While considerable scholarly attention has been given to “millennials” (those born between 1981 and 1997), little is known of this generation’s ability to influence healthcare organizations and managerial roles in particular. This paper aims to clarify why millennials enter the healthcare management field and how their motivations correlate with preferences for working in various healthcare sectors and with various patient populations.
Survey data were collected from 107 millennials pursuing bachelor degrees in healthcare management by using a modified version of the multidimensional work motivation scale. Further data were collected on millennials’ preferences for working in various healthcare sectors and with various patient populations. Correlational analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between types of motivation and workplace preferences. Cross-cultural differences were also examined within this generational set.
Results indicate a significant positive relationship between intrinsic motivation and preferences for working on the payer side of the industry and within finance and IT functions. Findings also reveal a significant positive relationship between prosocial motivation and preferences for working with more vulnerable patient populations. Variance in work motivation among cultural sub-sets of millennials suggests different upbringings, or alternatively, cultural relativity of the motivational constructs themselves.
Despite offering key insights into the next generation of healthcare managers, this study is limited by a sample of millennials from one large, metropolitan university in the USA and thus may not represent the views of all millennials.
To select, retain and develop the next generation of healthcare managers, it is incumbent upon organizations to better understanding millennials’ motivations and preferences.
This study is the first of its kind to illuminate the motivations and preferences that underpin a key and growing segment of the healthcare workforce. Millennials, now the largest and most diverse generation on the planet, are poised to change the landscape of health care.
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