What role does Virtual HRD play in a 24/7 work environment? Can VHRD help virtual teams overcome swift trust development barriers? How does an intranet provide opportunities for learning organizational culture? The answers to these questions and more can be found in Advances in Developing Human Resources‘ new Special Issue on New Perspectives on Virtual Human Resource Development.
Elisabeth E. Bennett of Northeastern University prefaced the issue with her article, “Introducing New Perspectives on Virtual Human Resource Development.”
New perspectives on VHRD have been advanced by this article, and the articles following this introduction offer their own insights into VHRD. One theme that crosses several of the articles is the need to balance the social and the technical in VHRD. Thomas (2014) and Bennett (2014) draw on theories of organizational culture for understanding organizational values for learning and performance, as well expectations for access through corporate information systems. Fagan (2014) recommends viewing technology as a combination of the social and material, which is a more holistic approach similar to the gestalt of VHRD described in this article.Novel applications of VHRD are also addressed in this issue. McWhorter and Lynham (2014) present an initial conceptualization of how constructs in VHRD and the scenario planning process inform VSP. VSP is one way to build present and future learning capacity, helping to prepare leaders for potential future realities. Germain and McGuire (2014) model barriers and identify enablers of swift trust in virtual teams, including the role of prior cognition in developing trust when no close relationship exists among team members. Ausburn and Ausburn (2014) review theories and capabilities of screen-based virtual reality environments, which are 3D applications in which users control actions. Their article highlights the need for fidelity in virtual technologies to foster motivation to engage and experience VHRD. Fidelity, or similarity to the real world, helps people suspend disbelief in simulated and virtual settings (Bennett, 2011) and it is designed into technology during development. Each contribution in this issue addressed technology development in some form or fashion, and themes across the articles are analyzed by McWhorter (2014) in the culminating article. McWhorter (2014) found that each of the articles in this issue of Advances gave further support for VHRD and emerging themes therein suggested Technology Development is a valuable contribution to the field of HRD.