By Courtney Shelton Hunt, PhD
(read more about Courtney here!)
In the Digital Era, is “Virtual Workforce” Redundant?
That’s the title of my keynote address at SIOP’s Leading Edge Consortium (LEC) in Louisville, Kentucky on October 14-15, 2011. In many respects, the question is redundant of course. Though certain jobs are still bound to a specific time and place, the rise of globalization, new digital technologies (both hardware and software) and knowledge workers has resulted in profound changes in the notions of what work is, as well as where and how it gets accomplished.
As the opening speaker, I see my role as laying a foundation for the sessions to follow, as well as promoting the continuation of the conversation and collaboration beyond the consortium. To that end, I’ve structured my comments with a Past/Present/Future focus:
- Past: I offer a brief introduction to virtual work and its history, emphasizing how the idea of working virtually has changed dramatically.
- Present: I provide an overview of new digital technologies – particularly social media and other 2.0 tools – and their organizational applications and implications, linking to specific LEC sessions that explore particular ideas in more depth.
- Future: I suggest ways to extend the conversation, ideas, and relationships beyond the consortium, identifying opportunities for further work, related resources, and platforms for connecting and collaborating with like-minded individuals.
I’m really looking forward to the consortium. I typically speak to digital rookies, so it’ll be great to hear from and connect with folks who have a more sophisticated understanding of new technologies and are giving serious thought to how they impact the world of work.
I’d love to enrich my opening remarks with the ideas and experiences of SIOP members. I invite folks to share their thoughts on one or more of the following questions, and/or any other topic related to “virtual work.”
- What are the primary implications of new digital technologies on the notions of work and workplaces?
- What are some of the specific ways in which new digital technologies can be applied to improve work efficiency and/or effectiveness at individual, group/team, and organizational levels?
- What are some of the specific challenges that new digital technologies present in the context of work?
- What are some of the key topics and questions I-O psychologists in both academic and practitioner settings should explore?
- If you’ve conducted recent research on virtual work, what did you study? What were your findings and implications?
I hope you’ll be able to join us in Louisville in a few weeks. Even if you’re not able to attend the consortium, however, I hope you’ll join this digital dialogue. I look forward to your comments.
P.S. Click here for some of my thoughts on “The New Reality of Working Virtually,” based on an interview Stephany Shings Below conducted with me earlier this summer.