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Book part
Publication date: 30 June 2016

Eddy S. Ng and Emma Parry

Interest in generational research has garnered a lot of attention, as the workplace is seeing multiple generations (i.e., the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers…

Abstract

Interest in generational research has garnered a lot of attention, as the workplace is seeing multiple generations (i.e., the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials) working side-by-side for the first time. However, it is unclear how multiple generations of workers interact with each other and affect the workplace. Although there is extant literature on generational differences, some scholars have argued that the effect sizes are small and the differences are not meaningful. The focal aim of this chapter is to present the current state of literature on generational research. We present the relevant conceptualizations and theoretical frameworks that establish generational research. We then review evidence from existing research studies to establish the areas of differences that may exist among the different generations. In our review, we identify the issues arising from generational differences that are relevant to human resource management (HRM) practices, including new workforce entrants, aging workers, the changing nature of work and organizations, and leadership development. We conclude with several directions for future research on modernizing workplace policies and practices, ensuring sustainability in current employment models, facilitating future empirical research, and integrating the effects of globalization in generational research.

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Book part
Publication date: 1 August 2017

Justin Marcus and Michael P. Leiter

This chapter aims to provide nuance into the issue of generational cohort differences at work by focusing on the role of contextual moderator variables. Theory and…

Abstract

This chapter aims to provide nuance into the issue of generational cohort differences at work by focusing on the role of contextual moderator variables. Theory and hypotheses derived from the research on generational differences, psychological contracts, and work values are contrasted to a countervailing set of hypotheses derived from theory and research on the confluence of age and Person-Environment (P-E) fit. Complex patterns of interactive effects are posited for both alternatives. The results favored a generational hypothesis regarding the positively valenced construct of job satisfaction but an age-based hypothesis for the negatively valenced construct of turnover intentions. Results are tested using a subset from a large and nationally representative sample of adults from the US workforce (n = 476). Results offer mixed support for both age and generational cohorts, qualified by the specific type of outcome at hand.

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Age Diversity in the Workplace
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-073-0

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2009

Sherry E. Sullivan, Monica L. Forret, Shawn M. Carraher and Lisa A. Mainiero

The purpose of this paper is to examine, utilising the Kaleidoscope Career Model, whether members of the Baby Boom generation and Generation X differ in their needs for…

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10580

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine, utilising the Kaleidoscope Career Model, whether members of the Baby Boom generation and Generation X differ in their needs for authenticity, balance, and challenge.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were obtained from 982 professionals located across the USA. Correlations, t‐tests, and multiple regressions were performed to test the hypotheses.

Findings

Members of Generation X have higher needs for authenticity and balance than Baby Boomers. There was no difference in needs for challenge between Baby Boomers and members of Generation X.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation in the study, as well as in most of the research on generational differences, is the use of cross‐sectional designs that fail to capture the influence of the aging process. A longitudinal, multi‐survey design over the lives of individuals would enable scholars to capture within‐ and between‐person differences and to permit a better understanding of whether differences are in fact due to generational effects or to aging.

Practical implications

Knowledge of the differences and similarities among the various generations in the workforce can help organizational leaders make important decisions about human resource policies and practices.

Originality/value

Many studies in the popular press stress the prevalence and importance of generational differences in the workplace. However, the little academic research that has been conducted has shown mixed results. The study uses the theoretical framework of the Kaleidoscope Career Model to examine generational differences in work attitudes.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2018

Jeffrey M. Cucina, Kevin A. Byle, Nicholas R. Martin, Sharron T. Peyton and Ilene F. Gast

The purpose of this paper is to examine the presence of generational differences in items measuring workplace attitudes (e.g. job satisfaction, employee engagement).

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6324

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the presence of generational differences in items measuring workplace attitudes (e.g. job satisfaction, employee engagement).

Design/methodology/approach

Data from two empirical studies were used; the first study examined generational differences in large sample, multi-organizational administrations of an employee survey at both the item and general-factor levels. The second study compared job satisfaction ratings between parents and their children from a large nationwide longitudinal survey.

Findings

Although statistically significant, most generational differences in Study 1 did not meet established cutoffs for a medium effect size. Type II error was ruled out given the large power. In Study 2, generational differences again failed to reach Cohen’s cutoff for a medium effect size. Across both studies, over 98 percent of the variance in workplace attitudes lies within groups, as opposed to between groups, and the distributions of scores on these variables overlap by over 79 percent.

