HRM Literature Review


The impact of communications technology and internet in the development of human resources in academic organizations

-abstract (400) words

-introduction to the topic 200-300

-the main body of review 4000. this section should contain a number of sub headings.

invariably the review will also contain anumber of overlapping areas. the key to a good literature review is to start at the general level of each area and then refine your review to the areas that ovelap.

– this section should contain reference to at least 10 peer-reviewed articles(of which at least half should be published in the previous four years.

– You should use the Harvard in text referencing style, which should be consistently applied throughout.

– the section should contain a summary that draws your literature review together and identifies potential gaps for future studies.

– Proposed topic(500 words)

– Building on your future studies section propose a topic of research that emerges from your literature review that you would interested in pursuing in the future.

– Things you can mention here are the purpose of the propsed research and a specific theoretical framework in a new area.

– some things you might want to consider are:

-applying a previous research project finding to a new context

-linking separate research finding in a new manner.

– seeing if something that applied in a narrow context works in more general context.

– flipping that idea around and seeing if something that applies in a general context will work in a very narrow area.

– attempting to resolve contradictory research

– and many other possibilities

– Conclusion 200- 300


use the Harvard method to present these.

Name of student:

Course name:

Class name:

Date assignment due:



Abstract 2

Introduction. 4

Literature review.. 4

The need for innovation and academic leadership in human resources. 5

The need for integrated leadership in instructional technology. 7

Reorganization of workforce through communications technology and internet 10

Lifelong learning among employees in academic organizations. 11

Corporate Universities. 13

Impacts of e-learning on the HRM Function. 14

Evaluation of impacts of technological changes on development of human resources. 18

Proposed topic. 21

Conclusion. 22

References. 24


This research paper explores the impact of communications technology and internet on the development of human resources in academic organizations. The different ways through which innovation and academic leadership in human resources can be put in place are assessed. The main point of departure in this research is changes in instructional technology, which has made e-learning an attractive way of acquiring knowledge in academic organizations. The leadership challenges that affect human resource managers in light of technological changes are analyzed.


The need for HR specialists to develop interest in matters of e-learning technology has been highlighted since this is the only way in which they can respond effectively to the training needs of staffs in these organizations. For instructional technology to be used effectively there is need for a centralized leadership through the setting up of the position of senior academic technology officer in all academic organizations.

This research also found out that the workplace in every academic organization and corporate university cannot avoid undergoing transformations. Some tasks that employees used to perform independently have to be shared and knowledge intensive teaching methods have to change into knowledge awareness methods. More importantly, teaching staff have get used to the idea of transforming brick and mortar lecture rooms into virtual lecture rooms in the near future.

According to Salmon (2003 p. 34) and (Lacity & Willcocks 2003, p. 55), the findings indicate the scantiness of research on which learning approach is best; whether, teaching staff should adopt formal, non formal or informal approaches in updating themselves on matters of human resource management. This research indicates that the academic staff members in universities who do not need any further education for employability purposes (they have studied up to PhD level) prefer to use informal learning methods while acquainting themselves with technological dimensions of today’s e-learning approaches.

Lifelong learning is the best approach for people managers to use in keeping workforce up-to-date with technological changes as they occur. In this regard, the informal learning approach fits in with the lifelong learning approach.

E-learning is possible with modern technology as long as people managers are able to make the best use of both asynchronous and synchronous online transaction and self-service. This happens when there is reliable broadband internet connection. When this happens, contact hour instructions are drastically reduced, leaving academic professions with ample time to address other matters relating to knowledge-awareness.

According to this research, the most critical human resource management area that requires further research is on the need for training on internet, information and communication technology among the teaching staff, and its implications on attitudes towards e-learning.


Internet communication has completely changed the way in which people store, share and access knowledge. Today, it is possible for people to access knowledge through e-learning. In this case, they do not have to set foot on the physical structures of the traditional institution of learning. This has far-reaching effects on the way in which human resources are developed.

Information and communication technology is changing at a very fast rate. Not every employee in an academic organization is able to keep up with the fast change of technological changes even though it is very imperative that everyone working in an academic organization understands every innovation that takes place in today’s information age. This research is a review of the literature on how technology is redefining human resources management principles in modern academic organizations.

