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Introduction

Talent has frequently been portrayed as a rare commodity that has to be aggressively battled for in the desolate wastelands of domestic and international marketplaces [1-4]. Perhaps, for some forms of talent and at some times in economic history, this has been true; however, the talent wars of the past tended to misrepresent the nature of talent as much as they overvalued the few and overpriced the efforts of the relentless talent warriors. It is perhaps more productive to view talent as something that is relatively abundant but which needs to be conscientiously searched for, thoughtfully nurtured, and strategically redeployed within the

D. Starr-Glass (H)

University of New York in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

D. Starr-Glass

Empire State College, International Programs (Prague), State University of New York, Prague, Czech Republic

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

C. Machado (ed.), Competencies and (Global) Talent Management,

Management and Industrial Engineering, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-53400-8_3

organization. But such an approach requires corporations, and global corporations in particular, to recognize talent as a living and vital asset that is dynamic and continuously developing—not as something that is exceptional in nature, acquired under difficult circumstances, and required only in exceptional times. As Mitchell [5] put it, ‘global leaders don’t appear spontaneously; the organization has a duty to create them’ (p. 37).

Acquiring, nurturing, and developing appropriate talent are challenging propositions for any organization. For organizations with a presence beyond their national borders, the challenge is amplified because they operate in multiple contexts that are unfamiliar and which require a richer and more diverse range of talents and understandings [6, 7]. Fortunately, global organizations have a significant advantage because they can access multiple pools of human capital in the different geographic and cultural regions in which they operate. Still, global organizations, and more specifically multinational corporations (MNCs), have historically undervalued the human resources available to them in their ‘peripheral’ units, concentrating instead on the centralized development of talent in their headquarters and redistributing it through expatriation.

This chapter argues for a more dynamic approach to talent management in international and global organizational contexts. It suggests that talent can be effectively redistributed and mobilized through architectural structures and bridges that have been created by the human resource (HR) function of the multinational firm. Mobility possibilities, however, require an understanding that talent is an inherently fluid organizational resource that can be effectively circulated and repositioned within the global organization. Talent mobilization and redistribution, particularly in MNCs, might also need to be considered more broadly, not replying exclusively on the physical movement of organizational participants through expatriation and inpatriation [8, 9]. Talent mobilization can make a valuable contribution to solving problems in which change, strategic innovation, and talent development are complicated by national culture and unfamiliar marketplaces. But, for mobilization to materialize there needs to be a propensity to share talent and to utilize it fully within the organization [10, 11].

This chapter explores HR practice, arguing that implicit considerations and philosophies about talent are expressed in the MNC’s talent management and that these philosophies provide some insight into an organizational propensity to mobilize and redistribute its talent resources. This chapter is structured in the following way. The first section explores the multiple meanings that have been attributed to talent and to its global management. The next section uses these meanings to reconsider the implicit assumptions and philosophies—what might be termed the meta-principles—which MNCs and their HR systems might hold about the fluidity and mobility of the talent that they possess. This is followed by a consideration of the architectural structures and bridges that the HR function might create to facilitate the cross-border mobility and utilization of organizational talent. The last section briefly summarizes the key issues presented in this chapter.

 
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