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Generational differences in workplace motivation

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Orientation: Despite increasing age diversity in the workforce, organisations still know relatively little about how potentially diverging motivational needs of the various generations might influence motivational strategies and organisational performance. Research purpose: To explore the relationship between multigenerational workforces and employee motivation within a South African workplace setting from a self-determination theory perspective. Motivation for the study: The pursuit of performance excellence requires an understanding of the enablers of optimal performance. In South Africa, the workplace landscape is changing fast as younger generations are joining the workforce in rapidly growing numbers. These younger employees are often believed to differ quite drastically from the older generations in terms of their values and priorities, which necessitates a deeper understanding of the motivational drivers of the different cohorts as these manifest within a workplace environment. Research approach/design and method: A cross-sectional survey approach and a quantitative research design were used (N = 164). Two questionnaires founded on self-determination theory were administered, namely the Work-Related Basic Need Satisfaction Scale and the Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale. Main findings: Findings contradict the popular notion that generational cohorts differ significantly from each other in terms of diverging intrinsic and extrinsic motivational preferences that may influence their behaviour at work. With regard to the degrees of satisfaction of the basic psychological needs that drive autonomous, intrinsically motivated behaviour specifically, no practically significant differences were found either. There was, however, one notable difference, namely in the indicated degree of satisfaction of the psychological need for autonomy between Generation Y and Generation X cohorts. Practical/managerial implications: Management is advised to cultivate a motivational climate that promotes autonomously motivated behaviour in general and to focus on specific known individual motivational preferences that may exist within groups rather than approaching generational cohorts as homogenous groups. Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to the limited research regarding similarities and differences in the intrinsic versus extrinsic motivational stance of three different generations as these manifest within a workplace setting in an emerging economy country. Findings afford management insight into motivational processes that are most influential among generational cohorts and assist them in adapting suitable motivational strategies that can ultimately improve retention of valued employees.
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SA Journal of Human Resource Management
ISSN: (Online) 2071-078X, (Print) 1683-7584
Page 1 of 10 Original Research
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Authors:
Marita M. Heyns1
Marilyn D. Kerr2
Aliaons:
1Optena Research Focus
Area, North-West University,
South Africa
2North-West University
Business School, North-West
University, South Africa
Corresponding author:
Marita Heyns,
marita.heyns@nwu.ac.za
Dates:
Received: 21 June 2017
Accepted: 10 May 2018
Published: 08 Aug. 2018
How to cite this arcle:
Heyns, M.M., & Kerr,
M.D. (2018). Generaonal
dierences in workplace
movaon. SA Journal
of Human Resource
Management/SA Tydskrif
vir Menslikehulpbronbestuur,
16(0), a967. hps://doi.
org/10.4102/sajhrm.
v16i0.967
Copyright:
© 2018. The Authors.
Licensee: AOSIS. This work
is licensed under the
Creave Commons
Aribuon License.
Introducon
Key focus of the study
This study seeks to extend generational research by employing a self-determination theory
(SDT, Deci & Ryan, 2000; Gagné & Deci, 2005) perspective to examine the relationship between
multigenerational workforces and employee motivation within a South African workplace setting.
Background
The pursuit of performance excellence requires an understanding of the enablers of optimal
performances (Linley, Harrington & Garcia, 2013), especially in view of a changing workplace
landscape where increasing age diversity necessitates a deeper understanding of the needs and
values of the different cohorts (Martins & Martins, 2014).
Changing workforce demographics has become a particular concern for leadership because
now, for the first time, there exists the possibility of four age generations working side by side in
Orientation: Despite increasing age diversity in the workforce, organisations still know
relatively little about how potentially diverging motivational needs of the various generations
might influence motivational strategies and organisational performance.
Research purpose: To explore the relationship between multigenerational workforces and
employee motivation within a South African workplace setting from a self-determination
theory perspective.
Motivation for the study: The pursuit of performance excellence requires an understanding
of the enablers of optimal performance. In South Africa, the workplace landscape is changing
fast as younger generations are joining the workforce in rapidly growing numbers. These
younger employees are often believed to differ quite drastically from the older generations in
terms of their values and priorities, which necessitates a deeper understanding of the
motivational drivers of the different cohorts as these manifest within a workplace environment.
Research approach/design and method: A cross-sectional survey approach and a quantitative
research design were used (N = 164). Two questionnaires founded on self-determination theory
were administered, namely the Work-Related Basic Need Satisfaction Scale and the Work
Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale.
Main findings: Findings contradict the popular notion that generational cohorts differ
significantly from each other in terms of diverging intrinsic and extrinsic motivational
preferences that may influence their behaviour at work. With regard to the degrees of
satisfaction of the basic psychological needs that drive autonomous, intrinsically motivated
behaviour specifically, no practically significant differences were found either. There was,
however, one notable difference, namely in the indicated degree of satisfaction of the
psychological need for autonomy between Generation Y and Generation X cohorts.
Practical/managerial implications: Management is advised to cultivate a motivational climate
that promotes autonomously motivated behaviour in general and to focus on specific known
individual motivational preferences that may exist within groups rather than approaching
generational cohorts as homogenous groups.
Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to the limited research regarding similarities
and differences in the intrinsic versus extrinsic motivational stance of three different
generations as these manifest within a workplace setting in an emerging economy country.
Findings afford management insight into motivational processes that are most influential
among generational cohorts and assist them in adapting suitable motivational strategies that
can ultimately improve retention of valued employees.
Generaonal dierences in workplace movaon
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Scan this QR
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today’s work environment (Ballone, 2007; Haynes, 2011).
The increasing mix of generations has added both cherished
diversity as well as complexity to the workplace (Linley et al.,
2013) because of more pronounced differences between
cohorts that influence their attitudes and behaviour at work
as compared to previous generations, which were more
similar to each other (Burke, Cooper & Antoniou, 2015).
The different cohorts – Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation
Xers and Generation Y (also known as the Millennials) –
are often described as each having their own distinct
characteristics, work values and motivators that may have
an effect on both individual and organisational performance
(Burke et al., 2015) and that may have far-reaching
implications, including for organisational human resource
processes (Jonck, Van der Walt & Sobayeni, 2017), motivation
and retention strategies (Burke et al., 2015). A longitudinal
study by Krahn and Galambos (2014), for example, associated
Generation Y with a stronger emphasis on extrinsic work
values and more job entitlement, while other studies
associated this generation with a greater preference for
materialistic rewards and work–life balance (Burke et al.,
2015). In line with this view, Twenge and Donnelly (2016)
found that younger generations increasingly emphasise
extrinsic values.
The perceived uniqueness of the generations suggests each
is likely driven by different motivators, which, in turn,
accentuates the need to have insight into how to best motivate
each generational group (Durkin, 2011).
Organisations still know relatively little about the impact of
age diversity on their performance and how to deal with
generational diversity in the workplace (Burke et al., 2015;
Martins & Martins, 2014). Linley et al. (2013) illuminate this
point by warning that, although some differences across
generations do affect each cohort in distinctive ways, there
are also indications that many of the perceived differences –
including those in values and attitudes towards work,
colleagues and use of technology – across generations can
actually be ascribed to stereotypical myths or, at best, to the
influence of different contexts.
