Tensions in talent identification: a multi-stakeholder perspective

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McDonnell, Anthony
Skuza, Agnieszka
Jooss, Stefan
Scullion, Hugh
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Research on how organisations identify talent in practice remains limited. Too often it appears that the most core construct – talent – is taken for granted in terms of how key stakeholders make sense of and give meaning to it in practice. This paper examines the talent definitions held by multiple organisational stakeholders and the criteria used in the practice of identification. Drawing from content analysis of over 200 interviews, our findings demonstrate substantial discrepancies between senior leaders’ and talents’ view on the meaning of talent within organisations. Moreover, there was little awareness of the identification criteria used by decision-makers that gives individuals the talent designation. Given the potential impact of this designation on employee attitudes, behaviours, and performance, the seemingly limited relationship between the meaning ascribed to talent and the identification criteria used in practice is likely to raise concerns about fairness and transparency. The findings indicate the absence of a shared and well-defined talent philosophy which we suggest is needed to guide talent management practices.
Talent , Talent management , Talent identification , High potentials , High performers , Content analysis , Internal stakeholders
McDonnell, A., Skuza, A., Jooss, S. and Scullion, H. (2021) 'Tensions in talent identification: a multi-stakeholder perspective', International Journal of Human Resource Management. doi: 10.1080/09585192.2021.1976245
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an item published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Human Resource Management on 14 September 2021, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2021.1976245