ArticlePDF Available

Adapting leadership theory and practice for the networked, milennial generation



Current research offers a complex perspective on the main characteristics of Millennials (or Gen-Ys, as they are also called) as a generation in which knowledge is acquired, shared, and created as an extension of the primacy of relationships and networks and embedded in the connections that information technology provides. Aspects of the servant-leadership model provide a context from which to examine the construction of workplace practice (action) and purpose (meaning) among members of the Millennial generation. However, theories developed in previous generations are not automatically applicable and require critical examination and adaptation if they are to offer an understanding of means for motivating and influencing Millennials toward more broadly defined goals and aspirations in multigenerational workplaces. After a review of recent literature, we conclude that future organizational paradigms will have to develop a multigenerational collaborative culture. With this in mind, we discuss how service leadership contributes to these new networked and collaborative organizations to help Millennials flourish and prepare them for leadership positions as well.
Current research offers a complex perspective on the main characteristics of Millennials (or Gen-Ys,
as they are also called) as a generation in which knowledge is acquired, shared, and created as an
extension of the primacy of relationships and networks and embedded in the connections that in-
formation technology provides. Aspects of the servant-leadership model provide a context from
which to examine the construction of workplace practice (action) and purpose (meaning) among
members of the Millennial generation. However, theories developed in previous generations are not
automatically applicable and require critical examination and adaptation if they are to offer an un-
derstanding of means for motivating and influencing Millennials toward more broadly defined goals
and aspirations in multigenerational workplaces. After a review of recent literature, we conclude that
future organizational paradigms will have to develop a multigenerational collaborative culture. With
this in mind, we discuss how service leadership contributes to these new networked and collabora-
tive organizations to help Millennials flourish and prepare them for leadership positions as well.
We live in a complex world where we know little about
leading and being led by Millennials. These emerging
knowledge workers are networked, collaborative, con-
nective, and social, as well as adept users of technology
(Altizer, 2010; Curtis, 2010; Hewlett, Sherbin, &
Sumberg, 2009). Combined, this context demands
unprecedented organizational paradigms and leader-
ship practices. McGonagill and Pruyn (2010) contend
that leading and managing in this context requires new
skills, including relationship building, creation of di-
alogue and action spaces, and cultural awareness, as
©2011 University of Phoenix
View this article online at DOI:10.1002/jls.20229 13
14 JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls
particular cohort (Egri & Ralston, 2004): openness to
change (self-direction, stimulation), conservation (con-
formity, security, tradition), self-enhancement (achieve-
ment, hedonism, power), and self-transcendence
(benevolence, universalism). Thus, each generation
under consideration may show a particular combina-
tion of these categories of values, determining the sub-
culture’s ethos.
In this regard, Howe and Strauss (2000) coined the
term Millennials to refer to a particular generational co-
hort in the United States born between 1980 and 1999,
which possesses a number of attributes that define a dis-
tinct “peer-personality” or subculture. In a previous text
by Strauss and Howe (1991), three other generational
cohorts were proposed: Silent (1925–1945), Baby
Boomer (1946–1964), and Generation X (1965–1979).
According to this generational construct, the key to un-
derstanding the peer-personality of each generation is
to look at the socioeconomic developments occurring
in each cohort while growing up. Most of the emerg-
ing literature about Millennials’ learning and their in-
corporation in the workplace and in society accepts the
generalized idea that they were brought up as a special
group, receiving enormous care and attention from their
parents, making them very self-confident, empowered,
and optimistic to undertake major personal projects
(Cole, Smith, & Lucas, 2002). They were trained at
school to participate in groups and teams, and for the
most part grew up immersed in technology without au-
thority figures controlling their access to information
(Espinoza, Ukleja, & Rusch, 2010). In general, it is ac-
cepted that this cohort reached adulthood around the
year 2000, which means that they are well into
the workforce, or finishing graduate school and headed
toward important roles in business, academia, the health
professions, and leadership positions in other fields.
Prensky (2001a) introduced the term digital native to
refer to the kind of student that was found
in the educational system at the time. In this work and in
others, Prensky speculated that this generation has a
different way of thinking and processing information
than previous ones (Prensky, 2001b). By using the term
native, Prensky was referring to the fact that these students
have been raised “speaking” fluently the language of com-
puters, video games, information management and shar-
ing, networks, and the Internet. A number of other
well as participatory and collaborative forms of
In this article, we review certain key characteristics of
Millennials in the workplace to gain a general under-
standing of emerging issues in the theory and practice
of leadership. We address Millennials’ comprehensive
engagement with technology and resulting collective in-
teractions and consider management and leadership
practices that define and shape these interactions. We
conclude that by shifting from knowledge for knowl-
edge’s sake to creating knowledge relationships, we are
on the cusp of enormous social and organizational
change. The future will require both new collaborative
organizations and new expressions of leadership that
flex, create, learn, adapt, and serve. Current workforce
interactions and challenges with Millennials presage or-
ganizations that will find generations learning and ex-
perimenting together through relationally driven and
technologically collaborative processes.
Pertinent Characteristics of
A generation can be defined as a country’s subculture
that reflects the prevalent values of a historical period,
determined by significant cultural, political, and eco-
nomic developments (Egri & Ralston, 2004). The
members of a generational subculture rely on a set of
shared beliefs, values, attitudes, and logical processes,
which provide the framework used by people within the
group to think, act, reason, process information, social-
ize, work, organize, and lead. Generational identity, de-
scribed in terms of the subculture’s values, beliefs,
understandings, perceptions, orientations, and behav-
iors, becomes very important as its members gain ac-
cess to positions of leadership in organizations.
The concept of generations becomes useful when
conceptualizing the transformational processes in val-
ues, practices, behavior, management challenges, learn-
ing styles, social networking, and information processing
abilities that are determined by demographic character-
istics. In generational theory, a particular generational
cohort subculture develops in response to societal
changes occurring during a generation’s preadult years
(Mannheim, 1952). Four categories of values can be
observed as a way of evaluating the characteristics of a
JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls 15
influential papers and books published about the same
time spawned a growing body of literature on the subject.
As a result, other labels are used to describe this genera-
tional cohort, among them screenagers, Net Generation
(NetGen), and Google generation.
Another reality reflecting the experience of
Millennials/Digital Natives growing up in an age of ex-
ploding computing power is the social networking and
participatory culture of the Web that has emerged from
being just a trend to becoming an everyday commodity.
These changes have influenced almost every culture in
our globalized world to some degree, but have had the
most pervasive effect on the way younger generations
view the world and how they construct their identities.
In this regard, Oblinger and Oblinger (2005) describe,
as Prensky had done before (2001a, 2004), the experi-
ential, visual, social, connective, time-compressed logic,
multitasking, engaging, and technological nature of this
age group as compared with previous generations.