Literature review

Adam (1996, p. 23) analyzes the potential that human resource development has in the exploitation of all the new promises that the information-based society in Ethiopia promises to offer. A review of future prospects in different professions such as computing, information science, and telecommunications is also made. Additionally, Adam reviews the major factors that facilitate the development of the most essential human resources in the context of the prevailing socio-economic conditions in the country.

Adam (1996, p. 23) and Zhang & Nunamaker (2003 p. 208) observe that there is a dire shortage of human resources that can exploit all the promises that come with this new age of developments in information and information technology. Adam, 1996 attributes the imbalances that exist between supply and demand in the current human development plans to the lack of effective national human resources development and assessment policy and weaknesses in training institutions.

The need for innovation and academic leadership in human resources

Lack of innovation is another problem that Adam, 1996 cites as a cause of a slow pace of the process of achieving the set human resource development goals in institutions of higher learning. He therefore perceives the need for training courses to be initiated in institutions of higher learning in order to produce good information and communications technology managers with the ability to divert public attention from abstract issues and to start focusing on concrete result-oriented human resource development activities.

Albright & Nworie (2008, p. 14) observe that it is important to rethink academic technology leadership in this era of change. They observe that there is lack of centralized leadership in order for academic programs to be strengthened, access to be increased and new and improved curriculum development and delivery models to be provided. The latest developments in information and communications technology have made it necessary for new instructional technologies to be introduced together with qualified staff to support them.

According to Albright & Nworie (2008, p. 16), the evolution of technology-enhanced learning and teaching has coincided with corresponding changes in support for instructional technology. These changes, evident in changing media specialties, the rubric of librarians, information resource analysis, instructional technology and design, and faculty computing consultancy, have necessitated the advent of IT departments in academic organizations, with unique management, service and leadership challenges.

            Albright & Nworie (2008, p. 18) express the fear that changes in instructional technology may have diffused leadership of academic technology. Against this backdrop, Albright & Nworie (2008, p. 14) sought to find out the number of senior-level universities and colleges that had set up a senior-level position that is exclusively dedicated to the provision of direction, vision, leadership and accountability for technologies as well as support services for teaching and learning purposes. They found out that 71% of the IT academic organizations that responded were providing instructional technology services while 73% of them were providing academic computing services. Yet only half of all IT organizations had senior, director-level positions specifically tasks with offering support work relating to academic technology.


            In Albright & Nworie’s study (2008), conducted in 2005, of 150 higher education institutions in the U.S, an attempt was made, through an in-depth examination of all campus follow-up email exchanges and websites, to identify an individual with an overall responsibility for matters of instructional technology at every institution. this individual had to meet three criteria: (a) administered both online and classroom learning support in both virtual and physical learning environments on a campus-wide basis, including administering some form of faculty development or instructional training services, (b) had a sense of dedication to academic technology and lacked significant responsibilities in other IT related areas such as nonacademic software licensing, IT help desk, staff workstations and the institutional website, and (c) was at two administrative echelons below the campus’ vice president within the reporting chain, or was not at a lower position compared to the administrative level of all the department head who report directly to the CIO, supposing that the CIO was at the same level with the VP.

The results of the research were that in all the 150 academic organizations, the three leadership responsibility criteria were met by only 10% of the institutions. In the other 90%, there was lack of integration in instructional technology functions where leadership and oversight through professionals was required. Despite a very rapid growth in technology use among students and faculty members, coupled with multitudes of publications and reports that hailed the virtues of instructional technology, Albright & Nworie (2008, p. 22) note that centralization of leadership in the provision of these services has not been prioritized. For this reason, the researchers propose the setting up of the position of senior academic technology officer (SATO), who provides strategic leadership in all communications technology functions in the campus.

The need for integrated leadership in instructional technology

Morrison & Graves (2004, p.1) highlight the case of Benedictine University with regard to use of communications technology to increase profitability of academic programs. Through the use of technology, the university set up a much more flexible version of an MBA program. This program significantly eased the burden that real-time students had to bear of meeting many requirements through use of technology-facilitated real-time instructor-student interactions in addition to 24/7 support services for all students pursuing the MBA course.

