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DIFFERENT GENERATIONS' ATTITUDES TOWARDS WORK AND MANAGEMENT IN THE BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS

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Different generations' attitudes towards work and management is relevant to modern companies, their managers, human resource management professionals as well as to the employees of the organisations. Currently three different generations-Baby Boom, X and Y are prevailing in the labour market. Many scientists, who analyse attitudes of different generations, notice that they have different point of view towards relationship with managers, due to which different motivational tools and communication methods need to be applied to them. The purpose of the research was to analyse different generations' approach to work and management in the context of the Lithuanian business organizations in order to find proper ways for contemporary organisations to adapt to and overcome generational differences constructively. The article analyses prevailing theoretical concepts relating to generations at work and introduces the results of empirical study, which help to explain the causes determining differing attitudes of the representatives of different generations. The data of the research indicate that Baby Boom, X and Y generations in the Lithuanian organizations are significantly different in self-assigned personal characteristics, evaluations of optimal length of employment relations with one organization, motivating factors in the organizational environment and preferred leadership. These aspects rise challengers for managers and HR specialists-they need to find individual approach to the representatives of different generations in order to ensure achievement of organizational goals.
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DIFFERENT GENERATIONS’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS WORK
AND MANAGEMENT IN THE BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS
ANDRIUS VALICKAS, KRISTINA JAKŠTAITĖ
Abstract
Different generations’ attitudes towards work and management is relevant to modern companies, their
managers, human resource management professionals as well as to the employees of the organisations.
Currently three different generations Baby Boom, X and Y are prevailing in the labour market. Many
scientists, who analyse attitudes of different generations, notice that they have different point of view
towards relationship with managers, due to which different motivational tools and communication
methods need to be applied to them. The purpose of the research was to analyse different generations’
approach to work and management in the context of the Lithuanian business organizations in order to
find proper ways for contemporary organisations to adapt to and overcome generational differences
constructively. The article analyses prevailing theoretical concepts relating to generations at work and
introduces the results of empirical study, which help to explain the causes determining differing attitudes
of the representatives of different generations. The data of the research indicate that Baby Boom, X and
Y generations in the Lithuanian organizations are significantly different in self-assigned personal
characteristics, evaluations of optimal length of employment relations with one organization, motivating
factors in the organizational environment and preferred leadership. These aspects rise challengers for
managers and HR specialists they need to find individual approach to the representatives of different
generations in order to ensure achievement of organizational goals.
Keywords: generations at work, motivating factors, preferred leadership, length of employment
relations.
Classification JEL: M12 Personnel Management.
1. Introduction
Today’s organisations are faced with a challenge of different generations’ diverse attitudes
towards work, management, leadership and organisational politics. It is noticed that
organisations experience human resource management difficulties which are linked to the fact
that employees belong to different generations (Berings et al., 2004; Cable et al., 2006;
Cennamo et al., 2008). Managers in organisation claim to notice the differences between
employees of different ages but do not always know how to solve the related problems (Deal
et al., 2010; De Hauw et al., 2010). Different generations’ employees themselves find it
difficult to communicate with each other and organisations’ managers struggle to find a way
that ensures smooth communication among employees as well to create productive and friendly
working environment. Managers find it even harder to ensure effective accomplishment of the
organizational goals and smooth leadership.
Knowledge of generations’ features allows to actualise strengths of each generation,
motivate people, retain and promote cooperation between them (Hagstrom et al., 1995;
Jurkiewicz, 2000; Hansen et al., 2012). The question arises, how to ensure appropriate
management for the members of each generation and how to maintain employees’ motivation
and identification with the organisation (Parry, 2011; Maxwella, 2014).
It should be noted that American scientists devote the largest attention to the issue of
generations. William Strauss and Neil Howe proposed the theory of generations, according to
which individual characteristics of each generation were distinguished (1991). Many scientific
investigations were carried out on different generations’ traits, characteristics and behaviours
(Coupland, 1991; Smola et al., 2002; Rodriguez et al., 2003; Terjesen et al., 2007; Reizenwitz
et al., 2009; Real et al., 2010; Twenge et al., 2010). However there are just a few Lithuanian
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research papers on the generations at workplace (Labanauskas, 2008; Narijauskaitė & Stonytė,
2011; Stanišauskienė, 2015; Bakanauskienė et al., 2016). Therefore the information on the
attitudes of different generations in Lithuania on work and management is fragmented and
insufficient. However such information could be valuable for contemporary organizations, their
managers and HRM professionals. Understanding generational differences at work could help
companies to improve efficiency, share know-how and reduce personnel turnover.
