Comparing the Motivational Techniques of Generation X And Y Thesis

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¶ … Motivational Techniques for Gen X and Gen Y

Motivational Techniques and Strategies for Gen X and Gen Y Workers: Implications for Management and Leadership Strategies

Strategies for sustaining and growing the commitment and productivity of Gen X and Gen Y workers is drastically different, and made more complex by the compounding effects of variations in management styles. Active vs. passive management-by-exception styles and the combined effects of transactional and transformational leadership styles each are interpreted significantly different. The values, perceptions and predominant career and life considerations of Gen X and Gen Y are so different a management strategy designed for one will be largely ineffective on the other (Arsenault, 2004). The research, analysis and recommendations provided in this analysis indicate that Gen X and Gen Y have fundamentally different expectations with regard to their existing jobs, their perceptions of supervision, and completely different needs for achieving job satisfaction in their work. In short, their idealized set of preferences for intrinsic job value, supervision approaches and determinants of satisfaction vary at a statistically significant level between Gen X and Gen Y worker generations (Zemke, Raines, Filipczak, 2000).

Defining Gen X and Gen Y Values Analysis

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Those born between 1965 and1980 is the generation known of as Generation X (Allen, 2004). This is a significantly smaller generation than the Baby Boomers. Demographic researchers have determined that the drop-off in the size of the Gen X generation is attributable to younger Baby Boomers putting off having children until their careers were stabilized and income was more predictable for raising a family on (Allen, 2004). In addition older Baby Boomers had passed their prime child bearing years and had shifted their attention to their careers (Allen, 2004) (Auby, 2008).

Thesis on Comparing the Motivational Techniques of Generation X And Y Assignment

Gen Xers have a distrust of organizations due to many of their Baby Boomer parents being caught in layoffs, losing their jobs in mergers and acquisitions, and in general seeing that the trust between organizations and employees seriously had eroded during their parents' generation. There is also the fact that many Gen Xers have seen their parents' workaholic lifestyles as paying too high a price for financial and material success (Hill, 2004). As a result, Gen Xers strive for self-reliance and independence, see authority as earned rather than given (Allen, 2004) are adaptable, creative and seek balance in their lives over being entirely consumed with their work (Zemke, Raines, Filipczak, 2000). Watching their parents go through turbulent career transitions, many Gen Xers have a skeptical view of organizations and are in general not loyal to them as much as they are to their career area of interest. As a result of this commitment to their careers over a given job, Gen Xers see job hopping as a primary means of career development and advancement (Buckley, Beu, Novicevic, Sigerstad, 2001). Gen Xers value constructive, realistic feedback on their jobs that gives them an honest assessment of how they are performing over vague or only sporadic support (Allen, 2004). For Gen Xers solid performance feedback they can constructively use to improve is essential for their satisfaction, this is why management-by-exception approaches to managing them often fail (Levit, 2009). Gen Xers, being more committed to their professions than their companies, also are known for their technical and skills-based acumen, especially in technical professions including software development and software engineering (Zemke, Raines, Filipczak, 2000). As a result it is increasingly common to see Gen Xers managing Baby Boomers whose skills may have become out of date over time (Salt, 2003), and Gen Yers who are just entering the workforce (Tulgan, 2004). Gen Xers firmly get the concept of knowledge being a critical commodity and catalyst for growth in one's career (Howe, Strauss, 2000). As a result of these unique characteristics, values, motivations and mindsets, Gen Xers are responsible for 80% of all new companies started in the U.S. within the last three years according to researcher's estimates (Auby, 2008).