Morrison & Graves (2004, p.2) say that the program was redesigned in order to incorporate students who are unable to participate in any real-time interactions. The new version of the program was fully online and therefore required that internal human resources be supplemented with outsourced support services, including some that were meant to assist faculty members in planning and implementing new programs. Through what Morrison & Graves (2004, p.1) refer to as “service  and program flex redesign  strategy” Benedictine University was able to achieve its profitability and enrolment goals, thereby enabling it to compete very effectively for students with other universities in terms of flexibility, price and quality.

            The Benedictine example, observe Morrison & Graves (2004, p.4), has a very significant impact on the way in which technology brings about changes in human resource development. It addresses the workforce needs of academic staff within an academic organization from an economic development perspective. It also addresses issues of competitive aspects relating to market segmentation and institutional capacity, both of which have far-reaching implications in human resource development.

            According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2007, p. 15) through the reduction in requirements for real-time communication, the dependency on the semester model was removed. Emphasis was put on more asynchronous (time-shifted), online instruction and self-service. There was a drastic reduction in contact hour instruction, regardless of whether students/faculty interactions take place in real-time, online or in a television medium classroom.

            Technology, if properly used, was observed to increase the options that students had for scheduling courses, conducting service transactions, getting expert help and pursuing a degree program to completion, with the overall effect being an increase in enrollment capacities (Morrison & Graves, 2004, Marshall, 2004, Dibbern, 2004,).

            There are two main barriers that come to mind whenever attempts are made to put in place communication structures for purposes of introducing online programs in academic organizations Morrison & Graves (2004). The first barrier relates to management of providers of support services, who in most cases have to be outsourced. This has far-reaching implications on the human resource structures that exist in an academic organization. Additionally, human resource managers have to put mechanisms,s in place, of ensuring that expenses are contained, users are satisfied and that the services outsourced support all the institutionally selected projects. Sharing of human resources among universities seems like an ideal way of dealing with this barrier, according to Morrison & Graves (2004)

            The second barrier to introduction of online programs in academic organization, notes Morrison & Graves (2004, p.6), is the organization will among administrative and academic leaders to initiate collaborative efforts through (a) framing goals in accessibility and accountability terms, (b) prioritizing organizational goals, and (c), supporting all the appropriate redesign strategies so as to achieve the set goals. In this regard, Morrison & Graves (2004, p.6) identify a lack of synchrony between faculty leadership and executive leadership as the main perpetuating factor for this tactical barrier. Under such circumstances, it becomes difficult for human resources to be mobilized appropriately in response to changing technologies in order for IT investments to be linked directly to the prevailing performance challenges. Moreover, in most academic organizations, redesign strategies with the capability of improving administrative and academic performance are not part of IT and strategic planning. For this reason, they sometimes have to be facilitated by external experts.

            Hattangdi & Ghosh (2009p. 5) point out that practical evidence reveals the inherent advantages of investing in ICT, mainly in the form of increased human and knowledge capital. For human resource managers of academic institutions, the benefits accrue in the form of increased skills and knowledge among staff without these professionals having to be released for long periods of time. 

Reorganization of workforce through communications technology and internet        

For employers Hattangdi & Ghosh (2009, p. 7) identify four main advantages of using information and communication technology; they are: (a) development of a new, more efficient learning culture, (b) ease of upgrading employee skills and productivity, (c) sharing of training time and costs among many employees, and (d) increased portability of training.

            Lack of an “ICT champion” is cited by Hattangdi & Ghosh (2009, p. 7) as one of the reasons why teaching staff sometimes feel helpless whenever they encounter technological changes that they cannot properly understand, forcing them to resort to traditional teaching methods. Any attempt to resolve these problem means an alteration of the way in which the human resource infrastructure is structured. At the highest echelon, a strong leadership presence is needed for purposes of ICT integration in an environment that facilitates frequent technological upgrades in order for existing programs to remain relevant all the time (Hattangdi & Ghosh (2009).

