Bridging the Organization’s Gap on Generational Diversity
“Our workplace is an ever-changing, ever-evolving environment.” (7) Managers and leaders are in a constant challenge to keep up to speed with our diverse workforce which is not limited to race, age, gender, ethnicity, etc. However, our main focus will be on generational diversity as it is now more polarized in today’s workforce than ever before. The workforce of today consists mainly of three generations and is categorized as follows: baby boomers, generation x, and the millenials. According to McNamara, “each generation has distinctive experiences that have an impact on their values, and each has complex cultural variations.(1)” “Generations’ work ethic and ideals are the result of the time in which they grew up; each generation had different political, economic, and social experiences that ultimately affected who they are personally and professionally. (4)” Such differences may pose a short term challenge to management as the traditional one size fits all management model no longer works. Management now needs to re-engineer the outdated management model and re-create a new framework that values generational diversity. Such framework must be consistent in embracing the needs of all three groups and bridging the gap amongst them. Not an easy task; but definitely a needed one!
“Unquestionably, there are real differences, misunderstandings, and tension among workers in different eras.(2). “Beyond mere life stages, generational differences are based on broad variations in values, contrasting environments, and social dynamics each generation experiences as they come of age.” (3) Because of their blatant differences there is often friction, misunderstandings as well as miscommunication at work. In order to move forward management needs to understand the underlying values, experiences, and unique characteristics of each group in order to successfully lead its organization and form a harmonious inclusive environment where differences are respected. Furthermore, management needs take steps within the organization to eliminate any biases in their current system and recreate its organization as where it is modeled around fairness and differences are appreciated.
“Generational theory, assumes that different generations end up with substantially different values.” Jamie Notter
1940-1960 The Baby Boomers/Poulation 80 million— The Optimistic Generation! Baby boomers get their name because “the actual boom in births in this country is identified by demographers as 1946 through 1964, and many authors on generational issues define the cohort using those years.(5) “It was the social elements of the sixties that defined this generation” it was a time of stability and growth.(8) However, it is also argued that “historically there has been a pattern of alternating civic crisis and spiritual awakenings that have forged” this generation. (11) “Meaningful events and environmental forces included the Vietnam War, Watergate, Woodstock(1969),. OPEC oil embargo, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights and Human Rights movements.” (9) Meaningful faces of that time included John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Black Panther Party and Richard Nixon.” (10) Baby boomers have a reputation of “being self absorbed, they are also known for their commitment to teamwork and group harmony.”(16) “During these rebellious times the boomers worked hard to find a place “they focused on...