In the information age, technology is rapidly becoming an integral part of organizational life. Ever increasing technology applications have significantly reshaped the day-to-day practices of human resource development (HRD). This chapter explores the role of technology in HRD. Specifically, it addresses three issues. First, it identifies the challenges that technology has brought to HRD in the twenty-first century. Second, it analyzes the impact of technology on HRD practices with a focus on emerging HRD practices in virtual environments. Third, it provides insights into the future of virtual HRD in training and development, organizational development, and career development.
Current literature on the role of technology in the field of HRD (e.g., Benson et al., 2002; Githens, Dirani, Gitonga, & Teng, 2008) suggests that it is increasingly becoming a critical component of not only the day-to-day practice of HRD, but the effective completion of organizational tasks. The increasing emphasis on knowledge creation and technology application in HRD has led to the burgeoning concept of virtual HRD (VHRD). What follows is a discussion of the notion of technology in organizations, as well as two emerging concepts in HRD which point to a continuing evolution of the role of technology in HRD—VHRD and Web 2.0.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Virtual Community of Practice: A group of people who are informally bound together by common interests and communicate virtually.
Virtual Worlds: A 3-D environment where multi-users interact in real time using avatars as representation of themselves.
Human Resource Development: A process of enhancing individual, group, and organization effectiveness through training and development, organization development, and career development.
Virtual Team: A team where members work in geographically disbursed locations and communicate virtually.
Virtual Workplace: A work environment where organizational members perform tasks in the virtual environment enabled by Internet- or Web-based technologies.
Virtual Environment: A technology-enabled environment that requires no face-to-face human interactions.
Virtual Human Resource Development: A process of using Internet- or Web-based technologies to enhance individual, group, and organization effectiveness through training and development, organization development, and career development.