There is a specific need to conduct generational cohort studies
in developing countries (Jonck et al., 2017; Martins & Martins,
2014) and especially in a South African context, for it has
faced some unique challenges because of its politically and
socially divided past, which has caused fragmentation – not
all social groups, including generations, have been affected
by historical events in the same way. Also, most of the existing
generational research studies have been conducted in
developed Western countries, which raises concern regarding
the generalisability of findings to developing countries such
as South Africa (Jonck et al., 2017).
In addition, previous research focused on broad differences
in motivational drivers across generations but paid scant
attention to how these manifest within the workplace or, at
best, tended to focus on work values but not on generational
differences in work motivation per se (Burke et al., 2015;
Wong, Gardiner, Lang & Coulon, 2008).
This study focused on motivational levels of the
multigenerational workforce of Rand Water, a parastatal and
a national key point that is responsible for supplying quality
water to millions of households in South Africa. Rand Water
is invested in supporting the development of the younger
generations and those previously disadvantaged in South
Africa. Older employees also remained loyal to Rand Water,
which has resulted in a work environment that sees employees
representing a broad range of age groups. As Rand Water
continued to focus on the empowerment of staff across
generations, they found themselves in a situation where an
abundance of resources was a thing of the past, and they were
forced to work with less to create higher levels of output. This
global trend aims towards increasing work output levels
among employees, while facing challenges such as increased
multigenerational workforces and the need to effectively
motivate each generation, has created an urgent need for an
understanding of how to motivate employees to the point that
they bring 100% of themselves to their work.
Self-determination theory is a prominent, macro theory of
motivation (Deci & Ryan, 2014; Gagné & Deci, 2005) that offers
a potentially useful lens through which potential differences
in the motivational stance across generations can be studied
within the organisation of interest. This theory distinguishes
itself from more conventional motivation theories because
SDT not only expanded on the cognitive evaluation theory
to include extrinsic motivation, but it further provides a
distinction between autonomous and controlled motivation
that does not focus on the total amount of motivation as
such but rather on the relative strength of controlled versus
autonomous motivation a person experiences. In other words,
SDT does not merely focus on motivation as internally or
externally driven but further differentiates between subtypes
of motivation that are seen as falling along a continuum of
internalisation (Deci & Ryan, 2000; 2014; Gagné & Deci, 2005).
As such, SDT can offer more precise information regarding
how generational groups relate to specific drivers of motivation.
Research objecves
The general aim of this research was to explore the nature of
motivational processes from a multigenerational workforce
perspective by using SDT (Deci & Ryan, 2000) as a point of
departure. To be more precise, this study assesses whether
generations differ in terms of their extrinsic versus intrinsic
motivational stance and their basic intrinsic motivational
needs for autonomy, relatedness and competence as these
manifest among the workforce of an organisation that supplies
quality water to millions of households in South Africa.
Trends from the research literature
A generation, also known as a cohort, shares a collective
identity that was brought about by shared life stages that
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shaped the culture of a particular historical period (Hoole &
Bonnema, 2015). Although there is no specific consensus
among researchers regarding the precise birth years for each
of the different generations (Wong et al., 2008), there is
agreement that there are four broad generations of employees
that can be classified, of which the three groups most
represented in the workplace are the Baby Boomers (generally
accepted to be born between 1945 and 1964), Generation Xers
(born 1965–1981) and the Millennials (born 1982–2000).
A strong internalised work ethic and career-focused approach
to life have meant a perception of the Baby Boomers as
ambitious, driven employees who are status conscious
(Ballone, 2007; Hoole & Bonnema, 2015) and define their
identity as an extension of their careers (Durkin, 2011). A
review of the existing literature (e.g. Hart, 2006; Loomis,
2000;) suggests that this group of employees is seen as
preferring stability and job security, that they respect a
corporate hierarchal structure and prefer a leadership style
that is unified and consistent in the work environment
(Ballone, 2007). Baby Boomers gravitate towards building
consensus among their colleagues (Hart, 2006:26). Valuing
the personal touch (Haynes, 2011) and preferring face-to-face
contact (Hammill, 2005) mean that this generation is more
likely to act as effective mentors. It is through work and
personal sacrifice (Glass, 2007) that Baby Boomers believe
they will attain financial success. They are motivated by
raises and promotions (Ballone, 2007). It is likely that Baby
Boomers feel the younger generations do not work as hard as
they do, partially derived from the latter group’s preference
for flexible hours, working from home and for having virtual
offices (Glass, 2007).
In stark contrast with the Baby Boomers, Generation Xers
value the life–work balance above all else (Glass, 2007; Hoole
& Bonnema, 2015). As a group, they are classified as showing
a higher degree of scepticism, less loyalty and being strongly
independent (Burke et al., 2015; Glass, 2007), as well as
demonstrating a higher level of self-sufficiency than shown
by previous generations (Hart, 2006). Although a tendency to
question and challenge their colleagues in the workplace
is apparent, thus potentially leading to conflict, this quality
also acts to encourage entrepreneurial behaviour (Hammill,
2005). Generation Xers expect recognition and rewards to be
realised within a short time frame, they expect to be included
in all aspects of the business and to be provided with regular
opportunities for career growth (Ballone, 2007). Placing their
own personal goals above their work-related goals, this
group goes where the challenges, higher earning potential
and better benefits exist (Loomis, 2000). Flexibility in work
life is greatly valued by Generation Xers and they are likely
to pass up a promotion if they believe it will infringe on their
home life in any way (Ballone, 2007). From their viewpoint, it
does not matter how or where the work is done; the outcome
is what should be valued and not the process to get there
(Glass, 2007).
The most confident of the generational groups, the Millennials,
grew up with child-focused parents, who were intent on
building their children’s self-esteem and showing continuous
dedication in raising them (Glass, 2007). As a consequence,
this generation is characterised by their expectation to be
recognised on an equal footing with their peers and to be
involved in a work environment that is diverse and
encourages participation in work teams (Ballone, 2007;
Hoole & Bonnema, 2015). They have developed the ability
to multitask, a consequence of 24/7 connectivity (Hammill,
2005). Skills development and the challenges afforded by new
opportunities typify Millennials (Hart, 2006). Demonstrating
some similarity with the Baby Boomer generation, Millennials
are seen as optimistic and driven employees who are
demanding of their work environment (Burke et al., 2015).
Ultimately, for this generation technology forms a natural part
of their lives, and as such they prefer to communicate and live
in real time, through the use of cell phones, text messages and
so on (Ballone, 2007), rather than picking up the telephone or
having a face-to-face conversation (Glass, 2007).