The aim of paper is to analyse different generations’ approach to work and management in
the context of the Lithuanian business organizations in order to find proper ways for
contemporary organisations to adapt to and overcome generational differences constructively.
The object of the research attitudes towards work and management by Baby Boomers’
Generation, Generations X and Generation Y. Objectives of the research: 1. To reveal
theoretical backgrounds of similarities and differences among different generations’ attitude
towards work and management; 2. To empirically determine different generations’ approach
towards work and management in the Lithuanian business enterprises; 3. To analyse the reasons
that determine generations’ similar/different attitudes towards work and management. Methods
of the research: theoretical analysis, survey of the representatives of different generations,
quantitative data analysis.
2. The concept of generations and their differences
The earliest definition of generations was provided by biology scientists who described the
generation as a period of time between parents and their off-springs birth. In the context of
psychology and sociology generation is described as a cohort. In sociology, definition of
generation was introduced by Karl Mannheim (1952) who described generation in his essay
The Problem of Generations as a group of the same age people who are united by some
memorable historic event. This definition was repeated and fleshed by Ryder (1965) arguing
that a generation is a unit of individuals who share the same events in the same interval of time
(Costanza et al., 2012: 377). Generations were described similarly by the 20th century scientists.
B. R. Kupperschmidt (2000) stressed that generation is a group of people who are connected
by the date of birth, position and essential life events that happened during their critical
development periods (Costanza et al., 2012). Generation can also be defined as form of an age
group whose members were born around the same time, as a group of individuals who were
born, matured and are living in the same historical period (Scott et al., 2005). Sociologist Frank
Giancola (2006) describes generations as a group of people who share certain historical and
social events at the same period of life (Sajjadi & Castillo, 2012). Strauss and Howe (1991)
claim that each generation has different events that help to distinguish one generation from
another (Costanza et al., 2012). The sociologists of the 20th century’s last decade (Pilcher,
1995; Riley, 1998; Miller, 2000) introduced a new “cohort generation” concept and described
cohort as “a group of people of the same or similar age united by common demographic event
and/or historical experience on the basis of which their distinctive worldview is formed that
differ them from other similar formations (Kraniauskienė, 2002).
Sociologist K. Mannheim (1952) made one of the biggest contributions to the theory of
generations. The scientist equated generation to a social group instead of putting emphasis on
its genealogical meaning. Mannheim (1952) stressed that biological factors alone cannot
account for the differences among generations. While criticizing dichotomous approach that
was prevailing in the 19th century the scientist claimed that generations can vary with a certain
inherent behaviour or share certain knowledge. He was one of the first scientists to draw
attention to relevant factors that determine generations’ traits and their differences, and claimed
that consciousness and attitude of different generations depend on social change, so it is
important to take into account social, political, economic and historical factors that may affect
and even change the general features and characteristics of the generations. According to the
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author the factors listed will determine different traits and characteristics in the long run and
will distinguish one generation from the other (Sajjadi & Castillo, 2012). The sociologist also
investigated the generational clash, stressing that members of one social formation are
connected by a similar time of birth and, when reaching the adulthood, they are faced by an
inevitable clash with a culture that existed before and, possibly, by a desire to transform it
(Kraniauskienė, 2002: 42).
W. Strauss and N. Howe (1991) made another big contribution analysing the theory of
generations. They discovered certain patterns of generation change that are called the theory of
generations. The same as Mannheim, pioneers of generations’ theory claim, that certain social
changes distinguish one cohort from another, and add, that such an event can have an effect on
not only the current but also the following generation (Strauss & Howe, 1991). Strauss and
Howe (1991) focused on values and emphasized that specific values characteristic of
generations are formed in the childhood during 2nd to 4th years of life, effected by public events
(political, economic and social, including the pace of technical progress) and family upbringing.
