Talent designation in practice: an equation of high potential, performance and mobility

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Jooss, Stefan
McDonnell, Anthony
Burbach, Ralf
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Taylor & Francis
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Effective identification of talent is a central element of talent management. Talk of talent often involves two distinct, yet interrelated dimensions: performance and potential. The talent management literature has however provided limited consideration both conceptually and empirically concerning the delimitation between these two dimensions. This paper looks to address this by examining how the talent construct is operationalised in practice. It considers two key research questions; what indicators of performance and potential are applied by key organisational stakeholders in discerning what talent is? What factors impact talent designation? We adopt a multilevel case study design encompassing 73 interviews with senior organisational leaders in three multinational hotel corporations. Our findings demonstrate that the dimensions of high performance and high potential were commonly spoken about when referring to talent. However, there was a substantial lack of clarity around potential with a conflation between it and performance common. Moreover, mobility emerged as a critical contextual factor in being labelled as talent or not. The paper contributes to talent management scholarship by providing a more nuanced approach in understanding how talent is enacted in practice in an underexplored empirical context.
Talent , Identification , Talent management , Performance , Potential , Mobility
Jooss, S., McDonnell, A. and Burbach, R. (2019) 'Talent designation in practice: an equation of high potential, performance and mobility', International Journal of Human Resource Management, pp. 1-27. doi: 10.1080/09585192.2019.1686651
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© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Human Resource Management on 10 Nov 2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09585192.2019.1686651