Self-determinaon theory
According to SDT, motivation can be internally or externally
driven. Extrinsic motivation occurs when individuals partake
in activities not because they have a particular interest in
them but because those activities function as a means to
an end. The actions undertaken by individuals driven by
intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, are fuelled by the
want to do the activity and the satisfaction derived from the
successful completion of the task; thus, intrinsic motivation
can be said to be autonomous motivation (Deci & Ryan, 2014;
Ryan & Deci, 2000). The key to autonomous regulation is
based on satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for
competence, autonomy and relatedness. Autonomy is the
need to feel that you have a choice in the decision to be made;
competency is a belief in one’s ability to complete a task, and
relatedness is the need for relationships that are supportive
and meaningful in nature (Deci & Ryan, 2014; Meyer &
Gagné, 2008; Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Autonomously motivated employees are likely to realise
better outcomes for both themselves and their employers,
through improved effective performance and higher levels
of well-being (Gagné & Deci, 2005; Nel, 2014). Limited
satisfaction of the psychological needs is likely to result in a
decreased level of performance and even a reduction in an
individual’s physical and psychological well-being (Meyer &
Gagné, 2008). Many organisational studies using the SDT
have provided support for the hypothesised contention that
environments that are autonomy-supportive facilitate the
promotion of intrinsic motivation, as well as the internalisation
of extrinsic motivation, thus acting to increase satisfaction
and performance outcomes (Deci & Ryan, 2014; Van den
Broeck, Vansteenkiste, De Witte, Soenens & Lens, 2010;
Vansteenkiste et al., 2007).
Organismic Integration Theory is a sub-theory of SDT that
aims to explain how behaviours once extrinsically motivated
through external forces can become internally regulated via
an internalisation process. Figure 1 illustrates the relationship
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between the various motivational aspects and describes the
degree to which external regulation can be internalised in a
self-determination continuum (Ryan & Deci, 2000). It is not
suggested the continuum is developmental in such a way
that employees need to progressively move from controlled
motivation to autonomously motivated behaviour through
each stage of internalisation; rather that internalisation of a
more autonomous behavioural regulation can occur at any
point on the SDT continuum given specific individual life
experiences and opportunities presented by the immediate
environmental circumstances (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Amotivation and intrinsic motivation, being the two extremes
of the continuum, respectively represent the total lack of
intention to act (amotivation), that is, going through the
motions, and a highly autonomous state (intrinsic motivation)
characterised by the desire to perform a task purely for its
inherent satisfactions (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
In the centre of the continuum are the extrinsically motivated
behaviours, which range from lowest self-determined
behaviour to the highest – specifically, from external regulation
through to integrated regulation. External regulation refers to
behaviours that are controlled by external contingencies – the
individual feels forced to comply. Each progressive rightward
move along the continuum involves increased levels of
personal acceptance and ownership of an external regulation,
into the creation of an autonomous form of extrinsic motivation.
Introjected regulation refers to behaviours that are still motivated
by external rewards or punishments, but performance of the
activities are controlled by the individual self rather than by
others, that is, for an internally pressing reason. Identified
regulation refers to a process that involves accepting the
underlying value of an activity, such as when the goal of
behaviour is personally endorsed and considered important,
but extrinsic factors still play some role. Integrated regulation
refers to the most complete form of internalisation of extrinsic
motivation, namely, an acceptance of an activity because it fits
into the individual’s set of values and beliefs and is congruent
with the true self (Nel, 2014; Ryan & Deci, 2017).
Ultimately, the basic premise of SDT is the degree to which
behaviour may be autonomous versus the degree to which it is
controlled, where autonomous motivation includes intrinsic
motivation as well as identified and integrated regulation and
controlled motivation encompasses external and introjected
regulation (Gagné & Deci, 2005). Quoting Kasser et al. (2004),
Vansteenkiste et al. (2007) state that individuals who are more
likely to be intrinsically rather than extrinsically orientated
will engage in those activities that function to satisfy their
psychological needs, ultimately leading to positive job
outcomes. For the converse, a mindset that is extrinsically
orientated may hinder or interfere with growth (Vansteenkiste
et al., 2007).
Relaonship between movaon and age groups
No previous studies could be identified that examined
potential generational differences specifically from an SDT
motivational perspective. When considering motivation in
general, previous research seems to produce conflicting
results regarding the extent to which generations differ in
what they consider as important motivational drivers. Kooij,
De Lange, Jansen, Kanfer and Dikkers (2011) and De Lange,
Bal, Van der Heiden, De Jong and Schaufeli (2011) have
provided empirical evidence that supports the viewpoint
that, while extrinsic work motivation decreases with age,
intrinsic work motivation does the opposite and in fact
increases. In examining demographic correlations that may
exist among age groups and intrinsic motivation, a significant
positive correlation was demonstrated between age and
intrinsic motivation; however, no such parallel correlation
was observed for age groups and extrinsic motivation.
Giancola (2006) provided an opposing viewpoint and stated
that the differences perceived among the different generations
were not substantiated by empirical evidence and in fact
motivational drivers among the cohorts are actually
surprisingly similar. Support for Giancola’s viewpoint was
provided by Wong et al. (2008), who, after conducting a
large-scale cross-sectional study, were able to conclude that
the differences identified among motivators were better
explained by age differences rather than generational
differences. Finegold, Mohrman and Spreitzer (2002) were
able to identify significant differences among different age
groups regarding a number of working relationships,
including satisfaction with work–life balance, but found no
significant relationship between generational groups and
motivation. Brislin, Kabigting, MacNab, Zukis and Worthley
(2005) and Travis (2007), in an examination of demographic
correlations and intrinsic motivation among a sample
population, found no significant correlation between the
variables of age and motivation.
In view of seemingly conflicting results found in previous
literature, this study sets out to investigate the following
research questions: Do generational cohorts employed by
Rand Water at the site of interest differ significantly from each
other in terms of (1) their extrinsic versus intrinsic motivational
stance and (2) the three basic intrinsic motivational needs for
autonomy, relatedness and competence?
Potenal value-add of the study
This research contributes to the existing generational literature
by extending its focus to an emerging economy, specifically by
Amotivation Intrinsic
motivation
Extrinsic
motivation
Intrinsic
regulation
External
regulation
Introjected
regulation
Identified
regulation
Integrated
regulation
Non-
regulation
More self-
determined
Less self-
determined
Source: Adapted from Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determinaon theor y and the
facilitaon of intrinsic movaon, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist,
55(1), 68–78. hps://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68. p. 72.
FIGURE 1: The self-determinaon connuum.
Page 5 of 10 Original Research
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highlighting similarities and differences in motivational stance
between three generations – Baby Boomers, Generation Xers
and Millennials – in a workplace setting that is considered to
be of national interest to South Africa.
To the best of our knowledge, no previous empirical research
exists that employed the SDT of motivation as proposed
by Deci and Ryan (2000) to examine potential differences
between generational groups within an emerging economy
setting. Gaining a better and more specific understanding
of what underlying motivational processes drive each
generational cohort – whether it be an equal combination of
intrinsic and extrinsic factors, or with one dominating the
other – can support managers in finding suitable motivational
strategies that are properly aligned with the needs of each
cohort so that staff are more likely to function to their full
potential and remain with an organisation in the longer term.