            The Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in the UK public sector has instituted many institutional changes in response to changing ICT environments. These changes have led to a shift in focus among human resource managers in academic institutions in order to enable the workforce as well as students adapt and survive in the new environment of technological innovations, particularly in areas of academic interactions. Against this backdrop, Allen, Kern & Mattison (2002, p. 12) explore separate attempts by three top British Universities to upgrade their ICT tasks through outsourcing them to a third-party provider of these services. They found out that all the universities had succeeded in cutting down the cost of hiring permanent ICT professionals to manage programs in the respective institutions.

Lifelong learning among employees in academic organizations

            Most governments all over the world have come to appreciate the importance of lifelong leaning (Davey and Tatnall 2009, Konrad & Deckop, 2001). According to the European Commission, lifelong learning ought to encompass form, non-form and informal situations from pre-school through to post-retirement (European Commission 2001 cited in Davey and Tatnall, 2009). By implications, the human resource development environment in academic organizations ought to be a reflection of this lifelong learning approach. Technological changes has transformed the way human resource managers go about the task of ensuring that learning is taking place in formal, non-formal and informal environments.

            Davey and Tatnall (2009, p. 31) note that Australian ICT professionals are required to show proof of having undergone through continuing professional development by undertaking the Practicing Computer Professional (PCP) program. In this regard, leaders of academic institutions find themselves in a position where they have to screen their ICT workforce thoroughly in order to ensure that they have updated themselves with the latest technological developments (Davey and Tatnall, 2009).

            Davey and Tatnall (2009, p. 34) say that there are various ways through which technology makes it possible for existing staff members can undergo professional ICT-related training in order to remain relevant in their administrative positions in learning institutions. In this case, communications technology and the internet may be said to have led to a workplace revolution of sorts. This revolution, though costly to facilitate, is for the ultimate benefit of contemporary academic institutions. Davey and Tatnall (2009, p. 33) attribute failure by some academic organizations to embrace emerging communications and internet technologies to inability or unwillingness to move in the direction in which the wind of technological revolution is blowing.

            Davey and Tatnall (2009, p. 32) observe that although some academic institutions offer training courses to their staff members, they fail to go beyond the technical aspects of certain communication and internet technologies, leaving many expertise gaps relating to matters of ethics, integrity, and honesty. In academic organizations, a significant number of employees are academics. For this reason, they need to remain up to date with the latest information, which necessitates training in matters of information and communications technology. Davey and Tatnall (2009, p. 36) did a study whereby the interviewed 36 academics from 11 countries where 16 universities were randomly selected for sourcing the respondents. The findings were that these professionals, all of them Ph.D. holders, valued informal learning situations more than formal learning settings. Davey and Tatnall (2009, p. 36) find these findings very illuminating since they echo an emerging trend where academics in academic organizations are taking advantage of informal settings in order to acquire the latest ICT skills.

Corporate Universities

According to Sherer & Shea (2009 p. 148), both e-learning and technology affect the rate of growth of corporate universities. Websites are particularly good sources of many perspectives relating to corporate universities. Some of the information that can be accessed here is available through periodicals, books, research centers, and case studies. Online communities are easy to set up and access at any time from any location in the world. Sherer & Shea (2009) indicate that the human resources of today’s corporate universities are easy to manage compared to those of traditional universities.

Sherer & Shea (2009) compares traditional HRM training departments and today’s corporate universities, adding that new characteristics of corporate universities continue to emerge mainly because of technological changes. The growth of corporate universities has been greatly influenced by major trends but according to Sherer &Shea (2009), none brought about greater changes than technology and the e-learning opportunities that are brought about by technology.

The extensive diffusion of new enterprise resource or ERP systems has greatly opened up many extraordinary opportunities, all of which are bundled under the term “e-HRM”. These systems are also characteristic of various HR activities that are found in modern academic organizations. This, according to Sherer & Shea (2009, p. 151), has made it easy to manage organizational learning initiatives.