Hershatter and Epstein (2010) affirm that Millenni-
als are literally “wired differently” than individuals from
previous generations. Tapscott (2008) demonstrates how
technology impacts the Millennial generation, estimat-
ing that digital natives may have logged 30,000 hours
on the Internet or playing video games by the time they
are in their 20s. This overexposure to technology has a
direct effect on the way they obtain, process, and share
information, and it is fundamentally different from gen-
erations before them. As a result, Millennials appear to
be better at multitasking, responding to visual stimula-
tion, filtering out distractions, and accessing relevant in-
formation on the Web at a lightning pace (Tapscott,
2009). Nevertheless, research demonstrating how a per-
son’s neural circuitry changes with the acquisition of
advanced technological skills, and how this interacts
with overall life performance, is only beginning. The
results thus far are not so encouraging
as Tapscott, Prensky, and others may have hoped
(PBS, 2010).
This stereotyping of Millennials/Digital Natives/
NetGen as computer savvy and with special or different
learning and working abilities has also been questioned by
a number of researchers, who criticize these assertions as
based mostly on anecdotal evidence or simple observation
and uncritically accepted by others (Bennett, Maton, &
Kervin, 2008; Cabra-Torres & Marciales-Vivas, 2009).
According to these authors, what has been created is
some sort of “moral panic” about the rise of a new gen-
eration that is surpassing the others and that, for the
most part, is still enigmatic. Nevertheless, emerging re-
search reflects the critical connection between Millenni-
als’ approach to knowledge acquisition and trends in
learning, information seeking, and innovation that must
be taken into consideration by corporations, universi-
ties, and nonprofit and service organizations (CIBER,
Myers and Sadaghiani (2010) have made a thorough
review of Millennials in the workplace, in terms of so-
cialization and membership negotiation, communica-
tions, expectations, relationships, attitudes toward
advanced technology, handling adversity, achievement
orientation, and leadership aspirations. In their review,
Myers and Sadaghiani (2010) point to the widespread
idea that building a career is not the principal motiva-
tor for most Millennials. They prefer flexible jobs,
work–life balance, and spending time developing close
personal relationships (Altizer, 2010). Instead of regard-
ing these attitudes as selfish and lazy, there is evidence
that these attitudes may act as a catalyst in organizations
to change the established “workaholic” orientation and
influence more humane workplace environments
(Hewlett et al., 2009). Similarly, others have found that
Millennials demonstrate higher levels of self-esteem and
confidence in their abilities and therefore are less prone
to depression (Twenge, 2007).
It also appears that Millennials expect free-flowing
and bidirectional communications at all levels regardless
of their position, showing that they are not intimidated
by seniority, age, or status, and, in fact, are either unwill-
ing to follow, or unconcerned with, corporate policies,
in particular with regard to information technology
(Curtis, 2010). Surprisingly, however, Millennials, while
suspicious of organizational structures, are motivated
by freedom in the workplace to maximize their effort
and may be more loyal than often imagined (Hewlett
et al., 2009). Myers and Sadaghiani (2010) explain that
Millennials strongly value meaningful relationships with
peers and supervisors, suggesting that open communi-
cations might be a way of promoting job stability for
Millennial workers. All of these cohort characteristics
point toward a new way of looking at sociability, work
relationships, organizational structures, and flow of
16 JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls
age. Rather than productivity centered on the efficient
completion of a set of mechanized processes designed
to transform inputs into a sellable final product, work-
ers contribute value through innovation, effective use
of information, and personal creativity. Frances Horibe,
in the preface to her book Managing Knowledge Work-
ers (1999), defines knowledge workers as people who
“add value through their ideas, their analyses, their judg-
ment, their syntheses, and their designs” (p. xi). The
rise of technology, expansive digital connectivity, and
proliferation of Internet-based information sources
highlight Drucker’s predictions regarding the modern
worker and yet offer the opportunity to explore unchar-
tered territory in the way that knowledge is created,
shared, and expanded upon through critical networks
and linkages.
Knowledge work involves acquiring, arranging, and
expressing information-as-knowledge (Allen & Long,
2009). Traditionally, knowledge work was correlated
with explicit knowledge acquisition, which led to
so-called know-how and the development of individual
skills. Knowledge was seen as an object, which could be
discerned, externalized, extracted, and transmitted. But
knowledge-based or knowledge-intensive organizations
focus more on tacit knowledge, which surfaces through
interaction, collaboration, and continual innovation
(Norris, Mason, Robson, Lefrere, & Collier, 2003). In
this case, knowledge is perceived as ongoing conversa-
tion, emerging from the communication between peo-
ple (Allen & Long, 2009) and part of a social process of
learning that involves creating, sharing, navigating, re-
flecting on, testing, managing, and modifying distrib-
uted and collective knowledge. It represents a shift from
generating knowledge within a certain context to cre-
ating the relationships and connections through which
knowledge can flow.
One of the distinctive characteristics that make the
Millennial generation unique, as defined by themselves,
is their use of technology (Pew Research Center, 2010),
not only in the United States but also around the world
(Accenture, 2010). Millennials, through their intensive
use of technology, have come to understand knowledge
as a process that involves learning, seen as personal knowl-
edge acquisition; participation, or interactive knowledge
transfer; and creation, as collaborative knowledge build-
ing. The new processes by which knowledge is
information and knowledge, which affect the way organ-
izations and their leadership might be conceptualized.
Myers and Sadaghiani point out how disruptive millen-
nial values can be within organizations, and how much
organizational cultures have to be modified to cope with
them, However, Myers and Sadaghiani also indicate the
beneficial effects of the adoption of the collaborative at-
tributes of Millennial workers to bring renewal to or-
Barzilai-Nahon and Mason (2010) tested general be-
haviors and values with a target group of executives in
technology-based companies through qualitative meth-
ods and online surveys. They summarize their results in
terms of a set of salient behaviors and values which in-
clude: a multitasking work style, experiential learning,
a collaborative attitude, motivation obtained from re-
inforcement, authority figures earning trust and respect,
a preference for decentralized, nonhierarchical struc-
tures, and democratic and inclusive access to informa-
tion. They illustrate a growing awareness of the
organizational tensions that Millennials can cause, espe-
cially as they interact within organizations that were de-
signed with an entirely different world view and which
typically resort to top-down approaches to enforce their
policies. In order to address these problems, they pro-
pose a more holistic approach that takes into account
technology, values, and behavior in self-regulating and
self-reinforcing communities established within organ-
izations. This encompasses Millennials’ preference for
and comfort with teamwork and groups, as reported by
others (Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). As Curtis explains,
“Millennials tend to see the world as flat from a collab-
orative perspective—as opposed to the traditional world
which is often hierarchical and has well defined team,
company and country boundaries” (2010, p. 3).
Millennials Redefine Knowledge
Drucker (1999) was the first person to propose the con-
cept of knowledge work, introducing the idea in the
1950s. A decade later he predicted that making knowl-
edge work productive was going to be the greatest man-
agement task of the 21st century. Drucker established a
framework for understanding worker productivity and
motivation that remains relevant well into the digital
JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls 17
constructed through the Web and the use of mobile
computers and communication devices has influenced
these aspects heavily.
Palfrey and Gasser (2008) frame the way that Mil-
lennials interact with knowledge as a three-stage pro-
cess composed of grazing, deep diving, and a feedback
loop. Grazing refers to researching the vast amounts of
information available through the Internet, databases, or
social networks. Deep diving involves going beyond ti-
tles, headlines, tags and moving to a hypertext link,
downloading a PDF file, video, or podcast and any
other secondary action. The feedback loop allows per-
sonal engagement with knowledge, active participation,
knowledge transfer through social networks, and cocre-
ation of knowledge (tagging, writing a comment or a
blog entry, cocreating, mobilization, participating, etc.).
