Tuesday, February 19, 2013

WDS: The Talent Myth

Haley Scholars Spring 2013 Reading Groups

By Cindy Lyles

The query “Are smart people overrated?” threads through Malcolm Gladwell’s article “The Talent Myth.” By chronicling the strategies that McKinsey & Company management-consulting firm offered corporations like Enron, Gladwell explains that failed businesses quite possibly fell short on account of the very thing that seemed to make them outstanding—the talent mindset, or “the deep-seated belief that having better talent at all levels is how you outperform your competitors” (Gladwell 358).

One specific practice McKinsey promoted to businesses trying to place “better talent at all levels” within respective companies was that of differentiation and affirmation. This technique is a process of assorting employees into tiers based on performance. Those in group one would be employees who are “challenged and disproportionately rewarded,” and the next group would include workers who “need to be encouraged and affirmed” (Gladwell 360). The bottom group consists of those who are in danger of losing their jobs due to lackluster performance. Quite evident, each rank is distinguished and calls for divergent levels of affirmation.

Although the article demonstrates how differentiation and affirmation work in the business world, the concept is quite portable and apposite in other institutions, like colleges and universities. In what ways do differentiation and affirmation manifest in collegiate education systems? Who benefits from the strategy, and for whom does it prove problematic?

4 comments:

Joshua Jones said...

In college education systems if you succeed in your classes they reward you with honors such as awards, but if you do bad they have no sympathy for you. The people who do bad or act they do not try in the eyes of a professor are less likely to get help or favors from the teachers. With little help and support from the university most of the bad students tend to drop out, while the good students get the benefit of having the teacher on their side.

Sandra said...

At colleges and universities, students who excel in their classes are greatly rewarded. Things such as the Dean's List and the prospect of graduating with a degree encourage those students to maintain or increase their work ethics. Teachers are more likely to support those students who put forth an effort to get their education. Students who do not take the time to focus on their school work or get extra help from teachers have almost no hope of having teachers and administrators working to keep them in school.

Conradette King said...

It is obvious that the smartest and brightest students always recieve the most benefits from professors and administrators. I have been in many classes where a professor will inform students that those who work hard and are at the borderline of an A will get their grade bumped up. But in most cases, only the students with good grades will receive the one on one attention from the professors while failing students would be advised to drop out if the class.

Conradette King said...

In many college education systems, it is obvious that the smartest and brightest students always get the most attention from professors and administrators. Grade A students will receive rewards like making the Dean's List and getting scholarships for their good grades. While poor students are told that they are lazy and sometimes even advised to drop classes.