MHR 4020 – Section 5
Generational Differences in Motivation & Empowerment
By: The A Team
Introduction: Comment by Audrey Chan:
Recent studies have shown that keeping crewmembers happy has been a struggle for many organizations, especially when dealing with generational differences. Since each generation has different upbringings due to major events and changes, the factors to keep each group motivated and empowered vary. Due to this multigenerational workplace, managers are faced with the challenge of improving teamwork and employee morale across generations. Identifying what motivates and empowers each generation will help managers create an individualized approach to aid motivation, recruitment, and retention (Vuokko 2).
The three generations that are currently in the workplace include Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millenials. For the purposes of this paper, Baby Boomers were born between 1946-1964, Generation X were born between 1965-1980, and Generation Y or Millennials, were born between 1981-2000 (Vuokko 1). Generation Z, people born between 2000-2012, are not yet in the workplace so they are not included in this analysis. All age ranges mentioned above are approximate, and individuals on the cusps of these ranges may identify themselves with the former or latter generation depending on their upbringing. However, most working individuals can be categorized into one of these groups based on their behavior, work ethic, and views about the workplace.
This paper will summarize, analyze, and discuss what motivates and empowers each generation and what managers can do to keep their multigenerational workforce happy.
1. What motivates and empowers the Baby Boomer generation?
2. What motivates and empowers Generation X?
3. What motivates and empowers Millennials?
Methodology: Comment by Audrey Chan:
We answered our research questions by reviewing and researching peer reviewed journals on Google Scholar and our school’s library database.
1. What motivates & empowers the Baby Boomers generation? Comment by Audrey Chan: Comment by Herbert Escobar: Comment by Audrey Chan:
The Baby Boomer generation has spent several decades in the workforce and has seen various events in the world unfold. They witnessed the Vietnam War, The Civil Rights Movement, and the assassination of President Kennedy. For the most Part Baby Boomers were raised by two-parent families with a stay-at-home mother. These world events and familial upbringings could have had an adverse effect on what they value over the years as illustrated in what they value in the workforce.
Baby Boomers have stated that they desire and expect long-term employment, even during a poor economy as they are not fond of the prospect of a job hunt as they will sacrifice family and free time to secure stable and lasting work (Seipert & Baghurst, 2014). Given the numerous events and rapid change the world has seen over the past decades, it makes overt sense that Baby Boomers are motivated by work that has some semblance of long-term job security. This theme of job security translates to making sure that they hold tenured positions. Baby Boomers also display an emphasis in long-term benefits whereas their other generational cohorts focus on a much shorter period of time (Seipert & Baghurts, 2014). Baby Boomers are motivated by a career where they can move up the ladder, they also want to be trusted and be given responsibilities. Baby Boomers strive to be successful so some become workaholics fully submerging themselves in their job (Tolbize 2008). This generation’s values mainly consist of stability, job security, and an unwillingness to settle for anything that is short-term focused. Comment by Audrey Chan: Comment by Audrey Chan: Comment by Audrey Chan:
These motivational factors can explain even more on how to cater to Baby Boomers needs in the workspace. Given that it has been established that Baby Boomers have regularly sided with work stability, job security, and tenured positions, the motivational factors that are at play during their work may or may not come to a surprise to some. When discussing what criteria pushes Boomers to work hard and work well, Boomers previously stated that freedom from supervision contributes to work motivation as further explained by the fact that they are described to be independent and anti-authoritarian (Yang & Guy, 2014). These factors provide an insight for employers on what to expect and could even give suggestions on how to handle Baby Boomers in the workplace. Comment by Audrey Chan:
2. What motivates and empowers Generation X? Comment by Audrey Chan:
Baby Boomers in the upper bracket of the generation gave birth to Generation X. The major historical events that affect the mindset of Gen Xers include the widespread use of computers, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the downsizing of corporate America through legislation and layoffs (Glazer et. al 3). Gen Xers witnessed their Baby Boomers parents experience mass layoffs growing up, so they kept this expectation when they entered the workforce and are focused on their careers and marketability. However, the longer a Gen Xer stays with an organization, the higher the likelihood they will stay due to job security and long-term benefits, resembling Baby Boomer behavior (Glazer et. al 10). This generation also witnessed a sharp increase in higher education, so they find opportunities for career development appealing. These environmental factors led this generation to value employee development, work-life balance, and individual work contributions.
3. What motivates and empowers Millennials? Comment by Audrey Chan:
In a workplace setting it is critical to analyze how to best improve employee performance based on their preferences to certain stimulants. Just how no two people are alike no two employee motivations are similar such is the case with Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Each individual group has certain stimulants that drastically affect employee motivation, and empowerment and as such make it challenging to motivate each group uniformly. Because each generation grew up during different periods of history each was affected differently by major historical events causing differences in motivation and empowerment typically what works for one generation may not work for another. Through our research we found that it is better to motivate each group differently based on their preferred stimulus in order to achieve the best possible outcome per individual generation. When each employee is happy with the work environment the overall workspace will improve drastically, because a good employee is one that is highly motivated and empowered resulting in a productive and stable work environment. In order to empower employees we need to cater to their personal motivations to bring about the best possible result, this varies from generation to generation as no two are alike in terms of motivational factors. Each generation learned and adapted from the previous resulting in a wide array of motivational factors which employers need to analyze and adjust per individual. Comment by Nolberto Aguirre: Comment by Audrey Chan: Comment by Nolberto Aguirre: Comment by Audrey Chan:
Glazer, S., Mahoney, A. C., & Randall, Y. (2019). Employee development’s role in
organizational commitment: a preliminary investigation comparing generation X and millennial employees. Industrial and Commercial Training, 51(1), 1–12. doi: 10.1108/ict-07-2018-0061
Jurkiewicz, C., & Brown, R. (1998). GenXers vs. Boomers vs. Matures. Review o f Public
Personnel Administration, 18(4), 18-37.
Vuokko, E. (2016). Understanding Motivational Factors in Business Environment: Difference
Between Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Y. Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/45601047.pdf
Yang, S.-B., & Guy, M. E. (2006). GENXERS VERSUS BOOMERS: Work Motivators and
Management Implications. Public Performance & Management Review, 29(3), 267–284. doi: 10.2753/pmr1530-9576290302
NOTES: Comment by Audrey Chan:
Focus: Boomers, Millennials & Gen Z
· Traits of the millennial generation: Motivation and leadership https://aaltodoc.aalto.fi/bitstream/handle/123456789/21484/hse_ethesis_14662.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
· Understanding Millennial, Generation X, and Baby Boomer Preferred Leadership Characteristics: Informing Today’s Leaders and Followers https://digitalcommons.brandman.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1045&context=edd_dissertations