The organizational culture has changed a great deal in academic organizations since the advent of the modern technological revolution. New ways have emerged through which consistent information is coordinated and delivered. As the information is being transferred, so are academic and workplace values and ethics.

With technological advancement, it is easy for all employees to be engaged by the management in the process of making decisions. Organizational change efforts are therefore easy to bring about at all levels (Sherer & Shea (2009 p. 153). Many changes have been taking place on a global scale thanks to development of quality measurement standards that require training initiatives to be done across the organizational divide, in tandem with established global practices. For this reason, it becomes easy for the terms “best practices” to be withdrawn from the realm of abstraction to that of practical application.

In many academic organizations that continue to thrive today, issues regarding effective recruitment, retaining of employees and lifetime employability have very great significance. However, with the advent of technology, learning has ceased to be just an issue of employee benefits; rather, it is an employee necessity (Sherer & Shea 2009, p. 154).

Each of the foregoing factors, observe Sherer & Shea (2009, p. 154), require continuity in all the learning processes that involve employees and for this role, human resource managers need to put in place a long-term strategy. As an organizational entity, many corporate universities appear to be an ideal means of initiating, coordinating, implementing and evaluating organizational learning processes with the aim of meeting the set academic goals.

Impacts of e-learning on the HRM Function

As e-learning approaches continue to become more and more popular, knowledge management continues to be a high priority area. This is very necessary if the workforce in academic organizations is to remain at par with the rapid changes in knowledge sharing as well as new ways of engaging in scholarly dialogues (Davey and Tatnall (2009, p. 32).

The gaps in competencies and knowledge that exist in corporate universities are similar to those that are found in all other types of academic organizations, only that when these gaps are filled, the achievements that are made take many forms, depending on what they missions of each organization is. Since the early 1980s, the literature on knowledge management has been easily accessible. With the advent of modern technology, this literature remains even more important.

For an academic organization, knowledge management is about maximization of knowledge assets. In the era of digital technology, these assets take the form of word documents, Excel spreadsheets, email, and many other formats that scholars use. Any human resource manager in the information age has to learn about these files as well as how to handle them if he is to catch a glimpse of the changing world of information sharing that his employees engage in.

Communications technology, according to Davey and Tatnall (2009, p. 33), makes human resource professionals to create, retain and transfer knowledge within the organization both for scholarly purposes and for purposes of ordinary scholarly dialogues among students and faculty members. E-learning makes it very easy for such dialogues to find their way into cyberspace, where they can receive worldwide critical acclaim Davey and Tatnall (2009, p. 35).

Technology and e-learning provide human resource managers in academic organizations with a wealth of tools for facilitating as well as job-related tasks. Only a few years ago, other than satellite broadcasts, Computer Based Training (CBT), which were CD-ROM-Based, most e-learning activities had asynchronous mechanisms of delivery and multimedia content was notoriously low. Today, it is possible for both synchronous and asynchronous modes of delivery to take place.

Asynchronous delivery takes the form of recorded video, simulation, audio, and traditional slides and texts. Even through a 56k phone line, synchronous communication can be facilitated, and it may include multi-person audio, PowerPoint slides, and the ability for applications like spreadsheets and whiteboards to be shared in a manner that members of a class can communicate “virtually” with amazing ease. When all the participants possess a broadband communications capability, it is easy to turn the virtual classroom into a videoconference. The delivery options that are available today have very many options, complete with blends and combinations.

In the context of human resource management, e-learning brings about cost savings or complete avoidance, increased productivity, greater flexibility, and ease of assembly among geographically dispersed students. In recent years, these benefits have fuelled optimism that classroom training will be quickly overtaken as the most predominant mode of information delivery in learning institutions. This is set to have far-reaching HRM implications. Many scholars have noted that currently, few types of research have been done in order to shed light on the human resource implications of current e-learning technologies in terms of job losses and changes in job descriptions.

Graunke, 2002 cited in Sherer & Shea (2009, p. 154) reports that in 2001, the proportion of e-learning was only 2%. Bean, 2002 cited in Sherer & Shea (2009, p. 154) predicted that in 2006, e-learning would have grown by 30%. This prediction is an indication of the optimism that researchers had on the future growth of technology. With the growth in technology and e-learning comes the issue of attitudes. Whichever side attitudes of instructors and students towards e-learning are inclined many human resource implications must be felt within an academic organization.

