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Purpose This introduction seeks to provide a brief background to the notion that there are generational differences at work and to introduce the papers included in this special issue of the Journal of Managerial Psychology . Design/methodology/approach The current context concerning generational differences at work is briefly outlined followed by a description of the core theory underpinning the notion of generational cohorts. Criticisms of this theoretical premise are provided before a brief outline is given to each article in the special issue. Findings There is evidence for changes in personality profiles across generations, and for differences in attitudes towards work and careers. However, effect sizes tend not to be large, and some findings are inconsistent with popular stereotypes regarding generational differences. Little support was found for differences in work values or motivation. Practical implications Contrary to popular hype concerning generational differences at work, managerial time may be better spent considering employee needs relating to age (maturity), life‐cycle and career stage differences than developing generationally specific management policies and practices. Significant methodological problems remain in generational research. Originality/value The papers facilitate a critical understanding of the challenges facing generational research and its limitations, and provide a litmus test against which popular stereotypes can be compared.
Generational differences at work:
introduction and overview
Keith Macky
Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Auckland, New Zealand
Dianne Gardner
Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand, and
Stewart Forsyth
FX Consultants, Auckland, New Zealand
Purpose This introduction seeks to provide a brief background to the notion that there are
generational differences at work and to introduce the papers included in this special issue of the
Journal of Managerial Psychology.
Design/methodology/approach – The current context concerning generational differences at
work is briefly outlined followed by a description of the core theory underpinning the notion of
generational cohorts. Criticisms of this theoretical premise are provided before a brief outline is given
to each article in the special issue.
Findings There is evidence for changes in personality profiles across generations, and for
differences in attitudes towards work and careers. However, effect sizes tend not to be large, and some
findings are inconsistent with popular stereotypes regarding generational differences. Little support
was found for differences in work values or motivation.
Practical implications – Contrary to popular hype concerning generational differences at work,
managerial time may be better spent considering employee needs relating to age (maturity), life-cycle
and career stage differences than developing generationally specific management policies and
practices. Significant methodological problems remain in generational research.
Originality/value – The papers facilitate a critical understanding of the challenges facing
generational research and its limitations, and provide a litmus test against which popular stereotypes
can be compared.
Keywords Baby boomer generation, Age groups, Personality, Careers, Motivation (psychology),
Paper type Conceptual paper
Newspaper stories, consultant press releases, magazine articles, and increasingly
books are not hard to find exhorting that there are different generational cohorts in the
workforce, such as Generations X, Y and Baby Boomers, that differ from each other in
ways that are important for managers. Often such reports seem little more than overly
generalised and oft repeated stereotypes based either on anecdotal evidence, or data
not otherwise open to critical peer review. References to Generation Y, also sometimes
referred to as Echo Boomers, the Millennium Generation, Generation Next and
Generation Why (Sheahan, 2006a), seem particularly common (e.g. Sheahan, 2006b;
Hira, 2007). For example:
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Guest editorial
Journal of Managerial Psychology
Vol. 23 No. 8, 2008
pp. 857-861
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/02683940810904358
Generation Y workers. They can be fickle, high maintenance and have a sense of entitlement.
But they are also technologically sophisticated and breathe life into a stodgy old company ...
They are team players, good in collaborative work environments ... Having been praised all
their lives this generation can’t deal with failure ... They expect acknowledgement even
when they don’t deserve it ...They want to be put on the fast-track whether they deserve it or
not ... They dislike working long hours (Clement, 2008, p. F7).
Rarely do such generalisations seem to be challenged, or even the basic assumption
that there are generational differences questioned, although there are exceptions.
Giancola (2006) for example observes a lack of published research on generational
differences in academic journals and suggests that “the generational approach may be
more popular culture than social science” (p. 33).
Furthermore, the empirical research that does exist is not a good fit with stereotypes
about generational differences. For example, a study by Montana and Lenaghan (1999)
compared four generational groups and found that generations X and Y were identical in
ratings of their top six work motivators, as were the “baby boomer” and “pre-boomer”
generations. The highest motivators for the X and Y cohorts were steady employment
and promotional opportunities, while steady employment did not make it into the top six
of the boomer and pre-boomer generations. In a comprehensive Australian study (Hart
et al., 2003), the pattern of relationships linking leadership, organisational climate and
work attitudes such as commitment were found to be similar across Generation X and
Baby Boomer employees. Another Australasian study (Levy et al., 2005) also found little
difference in attitudes toward leadership of Generation X and Y followers. Finally, one
study that did report generational differences (Jurkiewicz, 2000) found these to be
contrary to stereotypes on generational differences.
But why should one generation differ from another in ways that matter to
managers? As a construct, a generational cohort refers to an “identifiable group that
shares birth years, age location, and significant life events at critical developmental
stages” (Kupperschmidt, 2000, p. 66). Differences between generations are theorised to
occur because of major influences in the environment within which early human
socialization occurs; influences that impact on the development of personality, values,
beliefs and expectations that, once formed, are stable into adulthood. Of particular
significance to the generational approach are major shifts in the sociocultural
environment over time; highly salient events that one generation experiences but
another either does not, or experiences them outside of their critical socialisation years
(Noble and Schewe, 2003; O’Guinn and Shrum, 1997; Twenge, 2000). These potential
salient sociocultural events are numerous indeed, including wars and the consequences
of wars (Noble and Schewe, 2003), new technologies resulting in major life and work
changes in the developed economies, and significant changes to family and work
patterns (Layard and Mincer, 1985). Major political events may also be important, such
as the Cold War and threat of nuclear armageddon, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the
break-up of the Soviet Union. Also potentially influential are major socioeconomic
transitions, such as the relatively recent rise of corporate multinational capitalism,
periodic share market collapses, depressions and sustained recessions, pervading
unemployment rates, and the loss of job security through the 1980s-1990s due to
downsizings, restructurings, privatisations, and more recently offshoring.
Socioeconomic events resulting in either relative scarcity or security may be
particularly salient for generational differences (Egri and Ralston, 2004). As each
generation matures though such events, then so each generation is purported to
develop characteristics that differentiate it from those that precede and follow it;
characteristics that will be reflected in personality traits, work values, attitudes, and
motivations to work in ways presumed to be important to managers (Kupperschmidt,
2000; Smola and Sutton, 2002).
This core theoretical premise underpinning generational differences is not however
without criticism. There are, for example, problems in determining the exact temporal
point at which to segregate the various generations (and some differences between studies
on this, although the default option seems to be the Strauss and Howe (1991) typology).
Nor can it be assumed that all members of any given generation will experience the same
key sociocultural or socioeconomic events in the same way (Giancola, 2006); that is,
independent of social class, gender, ethnicity, or national culture, for example.
Furthermore, as many of the contributors to this special issue comment on, and Rhodes
(1983) long ago identified, it is difficult to separate out differences attributed to
generational cohort membership from what may in fact be differences arising from age
(maturity), career or life-cycle stage. Concomitant with age are organizational tenure
differences giving rise to variable organizational experiences, which also impact on many
of the attitudinal variables of interest to generational researchers and commentators.
It is against this background of widespread public acceptance, but limited empirical
and theoretical endeavour, that we invited conceptual and empirical scholarly
contributions to the generational discourse. We begin this special issue with a major
review by Twenge and Campbell of data collected from over 1.4 million people in the
USA since the 1930s, enabling generational comparisons over time on a number of
important psychological traits, including narcissism, self-esteem, anxiety and locus of
control. Observed differences across generations on such psychological dimensions are
potentially significant influences on workplace behaviour, the implications of which
for management and HR practices are drawn by the authors. Of particular note are the
observed higher levels of narcissism, anxiety and depression for Generation Y,
combined with lower needs for social approval and a stronger external locus of control.
