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date: 13 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

It is assumed that employees display favorable attitudes (e.g., high organizational commitment) and behaviors (e.g., high work effort) when identified as organizational talent. If they did not, the idea that talent management creates value by making disproportionate investments into organizational talent would need to be reconsidered. We reviewed the literature to explore whether the assumed favorable reactions among talent are valid and the results are not straightforward. Many studies found evidence for the assumption; however, several studies revealed that talent designation bears considerable risks: Being identified as talent creates (overly optimistic) expectations of receiving rewards and benefits from the organization and it increases the felt pressure to meet high performance standards. We discuss the findings in the light of social exchange theory, psychological contract theory, and others commonly used in talent-management research, highlighting key issues regarding talent designation and identifying avenues for future research.

Keywords: talent designation, workforce differentiation, talent, talent management, employee reactions, psychological contract, social exchange

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