Generational Communication

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Generational Communication
Lee M. Halloran
Organizational Project
Final Research Capstone Paper
Wilmington University
Fall 2012

Abstract
The challenge and issue identified is the lack of communication between team members in my department. It has been identified that the reason for this lack of communication is the generational gap amongst all the team members. My department has four generations represented, with some departments having at least one of each generation represented. The method of collecting data used was a quantitative method of surveys and one-on-one interviews. The initial data showed the perception of communication between generations. The final results will show how communication has been improved with the training of the generational gap education.

Introduction
“Communication - the human connection - is the key to personal and career success.” Paul J. Meyer In this day of social media and information technology, communication takes on many different forms. For businesses, successful communication is difficult to maneuver since there are many different ways to communicate. There are ways to verbally communicate and there are several types of nonverbal communication. Written communication can be on paper or done electronically. Verbal communication can be in person or on the telephone or even videoed on screen. With so many different avenues to communicate, it is a considered a skill to master effective communication. And yet, effective communication is essential for a successful business. I am employed with a healthcare organization that recognizes the importance of effective communication. My employer feels strongly about being able to communicate on all levels between team members, supervisors, managers, leaders so that effective communication can also be relayed to the patients. The challenge that I have within my department is communicating with the multigenerational span of my team members. I supervise over 500 individuals that work in many different departments within the organization and are responsible for a myriad of job responsibilities. The members of my department span over four generations of individuals. The Traditionalists or Veterans (born between 1930-1945), considered the Conformers or disciplinarians. The Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964) were considered the Optimists and involved in everything. The Generation Xers (born between 1965-1977) are considered the skeptics and more informal. And, finally, the Generation Yers or Millennials (born between 1978-1990s) are considered the realists and social butterflies. Acknowledging and understanding the difference within each of these generations will help determine what type of communication is most effective when relaying information.

In the two charts above, each Generation is described with characteristics that are quite different from each other. In large part these characteristics were made because of the current events during each of the time periods of each generation. Traditionalists are considered It is considered 100% of the responsibility of the communicator to have the listener engaged. If you fall short of that percentage, the communicator has failed to do his/her job of relaying the message (Quality Coaching, 2001). Below is a chart that describes the various types of communication that has been found most effective for each of the generations (TechTeachToo, 2010). Also listed are the barriers and communication obstacles found for each generation:

Generation| Communication Preferences| Communication
Obstacles|
Traditionalists
1925-1945 | Face to face communication
Formal typed or hand-written letters| E-mail
Fax
Cell phones
(most use cell phones for emergency only)
Text
Social networking sites |
Baby Boomers
1946-1964 | Telephone
Face to face
Fax
E-mail (and a lot of it!)
Group/team meetings
(and a lot of them!)
Cell phones for talking
(not necessarily for...
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