Originality/value

Prior studies examining generational differences in workplace attitudes focused on scale-level constructs. The present paper focused on more specific item-level constructs and employed larger sample sizes, which reduced the effects of sampling error. In terms of workplace attitudes, it appears that generations are more similar than they are different.

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Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Book part
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Susan Jurney, Tim Rupert and Marty Wartick

Generational theory research suggests that the arrival of the Millennial generation into adulthood will have significant effects on society because of their differing…

Abstract

Generational theory research suggests that the arrival of the Millennial generation into adulthood will have significant effects on society because of their differing values and attitudes. We examine whether this generation has differing perceptions of tax fairness as well as their attitudes towards tax compliance as compared to other generations by administering an instrument to a sample of 303 taxpayers, distributed approximately equally across three generational groups: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. The results suggest that there are significant differences in the viewpoints toward vertical equity and progressive taxation among the three generations. More specifically, the Millennial generation was less likely to recommend progressive taxation than the other two generations. In addition, there were significant differences between the groups on an exchange equity question as well. However, in this situation, it was the Baby Boomers that were significantly different from the other two generations. The results also suggest that the Millennials have attitudes that are more accepting of noncompliance than both the Generation X participants and the Baby Boomer participants. However, a significant difference does not exist between the Baby Boomer participants and Generation X participants on their attitudes towards compliance.

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Advances in Taxation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-524-5

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Book part
Publication date: 6 September 2021

Youjeong Huh and Michael T. Ford

In this chapter, how the occupational stress process changes over the life course and how this may intersect with observed generational differences are examined. This is…

Abstract

In this chapter, how the occupational stress process changes over the life course and how this may intersect with observed generational differences are examined. This is done by jointly reviewing studies on occupational well-being that adopted the theoretical lens of generational or lifespan developmental perspectives; the two perspectives are closely related and have the potential to better inform one another because both consider chronological age to be a pivotal factor driving individual differences in work values, attitudes and well-being. However, these perspectives have yet to be simultaneously considered in a review of occupational well-being research, leaving scholars wondering whether they overlap, and if so, in which area. It is hoped that juxtaposition of the two disparate bodies of literature can better inform the convergence and divergence of findings on worker well-being scattered across the two literatures. In this chapter, (a) generational differences in job satisfaction, (b) how work characteristics may differentially affect job satisfaction in workers across generations, (c) how work contexts may differentially impact job satisfaction across generations, (d) generational differences in work-family interface, and lastly, (e) recent developments in the field are discussed. Although extant research on the first topic, generational differences in job satisfaction, has shown some consistent evidence, research findings in the subsequent topics remain relatively inconsistent. Based on our review, it is concluded that additional research is needed to expand our understanding of the role of generation and chronological age in workers’ occupational well-being.

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Examining and Exploring the Shifting Nature of Occupational Stress and Well-Being
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-422-0

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2009

Narelle Hess and Denise M. Jepsen

The purpose of this paper is to determine how employees in different generational groups (or cohorts) and different career stages perceive their psychological contracts.

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7138

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine how employees in different generational groups (or cohorts) and different career stages perceive their psychological contracts.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey of 345 working adults included psychological contract obligations, incentives and importance and the cognitive responses of job satisfaction, affective commitment and intention to leave. Super's “Adult career concerns inventory” measured career stage.

Findings

Small but significant differences between individuals' psychological contract perceptions were based on both career stage and generational cohort: higher levels of balanced obligations and fulfilment were found than either relational or transactional obligations and fulfilment; relational and transactional obligations were significantly higher for Baby Boomers than Generation Xers; a stronger negative relationship was found between transactional fulfilment and intention to leave for Generation Xers than Generation Yers; higher balanced fulfilment had a significantly stronger positive relationship with job satisfaction for exploration compared with other career stages and commitment for exploration compared with maintenance stages.

Research limitations/implications

Cross‐section methodology and difference scores in the female‐dominated sample limits generalisability. The study's key theoretical contribution is the need to further investigate whether the protean career concept is operating within employees' perceptions of their psychological contractual terms.

Originality/value

Despite widespread colloquial use of generational cohort groupings such as Baby Boomer, Generation X and Generation Y, small effect sizes were found. Implications for employers looking to manage employees' psychological contracts include that there are greater similarities than differences between the different career stages and generational cohorts.

