DBA dissertation by Riitta Lumme-Tuomala: Talent definition is vital for successful talent management in all organizations

Riitta Lumme-Tuomala defends her thesis on talent management


On June 16, 2017, Riitta Lumme-Tuomala (M.Sc.Econ., EMBA), Head of Growth, Director Russia and Talent Management, will defend her dissertation completed under the Aalto Executive DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) program. The topic of her DBA dissertation is “Talent Management in the Humanitarian Aid Industry”. Her DBA dissertation complements research on talent management (TM) by exploring the eventual benefits of talent management in non-profit organizations.

The dissertation explores talent management in the context of humanitarian aid organizations. The focal organization of the study is the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Talent management is currently seen as a high-priority issue in organizations worldwide, and a critical determinant for organizational success. Organizations spend a great deal of resources on identifying and developing talent necessary for strategy implementation and to achieve strategic targets. Furthermore, the identification of potential on one hand and development of high potential employees on the other are currently among major challenges of the HR function and recruiting managers.  

Potential key in talent definition

Talent management is often seen as a rather managerialist process, which is well-suited to organizations with the goal of financial gain. Based on the results of this study, the need for solid talent management in humanitarian aid organizations is evident, and talent management approaches are applicable. Additionally, corporations can benefit from the meticulous and practice-oriented way humanitarian aid organizations develop high potentials and talents – individuals who need to make speedy decisions under extremely demanding circumstances of complex global emergencies of today. An additional outcome of this study is a “formula” for talent definition. In the suggested definition, potential is considered by dividing the three factors of the multiplicative formula, competence x commitment x contribution, into two temporal dimensions: the present and future. The latter represents potential, which is a combination of curiosity, insight, determination, and engagement.

In her DBA research, Riitta Lumme-Tuomala drew from her personal experience from a humanitarian aid organization, emergency operations, and various positions in the HR field.  Prior to her current position in which she is responsible for talent management concepts, she has worked in several positions at Aalto EE, as an HRD Manager at Pfizer, and Recruitment Consultant at Mercuri Urval. She has also worked as a Regional Finance Officer at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva for four years.

Defense of DBA dissertation

The DBA dissertation of Riitta Lumme-Tuomala (M.Sc.Econ., EMBA) "Talent Management in the Humanitarian Aid Industry " is examined by Aalto University School of Business at 12.00 on Friday June 16, 2017 in the main building of the Aalto University School of Business.

Professor Henrikki Tikkanen of Aalto University School of Business acts as the chairperson and Professor David Collings of DCU Business School, Dublin is the opponent.

What is the Aalto Executive DBA - Doctor of Business Administration program?

The Aalto Executive DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) program is designed for experienced executives who wish to complete a doctoral degree alongside their work.  This working-life oriented program involves applied research. The DBA, which is recognized around the world, is offered by several leading institutions, such as Harvard Business School.

Like the Aalto Executive MBA and Aalto MBA degree programs, the DBA is not part of the Finnish degree system. However, it is conferred by the accredited Aalto University School of Business. The Aalto Executive DBA program can be completed, alongside work, in three to six years. This fee-based program was launched at the beginning of 2013.

Henrikki Tikkanen, Professor of Marketing at Aalto University, is the academic director of the DBA program.

DBA dissertation orders and inquiries 

DBA dissertation can be read in digital format in Aalto University publication series:

Riitta Lumme-Tuomala
Head of Growth, M.Sc.Econ., EMBA, Aalto University Executive Education
Tel. +358 40 838 6113 

Additional information

Mikko Laukkanen
Academic Director, D.Sc. (Econ. & Bus.Adm.), Aalto University Executive Education
Tel. +358 10 837 3732 

Henrikki Tikkanen
Professor, D.Sc. (Econ.), Aalto University
Tel. +358 50 5734174

Program website

Aalto University Executive Education

Aalto University Executive Education offers thought provoking leadership development services (Aalto EE), professional development services for experts and managers (Aalto PRO), and creative solutions covering the whole life-cycle of entrepreneurship (Aalto ENT). Aalto University brings to our offering a multidisciplinary approach, together with innovative learning methods; this provides a unique combination of practical expertise with latest research.

Aalto University Executive Education’s strengths lie in its global operating model and diverse offering. In addition to Finland and Singapore, we offer education programs in the Baltic countries, South Korea, Indonesia, Iran, China, Poland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Russia and Vietnam. Aalto University Executive Education holds three respected accreditations: AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS certificates. This places it in the top 0.5 per cent of the world’s institutions.