Liaw (2007 p. 1067) observes that although e-learning continues to gain popularity in modern times, this is scanty researches done that relate to the attitudes that learners and instructors have towards these environments. After surveying 168 college students and 30 instructors in order to find out what their perceptions towards e-learning were. Liaw (2007, p. 1071) found out that the instructors’ perceptions were very positive. Furthermore, behavioral intention of using e-learning was heavily influenced by the sense of self-efficacy and usefulness that these new technological tools promised to bring about. Learners’ attitudes were found to be greatly influenced by teacher-led, self-paced and multimedia instruction. It is against this backdrop that Liaw (2007, p. 1076) proposes the setting up of guidelines to direct the development of e-learning environments.

Sherer & Shea (2009, p. 157) proposes an analytical and descriptive framework based on academic organizations, knowledge management and organizational learning in the task of describing different HR functions in an institution of learning. Within this framework, the top HR management echelon is expected to perform four key categories of functions, namely: (a) knowledge systems and processes, (b) learning processes and (c) people processes.

Knowledge Systems and processes recognize the growing number of computer-oriented tools that are necessary for an organization to be able to capture and organize knowledge for purposes of dissemination. These tools include expert systems, databases and decision-making software.

Learning processes take the form of training and education programs. For human resource managers, the greatest challenge is ensuring that the organizational culture in an academic institution is not eroded by new technological applications. In fact, the erosion of this culture seems like the main reason why conservative scholars are sometimes reluctant to let go of the brick-and-mortar university.

Martin et al (2007, pp. 236) observe that through networks and partnerships, people and groups are linked together within an academic organization. Additionally, experts have come into contact with each other within the global community. Learning processes involve education and training programs. However, in this regard, the challenge for human resource managers goes beyond this responsibility to include the task of creating a culture of learning. The idea of people processes is also important since it entails the manner in which people in an organization learn, build, reinforce and safeguard a shared meaning.

Evaluation of impacts of technological changes on development of human resources

The model of a corporate university as espoused Barley (2002) cited in Sherer & Shea (2009, p. 157) requires a critical evaluation if the implications of communications technology on development of human resources are to be appreciated. Evaluation needs to be carried out at all levels: strategic alignment, organizational assessment, program implementation, and curriculum development. The activities of such an organization need to be closely connected to an improvement in performance.

Sherer & Shea (2009, p. 157) talk about the need to delve into the specific technologies behind e-learning in order to fully their usefulness appreciate. In this regard, the extensibility of programs is put into the limelight, considering that they are supported by learning management systems, learning content management systems, synchronous learning such as audio and video communication, and portals of collaboration and information sharing.

The model of Barley (2002) cited in Sherer & Shea (2009, p. 157) is of specific interest since it facilitates a cohesive exploration of different corporate university-related topics that human resource strategists should concern themselves with in this age of high technological dynamism. One of these topics relates to how these corporate universities can continue to develop learning opportunities that make it possible for major areas of job and organizational performance to be improved. These areas include cultural changes, development of better metrics and skills development.

Secondly, of specific concern in development of human resources in this model is the ways in which e-learning continue speeding up the tasks of development and delivery of new and emerging technologies, through what Barley (2002) cited in Sherer & Shea (2009, p. 158) refers to as a “just-in-time philosophy”.

On an organizational level, today’s technologically supported management systems have the ability to facilitate development and sharing of expertise at the organizational level. As one would expect in a scenario where new technologies emerge all the time, there are many gaps that emerge in terms of knowledge and competencies, which always need to be identified and managed.

In the corporate university, the new and emerging technologies have far-reaching implications through changes in HR, job roles and job titles as e-HRM and e-learning shifts from the stage of experiments to that of full integration into the workplace learning activities and the HR workplace. Of critical significance is the manner in which demand for outsourcing arrangements becomes critical so that the costs of hiring professionals to offer technological services are reduced.

