A generation can be defined as a group of persons born and raised during the same place and time. Persons born of a similar cohort contains similar values, preferences and characteristics. Some of the characteristics exhibited by generation include motivation, shopping and communication preferences. These characteristics are because these groups were exposed to similar trends at the same life stage. Therefore, the behavior of an individual can identify their generation.
There are for major generations: baby boomers, generation X, generation Y or millennials and generation Z. The Baby Boomers were born in 1948 to 1963 and a group who experienced the union power, soaring inflation, the women’s movement, and civil rights. This group is highly retained in their workplace and have experiences as knowledge, service and industrial workers. The second generation is Generation X who were born between 1964 to 1978 and are commonly referred as slacker generation. The group was born during a time reducing population growth and are more independent than baby boomers.
The third generation is the millennials or Generation Y which is termed as the first global centric generation as they grew during the age of an increase in global terrorism and rapid growth of the Internet. Generation Y was born between 1979 to 1991 which was born during the recession era in 1990 and have been shaped by technology. According to Cennamo, and Gardner (2008) millennials make up the fastest growing segment of the workforce. The last generation is Generation Z which was born between 1992 to 2008. Due to digitalization in the world, this group will be the most socially networked generation.
Personally, I belong to Generation X as I was born between 1964 to 1978. According to Littrell, Jin Ma, and Halepete (2005), Generation X is smaller than Baby Boomers and Millennials and it was brought up during a time women workforce and divorce was on increase. At this time, the number of daycares and other childcare options were not paramount a characteristic that made Generation X kids to be more individualistic and independent. I agree with this analysis that this population is more independent and individualistic due to parenting style. I was born in a family where the parents were alcoholic, and the older children took care of the younger children. Also known as an MTV generation (Bohl, 2008), this generation is termed as distrustful to authority, disaffected and cynical. The philosophy of this group is productivity and work and did not attract idealism. I agree with these characteristics as I am not the only one with such behaviors but my age group too. I do not know if these characteristics are due to the events, environment or parenting style but the analysis is true. This may be reason why I love my work very much and I try not to be a work alcoholic.
Generation X and Y differs as they are shaped by different events and experiences. While Generation X had a hard life due to the Upheaval period, Generation Y also known as millennials or digital natives was born and their lives are dictated by a screen (Bohl, 2008). However, unlike Generation X, majority of professionals requires Generation Y to attain more education and skills as the world is highly competitive. However, one of the characteristics I have identified about digital Y is that they are more ambitious and are not satisfied with what they have. However, this group is characterized as spoilt, lazy and narcissistic who are unlike Generation X who are independent.
It is evident that the birth cohort one was born influences their behaviors and attitude at work. This was illustrated in the four generations discussed above. Parenting style environment, events and technology are the factors that have influenced the groups’ unique characteristics. Therefore, in workplace, it is significant for employers to understand the generation of their workers and identify the impact and the potential of the group. As colleagues, it is significant to understand each other and integrate with others for the success of the business.
Bohl, J. C. (2008). Generation X and Y in law school: Practical strategies for teaching the MTV/Google generation. Loy. L. Rev., 54, 775.
Cennamo, L., & Gardner, D. (2008). Generational differences in work values, outcomes and person-organisation values fit. Journal of managerial psychology, 23(8), 891-906.Eisner, S. P. (2005). Managing generation Y. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 70(4), 4.Littrell, M. A., Jin Ma, Y., & Halepete, J. (2005). Generation X, baby boomers, and swing: Marketing fair trade apparel. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, 9(4), 407-419.
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