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The Perceptions of Swedish Generation Z on Leadership Traits
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Economics.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Economics.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Generational cohort theory suggests that shared events and influences in people’s forming years shapegenerational values and common beliefs. Leadership traits theory focuses on trying to predict emergence, effectiveness and promotion of leaders by investigating traits (roughly personal qualities or characteristics) that those leaders, or leader candidates, display.

In the coming five years, the new generation Z is joining the workforce en masse. Aim of this thesis was to explore the perceptions of the Swedish generation Z on 10 different leadership traits, in comparison with older Swedish generations (Baby Boomers, generation X, generation Y). This is order to increase understanding of the leadership traits perceived to be important by generation Z, and thereby being able to make inferences about leadership aspects that need to be considered by line- or project manager when dealing with this new generation entering the workplace.

Based on a structured survey at Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, AkzoNobel, and Softhouse, we found much more similarities than differences on the perceptions held by the different generations. The overall scoring profile proved to be highly similar and indicative for a joint ‘Swedish’ perception on leadershiptraits, shared by white collar employees and students in technical, manufacturing and IT positions in Sweden. Humility and Trustworthiness were perceived as most important leadership traits, closely followed by Farsightedness, Interpersonal Skills and Integrity. On the other hand, Charisma was deemed to be least important, followed by Expertise. Of intermediate importance were found Decision Making, Determination and Enthusiasm.

Research linking generational cohort theory to perceptions on the workplace has received many critiques over the last years. Where some scholars, popular media, and consultancy companies alike tend to point out the (perceived) major differences between the generations, the majority of fact-based scientific research so far has pointed out that there are much more similarities than differences between generations when it comes to workplace perceptions. Even where differences are found, they are typically minor in size. The outcome of this thesis supports the observation that generational belonging is a too high level construct, and has poor predictive power regarding preferences on leadership aspects.

This study contributes to theory by, for the first time to the authors’ knowledge, combining generationcohort theory with leadership traits theory. Furthermore, it contributes to practice by increasing the insightinto the Swedish generation Z’s preference regarding leadership, helping managers and leaders to prepare for this new generation entering the workplace.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 78
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-16623OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-16623DiVA, id: diva2:1223875
Subject / course
IY2578 Master's Thesis (60 credits) MBA
Educational program
IYABA MBA programme
Presentation
2018-05-22, Skype Call, Karlskrona, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Arnhem, Canada, 10:39 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-26 Created: 2018-06-26 Last updated: 2018-06-26Bibliographically approved

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