It should be noted that scientific literature does not provide a unified approach towards
classification of generations. People, who are assigned to the same generation, may evaluate
the same historical events differently (Labanauskas, 2008).
However majority of scientists, considering the main events of a certain period of time, use
a simple way to divide people into generations according to their date of birth. On the basis
of these principles Strauss and Howe (1991) classified generations and their classification is
continued to be used up until now (Table 1).
Table 1. Classification of Generations (Strauss & Howe, 1991)
Name of the generation
Birth period
Lost Generation
1883 1900
Greatest Generation
1901 1924
Silent Generation
1925 1942
Baby Boom Generation
1943 1960
Generation X
1961 1981
Y/Millennial Generation
1982 2001
2.1. Generations’ attitude towards work
Currently the global labour market is covered by three different generations Baby Boom,
X and rapidly growing Y Generation. All of them are in different age groups and have
a different working style as well as values, attitude towards work, communication and
management. The oldest representative of these generations is a Baby Boom Generation that
entered the labour market between the 7th and the middle of the 9th decades. Currently
undergoing the sunset of its career but still covering big part of the labour market it is called
a generation of workaholics. In comparison to later generations, this generation feels strong
affection to one workplace because “believes that it can only work here and only do this type
of job” (Robbins, 2007). In this respect Baby Boom Generation is similar to its predecessors
Silent Generation which is known as being particularly loyal to its employer and organisation.
If the Silent Generation is referred to as unconditionally loyal to the employer, the Baby Boom
Generation is only loyal to a certain extent. Baby Boomers tend to look to the organisation as
the engine of their career (Robbins, 2007). Meanwhile, Generation X possesses loyalty to its
profession rather than to organisation. It appreciates relationship with colleagues more than
with organisation. S. P. Robbins (2007) notes that representatives of Generation X are not
inclined to such dedication for the employer as representatives of previous generations. It is
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believed that parents influenced Generation X to have such an approach to work, because they
worked extremely hard themselves, “played according the rules” but their loyalty to
organisation failed to protect them from losing jobs (Tolbize, 2008). As a result, they are
sceptical about the commitment to a single organization, do not attach themselves to a single
workplace, prefer to work only for themselves, and value personal life. However, compared to
the younger generation, employees of this generation want more to identify themselves with
the organisation and remain there because of mere obligation.
Generation Y, in many aspects, has some similar attitude to Generation X, however, at the
same time it is a completely different generation in comparison to previous ones. This
generation is loyal to the opportunities of its career and loyal to itself, however it does not have
a sense of loyalty to the organisation so it is difficult to keep it in the same workplace.
Representatives of this generation usually look at their current position as a temporary stop
which is a stage of learning and development. When they feel that all problems that they
encounter are familiar they dare to make a change and move to another organisation (Parry
& Urwin, 2011). Representatives of this generation are loyal to the project and/or manager. In
the first case they become loyal to the project not to the organisation that they work for, if it
appears interesting and meaningful, participating in it, they can achieve and create something
that will be meaningful and useful in future.
This generation is particularly motivated by interesting tasks, training and professional
development opportunities, thus in parallel with the financial factor it becomes necessary to
interest an employee with a new task or to engage him or her in a new training or projects. It is
worth noticing that other generations also have an urge for trainings, however older generations’
representatives prioritise trainings that are related to their current job, while younger employees
prefer trainings related to management and leadership (Tolbize, 2008; Parry & Urwin, 2011).
It is clear that a desire to have an interesting and meaningful job is an outstanding feature of
Generation Y. Therefore, loyalty is inseparable from managers’ obligation to engage his or her
employee in a certain project. Secondly, representatives of this generation have a sense of
loyalty to their manager. This manager must be capable to create right relationships based on
continuous communication and empathy. In other words, he or she has to become a role model.
Nevertheless, scientists point out that in the nearest future a year of work in one company will
mean a long commitment instead of a short one (Cogin, 2012). Hence, loyalty to an organisation
will decline further because this period of time is too short for an employee to fully identify
himself or herself with an organisation which he or she works for.