Findings may further afford management with insight into
motivational processes that are most influential among
generational cohorts at Rand Water, an important national
asset of the country, and assist management in adapting
suitable motivational strategies to enhance performance and
ultimately improve retention of valued employees.
Research design
Research approach
A quantitative, cross-sectional survey design was used.
Research parcipants
The target population consisted of employees of a Rand
Water pump station that is situated in Gauteng Province,
South Africa. A total of 488 questionnaires were distributed,
and 164 questionnaires were completed and returned, which
represents a response rate of 33.6%. More males (65%) than
females participated; 77% of the sample group indicated
that they were black people. The majority (48%) of the
respondents indicated that they had a matric certificate as
their highest qualification. When reviewing the duration of
employment, 48% of the respondents indicated that they
had been employed in excess of 10 years. Generation Xers
represented the majority, with 59% of respondents falling
within this category, followed by the Millennials (22%) and
the Baby Boomers (19%).
Measuring instruments
A biographical questionnaire and two measuring instruments
were used. The Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale
(WEIMS, Tremblay, Blanchard, Taylor, Pelletier & Villeneuve,
2009) was employed to determine employees’ motivational
stance in terms of extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation. The
WEIMS is an 18-item measure of work motivation theoretically
grounded in SDT (Deci & Ryan, 2000). The WEIMS is divided
into six sub-scales (each with three corresponding items),
corresponding to the six types of motivation postulated by
SDT, namely, intrinsic motivation (e.g. ‘because I derive much
pleasure from learning new things’), integrated regulations
(e.g. ‘because it has become a fundamental part of who I am’),
identified regulations (e.g. ‘because this is the type of work I
chose to do to attain a certain lifestyle’), introjected regulations
(e.g. ‘because I want to succeed at this job; if not I would be
very ashamed of myself’), external regulations (e.g. ‘for the
income it provides me’) and amotivation (e.g. ‘I don’t know;
too much is expected of us’). The instrument makes use of
a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (does not correspond at all)
to 5 (corresponds exactly), representing the reasons that the
participants are presently involved in their work. Satisfactory
alpha-coefficients with values > 0.7 (Field, 2014) for each of the
subsections were initially established by Tremblay et al. (2009).
In addition, the Work-Related Basic Need Satisfaction
Scale (WBNSS; Van den Broeck et al., 2010) was used to
measure each participant’s satisfaction with three intrinsically
motivating psychological needs, namely autonomy (e.g. ‘I
feel like I can be myself at my job’), competence (e.g. ‘I am
good at the things I do in my job’) and need for relatedness
(e.g. ‘at work, people involve me in social activities’). The
scale made use of a five-point rating scale, varying from
1 (totally disagree) to 5 (totally agree). CFA results favoured the
three-factor structure of the questionnaire, and reliabilities
of the autonomy, competence and relatedness satisfaction
scales were on average 0.81, 0.85 and 0.82, respectively
(Van den Broeck et al., 2010).
Research procedure
Ethical clearance to conduct the study was approved by the
School for Business and Governance of the North-West
University of South Africa. The Human Resources director
of the selected Rand Water plant provided permission for
the questionnaire to be administered, in printed form, to
the participants. The aggregated results of the study had to
be provided to Rand Water for their own internal review.
Participation was entirely voluntary and participants were
aware that they could withdraw at any stage without penalty.
After obtaining written consent, completion of the
questionnaire took place during a predetermined time
session following an introduction to the research content and
purpose of the questionnaire by the researcher.
Stascal analysis
Two statistical programs – SPSS and AMOS – were employed.
Descriptive statistics were used to describe the demographic
data. Validity and reliability were tested by means of
confirmatory factor analyses and the calculation of Cronbach’s
alpha values (Clark & Watson, 1995) for all scales. Spearman’s
coefficient and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to
analyse relationships between the sub-scales of the WBNSS
and the WEIMS, respectively (Field, 2009). To interpret the
practical significance of the findings, interpretation guidelines
for Cohen’s d-values (Ellis & Steyn, 2003; Field, 2009) were
followed, that is, d 0.2 was regarded as a small effect
(no practically significant difference), d 0.5 as a medium
effect (practically visible difference) and d 0.8 as a large
effect (practically significant difference).
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Results
Descripve stascs, internal consistencies and
correlaons
Table 1 depicts the overall mean and standard deviation
results per sub-scale for each of the two measurement
instruments that were used to obtain an overall indication of
the respondents’ motivations for being involved in their
work as postulated by SDT.
It is evident from the information provided on standard
deviations in Table 1 that participants do not seem to differ
drastically in their responses on the scales. The WEIMS
results as shown in Table 1 implicate amotivation as the
lowest ranking dimension with an average score of 3.28,
implying the relative absence of motivation. In contrast,
intrinsic motivation ranked higher than average. These
results indicate that the respondents generally experienced a
higher than average degree of intrinsic motivation towards
their work. However, when reviewing the stages of the
extrinsic motivation demonstrated on the SDT continuum,
we find that introjected regulation ranks highest with a mean
score of 5.43. This suggests that many employees are still in a
process of adopting organisational rules but have not yet
incorporated them into a sense of self – employees go along
with the task because they believe they should and experience
feelings of guilt if they do not.
The overall results for the WBNSS demonstrates that
respondents are experiencing neutral feelings as far as the
stimulation of intrinsic motivation is concerned. Competence –
a belief in one’s ability to complete a task – with a mean value
of 3.48 ranked the highest but also had the greatest standard
deviation value, 1.02. The variation in the respondents’
evaluation of the satisfaction of this need shows that
although the majority of respondents feel neutral regarding
competence, some employees feel less competent than the
majority of employees.
Confirmatory factor analyses results supported the six-factor
structure of the WEIMS as previously established by Tremblay
et al. (2009) as well as the three-factor structure of the WBNSS
as previously established by Van den Broeck et al. (2010).
Considering the fact that psychological constructs were being
measured and that Cronbach’s alpha values for all scales
were above or near the minimum required (0.7 as proposed
by Field [2009]), the reliability of all the scales was considered
acceptable.
Spearman’s rho correlations were then analysed to determine
whether there was a relationship between the drivers of
intrinsic motivation as derived from the WBNSS and the
motivation sub-scales as outlined by the WEIMS on the
SDT continuum. As expected, the correlation coefficient (r)
analyses showed that intrinsic motivation had a medium
(positive), practical and visible relationship with the three
dimensions of autonomy, competence and relatedness. The
results also showed medium, practically visible positive
relationships across all three psychological needs for integrated
regulation. The relationship observed between the drivers of
intrinsically motivated behaviour and integrated regulation
align with the literature, which states that integrated regulation
is the stage on the SDT continuum that is closest to the fully
autonomous intrinsic motivation.
Further examination showed that amotivation was inversely
related to all three key psychological motivational needs.
