Generational differences in psychological traits and their impact on the workplace
Self-esteem and narcissism
Need for social approval
Locus of control
view data from 1.4 million people who completed personality, attitude, psychopathology, or behavior scales between the 1930s and the present and to discuss how those differences may impact today’s workplace.
gathered from research reports using psychological scales over the last eight decades, primarily those using college student samples.
Generation Me (sometimes called Gen Y or Millennials) demonstrates higher self-esteem, narcissism, anxiety, and depression; lower need for social approval; more external locus of control; and women with more agentic traits.
Managers should expect to see more employees with unrealistically high expectations, a high need for praise, difficulty with criticism, an increase in creativity demands, job-hopping, ethics scandals, casual dress, and shifting workplace norms for women.
Organizations can respond to these changes with accommodations (e.g. praise programs) or with counter pressure (e.g. dress codes), and it is imperative that managers consider the best reaction for their workforce.
GenXers (in their calculation, born 1961-1981) were more likely to have experienced their parents’ divorce; thus, they should be more cynical, alienated and depressed.
In this article, we review the data from studies of generational differences in psychological traits and attitudes and discuss how these empirical results translate into understanding generations at work and changing workplace practices.
Each generation is molded by distinctive experiences during their critical developmental periods (see, e.g. Caspi, 1987; Stewart and Healy, 1989). The pervasive influence of broad forces, such as parents, peers, media, and popular culture, create common value systems among people growing up at a particular time that distinguish them from people who grow up at different time
hese studies find steady, linear change rather than cycles or sudden generational shifts.
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