Research conducted in America shows that 70% of Silent Generation employees claim that
they would like to stay in the same company for the rest of their lives, 65% of Baby Boom
Generation claim the same while only 40% of Generation X representatives agreed on that and
only 20% of Generation Y (Tolbize, 2008). However, these results might be influenced not only
by the traits of a certain generation but also by the fact that with time more stability is wanted
in one’s life. It should be noted that the level of employee loyalty can be influenced by the
country’s economic situation. If a country is economically strong wide spectrum of
opportunities open up, new companies emerge, old ones expand. As a result, new job
opportunities emerge, thus people taking advantage of this, change their workplace much more
frequently.
Nevertheless, evaluating employees’ loyalty we should take into account characteristics of
certain generation. Personal life is very important to Generations X and Y. They choose
a working place that allows them to separate work from personal life. If previous generations
associated hard work with success and achievements, a job for Generations X and Y has not
only to provide pleasure and be meaningful but also not to ‘steel’ their precious time.
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2.2. Generations’ attitude towards management
The managers of organizations generally agree that there is no management style that could be
completely suitable to all generations. Younger generation representatives change organisations
often and usually not because of a better salary but due to new opportunities. Working many
years for the same company is incomprehensible to Generation Y (Braksick, 2012). They want
challenges and go where they can encounter them. Therefore managers’ personality plays
a crucial role in trying to retain employees of this generation. According to “Well Fleet
Research and Consulting” data of recent 5 years, Generation Y receives more than one offer at
the same time and 82% of them are convinced that sooner or later they will get a desired job
(Durkin, 2007). Therefore, younger employees want a strong leader who could provide an
opportunity to learn, improve, make career, a leader who would be open to changes and opinion
of others. They appreciate more the managers who do not simply give tasks but the ones who
communicate and explain ‘why it is important to perform them’. Representatives of this
generation expect feedback from their managers while representatives of the older generation
do not see it as a necessity. It is important for Generation Y to work with a manager who is
kind, understanding, who is open minded and easy to communicate with. It is worth noticing
that employees of Baby Boom Generation or Silent Generation prefer a trustworthy manager
while Generation Y values the manager who has an ability to listen and takes their opinion into
an account. However, A. Tolbize (2008) notices that peoples’ attitude may change with their
age and can depend on a certain situation rather than on the characteristics of a generation.
However, analysing this generation’s approach to management, it is obvious that employees of
Generation Y, unlike previous generations, want a manager who carries out a role of a teacher
as well as a coach (Coley, 2009).
According to the research data of V. Stanišauskienė (2015), differences between
Generations X and Y are clearly visible. The scientist notes that these generations evaluate
influence of other people differently. The employees of Generation Y tend to be critical of their
managers while Generation X accepts authorities’ opinion unquestionably. A manager for the
representatives of this generation has big authority, however, unlike Baby Boom Generation
employees, they do not wait for a command from a manager higher in hierarchy but willingly
ask and expect the same thing from him. Generation X is impressed by engaging and inspiring
manager, manager who is setting an example, who they could follow to a different organisation
in the future. Whereas Baby Boom Generation finds it important that a manager should have
clear goals and vision, be professional and would provide an image of strong personality. It is
important for them to get a clear guidance from a professional manager who does not interfere
with their work too much and give minimal feedback. Being in the middle of these three groups
a manager should evaluate the specific aspects of the generations and have in mind that Baby
Boom Generation is likely to sacrifice for a job, to work for a long period of time with
commitment and dedication, Generation X perceives work in a simple and flexible way, while
Generation Y does not understand how one could sacrifice personal time for work.
3. Research method
A quantitative research method survey was selected to achieve the set goal. The respondents
were selected from 5 business organization working in the information technology area. The
general population of the organizations, from which the sample of the respondents was taken,
was 850 people. The main selection criterion of the respondents was age, following to which
the respondents were divided into three generation groups respondents born 19431960,
19611981 and 19822001 (according to Strauss-Howe’s classification of generations).
Another criterion was work experience. The aim was to form the sample of respondents
(especially of younger generation) who at least had minimum work experience. In total there
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were 223 respondents selected 24 from Baby Boom Generation, 82 from Generation X and
117 from Generation Y.
The questionnaire was developed for the implementation of empirical research. Questions
were based on insights discussed in theoretical part. The following constructs were measured:
Generations’ personal qualities profile;
Optimal length of employment relations with one organization;
Motivating factors;
Attitudes towards management.
