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Understanding and managing generational differences in the workplace

Camille Kapoor (C.N. Hilton College, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
Nicole Solomon (C.N. Hilton College, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




The modern workplace now consists of four different generations for the first time in history. Each generation, Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y, has been heavily influenced by the events of their time; this creates a new challenge for employers. Companies must make workplace adjustments in order to create a productive environment for all employees, regardless of their generation. This paper aims to address these issues.


The findings of researchers interested in generational differences, workplace communication, management, diversity in the workplace, and many other topics were studied in the production of this piece.


This research shows that employers must identify the separate characteristics of each generation present in their workplace. Further, employers must foster a work environment that aids productivity for every generation; they must give their employees the information and skills needed to understand the generational characteristics of their co‐workers to create understanding among employees. Other steps that managers can take include mentor programs, generational diversity training, and enhanced communication methods designed to cater to each generation's preferences.


This literature review takes into account the findings of researchers who have studied the characteristics of each generation and the application of these characteristics in the workplace. The problem of a generationally diverse workplace is present in most companies today.



Kapoor, C. and Solomon, N. (2011), "Understanding and managing generational differences in the workplace", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 308-318.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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