I have just read a super interesting book that I strongly recommend. The book is called “Talang för människor”. The author, Kajsa Asplund, is a trained psychologist and has a PhD in business administration. Her research at the Stockholm School of Economics focuses on the effects of talent management on employee motivation, self-image and loyalty.
Talent management is a phenomenon that includes all kinds of ways an organisation works with attracting, identifying and retaining competent people. It is outside my research, but can be seen as a part of our research on professional competencies. Also, I am interesting in this book from a leadership perspective.
The book is not about academia but is more general and when reading about the book I was thinking what the equivalent of “talent management” would be in academia? We have a very harsh culture, very gendered but there are indeed some people that are seen as more talented and get more salary than the rest.
The word talent is used in a variety of ways and can mean all people in an organisation, or just an exclusive few.
Some of the things I found interesting and that I would guess are transferrable to academia are:
- In the future you need even more enable and empower people – no detailed micro management control.
- People who are appointed talents in an organisation often experience that their expectations of the organisation increase. Somehow being labelled as a talent in any way makes people aware of the relationship with the organisation: What the work includes and what they get back for example. One interesting possible reaction is working less hard, increased cynicism, negative attitudes. One quite common reaction to being labelled as talent is actually to look for another job!
- Many who are appointed talents look towards the global market and start comparing what they have with other “talents” globally.
- People who are appointed talents often become less motivated by the core business, and look towards management roles instead.
From the book it is clearly possible to say that talent management is complicated and it does not always go hand in hand with an engaged and motivated staff.