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Perspectives, Values and Issues


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Title: Perspectives, Values and Issues

Perspectives, Values and Issues
  • Across the Generations
  • Implications for
  • the Workplace
  • Breda Bova, Ph.D.
  • University of New Mexico

  • Work underlies the very concept of who we
    arechanges in society, technology and life
    expectancy have influenced how, where and why we
    work. The workplace is now our most diverse
    national institutionand its diversity will only
  • A Nation at Work, 2003

  • If this information is used to
  • pigeonhole people,
  • it will become a dangerous weapon.
  • When we use it to ask ourselves,
  • How can I be more effective? or
  • How can I better understand behavior?
  • it can be a valuable tool.

Key Demographics
  • In 1900 there were 13 million people in the U.S.
    over the age of 45.
  • Today there are nearly 100 million.

Fastcompany, 2004
Key Demographics
  • Between 2010 and 2020, 70 million Americans will
    retire, while only 40 million will enter the
  • By 2020 the key age group of employees (ages 25
    to 44) will shrink by 3, while those aged 55 to
    64 will grow by 73, those aged 65 and older will
    grow by 54.
  • The aging workforce is a global issueby 2050,
    China will have more people over age 65 than the
    rest of the world combined.

2010 Meltdown, 2005
Key Demographics
  • According to estimates released in February 2005
    by the United Nations, the fertility rate in the
    United States is projected to fall below
    replacement level by 2015 to 2020, declining to
    1.91 children per woman (lower than the 2.1
    children per woman rate needed to replace the

Key Demographics
  • One in three American workers are chronically
    overworked, with job-related stress varying
    significantly by age, employment situation, and
    demands at home.
  • 70 percent of employees say that family is their
    most important priority. (Ranstad North America
    survey, 2002). This compares to 54 in 2000.
  • In 70 percent of American families, all parents
    are already workingthe reverse of 1960 when 70
    percent of all families had at least one parent
    at home full-time.
  • More than 1/3 of employees (36) do not plan to
    use their full vacations.
  • Source Families and Work Institute, 2005

Key Demographics
  • More than 20 of households indicate they are
    responsible for some or all of the care of
    elderly relatives.
  • The number of professional women working part
    timeby choicehas risen 17 percent from 1994, to
    2.9 million according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor

Bailyn, 2001
  • Turnout among 18-29 year old voters increased by
    more than 2 million in the 2006 elections
    compared to 2002.
  • Volunteerism by college students increased by 20
    from 2002 to 2005.
  • There is a large and growing civic divide between
    those with a college education and those without
  • National Conference on Citizenship, September 2006

Educational Trends
  • In the United States today, according to the U.S.
    Department of Education, we have over 90 million
    people whose literacy and numeracy skills are
    below the tenth-grade level.
  • There is a tendency to equate convenience with
    quality in education.
  • Recent research from the Center for Academic
    Integrity shows that 70 of post-secondary
    students admit to cheating on tests, and 84
    admit to cheating on term papers.
  • By 2016 women, are projected to earn 60 of
    bachelors, 63 of masters and 54 of doctorate
    and professional degrees.
  • Forty percent of students reported that the
    television was their primary source of obtaining
    news while 34 percent reported that websites were
    their primary source (newspapers were the primary
    source for 11 percent and radio for 8 percent).
  • 90 of the fastest growing jobs require
    post-secondary education.
  • Strategic Planning Trends, December 2003

Educational Trends
  • Half of what students learn in their freshman
    year about the cutting edge of science and
    technology is obsolete, revised or taken for
    granted by their senior year.
  • All signs indicate that corporate involvement in
    public schools will continue to increase over the
    next decade.
  • In 2003 there were more women enrolled in Higher
    Education than men.
  • Todays college grads have spent less than 5,000
    hours of their lives reading but over 10,000
    hours playing video games and over 20,000 hours
    watching TV.
  • Grade inflation.
  • Expectations Gap.

From The Futurist, 2003
A Generation Defined
  • Generation is defined as a group of people who
    share the same formative experiences. These
    experiences bind people that are born in
    continuous years into cohorts--a group of
    individuals that have a demographic statistic in

Birth Year
  • Most frequently, demographers use birth year as
    that common statistic.

Generations Are Shaped by Formative Events
  • To a great extent, the personality of a
    generation is formed by the seminal events that
    take place from the early to middle years of its

Generational Traits, Characteristics and Values
Are Not Universally Shared
  • Not every member of a particular generation will
    share everything in common with other members of
    that generation.

The Generation Gap
The Generation Gap is most apparent in the
workplace. Other than the family, it is the
place where we interact with our generations.
The Challenge May Come from Interactions with
  • Your supervisor
  • Instructor of students
  • An employee
  • Co-worker
  • Client or even a vendor
  • As with other diversity issues such as
  • age, gender, ethnicity and race,
  • examining and understanding generations has
    become an increasingly important part
  • of maximizing organizational effectiveness.

