Skip to main content

Über dieses Buch

This edited collection offers a critical appreciation of talent management in contrast to the extensive literature adopting mainstream approaches to the topic. The authors explore fundamental questions in the field to better understand why managing talent seems so attractive as a management practice, the meaning of talent, and how talent is recognised in organisations. The mix of conceptual and empirical chapters in the book teases out some critical perspectives that will provoke thought and reflection among practitioners and stimulate ideas for new research topics and approaches. The diverse contributions presented in this book will undoubtedly be of use to academics, practitioners and postgraduate students of human resource management.



1. Talent Management: Gestation, Birth, and Innovation Diffusion

This chapter summarizes how the term ‘talent’ gradually became incorporated into mainstream thinking about business operations in the twentieth century leading up to the ‘birth’ of a new management meme: talent management. Socio-economic conditions prevailing at the time of the birth are summarized. Using ideas from memetics, the chapter focuses on explaining why the talent meme has been so effective (and infective). Five features of the meme are identified that explain why it has found so many hosts. These are similarities with other, related, memes; the lack of a competing meme; ambiguity in what talent and talent management mean; the appeal of celebrity in times of attention deficits; and the promise of power and status to those behind talent programmes.
Stephen Swailes

2. The Semantic Emptiness of Talent and the Accidental Ontology of Talent Management

The ontology of talent management and the semantic emptiness of talent is my focus in this chapter. From an interdisciplinary perspective that draws on methods and insights from cognition, social psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and sociology, I will demonstrate how a lack of semantic clarity in talent management in fact is a semantic emptiness and represents an ontological problem that questions the very existence of talent in the actual world. The implications of the semantic emptiness of talent has created an accidental ontology of talent management and led to a significantly high subjective bias and inadequacy in talent management, particularly in talent recruitment, causing considerable failure in companies’ talent management.
Billy Adamsen

3. Paralysing Rebellion: Figurations, Celebrity, and Power in Elite Talent Management

The extensive literature on talent management is relatively silent when it comes to understanding power relations, and this chapter explores power dynamics in elitist talent programme. The argument draws heavily on Norbert Elias’s ideas of figurations and his analysis of Court Society which are coupled with Robert van Krieken’s recent analysis of celebrity society. After considering how power manifests in human resource development (HRD), the chapter unfolds connections between ancient court behaviour and contemporary organization. Behaviour in elite talent pools is likely to be self-regulating in ways that suit both ambitious individuals and senior managers. The analysis suggests that elite talent pools act in ways that paralyse rebellion from within by pitting ambitious individuals against each other.
John Lever, Stephen Swailes

4. The Meaning of Competence, Commitment, and Contribution in Talent Definition

Despite the growing amount of academic and practitioner literature in the field of talent management, ‘talent’ is not defined in organizations in a consistent manner. This is arguably one of the factors leading to the variable success of talent management. A way to define talent, introduced in this chapter, uses a formula comprising three components: competence, commitment, and contribution. The components are multiplicative not additive such that if one of them is small, then the overall product will also be small. Furthermore, the three components are divided into two time dimensions (present/future) to allow the inclusion of, for example, the future business needs of the organization and the notion of ‘potential’.
Riitta Lumme-Tuomala

5. Subjective Bias in Talent Identification

This chapter explores talent identification during the early stages of the merger and acquisition process. Acquiring management teams need to balance the assessment of accurate talent information with decisions that will influence integration planning which may ultimately affect the acquisition outcome. Acquirers may rely on inside information from target executives and as transformational change events, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) creates political arenas that increase the risk of overshadowing talent by poor and biased talent decisions and political manoeuvring. Talent identification is an underexplored area within M&A contexts which run the risk of informal talent identification and subjective decisions. The chapter proposes a framework for future study and identifies the need to extend and re-engineer HR due diligence to include a deeper analysis of expanded talent pools.
Denise Holland

6. Talent Management in Egalitarian Cultures: Scandinavian Managers in Singapore

This chapter explores perceptions of global talent management (GTM) among senior managers working for subsidiaries of Scandinavian multinational enterprises in South East Asia. The talent literature sees limited empirical evidence exploring how talent management is operationalised and implemented. There is a lack of understanding for how policies and programmes are perceived and applied by practitioners at all levels within MNEs. Empirical data on the use of GTM programmes at subsidiary level and how these programmes are de facto implemented in an Asean context through the local HQ in Singapore are discussed. The chapter sheds light on the main challenges that face talent practitioners and provides specific insights into the experiences, perceptions, and beliefs that subsidiary managers have of these relatively new corporate initiatives.
Torben Andersen, Stefan Quifors

7. Frontline Managers: A Re-examination of Their Role in Talent Management

Using qualitative data obtained from 18 frontline managers working in the Danish public sector, this chapter shows that frontline managers display a leadership role that differs from that of other managers including aspects of recruitment, competence development, and career planning. Three distinct themes that distinguish frontline managers emerged from the data. (1) Their nearness to and involvement in the professionalism of the unit. (2) Operating at the interface between two knowledge regimes relating to the core task and to higher management. (3) Their role in creating a new professionalism which occurs when frontline managers interact with and across several professions. Based on these findings, the chapter argues that frontline managers should constitute an independent focus point for Talent Management.
Søren Voxted

8. Talent on the Frontline: Role Stress and Customer Professionalism in the Banking Industry

This chapter provides a detailed examination of the nature and composition of talent in frontline personnel in Danish banks. Based on a detailed analysis of 23 interviews and drawing on role stress theory, the authors show how the characteristics and attributes that denote talent run much deeper than stock descriptions of performance and potential. The chapter suggests that the composition of talent will differ across sectors and demonstrates that the components of talent in frontline banking employees are far from obvious and are unlikely to be described accurately even by experienced leaders. A key implication is that broad-brush descriptions of talent should be treated with caution, and the chapter adds to the limited number of detailed studies of what talent means in specific organizational contexts.
Torben Andersen, Jesper Raalskov

9. Why Do Organisations Run Talent Programmes? Insights from UK Organisations

This chapter reports a case study approach to understanding the reasons why private sector companies implement talent programmes. Workforce differentiation, institutional theory, and human capital theory are summarised as theoretical backgrounds. Based on four case companies in contrasting sectors, cross-case comparison reveals that, while all companies had accompanying high-level narratives around the importance of talented employees to competitive advantage, each company had a distinctive talent driver that shaped the structure and content of their talent programme. The four drivers were inclusivity, succession planning, categorisation of employees, and categorisation of key roles.
Sunday Adebola

Correction to: Managing Talent

Billy Adamsen, Stephen Swailes


Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner