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Organizational Talent and Its Global Management

At the outset, it might be instructive to consider the etymology of talent. In its original (Greek) sense, the word referred to a set of scales and by extension came to mean the process of weighing. Gradually, the word began to be connected with specific weights (particularly of silver) and in turn was used to denote money (i.e., coins of a designated weight). Later still ‘talent’ began to be used more generally as an attribution of value. The common thread in this progression of meanings is that neither weight nor value is absolute, inherent, or universally agreed upon. Both weight and value are defined relatively and determined contextually. Any weight can be designated as ‘five units,’ but only when that has been done will a weight that is twice as heavy be ‘ ten units ’; the value of a glass of water, which is not the same as its price, varies according to the utility that it provides in a given context. The etymological origins of the talent are sometimes reflected in its contemporary use in the business and organizational worlds; more often than not, they are obscured. Talent is neither absolutely defined nor recognized; its value and relevance are contextual.

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