The process described above is a sophisticated way of
interacting with data and other information in that one’s
outputs in the form of reflections, conclusions, or data
are inputs to another’s knowledge work (Allen & Long,
2009). This continuous flow in which Millennials are
permanently involved has prepared them for knowledge
work in its present form. As Siemens (2006) expresses it,
“know where” and “know who” are more important
today than knowing what and how. Network creation
becomes essential in order to cope with fast informa-
tion changes, increase knowledge flow, and stay current.
This knowledge networking process, also known as “so-
cial learning,” changes the nature of work, the charac-
teristics of the workforce, organizational structures, and
the tasks of management and leadership as well.
The egalitarian and flat access to knowledge acquisi-
tion, transfer, and cocreation of the networked environ-
ment in which Millennials have been forged is more in
tune with new forms of organization as collaborative
communities that are being experimented with by small,
medium, and large size enterprises (Adler, Heckscher, &
Prusak, 2011). These collaborative organizations pro-
vide the environment for sustained innovation and cre-
ativity along with knowledge generation and sharing.
In fact, Adler and colleagues assert that today’s compet-
itive advantage is only possible through a collaborative
and participative culture within organizations and
centered in trust, enabling interdependency, care,
organic coordination, and relational and social
Millennials and Emerging
Organizational Paradigms
Since Millennials as knowledge workers operate in a
knowledge intensive, highly relational, and networked
mode, organizations are faced with the challenge of de-
termining the manner in which Millennials can best
flourish. The answer appears to be in new, less hierarchi-
cal, organizations that put an emphasis on people, rela-
tionships, communication, innovation, and creativity
(Altizer, 2010; Hewlett et al., 2009). This leads to
considering new practices, organizational designs, and
actionable knowledge that enables all sorts of multi-
generational teams, groups, and collaborative commu-
nities to produce results for the organization and
steward its mission.
A culture war wages over whether Millennials are the
saviors or destroyers of the future and threatens to ob-
scure the path to discovering and developing the atti-
tudes and practices needed to engage all generations in
the workforce in productive change. Some seek to put
new wine into old wineskins, to use a biblical metaphor,
accepting certain perspectives or traits of Millennials
but attempting to squeeze them into classical team
models or top-down management hierarchies. It is
doubtful that this strategy will produce the desired or-
ganizational results. At the same time, devising work
processes that encourage full collaboration and creativ-
ity is not easy to do. Recognizing that organizational
structures, modes of personal engagement, and work
processes must change along with the workers that en-
gage with them is the first step. This action must be in-
tentionally aligned with leadership behaviors and
relational practices to be successful.
Drucker (2004) called management a “social tech-
nology,” and the tools of the knowledge worker include
meetings, reports, and other forms of communication
that can be wielded for good or for harm in the organ-
ization. Established businesses have been slow to alter
these tools in light of Millennial values and traits,
though many are beginning to see the value to their bot-
tom line (and business continuity). Technology com-
panies, however, have tested new business models and
practices for just over a decade, from the start of Google
and the first tech bubble. Millennials founded or
worked with many of these, such as Facebook, Twitter,
18 JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls
a variety of social processes such as dialogue, modeling,
role-playing, journaling, and other ways of knowledge
representation (people who are colocated in the case of
Agile methods, and distributed for OSS). Leadership in
this case is exercised by fostering conversation as much
as possible and in removing the impediments that might
otherwise hinder it (Thomas, 2005), or to use Brogan
and Smiths (2009) term, by becoming trust agents.
Originally, Agile methods were introduced to cope
with the uncertainty generated by frequent changes in
product specifications during the development cycle.
One of the most popular Agile methods is called the
Scrum approach (Abrahamsson et al., 2002; Rising &
Janoff, 2000) in which a small-sized team is the basic
unit. The term comes from rugby terminology and
refers to a strategy in which teams work as tight, inte-
grated units, with each team member playing a well-
defined role and the whole team focusing on a single
goal such as “getting an out-of-play ball into the game
through teamwork. The center of interaction for team
members is the daily Scrum meeting, which focuses on
moving results forward. In these meetings, participants
come to the same location every work morning and
stand up for 15 minutes. Anyone can attend, but only
those completing the functional work may speak, an-
swering three questions:
1. What have you done since yesterday?
2. What are you planning to do today?
3. Do you have any problems preventing you from
accomplishing your goal?
The goals of the Scrum meeting are basically to com-
municate priorities, keep everyone informed of progress
and obstacles, resolve problems, track progress, make
everything visible to everyone, improve communication,
share successes, address and minimize risk, show incre-
mental advances, build trust, and collectively acquire and
share knowledge (Abrahamsson et al., 2002; Rising &
Janoff, 2000). This example demonstrates how the appli-
cation of simple principles supports the kind of collabo-
rative, participative, and distributed leadership necessary
to enable effective teams for Millennials. With the Scrum
approach we can also see how the concepts of knowledge
creation and sharing, innovation, and creativity can be
tied together.
and Foursquare, which continue to provide the most de-
sirable jobs for their generation. These management in-
novations can be a foundation for building future practice.
Software development project management illustrates
encouraging signs about emerging paradigms for the de-
velopment of collaborative communities. Classical proj-
ect management has been based on control mechanisms
that strive for accuracy, productivity, determinism, opti-
mization, and top-down execution. Software develop-
ment presupposes a step-by-step methodology that is
quite cumbersome in making rapid changes or mid-
course corrections (Abrahamsson, Salo, Ronkainen, &
Warsta, 2002; Thomas, 2005). Therefore, in recent
years, new project management methodologies have
been devised. Two of the most prominent ones, Agile
and Open Source software (OSS), appeal to Millennials.
Agile software processes—and, more broadly, the con-
cept of agility—denote the quality of being lightweight,
fast, nimble, and ready for motion. Agile software de-
velopment is an iterative, incremental methodology that
traces its origins to the 1950s. It emphasizes a “light-
weight” framework for delivering usable software and is
based on self-organizing, cross-functional teams. The
mainstream world that Millennials inhabit increasingly
reflects a similar environment, from Wikipedia to Face-
book; therefore, it is not surprising to see how tools de-
veloped within this methodology quickly find adoption
in non–software environments.
One of the most attractive characteristics of Agile’s
methods is that it is people oriented, favoring relation-
ships and community building over processes and tech-
nology. Highsmith and Cockburn (2001) highlight how
Agile recognizes people, as the primary drivers for proj-
ect success, requiring communication, collaboration,
trust, goodwill, and a focus on community. In Agile soft-
ware development, conversation is the foundation for
building relational trust among knowledge-intensive
teams. This complex knowledge work and problem
solving requires access to people within a personalized
network that facilitates conversation and idea sharing.
Instead of accumulating overwhelming information, the
principle is to have access to trusted people who under-
stand the information. In other words, connecting peo-
ple, not collecting data would be an appropriate motto
(Stuckey & Arkell, n.d.). Knowledge is thus relation-
ally embedded in a network of individuals engaging in
JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls 19
Millennials: Service Leaders or
Servant Leaders?