Human resource managers of academic organizations are increasingly finding it necessary to acquaint themselves with knowledge management systems (KMS).  In fact, according to Maier (2007, p. 5), knowledge management is quickly taking the place of people management in learning institutions. This is mainly because knowledge is naturally extracted from the people who pursue it. In information technology terms, management denotes storage, updating, retrieving and sharing of data.

However, the definition of knowledge management has been a subject of misinterpretation among HR practitioners and researchers, especially those who are not very enthusiastic about information systems in general. The new breed of information systems especially those that are supported by internet use promises to change the workplace landscape in terms of the way group support systems are organized. Through visualization systems, human resources are easier to manage.

There remains a contention among researchers on whether academic organizations will in the future be fully transformed from knowledge-intensive to knowledge-aware organizations and the role that human resource practitioners will play in this regard. Knowledge is a key concept of explaining the velocity with which social life transformations take place, specifically in areas like businesses and institutions. Owing to this importance that is often attached to knowledge, the issue of shifting from intensity to awareness when it comes to its acquisition draws researchers, with disagreements centering on the ability by internet communications technology to sustain such a paradigm shift.

Gunasekaran et al (2002, p. 45) point out that some professionals in academic organizations are concerned that e-learning brings about new complications in the way assessments are done in universities, mainly due to changes in teaching methodologies, plagiarism and changes in modes of communication. Online degrees are considered vogue these days, meaning that lecturers who used to have their job description confining them to brick and mortar lecture rooms are all of a sudden finding it necessary to acquaint themselves with the new challenges of online information systems. This is a classic example of the subtleties of knowledge awareness that Maier (2007, p. 5) is talking about.

Gunasekaran et al (2002, p. 45) blames the failure by the marketplace of learners to respond to e-learning on human resource specialists who lack the capacity to initiate internet communication training in professionals in academic organizations. As Hattangdi & Ghosh (2009, p. 7) points out, when these professionals are denied this opportunity, they resort to traditional teaching and instructional methodologies.

Proposed topic

The proposed topic is: “The need for internet communications training among university teaching staff and its implications on human resource functions and attitudes towards e-learning”. This topic reflects the different areas of disagreements among scholars as well as overlapping bits of knowledge that require clarification.

First, technology and the internet have no doubt impacted significantly on the development of human resources in all academic organizations of today. A question that sticks out throughout this study relates to the need for the workforce in these organizations to be given training on how to adapt their teaching methodologies to the changing technological landscape. As Graunke, 2002 cited in Sherer & Shea (2009, p. 154) notes, the attitudes of many employees towards e-learning is largely positive. However, because of failure to keep up with ever-changing technological innovations, instructors may be forced to slip back to old methodologies that are incompatible with today’s e-learning. This may negatively affect the attitudes of learners towards e-learning (Sherer & Shea 2009, p. 154), although, to be absolutely sure, further research needs to be carried out.

Secondly, the shift from knowledge-intensive learning to knowledge awareness brings to the fore many unanswered questions that touch on the quality of education and research in academic organizations (Maier 2007, p. 5, Smith 2006, p. 124). It would be impossible for university teaching staff to be able to assess these effects without first having a basic understanding of how e-learning technology works out, something that makes technology training a necessity. In lieu of this, such training would act as a foundation that stimulates interest in technological dynamism among the staffs, something that would put them at an advantaged position whenever they are studying more about the potential benefits of e-learning. This way, they can understand the reasons why the human resource department wants to change their job description.


The debate on the impact of communications technology and the internet in the development of human resources in academic organizations is ongoing. This review of recent literature on implications of technology change on the management of human resources in the academic organization has proven this. 

Additionally, this study has generates some findings, the most important of them that there is a need for training of academic staff in institutions of learning on matters of communications and internet technology. However, there is no consensus on which method is best for doing this: hiring permanent professionals to do this task or outsourcing these training services. Whichever approach human resource managers of these institutions prefer to use, it is bound to result in positive attitudes towards e-learning. More research is needed on the human resource implications of the transformations that continue to take place in learning institutions as a result of changes in information and communications technology.


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