In order to compare if the responses of different generations differ significantly, the
following statistical criteria were used: Pearson’s Chi square test; Kruskal-Wallis H test.
4. Empirical Research Data Analysis
Respondents indicated the most prominent personal characteristics what are possessed by their
generations.
Generations’ personal qualities profile
As it can be seen from Table 2, the Baby Boom Generation in most cases has pointed out these
features: loyalty to organisation (83.3%), workaholic attitude (62.5%) and work priority
(66.7%). Generation X distinguished these features: loyalty to the organisation (54.9%), work
priority (53.7%) and workaholic attitude (50.0%). While Generation Y mentioned qualities like
openness to change (76.9%), self-esteem (70.9%) and being ambitious (68.4%).
Table 2. Individual characteristics assigned to themselves by different generations (own study)
Baby Boom
Generation
Generation
X
Generation
Y
Workaholics
62.5%
50.0%
15.4%
Open to change
37.5%
20.7%
76.9%
Feeling great respect for their manager
41.7%
24.4%
1.7%
Loyal to organisation they work for
83.3%
54.9%
4.3%
Like to work in a team
37.5%
36.6%
49.6%
Not afraid of criticism
20.8%
15.9%
25.6%
Have self esteem
54.2%
39.0%
70.9%
Prioritise work
66.7%
53.7%
11.1%
Prioritise personal life
4.2%
17.1%
34.2%
Selfish
4.2%
9.8%
23.9%
Individualists
0.0%
9.8%
43.6%
Work overtime gladly
45.8%
26.8%
8.5%
Ambitious
12.5%
26.8%
68.4%
Have entrepreneurial qualities
16.7%
15.9%
47.9%
Likes formal working relationship
16.7%
17.1%
7.7%
After evaluation of statistically significant differences between respondents of different
generations it was found that representatives of Baby Boom Generation and Generation X
statistically more significantly consider themselves to be workaholics, they feel significantly
more respect to the manager and think themselves to be loyal to organisation and prioritise work
over leisure more that Generation Y. Meanwhile Generation Y in comparison to Baby Boom and
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Generations X, statistically significantly more frequently possesses these qualities: openness to
change, self-esteem, prioritising of personal life, selfishness, individualism, ambitiousness and
entrepreneurial qualities. Therefore it can be stated that Baby Boom Generation and Generation X
possess similar qualities. Majority of both generations’ respondents stated that they are loyal
employees. Baby Boom Generation highlighted it in particular. It is important to stress that
majority of Generation Y respondents noted completely different traits. At this point a gap
between younger and older generations is evident. Responses made by Generation Y prove the
assumptions posed in the theoretical part of this article that representatives of this generation tend
to have higher self-confidence and desire for innovations. They accept changes positively and
initiate them.
Optimal length of employment relations with one organization
Respondents’ attitudes differed significantly when asked about the period of time spent within
one organisation which could be considered as optimal period of time. As it can be seen from
Figure 1 the majority of representatives of Baby Boom Generation indicated the period of 5 to
25 years, Generation X 5 to 10 years and Generation Y 3 to 5 years. It should be noted that
these differences are statistically significant and they suggest that Generation Y representatives
indicate statistically significantly (p<0.05) shorter time than representatives of Baby Boom
Generation and Generation X. It is interesting to note that 2.6% of respondents indicated that
1 to 2 years is an optimal period of time to work for one organisation whereas respondents of
older generations did not even consider that as an option. Thus, results confirmed the theoretical
insights claiming, that with each next generation of employees, attachment to the organisation
declines. It can also be stated that if years worked for one organisation will continue to decline,
it is likely that the level of commitment to the organisation will decline too. This may require
to essentially change employment relations between employers and new coming generations of
employees. With the changing situation, the mutual benefit expected by the employee and the
organization from their cooperation became more important than the unilateral loyalty of the
employee. The employee invests the competencies which he or she possesses (knowledge,
capabilities and skills), time and effort and, in return, expects to receive a certain benefit, which
is usually perceived as either a direct monetary reward or a change of career portfolio
(competencies and status).
