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Generation X and the boomers: organizational myths and literary realities

Steven H. Appelbaum (Concordia University Research Chair in Organizational Development and is Professor of Management at the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd., West, Bureau GM 503‐9, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8)
Maria Serena (MBA, Technical Officer – Accounting, Canadian National Rail, 935 de la Gauchetiere St. West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3B 2M9)
Barbara T. Shapiro (Senior Lecturer of Management, John Molson Schol of Business, Concordia University)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Article publication date: 1 November 2004

Abstract

An extensive literature search was conducted to better understand and to dispel the current stereotypes in the workplace regarding Generation X and Baby Boomers. For the purpose of the article Generation X consisted of those born between 1961 and 1981, while Baby Boomers consisted of those born between 1943 and 1960. The purpose of this article was to use an exhaustive review of eclectic/multidisciplinary literature to address six commonly held myths presented by Paul and Townsend (1993). Furthermore, it was intended to examine empirical research gathered by a literature review of the stereotypes in the workplace, to better understand the profiles and factors that motivate the Baby Boomers and Generation X, in conjunction with the following independent variables: age, productivity, motivation, training, and mentoring and job satisfaction. Selected hypotheses were tested suggesting Generation Xers are more productive, more motivated, easily trainable and exhibit higher job satisfaction levels as compared to Baby Boomers. Results were convergent and divergent in several cases worth noting. It is important for organizations to recognize the limitations that stereotypes create in the workplace. As was demonstrated by the varied research, Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are not dissimilar as employees; they possess more similarities than differences. Organizations need to engineer/design an environment of respect for both groups to create synergies between them to build and maintain a productive workforce.

Keywords

Citation

Appelbaum, S.H., Serena, M. and Shapiro, B.T. (2004), "Generation X and the boomers: organizational myths and literary realities", Management Research News, Vol. 27 No. 11/12, pp. 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1108/01409170410784635

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited