Lever, John and Swailes, Stephen (2017) Ballet for the Sun King: Power, Talent and Organisation. In: The Social Organisation of Marketing: a figurational approach. Palgrave Macmillan, London, UK, pp. 143-170. ISBN 9783319515700

Notions of “talent” and “celebrity” dominate popular culture. Whether on TV shows, in popular media or in the workplace, people talk about “talent” as something that generates or leads to prosperity and success. Drawing on the work of Norbert Elias, in this chapter we argue that the “elitist” and “subjective” forms of talent management evident in contemporary business organisations were originally institutionalised bycan be traced back to Louis XIVs management of the French Court in the seventeenth century. Building on Elias’s dance metaphor, we argue that talent management is structured by a plethora of management technologies and performance measures that allow senior management to maintain the boundaries of the permissible and ward off dissent before it threatens the established order.

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