Social and natural constituents of talent: a critical appreciation

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1 Citation (Scopus)


A core assumption of exclusive talent management is that some employees have more talent than others. Performance data and talent reviews provide some support for this assumption yet there are grounds thinking that a proportion of talent identification is false; average people can be included, talented people can excluded. In an exploration of how talent recognition is exposed to risk, this chapter considers two approaches to talent that are seldom treated together. First, the social construction of talent is developed in ways that highlight the dangers that inevitably arise in talent recognition processes. A social constructionist treatment raises the prospect of ‘empty’ talent pools and the chapter explores the ethical and moral issues arising and questions whether it matters that talent pools might be empty. Second, talent is considered as an innate characteristic of people highlighting that talents are not static and continue evolving up to a point. As such, and if so, it is right that organizations should look periodically for talent across their employee base. The chapter highlights areas for further research into the existence of ‘the talented’ in business contexts and in particular the question of how much talent pools actually contain people with above average talent. The practical implications of appreciating both social and natural bases of talent are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging Talent
Subtitle of host publicationA Critical Appreciation
EditorsStephen Swailes
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781839090936, 9781839090950
ISBN (Print)9781839090943
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameTalent Management
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited


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