Talent : -something, anything, everything or nothing? A voyage towards the heart of the meaning of one simple word.
An organization or company desires capable employees. Many theories and models have been developed to identify what an organization regards as capable employees. A practice called talent management has emerged for this purpose, and what this model is searching for is called “talents”. There have been many studies on how to organize a talent management system, but few on what the system actually searches for. What does “talent” actually mean? Using a qualitative case study approach and a hermeneutic view, this paper aim to study three multinational organizations’ usage of the term. The aim is to understand how and why “talent” is used in practice, in order to be able to understand which potential problems the usage of the term talent solves for organizations and companies. In order to broaden the paper’s perspective and understanding it includes what has previously been written about “talent” together with relevant management theories concerning evaluation of employees’ capabilities. The paper discusses how reasonable the usage of this term is; starting from an understanding of how it is used, and ending with a suggestion as to why it is used. This is a relevant topic today due to the large number of organizations that use this term to describe what kind of employees they want in their organization. In very few instances, one can find some sort of definition of what talent actually means. The authors of this paper conclude that talent is an umbrella term for desirable characteristics amongst managers and the word is used because people implicitly seem to understand its meaning.
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