The significant impact of Millennials on organizations
prompts us to ask, “What is required to lead these types
of knowledge workers?” Perhaps, once more, something
can be gleaned from Drucker (1999) making knowl-
edge workers productive requires changes in attitude,
not only on the part of the individual knowledge
worker, but also on the part of the whole organization
(p. 159).
The earlier description of the Millennial as net-
worked, relational, and connective poses the issue of
conceptualizing leadership theory such that it effectively
influences and interacts with the attributes, motivations,
learning styles, communication preferences, commit-
ments, and technological interests of Millennials.
The relationship between leader and follower is one
of the key factors in reflecting on leadership theory and
practice (Avolio, Walumba, & Weber, 2009). For ex-
ample, the transactional or exchange approach analyzes
leadership based on followers behaving in ways desired
by their leaders in exchange for goods. Transformational
leadership, however, occurs “when one or more persons
engage with others in such a way that leaders and fol-
lowers raise one another to higher levels of motivation
and morality” (Burns, 1978, p. 20). It is a relationship
built on the deeper needs and emotional desires of fol-
lowers and leaders. Servant leadership fits within this
broader understanding of the relationship between lead-
ers and followers, looking at follower well-being and its
relationship to overall performance (Avolio et al., 2009).
Certain basic principles and practices emerging from
the servant leader model serve to exemplify the chal-
lenges of conceptualizing current leadership theory for
the dynamics between Millennials and other genera-
tions in the workplace.
Greenleaf (1982) offers the following well-known,
operational definition of servant leadership:
The servant-leader is servant first. The difference man-
ifests itself in the care taken by the servant; first to
make sure that other people’s highest priority needs
are being served. The best test, and difficult to admin-
ister, is: Do those served grow as persons; do they,
while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more
autonomous, more likely themselves to become
servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged
person in society; will they benefit, or at least, not be
further deprived? (p. 14).
Observations that Millennials need hand-holding
(i.e., attention), rapid advancement, and job flexibility
offer the possibility that the underlying phenomenon
is one of powerful egos and selfish ambition. It is sug-
gested that Millennials will actively seek leadership op-
portunities as well as extrinsic rewards for leadership
roles due to parental messages about the benefits of lead-
ership in terms of individual achievement and success
(Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). The need for extrinsic
motivation and the desire for external reward seem to re-
move Millennials from an appreciation for or a desire to
interact with the practice of servant leadership. How-
ever, this observation would be much too simplistic and
premature, as it has also been suggested that Millenni-
als demonstrate a complex relationship between the
value of altruism and their desire for personal rewards
(Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). Altruism in leadership
may be related to care, concern, appreciation, and well-
being of self and others that correlates well with the def-
inition of servant leadership defined above, but may,
for Millennials, be more precisely labeled service lead-
In examining Greenleaf’s definition, some of the dif-
ficulty is linguistic. The word servant by itself creates a
dilemma. For those working in a postcolonial, develop-
ing world setting and for feminists, the word connotes
“servitude” and garners a reaction because it is equated
with forced or coerced activity. Similarly, for Millenni-
als, it conjures up its own meanings. Many Millennials
might characteristically ask, “Servants to whom? Ser-
vants to what? Why would I want to be a servant?”
Some argue that the servant leadership model encom-
passes a self-concept or sense of being as “servant” or
steward (De Pree, 1989; Senge, 1990) incorporating the
idea that the individual is entrusted with the care of
something bigger than self and for the good of others
(Block, 1993). Graham (1995) and others might dis-
agree, seeing servant leadership as putting others above
the organization and identifying this as one of the dif-
ferences between transformational and servant leader-
ship. This demonstrates the care needed in formulating
leadership theory for a new generation of leaders and
20 JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls
side. Interestingly, Millennials’ life experiences as young
people, particularly in their volunteerism, may prevent
this self-centered egotism from driving their future con-
duct as leaders (Sadaghiani & Myers, 2009). This pres-
sure to achieve, the manner in which it intersects with
altruism, and its effects on leadership construction, re-
quires further research. How this translates into the
workplace in terms of the leader–follower dynamic is
only beginning to be examined.
Yet, we know it is much more important for examin-
ing leadership theory to look at what Millennials do as
much as what they say in order to conceptualize the
leader–follower dynamic or relationship. For example,
the documented importance on work–life balance may
have as much of an impact in organizations and teams
in reducing competitiveness and self-advancement as
does the self-identity concept of being a “servant” to the
Baby Boomers, whose work ethic has driven their per-
sonal success.
Because of the particular characteristics of Millennials
described earlier, including the stress on active collabo-
ration, Millennials’ technological sophistication and the
motivational issues noted, two particular workplace lead-
ership issues are identified. The nature and scope of com-
munication is a major one. Not only do Millennials
expect constant communication with supervisors (yet
autonomy in carrying out their responsibilities), they
want communication to be more of a dialogue; and for
it to be more open, positive, respectful, and affirming
than previous generations expected (Gursoy, Maierb, &
Chic, 2008; Hole, Zhong, & Schwartz, 2010; Myers &
Sadaghiani, 2010). The sphere of interpersonal commu-
nication and how that is approached is perhaps one of
the main areas of difference between Millennials and
other generations: “They have an entirely different view
of privacy than previous generations” (Curtis, 2010,
p. 1). For example, Millennials ignore boundaries and
are unlikely to accept an organizational policy that in-
formation is communicated on a “need-to-know basis’
(Curtis, 2010, p. 1). Regardless of their low-level posi-
tions, Millennial workers feel a need to be kept in the
loop of information (George, 2008). Some empirical re-
search indicates that supervisors are surprised by Mil-
lennials’ expectation that they freely share strategic
information, while plans are still being formulated in the
higher levels of the organization. Yet they are constant
followers. It involves negotiating a complex set of dy-
namics for multigenerational participants, adapting and
designing new avenues of communication, not only
technologically but also in terms of the meaning that
these words and concepts are meant to articulate. We
examine the theory through new lenses, putting the em-
phasis on two critical factors: purpose and action. With
a focus on meaning (or purpose) and practice (or action),
rather than on “styles” of leadership or even what a
leader “thinks” he or she believes, we may get closer
to examining the relevance of servant leadership for
This line of thought opens the possibility that the
underlying reasons for what some view as “demands
by Millennials are instead responses to the desire to
make a difference, to do something meaningful with
their lives. Millennials have a greater willingness to serve
in terms of volunteering, and actually participate more in
internships, volunteering, service learning, and related
activities than previous generations (Pew Research
Center, 2010). As such, Millennials emphasize “doing
good” in everything they do, even, for example, put-
ting their professional skills to use when they volunteer
(Youth Service America, 2010). Perhaps, the well-
documented impatience found in Millennials is a symp-
tom of their drive for tangible impact. In the study
reported by Hewlett and colleagues (2009, p. 4), 86%
of the Millennials surveyed say it is important that their
work make a positive impact on the world.
