Sneaking through the minefield of talent management: the notion of rhetorical obfuscation

Huang, J and Tansley, C, 2012. Sneaking through the minefield of talent management: the notion of rhetorical obfuscation. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23 (17), pp. 3673-3691.

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Abstract

In spite of the growing popularity of talent management in practice there has been a distinct lack of theoretical attention paid by scholars to such a strategically important innovation. To address this shortfall, we conducted an in-depth case study of a multinational enterprise (MNE) to examine and conceptualise the rhetorical underpinnings of its efforts in implementing a talent management programme. Based on our findings, we propose the notion of rhetorical obfuscation to conceptualise the intentional use of persuasive language to selectively project and communicate organisational agenda as a means of directing and reinforcing relevant stakeholders' commitments and conforming behaviours. In particular, we found that rhetorical obfuscation was used extensively in the case organisation to cover up inconsistency in practices and lack of legitimacy during the institutionalisation of talent management. Our contributions are threefold. Firstly, this study has provided a necessary theoretical grounding to conceptualise talent management. Secondly, by introducing the theory of rhetorical practice to HR innovation research, our account has demonstrated the usefulness of rhetorical practice and created a launch pad for other HR researchers to build upon. Thirdly, by exploring the rhetorical underpinnings related to the adoption of talent management, we have added to the rich intellectual tradition of rhetorical practice by presenting the notion of rhetorical obfuscation.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Human Resource Management
Creators: Huang, J. and Tansley, C.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Date: 2012
Volume: 23
Number: 17
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1080/09585192.2011.639029DOI
Rights: © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa Business
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 11:03
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016 09:13
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22044

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