Figure 1. Optimal length of employment relations with one organization (own study)
2.6
1.3
17.5
8.3 10.5
45.6
45.8
63.2
29.8
45.8
25.0
4.4
0%
20%
40%
60%
Baby Boom Generation Generation X Generation Y
To 1 yr 1-2 yr 2-3 yr 3-5 yr 5-10 yr 11-25 yr
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Motivating factors
Differences in generations’ attitudes towards motivating factors were quite significant
(Figure 2). According to the data of the research representatives of Generation Y would be
stimulated by competitive salary, career prospects, training and development opportunities as
well as challenging work, while Baby Boomers would be least motivated by such motivation
instruments. Personal qualities of a manager as well as calm and stress free-job would be the
most appealing to them (Baby Boomers). As for Generation X, they prefer flexible working
hours and competitive salary. It should also be noted that study results confirmed theoretical
insights that salary is not the main and only motivation that applies to Generation Y. In addition
to salary, they need to be provided with career opportunities with a chance to be promoted or
opportunity to work in another department. So development of competences is an integral part
of working life for Generation Y.
It should be noted that the biggest generational differences were distinguished between
Generation Y and Baby Boom Generation. This can also be confirmed by additional question
related to motivation. They were asked to identify, which of the listed factors motivate them
most. After summarising the results, it was found that social atmosphere (positive work
environment, ability to express opinion freely, help of colleagues and managers, etc.) motivates
Generation Y the most and Baby Boom Generation is least motivated by this composite factor.
According to the results an assumption can be made that working environment is very
important for Generation Y. It also confirms an assumption made earlier that relationships with
a manager and with colleagues are crucial for the representatives of this generation. They are
impressed by the fact that they can always ask for help and advice from their colleagues and
manager. The opportunity to express their opinion freely is also a very important part of their
working life. It allows them to feel free, unconstrained, they feel appreciated, useful and
developing as professionals.
Figure 2. Motivating factors for different generations (own study)
29.2
62.2
77.8
20.8 23.2
64.1
37.5 39.0
62.4
41.7
19.5
12.0
37.5
63.4
43.6
8.3 11.0
27.4
41.7
13.4 11.1
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
Baby Boom Generation Generation X Generation Y
Competitive salary Career opportunities
Training and development opportunities Manager's personal qualities
Flexible working hours Challanging job
Relaxed, stress-free job
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Attitudes towards management
In respect to the attitudes to management, Generation Y was theoretically distinguished as
a generation which is difficult to communicate to, which wants quick results and manager-
leader above in the hierarchy who would be able to give advice, consult, be a role model but
would not be intrusive. In order to confirm or deny this assumption, respondents were asked to
indicate their preferred leadership style.
It should be noted that all three generations indicated a democratic style as the best
approach in work environment, however, Generation Y expressed almost the same support for
democratic leadership (55%) as for liberal one (45%). This shows that for Generation Y it is
important to have a manager who provides more freedom at work and ensures more
deliberations in decision making. It should also be noted that analysing qualities of good
managers as conceived by different generations, it was found that manager’s ability to listen
was valued more by Baby Boom Generation (70.8%) whereas Generation Y stated that having
a manager who is a leader is extremely important to them (59.8%), (Figure 3).
To summarise, it can be stated that Generation Y change approach to the manager and
management itself in comparison to Baby Boomers and generation X. They (Generation Y)
want to see an enthusiastic manager personality who would not only manage but would also
provide constant feedback, involve in various trainings, projects, stimulate their interest in
business, consult and would not quite exactly tell them how to implement the tasks. Thus
a manager should put himself or herself in a role of a teacher but when necessary express their
strong opinions and clear position on certain issues.
Figure 3. Qualities of a good manager (own study)
5. Reasons causing different attitudes among generations
According to Mannheim (1952) and Strauss-Howe’s (1991) theories it was assumed that
generations’ attitudes were heavily influenced by political, economic, social and historical
events. All these factors determine generations’ different features and characteristics thus
separating one from the other. The study results in Lithuania supported the scientists’ theoretical
ideas mentioned above. Grown up in post-war years Baby Boom Generation values safety,
stability and financial certainty. They feel the strongest attachment to one job and think that
their position in organisation that has been ‘won’ throughout these years should be valued and
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respected by the manager. Baby Boomers echoed each other claiming that a good and friendly
employer must raise the salary for an employee working for a long time in the same company.
