The Impact of Emerging Technology on Leadership Development

The Impact of Emerging Technology on Leadership Development

Patrick N. Connally, Lonnie R. Morris
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2399-4.ch034
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Through an exploration of research and practical literature, this chapter examines the impact of emerging technologies on leadership development. First the authors discuss how technology has changed organizational approaches to training and development. Next, the authors address the benefits of leveraging technology for organizational learning and leadership growth. Then simulation and gaming, social media, and blogs are discussed for their particular strengths as key options for leadership development.
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Organizational learning professionals are adjusting to the emergence of technology as a dominant factor in training and development (Ladyshewsky, Geoghegan, Jones, & Oliver, 2008). Early research identified the limited integration of technology into training and development, with most technology infusion focused on sales, marketing, or technology content. It was a time when integration of advanced technological approaches into training and development mainly focused on sales, marketing or technology content (Webber, 2003) and the landscape was too new to draw any real conclusions about its impact (Arbaugh, 2000; Cini, 1998; Vicere, 2000). Over time delivery models shifted to account for technology’s larger organizational significance and calls for more dynamic training and development needs (Riha & Robels-Pina, 2009). While organizations have begun leveraging technology for more skill-based needs, the full impact of learning technologies as a key to leadership development have not been fully explored.

Slow adoption of technological advances into leadership development is not surprising. Technical utility often outpaces non-technological organization practices. In recent times, organizations leveraging technological advances have redefined how we share photos, raise money (crowdsource funding), access transportation (ride share networks), and secure travel accommodations (peer-to-peer short term rentals) while multiple, previously long-standing business models became obsolete (McCafferty, 2016). The disruptive nature of technology has led to consistent calls for its further integration into routine practices of developing leadership, management and other critical soft skills for organizational success (Adams, 2007; Shelley, 2015). Potentially the most challenging obstacle of technology disruption to leadership development is the people factor. Developing clear objectives, adopting appropriate strategies, effective deployment, and routine evaluation pose considerable challenges for organizations as they scramble to simultaneously manage emerging technologies and evolving leadership needs. With those considerations in mind, the authors recognize much attention has been given to the theoretical considerations at the intersection of technology and leadership. However, even researchers who delved into this area concede it warrants more consideration for implementation and execution rather than theory (Standifer, Thiault, & Pin, 2010). This chapter explores the impact of emerging technologies on leadership development, with specific discussions of organizational learning and effectiveness, leveraging technology for leadership growth, and promising strategies for leadership development.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social media: Software applications and websites that enable users to create and share content across expansive networks of users.

Leadership Development: Teaching and training of leadership skills to members of an organization.

Technology Disruption: Technology applications that significantly alter status quo business operations.

Technology adoption: The process of integrating technology-based functions and utility into organizational processes.

Simulation: Technology-based imitation of real life system or process.

Blog: Web-based personal journal or diary.

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