Scenario Planning as the Development of Leadership Capability and Capacity; and Virtual Human Resource Development



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This dissertation explored the perceived association between scenario planning and the development of leadership capability and capacity. Furthermore, this study explored sophisticated virtual environments seeking instances of adult learning and the conduciveness of these environments for innovative developmental activities to build leadership capability and capacity.

Data sources included 1) fifty semi-structured interviews with five expert-practitioners purposively selected for their experience in both scenario planning and leadership development, 2) descriptive process and outcome data from scenario planning programs in university business schools, and 3) fifteen published scenario planning reports, 4) observations of the scenario planning process, and 5) a survey of forty-five individuals who participated in the study of sophisticated virtual environments.

The first stream of inquiry that investigated the perceived association between scenario planning and the development of leadership capability and capacity revealed the development of a synthesis model integrated from three informing theoretical frameworks. The model was used for subsequent data collection, analysis, and organization. Each data source supported and further described the associative relationship between scenario planning and the development of leadership capability and capacity; leading to increased confidence in the synthesis model. This study is unique because it links scenario planning explicitly through empirical evidence with the development of leadership capability and capacity.

Findings from the second stream of inquiry into sophisticated virtual environments included formal and informal learning in the 3D virtual world of Second Life (SL). Respondents in the study completed forty-five open-ended surveys and follow-up interviews that revealed six enablers of adult learning in SL: 1) a variety of educational topics for life-long learning; 2) opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration; 3) collaboration across geographical boundaries; 4) immersive environment creates social; 5) health and emotional benefits; and, 6) cost savings over face-to-face experiences. Four barriers included: glitches in technology reduced effectiveness, addictiveness of SL, learning curve for "newbies" and funding issues for small businesses and nonprofits. Also, sophisticated technologies are creating media-rich environments found to be integrative spaces conducive for developmental activities in the field of human resource development (HRD). Scenario planning and leadership development were found to be reasonable developmental activities suited to these digital spaces. Virtual human resource development (VHRD) was identified as a new area of inquiry for HRD.