This is followed by an empirical paper by Wong, Gardiner, Lang and Coulon analysing
data from a large Australian sample of managers and professionals using the
occupational personality questionnaire (OPQ32) and motivational questionnaire (MQ).
While Wong et al. find few meaningful generational differences in personality and
motivational drivers in the workplace for their sample, they do conclude that managers
may need to be prepared to deal with increasing levels of cynicism, negativity and less
optimism in the younger generations.
The focus then shifts from personality and motivations to Cennamo and Gardner’s
study of work attitudes and values. This is a multi-industry study of New Zealand
employees comparing Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y on their work
values, job satisfaction and organisational commitment. If major sociocultural and
socioeconomic events have the potential to influence personality development, then it is
reasonable to posit that such events might also shape generational work values. While
work attitudes are by definition affective responses to immediate or recent work
experiences, they also contain a cognitive component such that the employees’
perceptions of their work environment should be filtered by a generational lens of traits,
values, beliefs and expectations (Kupperschmidt, 2000). Attitudinal differences would
also be observable if employees from different generations are treated differently by
Guest editorial
managers, and or if they do have different cohort related experiences of work. Cennamo
and Gardner found that while the fit between individual and organisational work values
was related to satisfaction, organisational commitment and intentions to leave for all
generations, there were few differences in work values between generations.
Dries, Pepermans and De Kerpel then extend the idea of generational differences in
general and work-related values to explore the meaning of career success through a
generational lens. Using a Belgian sample, they found that actual career types differed
across generations while preferences for different career types and evaluations of the
factors representing career success showed few differences. Of particular note is the
value that all generational groups attached to job security, but with the oldest and
youngest generational groups placing the highest importance on this career influence.
Finally, the special issue concludes with an empirical investigation from D’Amato and
Herzfeldt of over 1,600 managers across Europe highlighting the potential for
generational cohort membership to impact on employee retention, and the role that
people’s learning orientations and intentions to engage in developing leadership
capabilities play in this relationship. Differences in learning orientation and leadership
development intentions among generation groups were found which had important
implications for organisational commitment and intentions to stay with the organisation.
They argue that, at least among managers, there may be value in generational-specific
HR practices that take into account different aims and intentions among different groups.
To conclude, the contributors to this special issue identify a number of interesting
findings regarding changes in the personality profiles across generations, and changes
in their attitudes to work and careers. However many of the empirical findings are less
strong and consistent than popular sentiment suggests. Indeed, there may be more
variation among members within a generation than there is between generations.
Significant issues remain for future studies using the generational approach to
address. In particular, and perhaps the most difficult to resolve, is to tease out the
confounding effects of age, maturation and life cycle stage on generational cohorts.
Twenge and Campbell’s study addresses this to some extent, but the cross-sectional
nature of most generational research leaves the problem unresolved. There is also
clearly room for more cross-cultural research, given the potential for variation in the
experience of sociocultural and socioeconomic events for people in different countries,
and in different strata within countries. While this issue draws on samples from the
Unites States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, there is clearly a need for more
comparative studies to test the notion that generational cohorts are shaped by the
significant political, economic, cultural and other events of their times.
Clement, D. (2008), “Why businesses need Generation Y”, Weekend Herald, February 2, p. F7.
Egri, C.P. and Ralston, D.A. (2004), “Generation cohorts and personal values: a comparison of
China and the United States”, Organization Science, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 210-20.
Giancola, F. (2006), “The generation gap: more myth than reality?”, Human Resource Planning,
Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 32-7.
Hart, P.M., Schembri, C., Bell, C.A. and Armstrong, K. (2003), “Leadership, climate, work
attitudes and commitment: is generation X really that different?”, paper presented at
Academy of Management Meeting, Seattle, Washington.
Hira, N.A. (2007), “You raised them, now manage them”, Fortune, May 28, pp. 38-47.
Jurkiewicz, C.L. (2000), “Generation X and the public employee”, Public Personnel Management,
Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 55-74.
