Talent management trends come and go. For all who have been scrutinized from 360 degrees, had their emotional intelligence examined, or labored through 150 questions on the annual employee satisfaction survey, here's a stroll down memory lane:
1881: Business Goes to College. Joseph Wharton, co-founder of Bethlehem Steel, finds training workers himself too expensive. He persuades the University of Pennsylvania to launch a systematic undergraduate business education program.
1900: MBAs. Dartmouth opens the first graduate business school. Ten years later, Harvard graduates its first class -- of eight. In 2002, 120,875 MBAs were awarded.
1911: Taylorism. Frederick Winslow Taylor publishes The Principles of Scientific Management. The antithesis of touchy-feely theory, it argues that there's only one objectively correct way to perform industrial jobs.
1943: Executive MBAs. University of Chicago offers the first MBA program for working managers.
1950s: Ohio State Leadership Studies. Business theoreticians shift their focus from the factory floor to the executive suite. No longer concerned solely with efficiency, university researchers begin evaluating softer issues, such as how considerate, friendly, and supportive a leader is to his people.
1956: Corporate Classrooms. Leadership development goes in-house at General Electric (GE ), when the company opens its own management "school" in Ossining. In the '90s, CEO Jack Welch grooms generations of top managers in its bowl-shaped auditorium, dubbed "the pit."
1959: Hello, "Knowledge Workers." In his book Landmarks of Tomorrow, management guru Peter Drucker describes the declining importance of manual labor -- and coins a term describing a new type of employee.
1980: Job Satisfaction. Does it matter if workers are happy? In their 1980 book Work Redesign, Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham argue that workers need meaning and responsibility in their work to perform well.
Late 1980s: 360 Feedback. Managers are suddenly exposed to critiques from those below them in the hierarchy. Conducting these assessments becomes a big business for consultancies such as the Center for Creative Leadership and Hay Group.
1990: Pay for Performance. Investors rebel after the economic droop of the late 1980s cuts everyone's paycheck -- except the CEO's. The solution: "Pay for performance." The idea backfires when new forms of pay such as stock options give execs incentive to distort their companies' earnings.
Mid-1990s: Executive Coaching. Who can tell CEOs the things that everybody else is afraid to say? Executive coaches. Practitioners like Marshall Goldsmith, who charges more than $150,000 a year per client, have reached iconic status.
1997: Emotional IQ. Daniel Goleman's best-seller Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence launches an industry. Spin-offs include his consulting business (Emotional Intelligence Services), a workplace-satisfaction survey, and an online tool to help managers figure out what all that feedback means.
1999: Job Jumping. Online job search hits the big time when Monster.com (MNST ) pays $1.6 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad that becomes a cultural phenomenon. Combined with the increasing heft of executive search firms like Heidrick & Struggles and Spencer Stuart, Web-based job boards have become a lubricant for an already disloyal workforce.
2001: The Oval Corner Office. George W. Bush, first President to hold an MBA, sworn into office.
2005: Action Learning. This growing training fad is based on the premise that it makes more sense to put promising people to work on real business problems than to bore them with theoretical campus learning. They get trained, and the company gets a problem solved. Adherents include Johnson & Johnson (JNJ ), IBM (IBM ), and General Electric.
Data: U.S. Education Dept., BusinessWeek