A Few Specific Differences Between Generations
  • Communication styles and expectations
  • Work styles
  • Attitudes about work/life balance
  • Comfort with technology
  • Views regarding loyalty and authority
  • Acceptance of change

The Four Generations
The Four Generations that remain in the workplace
today are
  • The Silent Generation (1925-1942) Approximately
    63 million
  • The Boom Generation (1943-1961) Approximately 77
  • Generation X (1962-1981) Approximately 44
  • Generation Y (1982-1998) Approximately 70
  • Generation Z (2001-Present)

Baby Boomer
Gen X
Gen Y
Work Ethic
View of Authority
Leadership by
Pay your dues
Reluctant to commit
Work/Life Balance
Silent Baby Boomer Gen X Gen Y
Practical Dedicated Respectful Formal
Memo Self-sacrifice Dont get it
Optimistic Driven Pay your dues In
Person Personal gratification Responsible
balancing for everyone else
Skeptical Free Agent Competence E-Mail or
Voicemail Reluctance to commit Want it now
Cautious ? ? Text/ Skype/ IM Inclusive Flexibi
lity and options
Work Ethic
View of Authority
Relationships Work/Life Balance
Approach to Change
  • Silents
  • Ready-Ready-Ready-Aim-Fire!

Boomers Ready-Aim-Fire!
Xers Ready-Fire-Aim! (Learn Experiment Adapt)
Ys Fire-Fire-Fire-Aim-Fire!
Silent Generationaka
  • Veteran Generation
  • WWII Generation
  • Seniors
  • Geezers
  • Radio Babies

Seminal Events
  • World War II
  • The Great Depression
  • The New Deal
  • Korean War
  • Rise of Labor Unions

Characteristics of Silents
  • Postpone Gratification
  • Risk Aversive
  • Loyal
  • Family
  • Country
  • Job
  • Respectful Communication
  • Adherence to Rules

Paying Your Dues
  • They were prepared to endure situations or master
    a body of knowledge.
  • They were willing to demonstrate respect for
    those who came before them.
  • Age and experience counted.

Baby Boomer Update
  • 30 of the Baby Boomer generation are
  • 28 who are grandparents have divorced, remarried
    and have second or third sets of children. In
    some cases our children are playing with our
  • Baby boomers are on the brink of retiring in
    droves leaving behind the largest labor shortage
    in history.
  • 80 indicate they plan to work past age 65.
  • Will control the workplace until about 2015

Baby Boomer Characteristics
  • Largest Generation 77 Million
  • Optimistic
  • Redefined Roles
  • Management by Buzz Word
  • Skewed Work/Life Balance
  • Brought Up in a Competitive Environment
  • Will Revolutionize Retirement
  • Work Ethic and Worth Ethic Are Synonymous

The Baby Boomers
  • Seminal Events
  • McCarthy HCUAA hearings begin
  • Salk Vaccine tested on the public and Rosa Parks
    refuses to move to the back of the bus in
    Montgomery, AL
  • First nuclear Power Plant and Congress passes the
    Civil Rights Act
  • National Defense Education Act
  • Birth control pills introduced and John Kennedy

The Baby Boomers
  • Kennedy establishes Peace Corps
  • Cuban Missile Crisis and John Glenn circles the
  • Martin Luther King leads march on Washington,
    D.C. and President John Kennedy assassinated
  • United States sends ground combat troops to
  • 1965 Higher Education Act
  • National Organization for Women founded

The Baby Boomers (continued)
  1. Cultural Revolution in China
  2. American Indian Movement founded
  3. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy
  4. First Lunar landing and Woodstock
  5. Kent State University shootings

What the Other Generations Think About the Baby
  • Silents say
  • They talk about things they ought to keep
    private like the intimate details of their
    personal lives.
  • They are self-absorbed.

What the Other Generations Think About the Baby
  • Gen Xers say
  • Theyre clueless about the future.
  • Theyre workaholics.
  • Theyre too political, always trying to figure
    out just what to sayto whomand when.
  • Get outta my face.
  • They do a great job of talking the talk. But
    they dont walk the walk.
  • Lighten up its only a job.
  • Whats the management fad this week?
  • Cant make a decision without forming a

What the Other Generations Think About the Baby
  • Gen Y say
  • Theyre cool. Theyre up to date on the music
    we like.
  • They work too much.

Managing Baby Boomers
  • Recognize their experience as a valuable asset
  • Use them as mentors
  • Recognize role overload and conflicting demands
  • Assist with time demands
  • Recognize Technology Challenges

  • Twentysomethings
  • Baby Busters
  • The Thirteenth Generation

Gen X Update
  • Generation X is moving into its peak family
    raising years.
  • Census data shows an increase in stay-at-home Gen
    X moms. The increase is most pronounced among
    college graduates. Many indicate they are looking
    for a less frazzled lifestyle.
  • 40 indicate they have too much debt to consider
  • Thirty percent have college degrees.