Kupperschmidt, B.R. (2000), “Multigeneration employees: strategies for effective management”,
Health Care Manager, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 65-76.
Layard, R. and Mincer, J. (1985), “Trends in women’s work, education, and family building”,
Part 2, Journal of Labour Economics, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 351-96.
Levy, L., Carroll, B., Francoeur, J. and Logue, M. (2005), “The generational mirage? A pilot study
into the perceptions of leadership of Generations X and Y”, Hudson Global Resources,
Montana, P.J. and Lenaghan, J.A. (1999), “What motivates and matters most to Generations X
and Y?”, Journal of Career Planning and Employment, Vol. 59 No. 4, pp. 27-30.
Noble, S.M. and Schewe, C.D. (2003), “Cohort segmentation: an exploration of its validity”,
Journal of Business Research, Vol. 56 No. 12, pp. 979-87.
O’Guinn, T. and Shrum, L. (1997), “The role of television in the construction of social reality”,
Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 278-94.
Rhodes, S.R. (1983), “Age-related differences in work attitudes and behaviour: a review and
conceptual analysis”, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 93 No. 2, pp. 328-67.
Sheahan, P. (2006a), Generation Y: Thriving and Surviving with Generation Y at Work, Hardie
Grant, Melbourne.
Sheahan, P. (2006b), “Gen Y is more than just supply and demand”, Human Resources, Vol. 11
No. 3, pp. 6-7.
Smola, K.W. and Sutton, C.D. (2002), “Generational differences: revisiting generational work values
for the new millennium”, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 23, SP1, pp. 363-82.
Strauss, W. and Howe, N. (1991), Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069,
William Morrow & Co, New York, NY.
Twenge, J.M. (2000), “The age of anxiety? Birth cohort change in anxiety and neuroticism,
1952-1993”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 79 No. 6, pp. 1007-21.
Ad hoc reviewers
The guest editors would like to thank the following reviewers for their time and contribution to
this special issue.
Giles St J. Burch University of Auckland Business School.
Kerr Inkson Waikato University.
Ian Hunter University of Auckland Business School.
Joe Martocchio University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Nanette Monin Massey University.
Judith Pringle Auckland University of Technology.
Charlotte Sutton Auburn University.
Jean Twenge San Diego State University.
Corresponding author
Keith Macky can be contacted at:
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... Despite the hype found in the management literature and media, research has found little support for generational differences between groups (see e.g., [23]). Meaningful differences may not exist at all, For example, differences in work values or motivation (Macky, Gardner, & Forsyth, 2008), work-related attitudes [24,25], job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and work [10], personality and motivation [26], age and time period [27], work ethic [28], attitudes, values, expectations, behaviors [29,30], and personality, work values, work attitudes, leadership, teamwork, work-life balance, and career patterns [31]. Even when results indicate statistical significance, "the relationships between generational membership and work-related outcomes are moderate to small, essentially zero in many cases" [24] (p. ...
... Most studies are cross-sectional rather than time-lag designs. In the popular press, generational differences command much media attention, but are susceptible to stereotyping and exaggeration [31,37] (for a more technical review of methodological problems see [13]). ...
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There is little to no empirical evidence that designing instruction to match individual learning styles increases learning. Similarly, the same is true when people are grouped into “generations”. If generational differences exist, the size of their effect is small and does not affect the effectiveness of training. Still, educators and trainers overwhelmingly think differentiated design based on learning styles and generational differences cause students to learn more. Why? I argue that there are other outcomes to instruction besides effectiveness. If instruction matches an individual’s preferences, content and skills can often be learned more efficiently and certainly appeal more to the learner than if it does not match their preferences. Both efficiency and appeal outcomes are important design outcomes, even if effectiveness is not significantly affected.