That Millennials are willing to volunteer their services
and yet place high demands on others and expect to feel
rewarded with recognition may sound like a contradic-
tion. However, Millennials, concerned with integrating
all aspects of life, voice a need to be valued in whatever
they do, whether as volunteers or as paid workers. Their
impatience, intense scrutiny, and even their seeming im-
pudence in requesting information and a voice, appear
to be behaviors that have worked for them. They have
succeeded at getting results, for example, by directing
their efforts into significant mechanisms geared toward
responsiveness and impact, such as mGive, which used
texting to raise $40 million for Haiti’s relief efforts
(Eberhard, 2010).
There is concern that for some of the most educated
and high achievers, the socialization of parents may drive
them to levels of achievement, which limit their altruistic
JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls 21
“negotiators and questioners” (Eisner, 2005). If, as
sometimes alleged, servant leadership does not work
and cannot flourish in a hierarchical organization
but rather is the fruit of horizontal and participa-
tory exchanges, then it would appear to be a “fit”
with the expectations and workplace practices of
A second critical element in the workplace flows from
Millennials’ prioritizing of relationships and the way in
which they conceive of and express them. Brogan and
Smith (2009) describe how the Web, and specifically
social media, is changing the rules of engagement and
networking. From a very different vantage point, they
argue, just as servant leadership does, the critical nature
of human relationship, and the critical factor of build-
ing trust: “In marketplaces where a simple sale is no
longer simple, building trust today, through establishing
and cultivating relationships, is at the core of the expe-
rience.” They advocate for online social media, “not be-
cause they help us communicate but because they
extend human relationships” (p. 18). To them, Web-savvy
individuals are considered to be at the center of wise,
powerful networks in part because:
. . . they make building relationships a priority because
it’s a human thing to do, long before any actual busi-
ness requires transacting. They are people who jump
at the chance to meet others online, at events, or in
mixed social settings and who then often connect
these new acquaintances with other people in their
personal networks. They realize the value of our net-
works isn’t in their ability to ask for things, but in their
ability to complete projects faster, find resources more
easily, and reach the right people at the right time
(p. 30).
In what way does the focus of Millennials on rela-
tionship align with their desire to find meaning and/or
fulfillment through organizational achievement? How
does that fit within the servant leader paradigm? Indi-
vidually, when Millennials assert that they are meant to
make a difference and that their opinions should count,
it is possible that they operate out of the same modality
as the “servant leader,” though perhaps without using
that language and that the term service leader more ad-
equately describes their motivation. The question that
arises, however, is whether this also represents the same
basic set of values or beliefs about the nature of rela-
This seems to beg the question, “What are we truly
servant to?” Is it to one another, as seems implied by
Greenleafs statement? Or, is it rather to the mission or
purpose to which we are devoting ourselves? Drucker
addressed the concept of servant-leaders in terms of the
mission of the organization and the connections be-
tween units. “Keep your eye on the task, not on your-
self. The task matters, and you are a servant” (Drucker,
1990, p. 127). There appears to be a link between both
Millennials and Boomers, in terms of the concept of
servant leadership, in the “who” or “what” that is served.
While some theorists evaluate servant leadership
based on whether the followers demonstrate a higher
commitment to the leader than non-servant-led follow-
ers, this puts attention on the leader rather than on the
dynamic of the relationship and their shared commit-
ment to a shared goal. In this new understanding, a
leader earns Millennials’ commitment and trust by serv-
ing the task, the organization, the relationship, and even
the exchange, authentically.
From a follower perspective, the engaged Millennial
may want leaders who have their own results, people
whom they respect not only because they influence the
direction of the organization, or have formal power, but
also because they accomplish their own work. For exam-
ple, in online start-ups, Millennial software engineers
who are newly hired want to know what the founder
knows, what she is doing, and that she will listen and in-
teract with them. The experience of Agile and OSS
methodologies shows that it is possible to see a
leader–follower interaction and participation in a more
horizontal, organic, and spontaneous way.
De Pree (1989) offers a striking description of servant
leadership, stating: “The measure of leadership is not the
quality of the head, but the tone of the body. The signs of
outstanding leadership appear primarily among the fol-
lowers.” (pp. 11–12) He then poses the question of how
to measure leadership: “Are the followers reaching their
potential? Are they learning? Serving?” But he includes
the question: “Do they achieve the required results?”
Servant leadership clearly envisions the manager serv-
ing the mission of the institution; leadership must con-
tribute to the institution’s performance. This is
something the younger generation better understands.
22 JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls
results. Such a description fits not only the mental
model of many Millennials but the new networked, so-
cially learning organization that is emerging.
We are indebted to Joanna Stanberry, MA, for her assis-
tance, particularly in providing a Millennial point of
reference, and for sharing her knowledge of Agile con-
cepts with us.
Abrahamsson, P., Salo, P., Ronkainen, J., & Warsta, J. (2002). Agile
software development methods. Espoo, Finland: VTT.
Accenture. (2010). Jumping the boundaries of corporate IT. Accen-
ture global research on Millennials’ use of technology. Retrieved
from _Insights/By_Role
Adler, P., Heckscher, C., & Prusak, L. (2011, July–August). Build-
ing a collaborative enterprise. Harvard Business Review.
Allen, M., & Long, J. (2009, October). Learning as knowledge net-
working: Conceptual foundations for revised uses of the Internet in
higher education. Paper presented at the World Congress on Engi-
neering and Computer Science 2009, San Francisco, CA.
Altizer, T. E. (2010) Motivating Gen Y amidst global economic un-
certainty. Journal of Learning in Higher Education, 6(1), 44–54.
Retrieved from
Avolio, B., Walumba, F., & Weber, T. (2009). Leadership: Current
theories, research and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology,
60, 421–449.
Barzilai-Nahon, K., & Mason, R. (2010). How executives perceive
the net generation. Information, Communication & Society, 13(3),
Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The digital-natives
debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educa-
tional Technology, 39(5), 775–786.
Block, P. (1993). Stewardship: Choosing service over self interest. San
Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
Brogan, C., & Smith, J. (2009). Trust agents: Using the Web to build
influence, improve regulation, and earn trust. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York, NY: Harper & Row.
Cabra-Torres, F., & Marciales-Vivas, G. P. (2009). Mitos, realidades
y preguntas de investigación sobre los “nativos digitales”: Una revi-
sion. Universitas Psychologica, 8(2), 323–338.
Because they are networked, their knowledge is shared,
and they prioritize relationships, they spend consider-
able attention within organizations on positioning their
relationships to maximum advantage, not only for
their own good but also for the common good.
In this article we have reviewed significant characteris-
tics of Millennials in light of their focus on relation-
ships, collaborative learning, and knowledge creation.
In light of these factors, we propose new paradigms of
organization that reflect the relational and technologi-
cal nature of Millennials extended across the genera-
tions and reassess traditional servant leadership theory
and practice, suggesting an adaptation in the form of
service leadership. This is emblematic of the dynamic
interaction of generations in organizations functioning
within emerging knowledge-sharing networks and com-
Focusing on the impact of Millennial behaviors in
the workplace demonstrates that they can result in im-
proved and open delegation, more community integra-
tion, and shared responsibility for results, much as
would be exemplified by the traditional servant leader.