More specifically, amotivation had a medium (negative),
practical and visible relationship with the psychological
needs for autonomy and relatedness. In agreement with
the SDT literature, external regulation demonstrated no
practically significant relationship with the drivers of intrinsic
motivation, as according to the continuum this stage is still
predominantly a controlled behaviour.
Basic psychological needs and generaonal
groups
ANOVA tests were used to compare the mean scores of the
three generational cohorts in terms of intrinsic motivational
drivers as measured by the WBNSS, extrinsic and intrinsic
motivation at work and for the consideration of the sub-
scales of extrinsic motivation measured in the WEIMS.
Table 2 gives an overview of differences among the cohorts
for the entire motivational spectrum including intrinsic
motivation, extrinsic motivation and amotivation as measured
by the WEIMS. Although small effect size differences were
noted for both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation between
Generation X and the Millennials, these were neither
statistically significant nor would differences be observable
between groups in practice.
Table 3 provides the results of each generation’s answers
for the sub-scales of extrinsic motivation as presented in
the WEIMS questionnaire. These four sub-scales represent
the internalisation of external regulation. The sub-scales
move progressively from controlled (external regulation) to
autonomous (integrated regulation) motivation. On average,
introjected regulation was ranked the highest, suggesting
that respondents take in a regulation but do not fully accept
it as their own.
TABLE 1: Descripve stascs for employee movaon as measured by the
Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Movaon Scale and Work-Related Basic Need
Sasfacon Scale.
Dimensions Mean Standard deviaon
WEIMS
Intrinsic movaon 5.17 0.15
Integrated regulaon 5.07 0.36
Idened regulaon 4.97 0.37
Introjected regulaon 5.43 0.30
External regulaon 4.82 0.40
Amovaon 3.28 0.53
WBNSS
Autonomy 3.33 0.33
Competence 3.48 1.02
Need for relatedness 2.91 0.70
WEIMS, Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Movaon Scale; WBNSS, Work-Related Basic Need
Sasfacon Scale.
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WBNSS results for basic intrinsic motivational needs are
displayed in Table 4.
As is evident from Table 4, there was no statistically significant
difference in the way the different age groups responded to
the relevant questions (all p-values > 0.05) pertaining to the
measurement of intrinsic motivational need satisfaction. The
largest effect size difference (d = 0.36) was noted for the
autonomy need, namely, between Millennials and Generation
Xers. The difference highlights that Millennials express a
higher satisfaction with the psychological need of autonomy
than shown by generation Xers. In other words, Millennials
felt that they had a higher sense of autonomy and that they
had a choice in matters affecting them. All cohorts ranked
the satisfaction of the psychological need for competence
the highest, indicating that the respondents considered the
ability to complete a task as highly important.
In sum, no statistically significant generational differences
based on p-values and no medium or large differences
indicated by the effect sizes were observed. Small effect size
differences were noted between Millennials and Generation X
TABLE 2: Descripve stascs, analysis of variance and eect size results for extrinsic and intrinsic movaon.
Movaonal type NMean SD Eect sizes ANOVA
Millennials Generaon X FSig.
Intrinsic movaon
Millennials 36 5.18 1.17 - - 0.83 0.44
Generaon X 94 5.00 1.19 0.25 - - -
Baby Boomers 29 5.26 1.23 0.19 0.05 - -
Extrinsic movaon
Millennials 36 5.25 1.02 - - 0.70 0.50
Generaon X 94 5.00 1.04 0.24 - - -
Baby Boomers 29 5.09 1.13 0.14 0.07 - -
Amovaon
Millennials 36 3.17 1.48 - - 0.21 0.75
Generaon X 94 3.26 1.44 0.06 - - -
Baby Boomers 29 3.44 1.29 0.18 0.12 - -
N, number; F, indicates the test stasc of dierence and is compared with the crical value of F to determine its signicance p; SD, standard deviaon; sig., signicance; ANOVA, analysis of variance test.
TABLE 3: Descripve stascs, analyses of variances and eect size results for the sub-scales of extrinsic movaon.
Movaonal type NMean SD Eect sizes ANOVA
Millennials Generaon X FSig.
Integrated regulaon
Millennials 36 5.18 1.10 - - 0.65 0.53
Generaon X 94 5.00 1.22 0.14 - - -
Baby Boomers 29 5.26 1.12 0.07 0.21 - -
Idened regulaon
Millennials 36 5.21 1.24 - - 0.96 0.38
Generaon X 94 4.86 1.38 0.25 - - -
Baby Boomers 29 5.06 1.31 0.11 0.14 - -
Introjected regulaon
Millennials 36 5.66 1.06 - - 1.03 0.36
Generaon X 94 5.38 1.21 0.23 - - -
Baby Boomers 29 5.26 1.39 0.30 0.09 - -
External regulaon
Millennials 36 4.94 1.27 - - 0.25 0.78
Generaon X 94 4.77 1.27 0.14 - - -
Baby Boomers 29 4.78 1.35 0.13 0.00 - -
N, number; F, indicates the test stasc of dierence and is compared with the crical value of F to determine its signicance p; SD, standard deviaon; sig., signicance; ANOVA, analysis of variance test.
TABLE 4: Descripve stascs and analysis of variance results for basic intrinsic movaonal needs.
Dimension Generaon NMean SD Eect sizes* ANOVA
Millennials with Generaon X with FSig.
Autonomy Millennials 36 3.47 0.69 - - 1.64 0.20
Generaon X 96 3.21 0.70 0.36 - - -
Baby Boomers 29 3.32 0.85 0.18 0.12 - -
Competence Millennials 36 4.12 0.95 - - 0.21 0.81
Generaon X 94 4.11 0.77 0.00 - - -
Baby Boomers 29 4.22 0.68 0.11 0.14 - -
Need for
relatedness
Millennials 36 3.71 0.71 - - 0.33 0.72
Generaon X 95 3.60 0.73 0.15 - - -
Baby Boomers 29 3.64 0.64 0.10 0.06 - -
N, number; F, indicates the test stasc of dierence and is compared with the crical value of F to determine its signicance p; SD, standard deviaon; sig., signicance; ANOVA , analysis of variance test.
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on the Identified Regulation scale and between the Millennials
and Generation X as well as Baby Boomers on the Introjected
Regulation scale; however, none of these are of a practically
significant magnitude. From these results, it appears that the
generations are motivated similarly by intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation. Overall, the Millennials presented higher average
scores for both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and the
lowest means value for amotivation.
Discussion
The study tested whether there were generational differences
among the workforce of a Rand Water plant in Gauteng in
terms of their intrinsic and extrinsic motivation at work.
The proposed theoretical research model considered
motivation in terms of autonomous and controlled
motivation. For autonomous motivation, the degree of
satisfaction of the psychological needs autonomy, competence
and need for relatedness was considered. The stages
of internalisation of extrinsic motivation were subdivided
into autonomous and controlled forms of extrinsic motivation.
Prior to comparing cohorts, the relationship between the
drivers of intrinsic motivational psychological needs and the
motivation sub-scales on the SDT continuum was verified.
