The Fusion of Talent Management and Knowledge Management: An Odd Couple or Happy Nuptial




Employee-employer relationship, knowledge management, talent management practices, talent retention, work-life balance


The purpose of this paper is twofold, firstly, to explore the factors that affect the retention of knowledge workers in South African higher education institutions; secondly, to show how talent management can benefit knowledge management practices. The mixed-methods design was employed to collect and analyse the quantitative and qualitative data. Stratified and purposive sampling techniques were used to select 347 respondents from three South African universities. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect the data from 277 participants. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences was used to analyse the quantitative data, while the qualitative data was analysed using NVivo (version 12.0). The quantitative and qualitative findings confirmed that work-life balance, promotion and employer-employee relationship positively impact the retention of knowledge workers in South African higher education institutions. This study provides a deeper understanding of how universities could leverage employee promotion, employer-employee relationship and work-life balance to retain knowledge workers in the competitive business environment. The study demonstrates that factors of talent management such as promotion, employer-employee relationship and work-life balance, are viable tools for retaining knowledge workers to position higher education institutions at the cutting edge. These factors can benefit knowledge management practices. The study expands on the limited research on employee retention strategies, talent management and knowledge management.

Author Biography

Martins Isabel, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Prof. Isabel Martins holds a PhD in Organisational Behaviour, and her research is mainly focused on the subject area of Strategic Management and OB - Organisational Learning and Knowledge Management. Her research interests are Organisational Learning and High-Performance Working Practices, Strategic Human Resource Management, Intellectual Capital – Developing Human Capital and Tacit Knowledge in High-Performance Working Organizations, Innovation and Creativity, and Student Employability - Soft Skills. The author's contribution includes supervision and reading of the manuscript.