The research data were also in line with Mannheim (1952) and Strauss-Howe’s (1991) ideas
in respect to Generation X. Getting mature during the collapse of communism and seeing their
parent work constantly, the representatives of this generation value free time and pay more
attention to themselves and their families. We cannot make assumptions that members of this
generation are less loyal, however they are more committed to their work (not organisation),
they value the balance between work and personal life and flexible working hours.
The attitude towards work for Generation Y was formed by the times of surplus as well as
changes in the labour market when economic situation was improving, new jobs were emerging,
foreign companies entering the Lithuanian market. All of these factors developed attitude
towards work for Generation Y. Their confidence, search for innovation, individualism and
openness to changes are reflected in the research data.
Results of the survey confirmed that the analysis of different generations’ attitude cannot
exclude the age factor. A person who has a family and strong financial stability may not
necessarily want to stay in the same organisation because of their unconditional loyalty but
because they would not want to risk losing their financial security, would not want to part with
their family, friends or the place of residence. It should be noted that respondents of Baby Boom
Generation most frequently stated that they would not change their place of residence (58.3%)
while Generations X and Y said that they would change it if a new job would open up new
opportunities. The representatives of a Baby Boom generation usually indicated reasons like
being late to start something new at this age, that they like stability or that they already have
created material well-being in a current place of residence. It is worth noticing that 79.5% of
Generation Y would be determined to change their place of residence if a new job would open
up new career and development opportunities. This proves that representatives of younger
generations are motivated by competence development, various trainings and seminars.
6. Conclusion
Summarizing the findings on the attitudes of the generations debated in scientific publications
and the empirical research in the Lithuanian business organizations the following conclusions
can be drawn:
Research literature highlights the differences between characteristics of the generations
as well as the differences in their attitude towards work and management. Many sources
of literature claim that employees of Baby Boom Generation are loyal to the employer,
Generation X has loyalty to its profession while Generation Y is loyal to its career and
to itself. Attention is drawn to the fact that the employees’ identification with the
organisation is decreasing with every generation. If Baby Boom Generation is called
a generation of workaholics who work because it is their duty, then Generations X and Y
are orientated to the job that provides them with an opportunity to have more free time
and a meaningful and interesting job.
Investigating individual characteristic assigned to themselves by different generations it
was established that the Baby Boom and X Generations pointed out loyalty to
organisation, workaholic attitude and work priority as the most outstanding
characteristics while the representatives of Generation Y define themselves indicating
openness to change, self-esteem and being ambitious.
The research results confirmed theoretical insights that loyalty to organisation decreases
with every next generation. The reason considered could be changing attitude towards
work, accelerating changes in the labour market, opening of new world-wide
opportunities. This may require to essentially change employment relations between
Human Resources Management & Ergonomics Volume XI 1/2017
118
employers and new coming generations of employees. With the changing situation, the
mutual benefit expected by the employee and the organization from their cooperation
became more important than the unilateral loyalty of the employee. Previously
relationship between the organization and its employee was based on good and long term
emotional connection of the employee and the organization.
Differences in generations’ attitudes towards work motivation were quite significant.
Representatives of Generation Y are stimulated by competitive salary, career prospects,
training and development opportunities as well as challenging work. Benevolent
personal qualities of a manager also calm and stress free-job environment would be the
most appealing to Baby Boomers. Generation X prefers flexible working hours and
competitive salary.
Analysing qualities of good managers as conceived by different generations, it was found
that manager’s ability to listen was valued more by Baby Boom Generation whereas
Generation Y stated that having a manager who is a leader is extremely important to
them.
The research results indicated that retention and motivation of Generation Y in comparison
to previous generations is the most challenging task that organisation’s manager and HRM
professionals currently have to face.
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Addresses of authors:
Prof. dr. Andrius VALICKAS Kristina JAKŠTAITĖ
Institute of Management Institute of Management
Faculty of Politics and Management Faculty of Politics and Management
Mykolas Romeris University Mykolas Romeris University
Ateities str. 20 Ateities str. 20
Vilnius LT-08303 Vilnius LT-08303
Lithuanian Republic Lithuanian Republic
e-mail: avalickas@mruni.eu e-mail: jakstaitekristina1@gmail.com
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