Generational Stereotypes

Are Millennials really self-centered? Are Boomers all workaholics? In their 2008 article, Johnson and Lopes reject the belief that workers can be judged by stereotypes of their  generations. They offer as evidence such things as the controversy over generational date ranges (something which makes it difficult to define and characterize a generation), too-narrow research populations, the (probably errant) belief that every member of a generation has been shaped by the events of that generation, and the case of the “cusper”—those individuals born at the end of a generation’s date range who more easily fit the stereotypes assigned to the next generation in sequence.

The authors do make a good argument for judging the worker on his own merit and not on the perceived traits of his generation. And few would argue with the authors’ conclusion that “ultimately as we know so well in our organization development experience, members of every generation want work that provides personal satisfaction in a positive, empowering organizational environment” (p. 36).

Reference

Johnson, J. A., & Lopes, J. (2008). The intergenerational workforce, revisited. Organization Development Journal, 26(1), 31-36.

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