... To assess the leadership and metacognition, the Generational Cohort Theory (GCT) and Theory of Planned Behavior may be utilized. The GCT is utilized to consider the differences between generations regarding an individual's attitude, values, beliefs, and disposition [17]. GCT has been utilized to evaluate work design [18], leadership values and behaviors [19], work values [20,21], satisfaction in the workplace [22], and even consumer culture and behavior [23][24][25]. ...
... Service industries could utilize the integrated theories of Generational Cohort Theory and Theory of Planned Behavior to measure their management aspect holistically; thus, it can be extended to evaluate managerial divisions for other industrial sectors worldwide. As mentioned earlier, it is challenging for service industry leaders to maintain all factors when presented with different belief systems, attitudes, and behaviors demonstrated by different generational cohorts [17]. In this study, it was seen that motivation, multigenerational cohort, interpersonal skills, and work values significantly led to high and very high perceived effectiveness. ...
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Workforce management has always been an essential consideration by businesses worldwide to improve organizational efficiency. The measurement of diversified labor present in modern Philippine companies has never been viable as generational and cultural differences shape and influences one’s leadership behavior, decision-making, and style. Employee motivation, multigenerational cohort, interpersonal skills, work values, and organizational culture significantly affect company leaders’ perceived effectiveness, resulting in varying management styles and approaches applicable to service companies. This study aimed to determine significant variables affecting the perceived leadership effectiveness and metacognition between multigenerational management clusters among service companies integrating behavioral theories such as Generational Cohort Theory (GCT) and Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Through self-administered questionnaires, data was utilized for multivariate analysis through structural equation modeling using the SPSS statistical software and SPSS AMOS 29 software and random forest classifier utilizing Python 5.1. Results showed that Motivation, Managerial Cohort, Organizational Culture, and Work values have a high level relationship with Perceived Behavioral Control, Attitude Towards Behavior, and Social Norms. The results presented could be utilized in evaluating the management sector in service industries to provide and develop an optimum approach to leadership management. Managerial insights and suggestions are shown in the study.
... This study concentrates on understanding the phenomenon of Generation Y in Finnish working life. The study also questions whether Generation Y is as coherent a group as has been proposed and assumed (see, e.g., Macky, Gardner, and Forsyth 2008;Loughlin and Barling 2001). Thus, the aim of this study is to seek to examine the Finnish Generation Y's perceptions of working life and also to extend the understanding of its views from a human resource management (HRM) perspective. ...
This is among the first studies to examine Finnish Generation Y. The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine Finnish Millennials' work engagement by analyzing their perceptions of motivational factors at work. The article also compares those perceptions on the part of working and non-working Millennials. The method of empathy-based stories (MEBS), developed by Jari Eskola, a Finnish sociologist, was adopted in collecting the data via social media (Facebook). The findings are in line with previous studies that have addressed Millennials' preferences in their working life, for example, work environment, social connections, job content, and flexibility. Non-working Millennials mentioned more clearly either vigor or dedication concerning the elements of work engagement, whereas the stories from working Millennials were mixed between these two dimensions of engagement, namely vigor and dedication. Thus, the perceptions of work engagement might differ depending on the work situation. In addition to using an innovative data-collection process in terms of harnessing social media and utilizing a relatively rarely used method in the business field, the study provides new insights through its examination of Generation Y. The paper suggests that Generation Y should not be viewed as a homogenous group, and future studies should concentrate on the possible distinctions among Millennials.
... Situational characteristics relevant to depressive symptoms might have changed over time, such as increasingly stressful life circumstances, higher levels of social isolation and the use of social media (Beller & Wagner, 2018;Lin et al., 2016;Melchior et al., 2007). Additionally, habits are formed early in the life course and several studies have found that lifestyles differ according to one's birth cohort (e.g., Macky et al., 2008). Thus, although empirical evidence is scarce, one potential explanation for the observed cohort differences might be that generations differ in important personal and situational characteristics like increasingly stressful environments and lower levels of physical activity. ...
