Research Handbook of International Talent Management
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Research Handbook of International Talent Management

Edited by Yipeng Liu

International talent management has become a critically important topic for scholarly discussion, in policy debates, and among the business community. Despite this, however, research into talent management tends to lack theoretical underpinnings, especially from an international, multidisciplinary, and comparative perspective. This Research Handbook fills this gap, bringing together a range of leading researchers, scholars, and thinkers to debate and advance the conceptualization and understanding of this multifaceted subject.
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Chapter 10: Talents for key positions in organizations: Sustainability management as a profession

Katharina Spraul, Julia Hufnagel, Cynthia Friedrich and Natalie Brill

Abstract

These days, a new corporate function is expected to act as a change agent for advancing sustainability in organizations: the sustainability manager. In this chapter, two research streams are combined, that is, sustainability management and literature on professions in order to answer two research questions: first, whether sustainability management can be considered a key profession in an organization; and second, how talent management can identify talents for the position of sustainability manager. Based on seven interviews with sustainability managers from different German companies, important insights on the current developmental stage of sustainability management as a profession can be made. Regarding the necessary competencies, our results indicate, in line with previous research findings, that the focus seems to lie more on soft than hard skills. Especially in large companies, sustainability managers are bridging various corporate functions and can thereby be characterized as talents. Since the employment of a sustainability manager can send a significant message to an organization’s stakeholders, talent management should help to promote the professionalization by encouraging acceptance and developing specific training possibilities.

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