will perform. So we surround ourselves
with high performing people! (Doh et al., 2011, p. 37)
Senior management’s job has been summarized as having to continuously refine the employee value
proposition by knowing “why a smart, energetic, ambitious individual would want to come and work with
the particular team/organization rather than the team next door” (Chhabra & Mishra, 2008, p. 54).
Retaining the best includes managing poor performers since poor performance hurts morale and breeds
more weak performance (Chhabra &Mishra, 2008). Through well-planned and implemented retention and
development strategies, a company will develop a reputation as being an employer-of-choice (Abdullah,
2009), which then helps the firm recruit new employees. A firm with a good reputation will have an easier
time recruiting elite-expertise workers as well—the elite-expertise worker may return to the firm after
having worked at another firm, and may refer fellow elite-expertise workers to the firm (Abdullah, 2009;
Holland et al., 2007).
Worker Engagement and Feedback
A study conducted by Towers Perrin in 2008 regarding employee engagement and retention showed
that senior management’s ability to communicate genuine interest in workers was the top driver of worker
engagement (Doh et al., 2011). The same research found more-engaged workers were more likely to stay
with the company, and firms with more-highly-engaged workers outperformed firms with less-engaged
employees in operating income, net income growth and earnings per share (Doh et al., 2011).
Engaging with older workers is a key strategy in managing knowledge worker shortages (Stam, 2009;
Strack et al., 2008). Older workers provide key experience and, contrary to persistent assumptions, are
often more productive than their younger counterparts (Stam, 2009). The best of both worlds can be
achieved through mentoring—when older workers share their experience and younger workers share their
more up-to-date technical skills in an inter-generational learning network (Stam, 2009). Engaging with
older workers increases the likelihood of retaining them as long as possible, as well as having access to
those older workers in a freelance capacity after they have retired (Strack et al., 2008; Stam, 2009).
Another key group of workers firms cannot afford to ignore is women. Shapiro, Ingols, Blake-Beard
and O’Neill (2009) surveyed 389 women attending a women’s leadership conference. Their findings
showed that “women have become career self-agents, deciding when, where and how many hours to
work” (p. 54). Of course, it is not just women who are seeking flexible work arrangements. All workers
today, especially younger generation workers, are seeking more balance in their lives (Shapiro et al.,
2009). Shapiro et al. (2009) noted several organizations who are leading the transformation of the
workplace (p. 55):
• Best Buy and Deloitte & Touche USA LLP are working on cultures that focus on productivity,
not face time.
• IBM has created a program called “Six Flexibility Principles” to address employee and business
American Journal of Management vol. 14(1-2) 2014

Capital One Financial Corporation has established a culture they call “Future of Work” (FOW)
which enables its employees to work virtually.
SC Johnson & Sons has a “no meetings policy” on two Fridays per month to lessen the need for
workers to take work home over the weekend.
Another crucial element of talent management is feedback systems. Chhabra and Mishra (2008)
clarified this is more than performance feedback from supervisor to employee. It also includes systematic,
continuous feedback from employees regarding the many aspects of the organization, such as corporate
culture, the work environment, training programs offered, compensation package, supervision and overall
Data from the Center for Creative Leadership showed that mentoring programs increased retention in
77 percent of companies surveyed. The research of Aiman-Smith et al. (2006) showed of those employees
not receiving mentoring, about one-third looked for another job within one year of starting employment.
As previously indicated, mentorship is an effective way of engaging with highly-skilled older workers
and helping the firm retain that knowledge by transferring it to less experienced employees in a
systematic way. Therefore, mentorship can be an extremely valuable element of any talent management
program, providing a benefit for the new worker, the older worker, and the company overall.
