Talent research from a social science perspective. Theoretical, methodological, and empirical deliberations

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/124169
Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2022-02-08
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Sportwissenschaft
Advisor: Thiel, Ansgar (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2021-12-17
DDC Classifikation: 300 - Social sciences, sociology and anthropology
796 - Athletic and outdoor sports and games
Other Keywords: Talent
social science
License: http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_ohne_pod.php?la=de http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_ohne_pod.php?la=en
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The extraordinary achievements of athletes, musicians, scientists, artists and the like have attracted the attention of researchers from a number of different scientific disciplines such as psychology, medicine, or physiology. Most empirical talent development research primarily fo-cuses on how singular factors contribute to the development of high-achievement. However, from a social science perspective, talent development is embedded within a specific social con-text that provides norms and ideas on talent-related characteristics, normative (talent) devel-opmental pathways, and behavioral expectations for those considered talented. The individual considered talented cannot be reduced solely to talent-related characteristics; instead, he or she enters an achievement domain with his or her own unique history that also shapes how ‘inputs’ from the environment are processed and given meaning. Thus, the main research interest within this dissertation focuses on how an individual with his or her unique history can be made fit to the structural peculiarities of the respective achievement context or how the context can be made fit to the individual. To address this question, I offer theoretical, methodological, and empirical deliberations from a social science perspective that takes ‘the personal’, ‘the social’, and their complex interactions over the talent development pathways into account. Seven research papers build the basis of these reflections, with three theoretically oriented papers, three methodologically oriented papers, and one empirical paper. Concluding from the theoretical deliberations, talent can be considered as a social construction; within talent development processes, a person with his or her unique history is made fit to the performance expectations of the respective organization or vice versa. Methodologically, ap-proaches that are sensitive to personal and social factors and their interaction along the devel-opmental pathway are required. In this regard, qualitative research can provide in-depth in-sights into individuals’ perspectives and experiences, which would also allow to move away from a one-size-fits-all-approach to talent development to more individualized talent develop-ment strategies. Empirically, the findings demonstrate that developmental trajectories of high-achievers are highly individualized. However, despite different structural characteristics of the respective achievement domains, we can identify cross-domain narratives of talent and its de-velopment. From an applied perspective, the findings call for talent management strategies that are biopsychosocially individualized. Rather than limiting talent promotion efforts to singular fac-tors, it is necessary to consider the whole person with his or her unique history and the broader sociocultural context into which talent development is embedded.

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