Talent Management: Gestation, Birth, and Innovation Diffusion

  • Stephen SwailesEmail author


This chapter summarizes how the term ‘talent’ gradually became incorporated into mainstream thinking about business operations in the twentieth century leading up to the ‘birth’ of a new management meme: talent management. Socio-economic conditions prevailing at the time of the birth are summarized. Using ideas from memetics, the chapter focuses on explaining why the talent meme has been so effective (and infective). Five features of the meme are identified that explain why it has found so many hosts. These are similarities with other, related, memes; the lack of a competing meme; ambiguity in what talent and talent management mean; the appeal of celebrity in times of attention deficits; and the promise of power and status to those behind talent programmes.


Memetics History Innovation diffusion Celebrity Talent management 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Huddersfield Business SchoolUniversity of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK

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