Managing Generations of Individuals: A Study of Generations, Work Values, and Their Relevance in Management Strategy in Engineering Consulting
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
With up to four generations working together in today’s workforce, research suggests that managers may feel overwhelmed at the idea of strategically managing the diversity of work values amongst their teams. Many studies suggest practical implications for managing a generationally diverse work force, however strong opposition does exist questioning the impact that generation alone has on work values and management strategy. There exists a lack of research studying how managers themselves perceive these conclusions regarding generational differences in work values, and their effect on how they should manage their teams, an intriguing scenario, as it is them whom the conclusions have been derived for. As such the purpose of this study was to be one of the first to determine the degree to which practicing managers acknowledge common conclusions pertaining to the effect an employee’s generation has on their work values, and it’s relevance in management strategy.
The research followed a deductive approach as existing theories and conclusions were tested with the perceptions of practicing managers. A qualitative design allowed for the researchers to engage with respondents in a way that is not possible through a quantitative survey, avoiding the potential overgeneralizations already perceived by some to be abundant in the field. 11 experienced respondents from a single company within the engineering consultancy industry were interviewed addressing three research questions.
Results of the study revealed that practicing managers do recognize work value differences between generations, showing consistencies with existing research however with some deviations in certain work values. Analysis of results revealed that generation was not the only contributing factor in these differences. Factors such as age, life stage and career stage, as well as industry trends were also revealed to be factors. Generation was not found to be an important influence on an employee’s individual work values compared to individual traits such as one’s personal upbringing, as well as other external, and dynamic factors. Generation was also not an important consideration when creating project teams. As such, understanding employees as individuals was regarded as more relevant than generation in the context of management strategy. Two preliminary models were developed to illustrate the theories and were updated reflecting the results of the analysis.
The study added to the existing body of knowledge by gaining insight on the idea of generational work value differences from a unique perspective by employing a different methodology than commonly seen in the area.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 52 p.
generational theory, work values, generational differences, management strategy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-30550ISRN: JU-IHH-GMT-2-20160002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-30550DiVA: diva2:937299
Müllern, Tomas, Professor
Melander, Anders, Associate Professor