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Several studies have examined trends in depression, but only few have explicitly considered possible generational differences. I examined changes in the burden of depressive symptoms between 2002 and 2017 according to age, time period and birth cohort in Germany. I used population-based data drawn from the German Aging Survey (N = 33,723, 54% female, ages 40 +) from 2002, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017. Depressive symptoms were measured via the CES-D 15. Hierarchical age-period-cohort models were used to examine trends in depression. I found that depressive symptoms changed across age, time period and birth cohorts. While there was a general decrease across time periods, strong evidence for a U-shaped cohort effect was also found: Younger generations, beginning with cohorts born after the World War II, increasingly report more depressive symptoms than older generations. This U-shaped cohort trend appeared most pronounced for the somatic symptoms subscale. Contrarily, only minimal cohort differences were found regarding the positive affect subscale. Therefore, depressive symptoms, and especially somatic symptoms, seem to increase in more recent birth cohorts in Germany, who might thus be at risk to experience more mental health problems in the future. Potential reasons for these trends and the generalizability of the results to other countries should be investigated by future studies.
... This chapter aims to expand the existing knowledge about cultures, attitudes and opinions of work of young adults who aspire to pursue a career in the knowledgebased, digital economy. Often referred to in the popular press as 'millennials' -a term that is controversial in and of itself, due to the flexible demographic boundaries by which it is connoted (see Howe and Strauss, 2009) -this generational cohort is invested by a popular narrative that describes it as broadly characterised by a 'different' approach to work if compared to older generations, being largely uninterested in 'jobs for life' and instead aspiring to greater independence and flexibility (see Macky, Gardner and Forsyth, 2008). This, however, goes as an unchallenged assumption also in the existing research on the topic, that is connoted by sparse empirical analyses and a largely oversimplified approach to the issues at stake (Deal et al., 2010;Hershatter and Epstein, 2010;Myers and Sadaghiani, 2010). ...
... Moreover, the interplay of employee demographics and ICSR beliefs is worth analyzing by including the gender aspect and cultural dimensions or nationality. As Macky, Gardner, and Forsyth (2008) stated, most of the studies have been conducted in the Anglo-American culture, where similar values are shared (Hofstede, 2005;House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004). However, subsidiaries of international companies are located around the globe. ...
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore external, mediator and moderator factors that influence tourist intention to use GPS-based navigation apps from the perspective of spatiotemporal tourist behavior (STTB). Design/methodology/approach A total of 636 valid questionnaires were selected from tourists visiting Lijiang Ancient Town. The partial least squares-structural equation modeling with the SmartPLS approach was adopted to estimate and validate the model. Findings The results of this paper showed that wayfinding efficiency, sensation-seeking behavior and spatial ability (SA) influence tourists’ intention to use (IU) navigation apps. A mediator of perceived location accuracy between SA and IU has been found. A multigroup generation moderator is verified in the model. Practical implications This paper provides a better understanding of the relationship between tourist spatiotemporal behavior and navigation apps, presenting practical suggestions for app developers, destination managers and vacation planners. Originality/value While the effects of information technology on tourist behavior have become a topic of interest among tourism industry stakeholders, this paper examines the effects of STTB on the acceptance of navigation apps in reverse, which enriches the theoretical framework.
Purpose Idiosyncratic deals (i-deals) have been shown to influence several employee outcomes positively. To extend the research, the authors examine the effect of i-deals on employees’ perceptions of organizational justice, in particular, how the relationship between employees’ own i-deals and organizational justice is affected by employees' job performance as well as their perceptions of coworkers’ i-deals. Design/methodology/approach The authors tested the theoretical model using survey data from 182 hotel employees. Findings Results show that i-deals are positively related to employees’ perceptions of organizational justice and that such effects are stronger among high performing employees. The effect of i-deals on organizational justice was also more pronounced among employees who viewed coworkers as having successfully negotiated i-deals. Practical implications The authors' findings suggest that organizations can benefit from providing i-deals through employees’ enhanced perceptions of organizational justice. The paper thus recommends that organizations understand the impact of providing more flexible human resources (HR) practices and customized work arrangements that are aligned with individual goals and needs. This may be particularly relevant to high performers. Furthermore, the findings suggest that organizations may want to make i-deals available to employees more widely than to just a few selected individuals. Originality/value This study is one of a few attempts that empirically investigate the relationship between i-deals and organizational justice. The findings of this study shed light on the possibility that employees develop positive justice perceptions toward employeesʼ organization based on the appreciation of the customized work arrangements granted to both themselves and others.
