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Generational Diversity at Work
New Research Perspectives
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Over the past decade much attention has been paid to the apparent differences in consumption preferences or workplace attitudes and behaviours across generations. Within Western economies such as the USA, UK and Australia, it is commonly assumed that that there are now four generations in the workplace, namely Veterans (born 1925-1942), Baby Boomers (1943-1960), Generation X (1961-1981) and Generation Y (1982- 2000) The concept of generational differences at work is one that has recently been adopted by practitioners as a basis on which to design human resource management and career management practices. However, there has been some concern in academic circles about the validity of the notion of generations and the evidence base that supports it. There is therefore a need for new perspectives and methodological approaches to investigating generational differences at work in order to establish the validity and value of generations as an axis of diversity. Generational Diversity at Work: New Research Perspectives will address this need by presenting and discussing research into generational diversity that adopts a range of new theoretical perspectives or methodological approaches.
This book is designed as a first step in addressing the need to critically examine the theoretical and empirical basis for generational differences and to provide some new empirical data in this area.


1. New Perspectives on Generational Diversity at Work - Introduction 2. The Age Cube of Work 3. Why do Generational Differences in Psychological Contracts Exist? 4. Work-Home Values: The Interplay Between Historical Trends and Generational Work-Home Values 5. Is it Kids Today or Just the Fact That They're Kids? Disentangling Generational Differences from Age Differences 6. Back to Basics: Is There a Significant Dimension and Where Does it 'Cut'? 7. Intergenerational Cooperation in Teams as a Driver of Team Commitment and Loyalty 8. Toward and Identity-Based Perspective of Generations 9. Keen. Groovy, Wicked, or Phat, is it Cool: Generational Stereotyping and Social Identity 10. Launching a Career: Inter-Generational Differences in the Early Career Stage Based on Retrospective Accounts 11. Beyond Generational Differences? Exploring Individual and Organizational Influences on Inter-Generational Work Attitudes and Experiences 12. Generational Cohorts and Personal Values: An Exploratory Study in the Indian Workplace 13. Generational Differences in the Factors Influencing Career Success Across Countries Chapter 1 Introduction This chapter provides the background to this book and hives an overview of the chapters. Chapter 2 The age cube of work - Jesse Segers, Ilke Inceoglu and Lisa Finklestein Generations are one of several ways to frame age issues in the workplace. This chapter presents an expanded framework for conceptualizing subjective age called The Age Cube of Work. We explain the evolution of this idea, and its three dimensions. It specifies seven substantive forms of age (e.g. chronological, generational), four types of comparisons (e.g. relative, normative) and five specific contexts (e.g., job, organization), which leads to 140 theoretical ways one can approach subjective age. The concept is in its early stages, and is offered as a guiding structure for researchers to explore the best options for specific research questions. Chapter 3 Why do generational differences in psychological contracts exist?- Xander D. Lub, P.Matthijs Bal; Robert J. Blomme and Rene Schalk In recent years, there has been increasing interest in generational dynamics and their impact on the employment relationship. This chapter applies psychological contract theory and mental schema theory to propose how generational experiences may affect the employment relationship and work outcomes. We argue that formative societal experiences develop into mental schemas that affect perceptions of the employment relationship. Moreover, the role of the organization as an interface between societal developments and the individual is discussed. This chapter offers several insights for the study of generations in organizations and psychological contract theory, particularly in the context of formative experiences. Chapter 4 Work home values: the interplay between historical trends and generational work-home values. - Jenny M.H Sok, Xander D. Lub and Robert J. Blomme Over the last 60 years both the work and the home domain have undergone profound changes. As a result, balancing work and home life has become more difficult for every employee/private person, and a primary concern to employers and policymakers. The three generations, currently present in the workforce, have received a different imprint from the social trends that occurred during their youth. This has resulted in the formation of different work-home values and behaviors in each of the three generations. Consequently, we argue that the three current (and the next) generations require different approaches from policy-makers and employers regarding their work-home balance. Chapter 5 Is it kids today or just the fact that they're kids? Disentangling generational differences from age differences - Stacy M. Campbell and Jean M. Twenge The changing nature of today's workforce and the presence of multiple generations has made generational research a hot topic. However, much of the existing research on generational differences relies on cross-sectional data, which makes it difficult to ascertain if the differences are due to age (how young people have always behaved) or generation (the influence of changing culture). The goal of this chapter is to highlight the importance of study design when conducting research on generational differences and focus on the use of a time-lag study design, which compares samples collected over time. Chapter 6 Back to Basics: is there a significant generational dimension and where does it cut? - Peter Urwin, Franz Buscha & Emma Parry Despite an apparent consistency across the academic and practitioner literatures, there are concerns over the validity of evidence on which the concept of generations is based. Existing studies are problematic because of their cross sectional research design and there is insufficient justification for the use of existing generational categories as they originate from the practitioner literatures based on anecdotal evidence.This chapter sets out the first stages of a research project that