Gen X Seminal Events
  • 1971 Intels first chip developed
  • 1972 First e-mail management program
  • 1975 Personal computer introduced on the consumer
  • 1981 Centers for Disease Controls first
    published report on AIDS
  • 1981 Reagan assassination attempt
  • 1984 Extensive corporate downsizing begins
  • 1986 Challenger explosion

Generation X Characteristics
  • Dedicated to people, projects, ideas and tasks,
    not to longevity and lifetime employment
  • They are parallel thinkers
  • They are independent and resourceful
  • They are accepting of change
  • They Want it now!
  • They are comfortable with diversity
  • They have expectations of balanced lifestyles
  • They view mentoring as a right not a privilege
  • They have a free agent approach to careers

What Xers Want in the Workplace
  • They want flexibility
  • They want to be developed
  • They want to be engaged
  • They want affiliation
  • They want us to lighten up
  • They want to be appreciated
  • They want balance

Managing Gen Xers
  • Frequent Feedback
  • Limit the Bureaucracy
  • Give them plenty of elbow room
  • Understand your overall employee motivation
  • Give them work they can juggle

  • Also known as
  • Net Generation
  • Echo Boomers
  • Digital Generation
  • Generation Next
  • .com Generation
  • Point and Click Generation
  • Generation Stress
  • Digital Natives

Gen Y Update
  • 72 million, second in size to the Baby Boom
  • 90 say they are close to their parents.
  • Most ethnically diverse group in U.S. history.
  • 78 believe spirituality is important.
  • Nature Deficit Disorder.
  • More conservative than their parents.
  • Kiddie Migraines.
  • Many have been raised by Helicopter parents.
  • Theyve been over parented, overindulged and

U.S. News and World Report, November 2003
  • Optimism
  • Volunteerism i.e., 700 chapters of Habitat for
    Humanity in high schools
  • Inclusiveness
  • Collective Action
  • Speed

The oldest Millennials were born in 1980, the
  • John Lennon is assassinated by Mark David
  • The U.S. Supreme Court allows patents on living
  • Mount Saint Helens erupts, killing 60 people.
  • CNN is launched as the first all news network.
  • Japan passes the U.S. as the largest automaker.
  • Bill Gates licenses MS-DOS to IBM, makes next to
    nothing on the deal.

Mindlist to assist managers in thinking about
what their new employees have experienced and
what they have never experienced
  • The Kennedy tragedy was a plane crash, not an
  • A 45 is a gun, not a record with a large hole
    in the center.
  • They have no clue what the Beach Boys were
    talking about when they sang about a 409, and the
    Little Deuce Coupe.
  • They have probably never lost anything in shag
  • MASH and The Muppet Show have always been in
  • There have always been automated teller machines.
  • Watergate is as relevant to their lives as the
    Teapot Dome scandal.

Mindlist to assist managers in thinking about
what their new employees have experienced and
what they have never experienced (continued)
  • There has always been a national holiday honoring
    Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Bear Bryant has never coached at Alabama.
  • Elton John has only been heard on easy-listening
  • Most have never seen a black and white T.V.
  • They have never used a bottle of White Out.
  • Google has always been a verb.
  • They grew up in mini-vans and have no clue as to
    what a station wagon is.

Generation Y Characteristics
  • Using computers since Pre-Kindergarten
  • E-Learners
  • In a state of continuous partial attention
  • Used to instant communication
  • Accustom to giving feedback
  • Many are into Extreme Sports
  • Expect frequent and/or constant feedback
  • Optimistic
  • Speed is valued more than attention to nagging
  • Oriented toward collective action

Career Development Trends
  • Young adults entering the workforce will change
    jobs approximately every 2-4 years.
  • More people will be free agents.
  • A hop-scotch approach will replace linear career
  • In the future, employees will look to work for
    8-10 years, then take time off, like a sabbatical.

Career Development Trends
  • Flexible Employment Will Gain Popularity
  • As more people work flexible hours, work from
    home and use technology to work for employers in
    distant locations, the traditional workday and
    workweek will further erode.
  • Part of this movement will be driven by parents
    who want to spend more time with their children.

Career Development Trends
  • We see the apparent downtrend in
  • career ambition as the real revolution,
  • where very sizeable numbers of
  • women and men are working hard,
  • but not wanting the trade-offs
  • they would have to make
  • by advancing into jobs
  • with more responsibility.

Building Bridges Across Generations
  • Wishing people were more like you is not a
  • Respect Work Life Balance
  • Building communities
  • Discuss definitions of professionalism
  • Leverage Connections in the workplace
  • Professional development of managers
  • Conduct a demographic audit of the workplace