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Career Development International, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2012

Jacqueline K. Eastman and Jun Liu

This paper aims to compare the levels of status consumption for Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y (Millennials).

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9768

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to compare the levels of status consumption for Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y (Millennials).

Design/methodology/approach

With an email sample of 220 adult consumers living in the southeast USA, this study measures status consumption, generational cohort, and demographics.

Findings

The study finds significant differences in the level of status consumption by generational cohort. The average level of status consumption was highest for Generation Y, followed by Generation X and then Baby Boomers. In looking at the significance of these differences between individual cohorts, there was a significant difference between Generation Y and Baby Boomers. This suggests that while there are differences in the level of status consumption by generation, this difference is only significant between Generation Y and Baby Boomers. This paper then examines if this relationship between generational cohort and status consumption is impacted by demographic variables, such as gender, income, and education. The results illustrate that, holding generation constant, there is no significant relationship between gender, income, or education with status consumption. There is also no significant interaction between generational cohort and the demographic variables of gender, income, and education. This suggests that the relationship between generational cohort and status consumption is due only to generation and is not being impacted by other demographic variables.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of the study include that it was a convenience sample of predominately white, educated, and younger adult respondents. Additional research is needed to specifically examine ethnic group differences and cohorts prior to the Baby Boomers.

Practical implications

For luxury marketers they need to consider generational cohort, rather than other demographic variables, when segmenting their market.

Originality/value

This paper addresses a gap in the literature by examining if there are differences in the motivation to consume for status based on generational cohort, focusing on the cohorts of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. Additionally, this paper proposes that generational cohort is a better means to segment the status consumer than other demographic variables.

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Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2008

Keith Macky, Dianne Gardner and Stewart Forsyth

This introduction seeks to provide a brief background to the notion that there are generational differences at work and to introduce the papers included in this special…

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23542

Abstract

Purpose

This introduction seeks to provide a brief background to the notion that there are generational differences at work and to introduce the papers included in this special issue of the Journal of Managerial Psychology.

Design/methodology/approach

The current context concerning generational differences at work is briefly outlined followed by a description of the core theory underpinning the notion of generational cohorts. Criticisms of this theoretical premise are provided before a brief outline is given to each article in the special issue.

Findings

There is evidence for changes in personality profiles across generations, and for differences in attitudes towards work and careers. However, effect sizes tend not to be large, and some findings are inconsistent with popular stereotypes regarding generational differences. Little support was found for differences in work values or motivation.

Practical implications

Contrary to popular hype concerning generational differences at work, managerial time may be better spent considering employee needs relating to age (maturity), life‐cycle and career stage differences than developing generationally specific management policies and practices. Significant methodological problems remain in generational research.

Originality/value

The papers facilitate a critical understanding of the challenges facing generational research and its limitations, and provide a litmus test against which popular stereotypes can be compared.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 23 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Article
Publication date: 2 July 2020

Mark X. James, Xue Yang Colemean and Jessica Li

This paper compares the work values of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) millennials with their parents.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper compares the work values of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) millennials with their parents.

Design/methodology/approach

The Chinese version of the multidimensional work ethic profile (1. productive use of time; 2. centrality of work; 3. hard work; 4. delay of gratification; 5. leisure; 6. self-reliance; and 7. moral reasoning) was used to survey PRC millennials and their parents. A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used for comparing work values for a subsample of 68 same-gender parent/child dyads. A one-way ANOVA was used for comparing the work values of the total sample of 217 PRC millennials and their parents.

Findings

The repeated measures ANOVA found that one of the seven work values for the male dyads and three of the seven work values for the female dyads were significantly different. The one-way ANOVA found that four of the seven work values for males grouping and five of the seven work values for the females grouping were significantly different.

Research limitations/implications

Social norms and socialization by parents may moderate the influences of changing social conditions on personal values formation predicted by the theory of generations. Researchers need to sample across demographic and socioeconomic subgroups to understand subgroup differences when conducting cross-generational research. Taking large samples, aggregating data and drawing conclusions about cross-generational values may not be a valid approach in trying to understand the complexity of cross-generational values differences.

Practical implications

Managers should be wary of broad declarations about cross-generational values differences. The differences in generational values are nuanced.

Originality/value

This paper shows when controlling for same-gender parents, cross-generational values are very similar. This contrasts other findings on cross-generational values.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 41 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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