On the different generations in the workforce and their management needs

Kent, J 2010, On the different generations in the workforce and their management needs, Professional Doctorate, Management, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title On the different generations in the workforce and their management needs
Author(s) Kent, J
Year 2010
Abstract  Abstract There are differences in attitudes, values, aspirations and behaviours between the different generational cohorts in Australian organisations today. These differences are accentuated by changing technological, economic, social and environmental conditions but are as much about age or stage-of-life as they are generational. These differences may not be as marked as those differences found between different ethnic cultures, religions, genders, personalities or even professions. However, the differences are capable of sparking deep emotions at the interfaces of the different generations. This thesis argues that defensive and even hostile emotions are triggered by unconscious anxieties around identity and belonging, fear and envy of ‘the other’, attitudes to authority, the taboo of incest and the fear of death and dying. What each generation desires is respect from others. Members of the older generation want to be respected for their knowledge because it may be all that separates them from redundancy and ‘death’. Younger generations want to be respected for their competence and technological savvy – and for their youthfulness. The middle generation, the silent generation, the ME generation, is struggling to be heard and faces the possibility of metaphorically picking up the pieces for its elders and contemptuously wiping the noses of its younger siblings.

Some management behaviours will be more effective with certain age groups than others but essentially there are fundamental management capabilities which all ages and generations require as containers for their workplace anxieties. In many cases the needs of workers are not being met as managers either over-react by trying to straddle what they are told is the deep divide between the different generations or deny the existence or importance of any generational differences at all. Effective management practices involve the need to acknowledge individual concerns, respect different competencies, and involve the different, generations in meaningful activities which will derive synergies from their combined talents.
Degree Professional Doctorate
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Management
Keyword(s) Generations
Intergenerational conflict
"the other"
Gen X
Gen Y
Baby boomers
Intergenerational management
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Created: Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 12:43:32 EST by Denise Paciocco
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