begins the process of addressing these weaknesses in existing research by using historical datasets (repeated cross-sections and panel surveys) to distinguish between age differences, cohort (generational) effects and period effects. The question is, if generational differences exist, what are the generations? Chapter 7 Intergenerational cooperation in teams as a driver of team commitment and loyalty -Ans De Vos In this chapter we approach generational diversity from the viewpoint of intergenerational cooperation in teams. We thereby consider generational diversity as both a surface level and a deep level dimension of diversity. In addition we also include diversity "in the eyes of the beholder", namely team members' perceptions of the quality of intergenerational cooperation in their team. We study team process factors affecting these three facets of intergenerational cooperation in teams, and relate them to outcomes in terms of team members' commitment to the team and their intentions to stay. Chapter 8 Toward an identity-based perspective of generations - Michael J. Urick and Elaine C. Hollensbe The purpose of this chapter is to explore how issues related to identity and identification might be useful to understanding generational phenomena at work. In this chapter, the authors present data from a qualitative study that suggests four ways in which individuals relate to generations: strong identities (generational categories are perceived to possess unique and identifiable traits), identification (individuals strongly define themselves as a member of a particular generational category and its perceived traits), disidentification (individuals state that they do not define themselves by a particular generational category), and de-prioritization (individuals place their generation low on a list of possible identities by which they define themselves). The chapter concludes with a discussion of implications in the workplace Chapter 9: Keen, groovy, wicked or phat, it is all cool: generational stereotyping and social identity. -Katherine J. Roberto and John R. Biggan This chapter considers the role of stereotyping generations and its role in identification with generations. Using qualitative data, we look at the pervasiveness of stereotypes held about each generation by members of other generations. Then, we examine the relationship between positive and negative stereotypes given by participants about other generations versus their own. The findings are discussed along with their implications Chapter 10 Launching a career: inter-generational differences in early career stage based on retrospective accounts. - Sean T. Lyons, Eddy S. Ng and Linda Schweitzer This study examines the early-career histories of members of three generations of workers. In-depth oral histories of 84 Canadians were obtained through unstructured interviews. The histories revealed a number of unique themes in the early careers of each generation. Baby boomers expressed an abundance of opportunities, upward progress through seizing opportunities and self-confidence gained through career success. Generation Xers expressed an absence of opportunities and a lack of career confidence. Millennials expressed eagerness for advancement and variety and willingness to be mobile in their careers. This study shows how retrospective histories can be used to compare generations on common life events. Chapter 11 Beyond generational differences? Exploring individual and organizational influences on inter-generational work attitudes and experiences. - Jean McCarthy, Jeanette N. Cleveland and Noreen Heraty This chapter sets out to provide a better understanding of the factors that may influence generational variations in work attitudes. We first explore whether generational differences exist in a number of important work attitudes, namely job satisfaction; organisational commitment; and job stress. Second, we seek to identify what specific individual and organisational variables influence intergenerational differences in these important work attitudes. Drawing on data from two nationally representative surveys (conducted in Ireland in 2003 and 2009) exploring employees' attitudes toward work, our evidence demonstrates the existence of significant generational differences in work attitudes, even when gender, job level and industry type are controlled, while interactions between generation and job level, and generation and gender, hold some explanatory power. Chapter 12 Generational cohorts and personal values: an exploratory study in the Indian workplace - Vasanthi Srinivasan, Dedeepya Ajith John and Maria Nirmala Christine We undertook a study to investigate the value orientation of generational cohorts in India, which would go beyond the traditional classification of generations in the Western literature. We identified four generational cohorts -- Pre-Liberalization, Early-Liberalization, Rapid Growth, and Plateaued Growth -- through focus group discussions. We administered the Rokeach Values Survey to 910 employees in the IT and infrastructure sectors. Though they differed on several values, Family security and Health emerged as the highest ranked values across the four generations. Demographic variables like parental occupation and geographic location appeared to impact the values. Given its depth, generational diversity in India bears future research. Chapter 13 Generational differences in the factors influencing career success across countries. - Julie Unite, Yan Shen, Emma Parry, Barbara Demel and Jon P. Briscoe This exploratory study aims to identify how different age groups (those over 50 years old versus those under 30 years old) in South Africa, China, the US, and the UK attribute their career success. Based on 89 semi-structured interviews across these four countries, we found that both human (e.g., one's educational and job history) and social (e.g., support from their supervisors and peers) capital are important influencing factors for the younger and older generations, though the order of importance is varied between the two generations. In addition, macro influencing factors, such as government policies, are particularly salient in China and South Africa where the institutional contexts are very different from the US and UK. Our findings facilitate the understanding of careers in different generations from different institutional contexts and provide some important insights into contemporary career theory and management


ISBN-13: 9781136660061
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Publication date: April, 2014
Pages: 254