It is possible that they conceive of their role not as other-
directed (as traditional servant leadership theory would
envision leadership), however, but as service and action
oriented for the benefit of others as well as for them-
selves. Millennials will, no doubt, propose new con-
structs of leadership that are heavily influenced by the
close ties between knowledge and relationship fostered
by technological advances. Qualitative and quantitative
studies of Millennial leaders need to be devised in order
to identify these emerging leadership constructs and
propose new theoretical approaches and definitions.
The future workplace will, no doubt, encompass
many of the behaviors and practices, as well as attitudes
and motivations of Millennials. Hopefully, it will also
embrace the personal leadership attributes of compe-
tence, character, creativity, and accountability in service
to those led. Service leadership is relational leadership,
providing opportunities for people to learn from and
grow with others, to be challenged by meaningful work
that matches the strengths of the person to their job, and
to share and experience life together in accomplishing
JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls 23
CIBER (2008). Information behavior of the researcher of the future.
A briefing paper. Retrieved from
Cole, G., Smith, R., & Lucas, L. (2002). The debut of Generation
Y in the American workforce. Journal of Business Administration On-
line, 1(2). Retrieved from
Curtis, G. (2010, September 3). Give your workplace a Millennial
makeover: Learning to think like your new generation of colleagues.
Retrieved from
De Pree, M. (1989). Leadership is an art. New York, NY: Doubleday
Drucker, P. F. (1990). Managing the nonprofit organization. New
York, NY: HarperCollins.
Drucker, P. F. (1999). Management challenges for the 21st century.
Oxford, England: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Drucker, P. F. (2004). Management: Tasks, responsibilities, practices.
Woburn, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Eberhard, J. (2010). How mGive used texting to raise $40 million
for Haiti. Bnet. Retrieved from–13241_
Egri, C. P., & Ralston, D. A. (2004). Generation cohorts and per-
sonal values: A comparison of China and the U.S. Organization Sci-
ence, 15(2), 210–220.
Espinoza, C., Ukleja, M., & Rusch, C. (2010). Managing Millenni-
als: Discover the core competencies for managing today’s workforce.
Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Eisner, S. (2005). Managing Generation Y. S.A.M. Advanced Man-
agement Journal,70(4). Retrieved from
George, B. (2008). Engaging the Millennials. Huffington Post.
Retrieved from
Graham, J. W. (1995). Leadership, moral development, and citi-
zenship behavior. Business Ethics Quarterly, 5(1), 43–54.
Greenleaf, R. K. (1982). The servant as religious leader. Windy Row,
NH: Windy Row Press.
Gursoy, D., Maierb T. A., & Chic, C. (2008). Generational differ-
ences: An examination of work values and generational gaps in the
hospitality workforce. International Journal of Hospitality Manage-
ment, 27, 448–458.
Hershatter, A., & Epstein, M. (2010). Millennials and the world of
work: An organization and management perspective. Journal of Busi-
ness Psychology, 25, 211–223.
Hewlett, S., Sherbin, L., & Sumberg, K. (2009). How Gen Y &
Boomers will reshape your agenda. Harvard Business Review, 87(7/8),
Highsmith, J., & Cockburn, A. (2001). Agile software development:
The business of innovation. Computer, 34(9), 120–122.
Hole, D., Zhong, L., & Schwartz, J. (2010). Talking about whose
generation? Deloitte Review, 6, 84–97.
Horibe, F. (1999). Managing knowledge workers: New skills and at-
titudes to unlock the intellectual capital in your organization. Toronto,
Ontario, Canada: Wiley.
Howe, N., & Strauss, W. (2000). Millennials rising: The next great
generation. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Mannheim, K. (1952). The problem of generations. In
K. Mannheim (Ed.), Essays on the sociology of knowledge
(pp. 276–320). London, England: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
McGonagill, G., & Pruyn, P. W. (2010). Leadership development in
the U.S.: Principles and patterns of best practice. Bertelsmann
Stiftung Leadership Series. Berlin, Germany: S. Vopel.
Myers, K., & Sadaghiani, K. (2010). Millennials in the workplace:
A communication perspective on Millennials’ organizational relation-
ships and performance. Journal of Business Psychology, 25, 225–238.
Norris, D., Mason, J., Robson, R., Lefrere, P., & Collier, G. (2003).
A revolution in knowledge sharing. Educase Review, 38(5), 15–26.
Oblinger, D. G., & Oblinger, J. L. (2005). Educating the net genera-
tion. Retrieved from
Palfrey, J., & Gasser, U. (2008). Born digital. New York, NY: Basic
PBS (2010). Interview with Clifford Nass. Digital nation: Life on
the virtual frontier. Retrieved from
Pew Research Center. (2010, February). Millennials: Confident, con-
nected, open to change. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center Pub-
lications. Retrieved from
Prensky, M. (2001a). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the
Horizon,9(5), 1–6.
Prensky, M. (2001b). Do they really think differently? On the Hori-
zon,9(6), 1–6.
Prensky, M. (2004). The emerging online life of the digital native:
What they do differently because of technology, and how they do it.
Retrieved from
Rising L., & Janoff, N. (2000). The Scrum software development
process for small teams. IEEE Software, 17(4), 2–8.
24 JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP STUDIES • Volume 5 • Number 3 • DOI:10.1002/jls
tool. Retrieved from MOL/LMOL665/
LMOL665%20-JCThomas-ldr-follower-article$4 .pdf
Twenge, J. (2007). Generation me: Why today’s young Americans are
more confident, assertive, entitled—and more miserable than ever. New
York, NY: Free Press.
Youth Service America. (2010). The art of demystifying a Millennial
volunteer. Retrieved from node/9856
Janis Balda has worked with business and nonprofit or-
ganizations for over 30 years as a project director, legal ad-
viser, board member, trainer, and teacher. She can be
reached at
Fernando Mora is Professor in Health Informatics, and
Organizations and Technology at St. George’s University,
Grenada, West Indies. He received his Doctorat en Sciences,
Genie Biologique et Medical from the Université Francois
Rabelais in Tours, France. He can be reached at
Sadaghiani, K., & Myers, K. K. (February 2009). Parents’ influence
on leadership values: The vocational anticipatory socialization of young
millennial adults. Paper presented at the Western States Communi-
cation Association 80th Annual Convention, Mesa, AZ.
Senge, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the
learning organization. New York, NY: Currency.
Siemens G. (2006). Knowing knowledge. Creative Commons.
Retrieved from
Strauss, W., & Howe, N. (1991). Generations: The history of Amer-
ica’s future, 1584 to 2069. New York, NY: William Morrow.
Stuckey, B., & Arkell, R. Development of an e-learning knowledge shar-
ing model, A report for the Knowledge Sharing Services project, Aus-
tralian Flexible Learning Framework. Retrieved from http://pre2009
Tapscott, D. (2008). How digital technology has changed the brain.
BusinessWeek Online (p. 4). Retrieved from www.businessweek/
Tapscott, D. (2009). Grown up digital: How the net generation is
changing your world. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Thomas J. (2005). Changing styles in leadership for Agile software
projects: Conversation is your most powerful project management
... Generation Y denotes those born between 1982 and 2000 [60]. They are characterized as tech-intelligent and tech-dependent [61]. With higher exposure to wireless devices [62], they are expected to be accustomed to instantaneous communication styles. ...