Sosbe (2007) predicted that talent management will become a broad function integrating training and
development and all human resource operations. He cited a research study conducted by the American
Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and Brandon Hall Research in which 60 percent of the 340
HR leaders responding to the online poll stated they believed training and HR operations were converging
in their firms, and 90 percent felt the trend will continue. A quote from Scotty King, former director of
global learning and development for CitiGroup provides evidence of this convergence:
Human resources at Citi are all about talent. We are a company whose product is the
creativity and expertise of our people, so we really do view learning as part of the
manufacturing process of the product that we offer. Learning needs to be a strategic lever
for our business leaders. (Sosbe, 2007, p. 38)
So, how will HROD keep pace with these changes? HROD professionals must constantly review
their own skills sets and develop personal career development plans to remain relevant in the fastchanging world (Osman-Gani & Chan, 2009). Areas of weakness found among HROD professionals
include strategy formulation, partnering/consulting skills, financial, project management, cross-functional
experiences, and general understanding of business (Osman-Gani & Chan, 2009). Peter Cappelli (2008)
would add that HROD leaders need to become familiar with just-in-time manufacturing principles and
develop a talent-on-demand system. Cappelli’s proposal includes four principles: (1) “make and buy to
manage risk,” meaning develop talent and plan on recruiting any shortfall; (2) “adapt to the uncertainty in
talent demand” by streamlining development programs; (3) “improve the return on investment in
developing employees” by asking employees to invest in themselves, and also staying in touch with
former employees to possibly bring them back; and (4) “preserve the investment by balancing employeeemployer interests” by involving employees in advancement decisions (Cappelli, 2008, p. 78).
Organizations of all types need to assess their basic staffing issues and ask what their organizations
will look like a decade from now if they do nothing (Aiman-Smith et al., 2006). It is imperative that firms
American Journal of Management vol. 14(1-2) 2014
assess their risk sooner rather than later since “many companies will realize that they must undertake a
monumental, multiyear change-management program” (Strack et al., 2008, p. 128). Cappelli (2008)
proclaimed “every talent management process in use today was developed half a century ago. It’s time for
a new model” (p. 74). He proposed his “talent-on-demand” framework was such a model and one which
deals with today’s ever increasing uncertainty. The literature shows proactive leadership and strategic
planning are paramount to managing knowledge worker shortages. And, a key element of any strategic
plan must be talent management—retention, developing talent, recruiting the best and re-recruiting them
to ensure they stay, engaging with workers by providing and being receptive to feedback, and developing
mentorship programs. Now is the time for talent management to take top priority in organizations across
the globe to ensure strategic goals and customers’ needs are met, both of which will ensure the continuing
operations of those organizations.
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and development activities. Journal of International Social Research, 2(8), 11-25.
Aiman-Smith, L., Bergey, P., Cantwell, A. R., & Doran, M. (2006, July-August). The coming knowledge
and capability shortage. Research Technology Management, 49(4), 15.
Ashton, C., & Morton, L. (2005, July-August). Managing talent for competitive advantage: Taking a
systemic approach to talent management. Strategic HR Review, 4(5), 28-31.
Cappelli, P. (2008). Talent management for the twenty-first century. Harvard Business Review, 86(3), 7481.
Chhabra, N. L., & Mishra, A. (2008). Talent management and employer branding: Retention battle
strategies. ICFAI Journal of Management Research, 7(11), 50-61.
Cho, Y., & McLean, G. N. (2009, July). Leading Asian countries’ HRD practices in the IT industry: A
comparative study of South Korea and India. Human Resource Development International, 12(3),
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Galagan, P. (2010). Bridging the skills gap: New factors compound the growing skills Shortage. T+D,
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Heilmann, P. (2010). To have and to hold: Personnel shortage in a Finnish healthcare organization.
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McDonnell, A. (2011). Still fighting the “war for talent”? Bridging the science versus practice gap.
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Osman-Gani, A. M., & Chan, T. H. (2009, February). Trends and challenges of developing human capital
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hungry industry. Smart Business St. Louis, 4(7), 6-9.
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86(2), 119-128.
American Journal of Management vol. 14(1-2) 2014

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