Publication: Journal of Management (SEP 2010)
Article: Generational differences in work values: Leisure and extrinsic values increasing, social and intrinsic values decreasing
Authors: J. M. Twenge, S. M. Campbell, B. J. Hoffman, and C. E. Lance
Reviewed By: Lauren Wood
The U.S. workforce is primarily comprised of 3 generations of workers – Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964), GenX (1965-1981), and GenY (1982-1999). Although empirical research examining differences in generational work values is scarce, understanding differences between these 3 groups is important for organizations attempting to recruit and manage the youngest generation in the workforce – GenY.
The current study assessed generational differences in work values (leisure, social interactions, intrinsic rewards, extrinsic rewards, and altruism) which motivate employees to perform on the job. The results reveal that organizations may need to implement different strategies in order to successfully motivate GenY employees. For example, compared to Baby Boomers and GenX, GenY workers are more likely to value leisure activities (time off, work-life balance, flextime) and less likely to value social interactions (work friendships, team work). When examining workplace rewards, GenY seem to be are more motivated by extrinsic rewards (tangible rewards) than by intrinsic rewards (intangible rewards).