As expected, the calculated correlation coefficients showed
positive medium, practically visible relationships across
all three psychological needs for integrated regulation. In
further agreement with the SDT literature, external regulation
demonstrated no practically significant relationship with the
drivers of intrinsic motivation, as according to the continuum
this stage is still predominantly a controlled behaviour.
From the literature, studies on the relationship between work
motivation and age groups indicated two distinct strains of
thought: firstly there are those who have identified differences
and secondly those who believe the differences are negligible.
This study found support for the latter of the two trains of
thought, in that negligible differences between the groups
were identified. In fact, a SDT perspective analyses showed
that all three generational groups were motivated similarly
by intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and all three groups
indicated similar degrees of satisfaction with the three
psychological needs related to autonomous, intrinsically
motivated behaviour.
When contrasting specific cohorts in terms of their satisfaction
of the basic psychological needs (autonomy, competence and
relatedness), all groups indicated a strong belief in their
ability to complete a task, as seen with the high ranking of
the competency dimension. Similarly, all cohorts indicated
a strong need for relatedness satisfaction. The only notable
difference was found between the Millennials and Generation
X respondents in terms of the autonomy dimension. The
Millennials indicated a higher sense of autonomy in their
work when compared to the responses of the Generation X
cohort; however, the effect size indicated that the difference
was still not of a practically visible magnitude. It is possible
that because Generation Xers expect to be included in all
aspects of the business (Ballone, 2007), which may prove
difficult for the organisation to facilitate, the respondents
may not feel like this need is being optimally fulfilled.
The fact that the generational cohorts experienced similar
degrees of satisfaction of the basic intrinsically motivated
psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness
provides further support for findings by Brislin et al. (2005)
and Travis (2007), who found no significant correlation
between the variables of age groups and motivation. Findings
further suggest that the cohorts are influenced similarly by
intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivation. This finding echoes
the viewpoint set forward by Giancola (2006), where empirical
evidence demonstrated that motivational drivers among
generations were very similar. Findings also seem to resonate
well with previous research by the Center for Creative
Leadership, which found that younger and older generations
seem to want similar things from their work and actually share
many values in common (Linley et al., 2013).
Overall, the Millennials presented higher average scores
for intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and the lowest mean
value for amotivation. The aforementioned lends itself in
support of the belief that intrinsic and extrinsic motivational
rewards do not cancel out each other but work to maintain
each other in a synergistic relationship (Khan & Iqbal, 2013).
The Millennials indicate on average the highest level of
motivation, and the presented results show this is based on a
relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. This
conclusion indicates that in order to maintain the current
motivation levels among the Millennials, the organisation
needs to focus on both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
Recommendaons for the organisaon
Because findings concerning the organisation of interest
revealed that younger and older generations actually are
influenced similarly by extrinsic and extrinsic motivational
drivers, managers are advised to refrain from relying on
popular stereotypical ideas of generational differences
when devising motivational strategies. According to SDT,
motivational organisational contexts are best created by
focusing on those psychological needs that form the basis for
the direction and resolve for human behaviour – the needs
for autonomy, relatedness and competence (Deci & Ryan,
2000) – and satisfaction thereof will enhance both intrinsic
motivation as well as the internalisation of extrinsic
motivation (Gagné & Deci, 2005). Enduring autonomous
motivation can be promoted, for example, by creating
psychologically safe and supportive yet challenging contexts
that stimulate intrinsic interest, curiosity and creativity; by
having meaningful discussions with employees regularly;
allowing freedom of choice within a structure of clarified
responsibilities; by providing a rationale for tasks and giving
sincere feedback in a competent manner that is factual, non-
judgmental and free from demeaning criticism (Nel, 2014;
Stone, Deci & Ryan 2009).
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Because the observed trends in this study were not statistically
significant, differences between individuals in terms of
what motivates them may actually be of a greater magnitude
within the same age group than those perceived between
generations and warrants an exploration of the relative
strength of specific motivational needs of individuals within
a particular job context irrespective of age group. Discussions
intended to motivate specific employees should seek to
explore opportunities to satisfy intrinsic basic psychological
needs according to the relative strength of those needs within
the particular individual and as matched to the individual’s
specific work context. This implies that the organisation
will have to invest more into understanding individuals’
perspectives. According to Stone, Deci and Ryan (2009),
meaningful discussions with employees are characterised by
asking open questions, listening attentively, acknowledging
employee perspectives and by refraining from pressure,
threats and directives to perform.
It should nevertheless be noted that workplaces will continue
to become even more multigenerational in the future (Haynes,
2011) and it is likely that stereotypes among age groups
themselves will persist and may cause heightened sensitivity
to perceived age discrimination (Burke et al., 2015). It is
therefore recommended that the organisation should look
for ways to foster a generational-friendly environment
(Hoole & Bonnema, 2015), such as to increase interaction
among employees of different ages through inter-group
activities, mentorship programmes and other initiatives.
According to Next Step Growth (2013), the top suggestions
for bridging generational gaps within the work environment
include collaborative work styles and tools, team-building
events, the use of the latest technology, leadership coaching
and mentorship programmes.
Study limitaons and recommendaons for
future research
The relatively small sample size and the sampling procedure
used in the study did not ensure proportionate representation
within each cohort and limits generalisations to the larger
population. For future studies, the use of a stratified random-
sample design may be beneficial in that it could ensure
sufficient representation of the different generational groups
in the larger selected population.
It is also acknowledged that a cross-sectional study cannot
decisively establish whether observations of small differences
that have been noted in some instances are a result of
generation or age. Although a once-off measurement is useful
as a starting point, it is necessary to explore the trends over
time through longitudinal follow-up studies.
Another limitation of the study is that it applied age
categorisations presented by the literature that tend to
be used across the globe, yet this universal typology of
generations may prove to be too simplistic. Because Burke
et al. (2015, p. 156) emphasised that ‘generational attributes
by their very nature are specific to the socio-political events
that create and shape these cohorts’, more rigorous scientific
verification is necessary to determine whether the broad age
cut-off points used to differentiate cohorts from each other
are indeed justifiable and applicable to the South African
context. If potentially more appropriate cut-off points for age
could be verified and used in future studies, it may for
instance transpire that the current statistically non-significant
yet consistent differences observed between Generation Y
and both Generation X and the Baby Boomers in terms of the
relative strength of their motivational needs may reveal itself
more clearly.
Acknowledgements
Compeng interests
The authors declare that they have no financial or personal
relationships that may have inappropriately influenced them
in writing this article.
Authors’ contribuons
M.H. was the project leader and is the corresponding author.
M.K. prepared the initial analyses of results. Both authors
made substantial conceptual contributions to this article.
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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.
... they are not reliant on technology (Heyns & Kerr, 2018). Generation X (born from 1965 to 1980) is a much smaller generation than the Baby Boomers. ...