... Unlike previous research that found passengers who frequently fly with higher income purchase additional food and drink as they want [79], the research revealed an insignificant influence of age but a significant impact on online meal reservations. As they are characterized as tech-savvy [61], younger passengers presented a significantly higher willingness to reserve inflight meals online. ...
Full-text available
While the cabin waste of an aircraft has been recognized and criticized, there is not enough research that explores its gravity in airlines and ways to reduce its total amount. This research aimed to highlight the importance of promoting online meal reservations for airline passengers as a way to minimize food waste and for airlines to offset the cost of tailoring inflight food options by revealing the inflight meal types and subcategories for which passengers are willing to pay an upgrade fee to support environmental and economic sustainability. A sample of 192 students from higher education in the U.S. completed an online questionnaire survey. Two groups with distinctive preferences for inflight meal upgrades were identified using exploratory factor analysis and cluster analysis. Participants were more likely to reserve inflight meals online when various inflight meal options were provided. They presented a higher willingness to pay more when a variety of foods was provided, with a lower willingness for healthy or religious foods. The highly educated participants in a younger age group and Asian/Pacific Islanders presented a significantly higher willingness to reserve meals online than the rest. The study results highlight the potential benefits of offering an online reservation option for inflight meals to reduce cabin waste and ensure passenger satisfaction.
... These are the individuals who were born between the years 1981 and 2000 (Beekman, 2011;Berraies et al., 2017;Cekada, 2012) and are most commonly known as the millennial generation (Balda & Mora, 2011) or digital natives (Prensky, 2001). They are part of the generation that has grown up in the digital environment (Wesner & Miller, 2008). ...
... They are flexible and highly motivated toward their goal of success (Williams & Page, 2011). Generation Y individuals are technologyfriendly, goal-oriented, and self-centered, and seek freedom and enjoyment in work that deems to benefit them (Balda & Mora, 2011;Bannon et al., 2011). Their social media behavior could be highly influenced by a mobile phone (Nasution et al., 2021). ...
Full-text available
This paper focuses on determining the age-based differences among consumers in terms of the acceptance of mobile social media. In doing so, the younger age group is represented by Generation Y and the elderly by Baby Boomers. Further, the famous UTAUT2 model is applied, and relationships mentioned in it are evaluated for the two age groups. For this purpose, a sample of 249 respondents was obtained from the online survey conducted in the state of Punjab in India. The statistical technique of multi-group path analysis using structural equation modelling (SEM) is applied to the generated data. The findings of the study reveal that the young age and elderly groups differ significantly in terms of the impact of effort expectancy, facilitating conditions, hedonic motivation on behavioral intention, and facilitating conditions on use behavior. It may provide important implications for future research related to internet marketing and mobile social media.
... Employees perform well when supported (Christian et al., 2009), becoming more open to virtual work. In particular, the response to a new work process is expressed in crisis situations (Anderson et al., 2017;Balda & Mora, 2017), such as during a pandemic. Research shows that when transitioning a work process to a virtual environment, supporting employees with appropriate management strategies facilitates employees' work. ...
The crisis situation, the pandemic, with the closure of the educational space, has stimulated the integration of the virtual environment and digital technology into the educational space and has brought new leadership challenges. We investigated the experience of employees in the educational space (schools with adapted programmes, primary schools and secondary schools) during the pandemic. We found that employees experienced the negative aspect of facing the pandemic requirements for a virtual work environment. They were faced with the challenge of seeking help during the work process. They also had problems with remote work effectiveness, motivation and satisfaction. We were interested in the school leaders' response to work, the role of the leadership in the process of employee adaptation, and how to identify, understand and use the development tool of coaching when working in a virtual environment. A development tool is an aid to the work process, which enhances work performance. The study confirmed that a development-oriented work process depends on a higher utility value of coaching, from a positive employee response to the use of digital technologies in the work process and leaders' support in this. To the extent that employees were more open to using the Internet in the work process, they also reacted more positively to the new working conditions which required shifting online during the pandemic. A more positive response was also present in those where the leader's support was higher. We also detected a more positive response to the work process among employees who expressed an opinion about the higher useful value of coaching during the work process. We found that employees' response to online technologies was quite positive. Employees' response to the virtual work process was positive. Employees were open to the use of online technologies if the role of the employer was supportive. This leads to a better development-oriented work process.
... Management often finds it their greatest challenge when millennials are involved. This is because millennials consider resigning as a viable option and that they will find employment elsewhere when they face adversity [10], [12] . Therefore, learning such conflict resolution skills would be greatly beneficial for the freshman engineering students, not only for their course projects, but also for their future careers. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A project-based freshman engineering course entitled "Engineering Problem Solving I" in a freshman engineering program requires students to work in teams to complete several engineering design projects. Many students are lacking in their team dynamics, particularly in handling inter-team conflicts, which can seriously hinder their learning and future coping with conflict. When a conflict happened within a team, students hesitated to enforce their team charters, which defines the project parameters and the team's standard of conduct. Some students avoided confronting the difficult team members, some waited for the instructor to handle the issues for them while grading their fellow group members with full scores in the peer evaluation regardless of whether they were really happy about their performance. In addition, the late millennial generation and Generation Z students were criticized to be "more sensitive" and general lack of professionalism when encountering conflict in the workplace. To better equip freshman engineering students with knowledge to handle team conflict, a "conflict resolution" session will be integrated into the existing "teamwork and project management" module in the course. The curriculum design was under collaboration with faculty from both engineering college and business college with expertise in team building and project management. The new "conflict resolution" session that is in the process of design includes: assessment of the students' conflict management styles based on the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument as well as design of corresponding role play/real-world case scenario in-class practices. This course session design aims to improve freshman engineering students' ability to solve challenging team interpersonal dynamics, particularly resolution of conflict. The assessment of student's conflict management styles will help faculty understand how freshman engineering students handle conflicts, which can further provide insights for the continuous improvement of the Engineering Problem Solving I course and other FEP courses. In addition, our student's conflict management style assessment data can be used to compare with existing data and better understand the Generation Z students' conflict resolution style, which will help engineering education become better prepared and orientated toward new generations of students on campus.
... In contrast to the characteristics caused by age, scholars see generational mindset as a more stable construct, which is linked to the society in which the individual lived and was raised, including economic shifts and worldwide incidents, such as wars (Kupperschmidt, 2006(Kupperschmidt, , 2000Smola and Sutton, 2002). The generations as a contextual, historical-based and cultural phenomenon (Arsenault, 2004;Balda and Mora, 2011;Costanza et al., 2012), cause variations in many respect regarding to work-related factors, such as work values (Cennamo and Gardner, 2008;Cogin, 2012;Smola and Sutton, 2002;Stevanin et al., 2018), work style and traits (Glass, 2007), characteristics (Kupperschmidt, 2006), work attitudes (Hendricks and Cope, 2012;Sullivan et al., 2009) and commitment at work (James et al., 2011;Park and Gursoy, 2012;Pitt-Catsouphes and Matz-Costa, 2008;Stevanin et al., 2018). For example, Park and Gursoy (2012) findings revealed that Baby Boomers are the most loyal and committed generation and Generation Y is the most vulnerable to negative factors at work. ...
