Summary. Talent can be framed as either something that people possess (object approach) or something that people are (subject approach). Human capital may come from the historical meaning of a ‘talent’ in Latin and Greek of measuring the weight of a significant amount of gold or silver. Talent in the form of intrinsic learning motivation only realizes when sufficient encouragement and support exists. Inclusiveness is a feature of strength-based TM and related to egalitarian investments into the potential of all employees. Also, to foster the empowerment of all, a more holistic definition of talent that is complementary to ability measures and functions as a complex interactive process between innate and developed abilities, interests and motivations should be advised.
Object and subject approach to talent
There is a lack of a general definition of talent in the world of work , a term that seems to describe a phenomenon understood differently by academia and management consulting . Although a lot of talent management (TM) research bases on anecdotes, literature review reveals some insight into how the meaning of talent emerged over time and what the difficulties in a clear conceptualization and operationalization are . Gallardo-Gallard et al. (2013) contributed significantly to the clarification of the approaches to talent by framing talent as either something that people possess (object approach) or something that people are (subject approach).
Human capital (literally)
Historically, a talent in Latin and Greek was a measure of weight for a significant amount of gold and silver. This background might explain why the earlier approach to TM assumes an object approach  in which talent is popularized as an innate characteristic that one possesses or not . It may also explain why ‘human capital’ is used synonymously with ‘talent’ .
Talent as a learning capacity determined by context
Unlike the fixed influence of genes on body size , elite achievement is rather the result of differences in experiences, training , (elite) education, and networks . Nowadays, economic and social innovation needs drive the demand for talents. While talent itself may still be considered a non-learnable capacity , excellence and mastery can be achieved quite independently from such a notion of talent given the availability of suitable learning strategies and accessible knowledge . Similarly, talent in the form of intrinsic learning motivation only realizes when sufficient encouragement and support exists . This is consistent with the AMO (ability-motivation-opportunity) framework that stresses the importance of opportunities .
Inclusive subject approach to talent
Talent seen as people rather than attributes  comprises the inclusive subject approach, which includes all personnel of an organization in its scope and values different employee groups as contributors to the company . Inclusiveness is a feature of strength-based TM and related to egalitarian investments into the potential of all employees. Critics of the inclusive subject approach refer to the increasing overlap of TM with strategic human resource management (SHRM). TM tends to be defined as more exclusive than SHRM by targeting top talents, and it legitimates the concentration of rewards to so-called A players through their high potential . However, subjective appraisals favoring certain individual performances over the interests of customers and shareholders have presented another challenge to this approach of TM .
A more holistic definition of talent
Talent differs according to the field of application and the combination of cognitive resources. The traditional IQ measure does not say a lot about talent, why more complex profiles blending analytical, practical, and creative talent are suggested . While academia focuses on theoretical descriptors of talent, the broader society is interested in the practical function of talent . A definition of talent complementary to ability measures as a complex interactive process between innate and developed abilities, interests and motivations would provide for a more holistic concept of talent that meets different needs and allows the empowerment all .
 Tansley, C. (2011). What do we mean by the term “talent” in talent management?. Industrial & Commercial Training, 43(5), 266. doi:10.1108/00197851111145853
 Dries, N. (2013). The psychology of talent management: A review and research agenda. Human Resource Management Review, 23272-285. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2013.05.001
 Gallardo-Gallard, E., Dries, N., & Cruz, T. (2013). What is the meaning of talent in the world of work? Human Resource Management Review, 23(4), 290-300.
 Irvine, S. H. (1998). Innate talents: A psychological tautology?. BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, (3). 419.
 Adamsen, B. (2016). Demystifying talent management. [electronic book] : a critical approach to the realities of talent. Houndmills, Basingstoke Hampshire ;: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
 Ericsson, K. A., Roring, R. W., & Nandagopal, K. (2007). Giftedness and Evidence for Reproducibly Superior Performance: An Account Based on the Expert Performance Framework. High Ability Studies, 18(1), 3-56.
 Wai, J., & Rindermann, H. (2017). What goes into high educational and occupational achievement? Education, brains, hard work, networks, and other factors. High Ability Studies, 28(1), 127-145.
 The few, the proud and the brave: Finding, hiring and managing gifted employees in a time of talent wars. (2017).
 Stahl, G., Björkman, I., Farndale, E., Morris, S., Paauwe, J., & Stiles, P. (2012). Six principles of effective global talent management. MIT Sloan Management Review, 53(2), 25-32.
 Scullion, H., & Collings, D. G. (Eds.). (2011). Global talent management. Abington, UK: Routledge.
 Ferrando, M., Ferrándiz, C., Llor, L., & Sainz, M. (2016). Successful intelligence and giftedness: an empirical study. Anales De Psicología, 32(3), 672-682. doi:10.6018/analesps.32.3.259431
 Who decides what giftedness is?: On the dilemma of researching and educating the gifted mind in the light of culture, political ambition, and scientific dogma. (2013).
 Nijs, S., Gallardo-Gallardo, E., Dries, N., & Sels, L. (2014). A Multidisciplinary Review into the Definition, Operationalization, and Measurement of Talent. Journal Of World Business, 49(2), 180-191. doi:http://dx.doi.org.liverpool.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2013.11.002