... They experienced a poor economy, high crimes, and absentee parents and believed in work-life balance and spending time with their children (Woods, 2019). Finally, millennials (born from 1981 to 1995) are the largest generation raised during the digital age (Heyns & Kerr, 2018). They are the essence of the information age, and they rely on technology (Woods, 2019). ...
... Whereas in today's times, for an organisation to retain its employees, the organisation has to adapt to the employees' needs and wants. Authors, Heyns and Kerr (2018) advise that the change in workforce demographics is a concerning topic for managers and businesses. In a business, up to four different generational groups could exist. ...
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Hive Digital Media has a diverse employee workforce with employees from different generations. The management team is struggling to motivate the employees, instruct employees to perform tasks adequately and consistently and have seen an increase in employee turnover. This study aimed to explore the challenges managers facing when dealing with multi-generational workforce. Qualitative research was conducted among managers to understand how they manage multi-generational workforce. Purposive sampling technique was used to select the participants. One-on-one in-depth interview was conducted virtually, and open-ended questions were used to collect the data. The study found that managers should understand the different generations and their personalities as a base. Managers must then take the time to identify each employee as an individual person and what the need, wants and goals are of each employee. By managers upskilling themselves with knowledge on the different generations, they can equip themselves with the tools they need to solve the challenges successfully. Managers need to make a concerted effort to make time for communication and getting to know each individual employee. Using the information on the different generations as a base but gaining in-depth information on employees. It could be concluded that although it is important to understand the different generations, personalities need to be managed and categorising or stereotyping employees into generation groups needs to be avoided.
... Очекује се висок ранг (утицај) чинилаца који се односе на међуљудске односе и висину плате. Претпоставка да постоје разлике у утицају мотивационих чинилаца у зависности од карактеристика испитаника заснована је како искуствено тако и на резултатима претходних истраживања (Cleal, Sell, 2011;Eskildsen et al., 2004;Harpaz, 1990;Heyns, Kerr, 2018Ismail, Ahmed, 2015Ismail, 2008;Kovаch, 1987;Manolopoulos, 2006;Мијачика, 1989;Михаиловић, 1988;Wiley, 1997). У раду ће бити приказане и промене у хијерархији мотивационих чинилаца у периоду 2010, 2018. ...
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Motivation for work is crucial for the success of modern organizations. Factors that influence the motivation for work are numerous, and their importance is changing. The hierarchy of motivational factors was researched in different time frames and different cultures. In addition the influence of individual characteristics of employees has also been researched. The paper presents a survey of attitudes about the influence of the above mentioned factors on motivation for the work of professional members of the Serbian Armed Forces. The data were collected by anonymous survey of a suitable sample of 1929 members of the Serbian Army during 2010, 2018 and 2020. The questionnaire developed for research consists of a scale of 18 and 16 motivational factors. The 18item scale has a high level of internal consistency (a =0.909/N1) as well as the 16-item scale (a=0.877/N2) and (a=0.829/N3). According to the study results, the hierarchy of motivational factors was constructed: 1) Love for work, 2) Interesting work, 3) Good interpersonal relations, 4) Correct attitude of the manager, 5) Self-affirmation, 6) Success in work, 7) Security of employment, 8) Information sharing, 9) Responsible work, 10) Taking part in decision making, 11) Fair distribution of work, 12) Salary level, 13) Receiving praises, 14) Independence, 15) Possibility for postgraduate training, 16) Awards, 17) Delegation of power, and 18) Criticism. The significance of the money that can be empirically experienced, is not fully proven because the amount of salary is at the 12th position. Results from 2018 and 2020 differ slightly from those gathered in 2010, in terms of hierarchy of the motivational factors and their motivational potential. Noticeable was the decrease in importance of the "interesting job" factor (1/7), as well as the increase for the factor "salary amount" (8/4) and "independence"(9/2). The use of single-factor variance analysis (ANOVA), post hoc test and t-test showed statistically significant differences in the influence of motivational factors on the motivation across different subpopulations of respondents. The size of the impact of the motivational factors on motivation for work increases with the level of postgraduate training, and it is higher in those who are more satisfied with the salary, as well as for the officers in comparison to non-commissioned officers and civilian employees.
... As society diversifies, individual values diversify, and efforts to realize individual values in family, school and work-life become bold (Burke et al., 2015). Today's organizations deal with many more diverse employees in relation to gender, age, race, nationality, and personal needs and interests (Heyns and Kerr, 2018;Jones et al., 2018;Kalleberg and Marsden, 2019). Each employee has distinct values and preferences as unique personal characteristics, and these differences influence an individual's work value (Park et al., 2020). ...
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... Similarities and differences of a variety of characteristics across age groups have been a frequently examined area in recent years. Comparisons of work ethic (Zabel et al., 2017), work-related values (Parry and Urwin, 2011), motivations (Heyns and Kerr, 2018) and views of meaningful work (Weeks and Schaffert, 2019) are some of the areas that have been explored. ...
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Purpose Organizational leaders and human resource professionals affirm that to have (and keep) an effective workforce, understanding one’s employees is critical. Thus, understanding the differences between employees of different age groups is important. Simultaneously, studies have demonstrated the significant positive impact appreciation has on the functioning of organizations. When team members feel truly valued, numerous positive benefits result, including lower staff turnover, less absenteeism, higher customer ratings and greater profitability. Design/methodology/approach Because individuals prefer to be shown appreciation in different ways and prior research has shown some age differences, this study examined how appreciation preferences differ across seven employee age groups. Over 190,000 individuals completed an online assessment based on the five languages of appreciation, which identifies employees’ preferred ways of receiving appreciation. The respondents were separated into seven age groups, from 19 years old and younger to 70 years old and above. Findings The results of an analysis of variance found that there were significant differences across groups. Although the patterns of preferences were largely the same across many groups, post hoc analyses found both the youngest and oldest age groups differed from employees in their 30s with regards to their desire for quality time. Additionally, older employees were extremely low in their desire for tangible gifts. Originality/value As the proportion of employees shifts from older to younger groups of employees, these results raise important implications for organizations’ approaches regarding how appreciation and other motivators should be adjusted for different groups of employees.
... En lo referente a los años en los cuales nacieron los integrantes de la generación Y se convierte en una apreciación examinada por diferentes investigaciones: Kotler (2012) considera que la generación Y debe contemplar a los individuos nacidos entre 1977 y 2000, mientras que Ramos (2017) menciona que los integrantes de la generación Y, nombre con el cual se distingue a esta generación, corresponde a las personas nacidas entre las décadas de los 1980 y 1990, por su parte Kerr & Heyns (2018) afirman que son los nacidos entre los años 1982 -2000. Para los efectos del presente estudio se reconocerán a los integrantes de la generación Y como las personas nacidas entre 1977 y 2000 pues es el rango de años más amplio propuesto en la revisión, es decir para 2021 los integrantes de esta generación tendrán una edad entre 21 y 44 años. ...
