Case Study

War for management talent in China: SPSS China

2 pages
December 2007
Reference: IMD-3-1880

This case is part of the suite of teaching materials which employs China as an illustration of the managerial implications resulted from the so-called War for Talent, and is intended to generate insights into “how to best play the talent game” in China, or elsewhere. We aim to generate an interactive and rich class discussion of the issues raised among seasoned business practitioners, by adopting a variety of interesting teaching formats: an opening note, four cases, an “appraisal exercise” and a video. In particular, this case is about a franchise formed in 2006 by SPSS, a NASDAQ-listed software provider with worldwide leadership. This foreign-invested company uses a channel partner network to sell its technology and to serve its clients. Tomas Casas, the Spanish-born CEO, aims to increase its contribution to SPSS’s global revenue to 4% within five years of the company’s establishment. To do so, he has to find qualified managers to support and develop the company’s channel partner network. Because social skills – including the understanding of local dialects and rituals – are very important for building rapport with partners in different regions, Casas realizes that he needs to particularly careful when appraising candidates. However, such talent is in short supply and expensive in China. He needs to figure out the best ways to fill the positions.

Learning Objective

Among the critical issues in talent management to be addressed in this suite of teaching materials, the following are the most central for the learning of class participants: Since sizing up potential candidates is the first and most fundamental step of talent management, what characteristics should a business leader look for to meet the competency requirements today and to prepare for the future? What would be some creative and feasible practices to source, attract, develop and retain management talent?

Human Resources, Leadership Succession, Talent Management
Field Research
© 2007
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note, Video
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