Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Keith Townsend and Gabriele Suder
Chapter 2: Talent management: current understanding and what we still need to know
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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