Millennials and Technology: Addressing the Communication Gap in Education and Practice

By Gibson, Lindsey A.; Sodeman, William A. | Organization Development Journal, Winter 2014 | Go to article overview

Millennials and Technology: Addressing the Communication Gap in Education and Practice


Gibson, Lindsey A., Sodeman, William A., Organization Development Journal


The current landscape of knowledge delivery in higher education has seen remarkable changes from past decades with a shift from traditional models to an emphasis on market demands (Friga, Bettis, & Sullivan, 2003; Jackson & Chapman, 2012; Navarro, 2008; Pheffer & Fong, 2004; Rynes & Trank, 1999; Zell 2001; Schomaker, 2008). The issues affecting the labor market in the United States are elements that strongly influence how and what higher education institutions offer in their curricula. As technology continues to become more prevalent in all areas of the job market, higher education institutions also place a heavy emphasis on incorporating technological skills into curricula Email: wsodeman@martinmethodist.edu and classroom delivery.

These changes have strong implications for Organizational Development (OD) educators and programs. To remain competitive, OD programs and educators are forced to either adapt to changing trends or lose students to competing programs that have embraced these changes. The question remains: are current trends in technological knowledge delivery serving our students well by creating well rounded graduates and future employees? Previous research provides some answers to this question. Sevens (2005, p. 3) reports "High-tech companies in areas like Silicon Valley value strong communication skills despite the emphasis on skills in technology." This evidence-based statement provides a foundation for this discussion.

Research on the millennial generation, who make up the vast majority of today's traditional OD students, suggest that technology usage both in the classroom and through online applications are one of the best ways to connect with students. The literature emphatically supports technology in the classroom and curricula delivery, but with a constantly connected student body, researchers question the implications technology has on students' abilities to manage themselves and others effectively in the workplace. Scholars recognize that because millennials are so comfortable learning and adapting to technological change, that they are deficient in soft skills (Hershatter & Epstein, 2010; Jackson & Chapman, 2012; Meyers & Sadaghiani, 2010; Navarro, 2008; Hartman & McCambridge, 2011). Soft skills are defined as an individual's ability to communicate effectively through both written and oral skills, utilizing critical thinking and problem solving skills, and building and maintaining relationships with others (Sahni, 2011). The current emphasis on technology in OD programs may be pushing aside opportunities for students to develop the very skills future employers seek in graduates-the ability to manage people and relationships through strong leadership and communication skills.

This article seeks to address three main objectives. First, the current literature on the millennial generation is explored. Second, an investigation of the relationship between technology usage and the communication ability of millennial OD students is discussed. Finally, solutions that allow technology to work in concert with OD educators and practitioners to improve the soft skill ability of millennial students are presented and discussed.

When did students change?

"Kids these days. Just look at them. They've got those headphones in their ears and a gadget in every hand. They speak in tongues and text in code. They wear flip-flops everywhere. Does anyone really understand them?"

Eric Hoover,

the Chronicle of Higher Education

(2009, p. 1)

Each generation has its identifying characteristics that shape their assumptions through milestone social and cultural events and how generational members view the world, authority, and commitment. Baby Boomers (bom between 1943-1960) saw many highlights within U.S. history such as the civil rights movement, the lunar landing, as well as first-hand knowledge of the social and cultural turmoil concerning the Vietnam War (Mangold, 2007). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Millennials and Technology: Addressing the Communication Gap in Education and Practice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.