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An analysis of the succession planning practices in a metropolitan municipality in South Africa
The successful implementation of any integrated talent management approach is important when embarking on succession planning to mitigate the risk of institutional knowledge being lost or for that matter, the loss of staff with critical and scarce skills occupying key positions. The integrated talent management approach is intended to manage, develop and retain skilled and experienced personnel identified as successors who should be ready to occupy targeted key positions in the event the current incumbents vacated due to retirement or through voluntary or involuntary exit from the municipality at any stage during the employee life cycle. The successful management of successors to key positions during the employee life cycle is highly dependent on the effective management of the succession planning process and system. The metropolitan municipality at the focus of this study has not delivered on a successfully implemented succession planning process and system to support the management and retention of staff and institutional knowledge in key critical and scarce skills and leadership positions. The aim of this study is to investigate and confirm the need for the integration of succession planning practices in an integrated talent management approach. This study applied a multidisciplinary theoretical review of current literature within the fields of talent management, public management, organisational psychology and business survey research at national and international levels. The selection of only one municipality supports a case study design in that it allows for an analysis of specific circumstances and a situation as experienced with regard to succession planning in a local government municipality. The researcher explored a triangulation mixed methods research approach and in such an instance, qualitative and a quantitative research are completed at the same time with equal weighting and with the idea of bringing the results of the two types of research together to validate the research questions posed. The qualitative research approach involved unstructured (in-depth) interviews conducted with eight Devolved Human Resources Managers (DHRM’s) responsible for HR Management within the municipality’s functional areas / departments. A survey technique in the format of a self-administered questionnaire was also used as a quantitative research approach to draw input from a sample group. The researcher, in consultation with a statistician, selected non-probability sampling. The questionnaire provided quantitative data to reflect the view of managerial, as well as non-managerial staff. The quantitative data collected was analysed using suitable descriptive and inferential statistical analyses. The qualitative data was recorded through unstructured interviews. The quantitative data was data integration correlated with the qualitative data. The results of the quantitative research were analysed and key factors identified for further interpretation. The results of the qualitative research were described with key themes emerging. The outcomes of both research approaches were consolidated and a linkage with the research objectives established in a tabulated format. New results emerged, confirming the integration of the outcomes by using the mixed method methodology. Congruent and non-congruent data across the qualitative and quantitative dimensions were identified.