The Cultural Evolution of Talent Management: A Memetic Analysis

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Using the concept of memes as cultural transmitters and replicators, this article explores the origins of a talent meme and the subsequent evolution of talent management (TM). The sociogenesis of TM is traced through historic developments in management thinking. The rise of individualism in the late 20th century created the conditions for the birth of TM, and the proliferation of the meme since birth is analyzed. The meme reproduces through its psychological appeal and the logic of itself, and the article uses an established approach to reveal cultural rather than rational explanations for TM. Five reasons for the attractiveness, survival, and replication of the talent meme in business organizations are identified. They are salience with business conditions, lack of a competing meme, ambiguity, complexity reduction, and enhanced control over a powerful group. Understanding more about the psychological attractors attached to the talent meme forms part of an expanded research agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-358
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Resource Development Review
Issue number3
Early online date15 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


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