Management Theory and Practice
May 01, 2012
A Review on Bridging the Generation Gap at Work
In a recent article written by Rosalyn Kulick, four different generations are defined by the writer as being currently active in our workplace. Her article is about a young manager in her late 20s that supervises a department of men older than her father, who is in his early 50s. Kulick writes, “The American workforce has never been more diverse”. Several generations with differing values, ambitions, views, and mind-sets overlap in today’s workplace. It seems that each generation has different opinions about each generation and the ability of the individual to contribute to the workplace. Kulick defines the Y generation as “Generation Nexters” and that they were born into the current high-tech, robust economy. The opinions of this generation employee by older generations are expected. Most view this generation as seemingly more entitled and with less work ethics. Each generation offers a challenge to human resource management and requires creative blending in the workplace. People with different perspectives always have the potential to bring different thoughts and ideas to problem-solving and future opportunity. But one unfortunate outcome may be conflict. Comments such as: “They have no work ethic. They’re just a bunch of slackers.” Or “I will not attend meetings that start after 5 p.m. I have a life” are heard in the hallways and around the water cooler.
Kulick suggests that employers should accommodate employee differences by treating employees like customers. Employers should learn all they can about them, and work to meet their specific needs and serve them according to their unique preferences. An effort should be made to accommodate personal scheduling needs, work/life balance issues and nontraditional lifestyles. Employers should...