Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




HEI, changing nature of work, employee engagement, talent development, HRM practices, professional marginalization


The nature of administrative work in higher education institutions (HEIs) is changing. HEIs are operating within an environment of increasingly complex conditions, including increased demand for access to its services, reduced government funding, and increased internationalization and market competition. Consequently, administrative work in higher education has increased in complexity, as, too, has the talent required to execute this work. No longer are HEIs comprised of homogeneous talent; today, these entities are experiencing increased hiring of individuals in non-academic roles who bring diverse experience and skills. With this change in talent composition, this Organization Improvement Plan (OIP) focuses on a Canadian Research-Intensive University (RIU) that must now evaluate its human resource management (HRM) practices and determine how its talent development practices may be disabling the achievement of its organizational goals and objectives. The systemic influences of human capital economic theory and social exchange theory (SET) have resulted in RIU’s non-academic talent being professionally marginalized. The professional marginalization practices of RIU result in lower levels of employee engagement, which brings significant risks, including increased talent attrition, decreased productivity, and disengaged leadership. It is in this context where the OIP for the RIU introduces a talent development solution to address the absence of evidence-informed strategic and integrated talent development practices to increase employee engagement.