Handbook of Research on Managing Managers

Handbook of Research on Managing Managers

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Keith Townsend and Gabriele Suder

This book explores the changing role of managers in the workplace. In recent years, there has been considerable debate on the future of management, with both pessimistic and optimistic views being put forward. However, in the wake of delayering, downsizing, re-engineering and the pursuit of leanness, the more gloomy perspective has gained currency, especially in the popular managerial literature, and some have pronounced the end of management altogether. Some paint a more optimistic picture of managers and managers’ work with roles being transformed rather than replaced and the new organisational context providing more demanding work but greater autonomy and increased skill development. With contributions from experts in the field, this book is concerned with the way organisations manage their managers and how this continues to evolve with reference to global issues.

Chapter 2: Talent management: current understanding and what we still need to know

Anthony McDonnell

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Talent management has become a topic of significant interest in the practitioner and academic world. It initially emerged in the practitioner lexicon as a key area of concern and focus among professionals due to changing worldwide demographics, increasing acknowledgement of the key role that employees play in achieving competitive advantage, and concerns as to whether key talent was being effectively managed and utilised. With professional journals and magazine articles on talent management omnipresent and increasing in number, academic interest is now on a rapid ascent. This has become especially vivid, as demonstrated by the staggering increase in books (e.g. Vaiman and Vance, 2008; Silzer and Dowell, 2010; Scullion and Collings, 2011), journal articles and special issue collections of journals on aspects of talent management (e.g. Scullion et al., 2010; McDonnell et al., 2012; Dries, 2013). Given the amount of professional and academic publications that now exist on the topic, one could be mistaken for believing that talent management is a long-standing area of interest and focus. However, this is not necessarily the case unless you take the view that talent management is nothing more than a rebranding of existing concepts. Talent management essentially emanated from the West (e.g. the McKinsey Group tabling the war for talent agenda; see Chambers et al., 1998) and, unsurprisingly, many of the early research efforts were centred on such contexts.

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