Australia's changing workplace: a generational perspective

Sayers, R 2006, Australia's changing workplace: a generational perspective, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Australia's changing workplace: a generational perspective
Author(s) Sayers, R
Year 2006
Abstract This research investigates generational differences in Australian workers. In particular it focuses on changing trends and influences in the workplace and how different generations view and deal with these changes. The study focuses on Baby Boomers (born 1945-1963), Generation X (born 1964-1977) and Generation Y (born 1978 - 1994) across four industry sectors: Corporate, Education, Government and Not for Profit.

The Australian workforce currently consists of four generations - all having distinct characteristics, working styles, needs and expectations. These differences pose challenges and opportunities to workforce management. The first step in managing the generations and their differences is to identify where the differences lie and to understand how best to cope with and exploit these differences. This research, in taking a generational cohort perspective towards analysing the modern workplace, seeks to explore how the different generations view the trends and influences that impact their work; and their attitudes towards technology, communication, work/life balance, organisational loyalty, attraction, engagement and retention.

The study uses a multi-phase qualitative approach and includes in-depth interviews with a range of Australian industry experts; discussion groups held with Gen Ys, Gen Xers and Baby Boomer employees, in four organisations across four industry sectors; and in-depth interviews with senior executives in the same four organisations.

This research will have significance to all organisations especially those that employ workers from across the generations and who are managing a multigenerational workforce. The findings will have practical application to organisational policy development in areas such as, work/life balance, attraction, engagement and retention of employees, reward and recognition systems, technology in the workplace and training and development.

The study adds to the body of knowledge in workforce management, and in particular to the emerging body of knowledge on generational cohort analysis of the workplace in the Australian context. The study found significant generational differences that when harnessed and managed effectively, can contribute to the output and performance of the organisation as a whole.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Economics, Finance and Marketing
Keyword(s) Labor market -- Australia
Organizational change -- Australia
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