The generation born between 1981 and 1999 are commonly referred to as Generation Y or Gen Yers (Allen, 2004). This group continues to be one that gets an exceptional level of demographic, psychographic and trending analysis, and as a result is one of the more well understood from an empirical research standpoint (Sayers, 2007). Gen Yers are also the fastest growing group of the American population today (Allen, 2004) and are projected to be more ethnically diverse, more technology-savvy and capable of working in more globally collaborative work teams as well (Howe, Strauss, 2000). As with Gen Xers, Gen Yers see the potential to increase their marketability and gain independent through a continual pursuit of knowledge (Howe, Strauss, 2000). This is a significant point of differentiation between Gen Xers and Gen Yers however; the latter expect their jobs to have an element of continual learning and knowledge enrichment included within them. Admittedly Gen Yers have elevated expectations as to what their jobs need to offer in terms of knowledge and the ability to continually increase one's marketability and value in the labor market over time (Alch, 2000). Researchers suggest this is due to the fact that more personalized teaching techniques including scaffolding (Najjar, 2008) where individual student strengths and weaknesses are used in the development of learning programs during the educational careers of Gen Yers now define their expectations for job enrichment (Howe, Strauss, 2000). For those managing Gen Yers in more entry-level positions this presents a formidable challenge. These advanced approaches to nurturing individualized learning with a strong emphasis on academic achievement has also led to Gen Yer's realizing early on in their academic careers the critical skill set of collaboration (Buckley, Beu, Novicevic, Sigerstad, 2001). This is quite different than Baby Boomers who value individualized achievement at times over collective accomplishment (Arsenault, 2004). As a result of Gen Yers being more focused on creativity and continuous learning to maintain their ability to compete in the careers, meaningful work and the self-development are paramount concerns to them (Buckley, Beu, Novicevic, Sigerstad, 2001). Many Gen Yers have as their most significant academic accomplishment those tasks completed in highly collaborative teams as well (Alch, 2000). As a result of these collaborative skill sets engrained in many Gen Yer's throughout their academic careers, combined with the technological savvy and expertise many of them have, this generation is expected to fundamentally re-shape workplaces throughout their careers (Alch, 2000). Gen Yers understandably have a high degree of confidence in their social and communication skills and recognize the value and strength of diversity. These values, perceptions and experiences of Gen Yers make the completing of meaningful work their top professional priority followed by being part of a strong team that share common values, and lastly, the potential to meet their own personal and professional goals (Allen, 2004). Gen Yers are unique in their valuing of strong team association as the second highest priority for work requirements (Allen, 2004).

Motivational Strategies for Gen X and Gen Y

One of the most significant variations in motivational strategies between Gen X and Gen Y workers are their relationships with their managers. Gen X workers in general have less of a generation gap with their managers, many of which are also Gen Yers and baby Boomers, than Gen Yers do (Arsenault, 2004). In studies of how effectively managers are navigating the differences in the needs of Gen Xers vs. Gen Yer's a glaring fact emerges that for the most part managers do not differentiate or attempt to enhance jobs for these generational groups despite knowing it would lead to greater satisfaction (Tulgan, 2004a). For the Gen Y worker, this is what often leads to job hopping to find work that has meaning, both from a professional development standpoint and societal one as well (Alch, 2000). Gen Yers are much less patient with their talents and skills not being effectively utilized to accomplished shared objectives than their Gen X counterparts. When the Herzberg motivation-hygiene model (2003) is used to analyze the significant difference between Gen X and Gen Yer's on job enrichment and the opportunity to do meaningful work one of the more difficult paradoxes for managers of these two generations of workers also becomes evident. Herzberg (2003) observed that young employees have the passion to prove themselves and are highly motivated to work diligently at new tasks yet lack the opportunities to translate their motivation into accomplishment. As a result, Gen Yers have more unmet needs from a management standpoint and often seek new positions to challenge themselves more than entry-level jobs allow for (Herzberg, 2003). One such experience is that of a recent university graduate from the University of Chicago who graduated with honors in software engineering and had built entire Intranets while in school, and who was given the task of maintaining code for other programmers at Microsoft on the Windows Vista operating system. While prestigious to be part of an operating system team, the Gen Yer felt completely unchallenged and quickly realized Microsoft's culture allowed innovation in shorter, more intense bursts than Google for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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