Talent Development as an Alternative to Orthodox Career Thinking: The Scandinavian Case

Henrik Holt Larsen, Jette Schramm-Nielsen, Inger Stensaker

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til bog/antologiForskningpeer review


This chapter argues that orthodox career thinking–which focuses on vertical progression to higher-level managerial positions—is suffering from three shortcomings. First, it is insufficient to explain career dynamics in modern knowledge organizations. Second, it does not see strategic organizational change as a catalyst for career and disregards the importance of experiential learning on the job. Third, it does not incorporate how career is embedded in the organizational and cultural context, including a wide range of national, institutional features. Based on this, the chapter suggests that we move the focus from narrow career thinking to the more broad-banded concept of talent. The talent concept signifies any kind of outstanding competence of an individual (whether it is managerial or any kind of significant specialist field) which is strategically important to the organization, difficult to achieve, difficult to replace by other types of resources, and difficult to replicate by competitors. Also, a broader definition of how talent can be developed is needed, as it should encompass informal and experiential methods as well as formal education. The broader concept of talent is discussed in relation to the Scandinavian context, which consists of many highly educated knowledge workers.
TitelThe Oxford Handbook of Lifelong Learning
RedaktørerManuel London
ForlagOxford University Press
ISBN (Trykt)9780195390483
StatusUdgivet - 2011
NavnOxford Library of Psychology


  • Experiential learning
  • Career development
  • Talent development
  • Lifelong learning
  • Scandinavia