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Leading an intergenerational workforce: an integrative conceptual framework

Camille Guérin-Marion (School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Ian Manion (Institute of Mental Health Research, The Royal, Ottawa, Canada)
Heather Parsons (Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, Ottawa, Canada)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 2 January 2018

Issue publication date: 12 February 2018




The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework for understanding the particular issues associated with leading an intergenerational workforce. It presents promising strategies in the areas of talent management, decision making and internal communication to maximize the strengths and minimize the potential challenges of such a workforce.


This conceptual paper blends a review of descriptive research on generational differences and commonalities in work needs and preferences together with practice-based implications for management and organizational leadership.


A conceptual framework highlights generational issues as both individual- and organizational-level variables to be considered by leaders, and proposes that intergenerational leadership should strive toward achieving a balance between meeting individual and organizational needs. Specific management activities and approaches highlight opportunities for leaders to address generational needs, while paying attention to both commonalities and differences across generations, and create a positive intergenerational work environment.


No clear conceptual framework or model currently exists to help understand and organize the similarities and differences in needs and preferences across generations in a workforce. The paper also offers a series of practical recommendations for organizational leadership based on the proposed framework.



Guérin-Marion, C., Manion, I. and Parsons, H. (2018), "Leading an intergenerational workforce: an integrative conceptual framework", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 48-58.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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