Purpose The purpose of this study is to gain more understanding of how competence might matter from the perspective of well-being at work. The authors explore how perceived competence is connected to perceived work-related well-being among Baby Boomer, Generation X and Generation Y employees. Design/methodology/approach The authors explore how perceived competence is connected to perceived work-related well-being among Baby Boomer, Generation X and Generation Y employees. The frames of reference of the study are based on literature on employee well-being (measured with work engagement and overcommitment) and competence, as well as on generational discussions. The quantitative, questionnaire-based study was conducted in 88 companies in Finland, with the total number of respondents being 4,418. Findings The main finding was that perceived competence related to current duties is statistically significantly connected to employee well-being. The results indicate that high competence results in high employee well-being in all generational groups. Further, Generation Y estimated their work well-being, both in terms of work engagement and overcommitment, lower than Baby Boomers or Generation X. The results suggest that developing competence of employees in organizations seems to be an important means to also support work well-being. It is especially important to pay attention to that among Generation Y, who take their first steps in working life. Competence is a meaningful factor for coping in working life in continually changing work environments. Incompetence is not just a factor for poor performance but also a potential threat to employee well-being. Originality/value Most of the competence/workplace learning results research concentrates on cognitive competence and skills, often from the employers’ benefit viewpoint (useful skills, productivity increase). This study starts from the finding that new generations of workers rather look for a meaningful work life, and thus, a feeling of having the necessary competences directly improves their well-being and, thus, life quality. Furthermore, the study is based on an original questionnaire-based study conducted in 88 companies in Finland, with the total number of respondents being 4,418.
... Barbuto and Gottfredson (2016), for example, stressed that Gen Y prefer servant leaders who focus on employees' developmental needs and human capital improvements. Also, according to Balda and Mora (2011), servant leadership particularly fits the needs of Gen Y, as this generation strongly values meaningful relationships with peers and supervisors, suggesting that servant leaders' open way of communicating promotes job satisfaction. Therefore, we propose the following: ...
Full-text available
Introduction The present study contributes to the conversations on the role of ‘autonomy supportive’ factors in employee wellbeing in remote work contexts by examining the relationships between servant leadership, communication frequency – overall and via synchronous (i.e., individual video-calls, individual telephone calls) and asynchronous communication channels (i.e., e-mail messages, and WhatsApp) – on the one hand, and job satisfaction, on the other, and the moderating role of generation (Baby Boomers and Gen X versus Gen Y) in these relationships. Method Building on self-determination theory, incorporating insights from servant leadership, telework, and media richness and synchronicity literatures, we developed hypotheses that were tested via multilevel analysis (273 employees nested in 89 managers). Results In line with expectations, servant leadership had a positive relationship with job satisfaction. Total communication frequency, however, was not related to job satisfaction. Further analyses per communication channel showed that only level 2 e-mail communication frequency was positively related to job satisfaction. In contrast to expectations, the relationships studied were not moderated by generation. Discussion We concluded that, for all generations, both servant leadership and frequent (e-mail) communication can be regarded as ‘autonomy supportive’ factors in employee wellbeing. Paradoxically, whereas servant leadership, considered as a human-centric leadership style, suggests close trust-based employment relationships, employees valued frequent asynchronous communication ( via e-mail). Having access to information and knowledge when needed may satisfy employees’ need for autonomy (and perhaps for flexibility to engage in work and non-work activities). The insights gained in our study can inform organizations, managers, and employees, particularly in future remote work contexts.
... Generational subcultures influence the national cultural orientations because the individuals who belong to different generational cohorts have experienced events differently which have influenced their pre-adult years (Ghosh & Chaudhuri, 2009). The generational subcultures are formed within organisations due to the differences in the perceptions of the generational cohorts (Moss & Martins, 2014) and the members of a generational subculture depend on shared aspects like values, beliefs and attitudes which operate as frameworks to enable these members to think, act and lead (Balda & Mora, 2011). The generational subculture approach to examining generations is a significant opportunity for further research (Cox et al., 2014;Lee et al., 2022). ...
... The success of the organization is dependent on the leaders' behavior (Balda & Mora, 2011;Martin, 2020). ...
Full-text available
This study holds purpose to find out which leadership is adapted by millennial leaders with the usage of traits leadership, behavioral leadership, and contingency leadership. Furthermore, this paper also investigates how millennial leaders affect the work environment in physical, psychological, and social form. Lastly, the other aim of this research is to discover whether millennial leaders approves as a good strategic plan in improving the quality of work environment. Qualitative methods such as literature review and in-depth interviews were used to measure the connection between two variables. The contradictive result from this research suggests that millennial leaders do influence their work environment by their performance, open-mindedness, communication skill, and willingness to listen and learn to enhance the quality of work environment.
... Progression in the field of information technology presents an extraordinary opportunity for individuals who choose to work in business. The millennial generation can reap numerous benefits from operating their businesses online (Balda & Mora, 2011). Why not? ...
Full-text available
This study aimed at interviewing university students of Perbanas Institute Jakarta; through focus group discussion interviews, we have received inputs in the form of accurate information about the advantages and benefits students get when they enroll in the institute's banking and finance department. After collecting the data, we analyzed it to understand which would answer the study problems mentioned above. As for the first process, we read the touchscreen interview results and then tried it so that we were able to compile a data concept according to the question and answer segments. After a series of data analyses, there are some advantages that students get while studying and preparing for a career, among others. Successful banking is certainly backed up by Technology and supported by faith resources who understand banking theory and practice in an era that is now increasingly millennial. These findings will provide additional information for the development of similar studies in the future. Keywords: Education Benefits Millennials, Education Benefits, Education for Milennials
This paper suggests that different styles of leadership arouse different sorts of normative motivation among followers, and these di-verse motivational sources in tum are associated with different forms of participant contribution to organizational success. Three interrelated clusters of leadership styles, normative motivation of followers, and or-ganizational citizenship behavior are described. Leadership that appeals exclusively to followers' self-interests is associated with preconventional moral development and dependable task performance. Leadership styles focusing on interpersonal relationships and social networks are associated with followers' conventional moral development and work group collaboration. Transforming leadership that both models and nur-tures servant leadership abilities is associated with post-conventional moral development and responsible participation in organizational gov-emance. I nducing constructive contributions from participants in collective entities and enterprises has long been a concern of political philosophers and organiza-tional scholars. The role leaders potentially play in inspiring or otherwise moti-vating the behavior of followers has received special attention. Building on the observations of Burns (1978) and Greenleaf (1977) that leaders have the poten-tial of enhancing the moral development of followers, this paper proposes theo-retical linkages between a range of well-known styles of leadership behavior, three paradigmatic levels of moral reasoning, and three forms of participant contribution, also called organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). The first section ofthe paper offers brief overviews of research on varieties of OCB and levels of moral development. In the second section these typologies are related to each other and also to a range of styles of leadership. The paper concludes with an assessment of the contradictory potential of charismatic lead-ership.