The Paradoxes of Talent Management A qualitative study on how the idea of Talent Management has been translated within the Swedish IT industry
Abstract: This paper aims to broaden the understanding of how the idea of Talent Management has been brought in and understood within a specific setting - the Swedish IT sector. The purpose is firstly to understand how and why the idea of Talent Management has been introduced by the organizations, and secondly to investigate how the idea is interpreted and understood within the specific industry and organizational settings. The study is qualitative in its nature and investigates how four organizations have brought in, interpreted and adapted this fashionable management idea into their operations. Data has been collected by conducting 14 interviews with respondents at the four firms. By analyzing using institutional theory and translation theory, the results show that the organizations on a concept level present similar ideas of the meaning of Talent Management and talent, but when investigating in detail the idea has been interpreted and translated differently in different local contexts. The study also identifies a number of paradoxes in how the organizations reflect upon and practice the idea. The paper provides new insights on how the idea of Talent Management is contextualized and understood within specific national, industrial and organizational settings. The paper may inspire to a continued debate on how and why organizations involve fashionable management ideas into their operations.
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