This chapter aimed to investigate the online value and behavior transfer of generations who use social media with the phenomenon of aestheticization. By examining the social media generations' preferences, usage habits, the levels of acceptance of differences and the effects of social media use on the work life in the light of researches, generations' togetherness and differences on the online network are revealed. In social networks, generations can provide power by affecting each other's moods, and can easily impose violence, aggression, and power factors on others by making fun. When compared to older generations, the fact that young generations prefer social media environments that are with more photo and video sharing makes for them to produce/consume many emotions that have been made usual with aestheticization, especially the information that contains violence. At the end of this chapter, some suggestions are made including family communication and trust model named “5S+1M.”
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This cross-sectional study reports the work-related differences and similarities of 241 Generation X and Baby Boomer employees in the public sector. A more homogeneous pattern of what employees want across age cohorts emerges, contrary to the literature and stereotypes on generational differences. Surprising levels of similarity were found between GenXers and Boomers, with the three significant areas of difference focused on issues of personal growth. The implications for recruiting, retention, motivation, training, and human resource processes are discussed.
Two meta-analyses find that Americans have shifted toward substantially higher levels of anxiety and neuroticism during recent decades. Both college student (adult) and child samples increased almost a full standard deviation in anxiety between 1952 and 1993 (explaining about 20% of the variance in the trait). The average American child in the 1980s reported more anxiety than child psychiatric patients in the 1950s. Correlations with social indices (e.g., divorce rates, crime rates) suggest that decreases in social connectedness and increases in environmental dangers may be responsible for the rise in anxiety. Economic factors, however, seem to play little role. Birth cohort, as a proxy for broad social trends, may be an important influence on personality development, especially during childhood.
This study investigated the generation cohort value orientations of 774 Chinese and 784 U.S. managers and professionals. The three Chinese generations (Consolidation, Cultural Revolution, Social Reform) since the establishment of Communist China were significantly more open to change and self-enhancement but less conservative and self-transcendent than the Republican Era generation. The value orientations of U.S. generations (Generation X, Baby Boomer, Silent generation) followed an age-related pattern with the exception of self-transcendence values. The least similar value orientations were between Chinese and U.S. generations that had grown up during Communist China's closed-door policy. The more entrepreneurial value orientations of the most recent Chinese generations appear to be compatible with organizational changes currently under way in China's state-owned sector.
The notion of cohorts is becoming increasingly popular among trade journals and is even cited in undergraduate marketing textbooks as a segmentation technique; however, little empirical evidence exists to support the validity of the concept. The goal of the current study was twofold: (1) to examine the central relationship in the cohort concept—whether values can predict cohort groupings; and (2) to determine if consumers within cohort groupings cite similar external events as influential to them. Based on data gathered from 373 subjects, a multiple discriminant analysis was conducted to determine if subjects' ratings on seven value dimensions could predict their cohort membership. Additionally, cross-tabulations were conducted to explore the significant external life events each cohort cited as influential. The results showed that 45% of participants could be correctly classified into their cohort grouping and that external life events were related to these groupings; however, the results raise questions about the existence of consumer cohorts.
Presents findings of a 1999 survey of 200 recent graduates (Generation X) and current undergraduates (Generation Y) of the Hofstra University Zarb School of Business. Participants ranked the top six of 25 factors that they consider most important in motivating them to do their best work. Results were compared with the rankings by two groups of business executives. Implications for staffing professionals are discussed. (Author/MKA)