Age Differences in the Workplace

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Age Differences in the Workplace

By | November 2006
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Age Differences

oHow does differences in age effect communication in the workplace?

For the first time in history, there are four generations of people working side by side in the workplace. Think about your place employment and the different people who work there. It is sometimes hard to get your point across to someone in a different age generation. This especially becomes a problem in the supervisor – employee relationship. In order to effectively communicate with your peers, you have to understand the context in which they view the world. This problem is a real concern for managers. There has even been a Center for Generational Studies created.

•Differences in Attitudes and Values

Every generation is a product of the times in which they come of age. Each generation will have there own sets of beliefs and ideas as with culture. According to Robert Wendover, the managing director of the CGS, "There is just a natural separation in turns of the assumptions they [young people] are making about society, about values, about right and wrong, and about all of the types of things that we, in most cases have grown up assuming simply because we have been living with them for so long." No one generation's belief is right or wrong, yet there are differences amongst the generations that must be recognized and dealt with accordingly.

•Stereotypes

I will list some general characteristics of people who belong to each of these generations. However, be careful not to stereotype and make certain assumptions about an individual because of their age. Many members of the younger generations moved far away from home in hopes of getting rid of their parents, only to find that they'll be working with them. To younger workers, their middle aged co-worker seems very resistant to change and may think that that person is just old and set in their ways. This may not be the issue at all. After learning about the different characteristics, you will have a...
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