7th Leading Edge Consortium Discusses Best Practices and New Research on Virtual Work
The 2011 Leading Edge Consortium (LEC), “The Virtual Workforce: Designing, Leading, and Optimizing,” brought out some of the best and brightest in the virtual work field October 14 and 15 at the historic Seelbach Hilton in Louisville, Kentucky!
Chaired by Kurt Kraiger, with Practice Chair Andrea Goldberg, Science Chair Lori Foster Thompson, and Research Chair Allen Kraut, the 2011 LEC was a weekend full of excellent speakers, informative presentations, and numerous opportunities to participate in the discussion of the virtual workforce.
“I was very excited about the overall quality of presentations at the LEC,” said Chair Kraiger. “Our speakers met the challenge of the Program Committee, which was not to just tell us where we've been, but let us know where we should be going. That's what makes it leading edge!”
The event received positive feedback from attendees for the quality of speakers, in-depth discussion of virtual work, and the unique format.
The LEC kicked off with a keynote address titled In the Digital Era, Is “Virtual Workforce” Redundant?by Courtney Hunt, principal of Renaissance Strategic Solutions (RSS), a consultancy that helps organizations increase their effectiveness through the design and implementation of innovative and leading-edge strategies and programs.
During her presentation, Hunt stressed the fact that the definition of virtual work has changed over the last few decades and that it has expanded as technology has brought out new ways of working and communicating virtually.
“In some way or another, you are working inside the cloud, whether it’s Facebook, e-mail, LinkedIn,” Hunt explained. “You’re all virtual workers, though you’re not necessarily telecommuters. Our idea of what is virtual work really needs to expand beyond the definitions of telecommuting.”
Hunt also explained that social media, though it can be a part of virtual work, is not only confined to the “Big Three,” but numerous platforms available, including new and old, such as e-mail.
The rest of the program was divided into modules—“How Organizations Are Being Impacted,” “Specific Applications,” and “Impediments to Technological Innovation”—with corresponding sessions, followed by question-and-answer panels.
Before breaking into small groups to enjoy the popular “networking dinners” at a choice of five Louisville restaurants Friday night, attendees also enjoyed a reception in the beautiful Rathskeller room of the Seelbach.
SIOP Fellow Wayne Cascio rounded out this year’s LEC presentations with the closing keynote address Saturday on the topic of “The Virtual Global Workforce: Leveraging Its Impact.” Cascio discussed the limits and possibilities of virtual work, focusing on the idea that technology has rendered geography meaningless—at least when it comes to work that can be done virtually.
After thanking the LEC chair and cochairs and presenting them with tokens of appreciation, SIOP President-Elect Doug Reynolds announced the theme of next year’s event, “Advancing Environmental Sustainability at Work,” which will be held in New Orleans at the Hotel Monteleone October 19-20. The meeting will be chaired by Sara Weiner.
We hope to see you next year in New Orleans!