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Findings and Discussion

In this section, the findings and their discussion are presented following the thematic line guided by the research questions, as mentioned above. The quotations from the respondents are classified as a number from 1 to 50, followed by M or F, which means masculine or feminine. To simplify at the end of each quotation appears subject, the number and gender, for example Subj. 2F.

What Talent Management Means to You?

The results show that the respondents adopted different dimensions to define talent management, as can be identified in the literature [1, 9, 16]. From the point of view of responsibility, the respondents have highlighted corporate responsibility and individual responsibility. In what concerns corporate responsibility, the company is considered responsible for identifying the talents that it has inside, in its workforce. It is considered to be fundamental that organizational structures understand that persons are not only good in some characteristics, but with persistency and good management capacity and leadership other personal skills can be improved and even new talents may be discovered within the workforce already in the company” (Subject 4F; with more 29 similar answers).

When considering individual responsibility, the respondents argue that the individual has to be proactive and create the conditions for his own development and progress, “not waiting for others to take care of my talent” (Subj. 1M), with more 32 similar answers). Developing a strategy of self-knowledge is fundamental. As described by Subj. 2F: “It is important to know your talents, to develop them and to empower them in contexts where they are most profitable to the individual and also where they allow to bring more benefits to companies where the individual can develop his activity and be recognized by it” (with more 22 similar answers).

This responsibility for identifying and developing talent, both as personal, individual or group characteristics, is described in the literature in the double perspective—corporative and individual, with studies that highlight this shared responsibility [1].

Another perspective adopted to explain what talent management is the aim: corporate aim and individual aim. From the perspective of corporate aim, talent management is intended to obtaining added value, greater profitability and a utilitarian orientation of the people, in line with Collings and Mellahi [9]. In the words of one of the respondents, talent management is: “When you recognize a talent and a strategy and dynamic is developed so that this talent reaches its maximum productivity, that is, to explore that talent and know how to manage it that it can then be applied to different areas and situations” (Subj. 25F; with more 26 similar answers). From the individual aim, talent management is related to obtaining success, personal visibility, higher and better status.

The globalization of the economy and the greater competitiveness between the organizations lead to this type of purposes that imply new strategies and new instruments of talent management [5, 9, 16, 20, 31].

Another perspective, expressed by 39 of the respondents, used to define talent management is the perspective of commitment, in which talent management is the management of people with the capacity to give to the organization the skills which bring usefulness and added value to the organization, but simultaneously, the organization must know their workers very well and apply strategies that contribute to their continuous development. In the words of the respondents:

... discover what makes people feel fulfilled on a personal level and can positively impact the organization. It is not a static process because it requires education and the constant challenge of people and companies (Subj. 10M);

Manage the better and more interesting a business has. Managing a talent means taking advantage of the skills that a person has and taking advantage of it in the development of the company (Subj. 35F).

Recognising the characteristics that a person has and that makes that person different from the others in a professional context, and place that person in an area of the company where she can use her talent only to bring benefits to the company and worker himself. (Subj. 49M, but also mentioned by more 34 respondents).

To define talent management from the perspective of commitment can range from more informal aspects to issues of a formal nature at the level of strategic human resources management, as demonstrated by previous studies [3, 6, 7, 18, 32, 33].

The perspective of values is another approach to define talent management. Within this perspective, the company has “to assume itself as a serious and honest entity in the relation that establishes with its workers knowing to take advantage of the qualities of a person” (Subj. 4F; with more 28 similar answers), and “encouraging them to adopt a global and integral development as a person and as a professional” (29 respondents express this idea), in line with the literature [2, 6-8). As argued by one of the respondents, “talent management implies an investment by the organization. It is about providing someone, who has a differentiating and advantageous characteristic for the company, with opportunities to apply his talent and provide training so that it develops even more” (Subj. 19F; with more 34 similar answers).

The analysis of the data reveals a strategy of reciprocal instrumentality [7, 17, 18]. On the one hand, “Organizations recognize, attract and manage the talents by placing them in positions where they are needed and provide added value to the organization” (Subj. 3F; with more 32 similar answers). Taking advantage of characteristics, skills and abilities, thus benefiting from their talents. On the other hand, people “should know how to use characteristics that set them apart from others, at the right time and at the right place” (Subj. 5F) and “it is not worth wasting talent if what they ask of us has nothing to do with what we stand out most” (Subj. 6F).

According to the data, the instrumental perspective of the use of talent by workers should privilege aspects of personal distinctiveness, interpersonal comparability and take on a sense of opportunity and personal utility, which is aligned with the literature [16, 19, 21, 22].

The respondents also contextualize talent management taking in consideration both workers and organizations in varied scenarios: “Not all HRs in the professional contexts in which they are inserted are talented. Talent management is to know how to evaluate and to gather in itself all the necessary capacities for a certain plan of action” (Subj. 49M); and “... coordinate, direct, choose the talents appropriate to the needs of the company, business or activity.” (Subj. 41F). This need of contextualization of what is and can mean a talent and lead to its development or disappearance is aligned with previous studies [for example, 7, 9-13, 20].

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