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Generational Gaps and their Effects on the Workplace

XYZ & Associates is a small to mid-sized CPA firm in Independence, Ohio. I am currently employed at the C-Corp as a staff accountant and client service manager. XYZ & Associates is a service based firm that provides services such as financial planning, tax planning & preparation, auditing and payroll services, as well as business valuation services. As of right now, the company is currently staffed with eleven employees. Of the eleven employees, only three are below the age of thirty. Two of the eleven employees are in their thirties, while all remaining employees are above the age of fifty. The employees age fifty and above are often referred to as “Baby Boomers,’ while the employees thirty and above belong to “Generation X,” and the final three employee’s aged in their twenties are called “Generation Y.” The CPA firm only staffs five licensed Certified Public Accountants. One of the “Generation Y” employees recently received his CPA, while all other practicing CPAs are ages thirty-one and above. Due to the smaller size of the firm, each employee focuses and practices all different aspects of services the firm provides, regardless of whether or not they are licensed CPAs. Clients are almost always satisfied with the work of the company; however, the employees do not always feel comparable in emotions. Employees often seem to clash in working styles, consequently causing adhesion in the office. Because the firm was formed in 1991, certain traditional values have been adopted into the company’s culture. While these values are embraced by the baby boomers in the company, the Generation Y does not seem to always understand these values. The dissimilarity between the generational gaps in the workplace often causes a negative tension in XYZ & Associates. Whether the issues relate to attire, technology, or opinions on promotions, the variance in beliefs between the generations exists. Not only does the variance exist, but it is also the cause to many issues in companies today.

Problem Statement

For decades, the workplace has been staffed by different generations; however, the generational diversity amongst the workplace has recently increased at XYZ & Associates. There are increasing amounts of varying generations employed not only at XYZ & Associates, but in companies everywhere. There are more different generations employed and working together today than ever before. It is questionable, however, whether or not the generational gap is beneficial to a company. We know the different attitudes, values, expectations, and behaviors between the generations have the ability to create adhesiveness in the workplace, but is there a way to reconcile these differences? Must the Generation Y, or Millennials, and the Baby Boomers come together and find a way to coexist? The Generation Y values a different working style than the generation Baby Boomers. Some believe this is in connection to the past experiences and the history they are familiar with. At XYZ & Associates, the generational differences and values are apparent, but it is difficult to say why they exist and what exactly these differences are. It has been said that the variances in the Generation Y and Baby Boomer may be a direct effect from their upbringing. The different generations grew up knowing dissimilar lives, which in turn has provided each generation with their own values and behaviors. These dissimilarities are both complex and simple, but exist and cause complications nevertheless. How do managers and employees the same, settle these differences and learn to appreciate one another? Literature Review

Many scholarly resources have implicated the generational gaps in the workplace and have found interesting results and theories on how they affect the working environment. For example, in “A Second Look at Generational Differences in the Workforce:...
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