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The study of reciprocity within inter-organizational exchanges has been a widely investigated subject matter since the concept was first declared a universal personal norm by Gouldner (1960). In business practice, many networking organizations thrive on creating an environment where professionals can pass leads, referrals, and clients to one another for mutual gain (BNI, 2017). Though the power of professional reciprocity is actualized in industry, this study seeks to identify specific factors that influence a professional's sentiment of reciprocity. This quantitative research investigates influencers both on the positive (rewarding) and negative (punishing) sides of the reciprocity spectrum. Study findings identified that industry type, professional experience, and gender act as factors that directly act as influencers of negative reciprocity. In contrast, a professional's education level is shown to influence positive reciprocity directly. These findings have aided in creating the Reciprocal Influencers Model and posits that professional reciprocity should also be considered a universal business norm.
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Orientation: In order to ensure harmonious relationships in the workplace, work values of different generational cohorts need to be investigated and understood. Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the work values of a South African sample from a generational perspective, in order to foster an understanding of the similarities and differences of different generational cohorts in terms of work values. Motivation of the study: Understanding the work values of different generational cohorts could assist organisations to manage and retain human capital in an increasingly competitive environment. Furthermore, it could assist organisations to develop an advanced understanding of employee behaviour, which should inform conflict-resolution strategies to deal with reported conflict between different generational cohorts. Research design, approach and method: The study was conducted within the positivist paradigm and was quantitative in nature. Data were gathered from 301 employees representing three different generational cohorts, namely the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. A cross-sectional study was conducted, and data were collected once off by means of the Values Scale. The psychometric properties of the Values Scale have a reliability coefficient of 0.95, and the scale has been applied successfully in various iterations. Main findings: The findings indicate statistically significant differences and similarities between the various generational cohorts in terms of work values. More specifically, similarities and differences between the various generational cohorts were observed with regard to the values of authority, creativity, risk and social interaction in the work context. Practical/managerial implications: Organisations can use the findings of the study to strengthen employee interaction within the work environment. In addition, the findings can be used to inform retention and management strategies, in order to ensure harmonious relationships in the workplace. Contribution/value-add: The study contributes to the literature on South African generational cohorts and work values.
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Orientation: In order to ensure harmonious relationships in the workplace, work values of different generational cohorts need to be investigated and understood.Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the work values of a South African sample from a generational perspective, in order to foster an understanding of the similarities and differences of different generational cohorts in terms of work values.Motivation of the study: Understanding the work values of different generational cohorts could assist organisations to manage and retain human capital in an increasingly competitive environment. Furthermore, it could assist organisations to develop an advanced understanding of employee behaviour, which should inform conflict-resolution strategies to deal with reported conflict between different generational cohorts.Research design, approach and method: The study was conducted within the positivist paradigm and was quantitative in nature. Data were gathered from 301 employees representing three different generational cohorts, namely the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. A cross-sectional study was conducted, and data were collected once off by means of the Values Scale. The psychometric properties of the Values Scale have a reliability coefficient of 0.95, and the scale has been applied successfully in various iterations.Main findings: The findings indicate statistically significant differences and similarities between the various generational cohorts in terms of work values. More specifically, similarities and differences between the various generational cohorts were observed with regard to the values of authority, creativity, risk and social interaction in the work context.Practical/managerial implications: Organisations can use the findings of the study to strengthen employee interaction within the work environment. In addition, the findings can be used to inform retention and management strategies, in order to ensure harmonious relationships in the workplace.Contribution/value-add: The study contributes to the literature on South African generational cohorts and work values.
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Orientation: Engaging employees and providing employees with a sense of meaning at work is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Although research has shown that differences between work engagement and meaningful work amongst generational cohorts exist, results are still inconclusive. With age becoming increasingly more important as a diversity factor, a better understanding of the dynamics between work engagement and meaningful work across different generational cohorts is necessary to design the right strategy for each organisation’s unique parameters.Research purpose: The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a relationship between work engagement and meaningful work and whether there are significant variances between the levels of work engagement and meaningful work between different generational cohorts.Motivation for study: Work engagement has consistently been highlighted by researchers and human resources experts as a recommended solution to provide companies with the upper hand when it comes to creating a competitive edge. Yet, levels of work engagement are far from ideal, requiring intensified efforts to identify solutions towards raising overall engagement levels. In recent years, much of the focus in terms of generating engagement has been aimed in the direction of financial rewards and other benefits; some organisational experts are of the opinion that a shift is occurring towards meaningful work instead of monetary rewards as the driver of engagement. The changing nature of the work landscape also suggests that generational cohorts experience work engagement and meaningful work differently. Understanding these complexities is mandatory in creating solutions towards improving levels of engagement and meaningful work.Research approach, design and method: A cross-sectional quantitative research approach has been followed. The Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) and Psychological Meaningful Scale (PMS) were administered to 261 participants across several financial institutions in Gauteng, including three generational cohorts (Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y). Main findings: A moderate relationship was found to exist between work engagement and meaningful work. The Baby Boomer generation experiences the highest levels of engagement and meaningful work. Significant differences were found between Baby Boomers and Generation X and Baby Boomers and Generation Y. No significant difference were noted between Generation X and Generation Y.Practical/managerial implications: A one-size-fits-all strategy to improve work engagement and the sense of meaning in work does not exist. Results of this study suggest that various approaches based on the needs of each cohort may be required in order to sustain engagement. Older workers in particular prove to be far more valuable and productive and should be treated with care.Contribution: Whilst a large amount of information exists in terms of generational cohorts, not all findings are supported by empirical research to link the concept of work engagement to the different generational cohorts. The conventional belief that older people are less engaged and do not find meaning in their work has been proven to be a misconception, which highlights the danger of stereotypical beliefs. The findings suggest that older employees are still very valuable resources and can contribute significantly to the organisation’s success, but have different needs and values than other age groups. Customised engagement strategies tailored towards different generational cohorts might be more beneficial.
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The aim of the paper is to determine empirically through quantitative research the satisfaction levels of employees from the different age generation groups. This focus is on the perceptions of Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby-Boomers in an organisation with a population of 27 611 employees. Structural equation modelling was used to confirm the reliability and validity of the questionnaire and the data was analysed by means of the Kuskall-Wallis test. The results indicate similarities between the three generations, but also significant differences. It appears from the results that management needs to focus on the needs and expectations of the various generations to improve overall employee satisfaction. They should especially note the different expectations and needs of the younger generations. DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n21p129
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We examined generational differences in reasons for attending college among a nationally representative sample of college students (N = 8 million), 1971-2014. We validated the items on reasons for attending college against an established measure of extrinsic and intrinsic values among college students in 2014 (n = 189). Millennials (in college 2000s-2010s) and Generation X (1980s-1990s) valued extrinsic reasons for going to college ("to make more money") more, and anti-extrinsic reasons ("to gain a general education and appreciation of ideas") less than Boomers when they were the same age in the 1960s-1970s. Extrinsic reasons for going to college were higher in years with more income inequality, college enrollment, and extrinsic values. These results mirror previous research finding generational increases in extrinsic values begun by GenX and continued by Millennials, suggesting that more recent generations are more likely to favor extrinsic values in their decision-making.