Work Values Diversity in Generation Groups

Average workers’ retirement age has been push back, and this means that there are more generation groups are co-existing in today’s labor market. There might be many reasons influencing  this social norm; however, the result is that there are more generation diversity in the current work environment. For an organization it is impossible not to have diversity and individual  variations,but how does one deal with today’s multilevel  generations work environment’s complexities within the organization.In

In the journal article “Work Values Across Generations” by Jo-Ida C. Hansen and Melanie E. Leuty in the Journal of Career Assessment, the authors study across four generations: Silent, Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Generation Y that how does the different generations value work. Hansen and Leuty’s study suggest that the “extrinsic ” work values, such as pay, benefits, and security have more similarity between the generations then difference(page 5). Nevertheless, for the “intrinsic” work value the study also suggest the “negative relationship between age and social connections” (page 14). In detail, the younger the generation the greater importance of the”social-connection” to their co-workers; on the other hand, the order generation care less about people they work with under the work-office social interaction.

This behavior might be a result of the attitude toward work itself. The order generation value work differently than the younger generation. The order generation focus on the task and the objective itself rather then the experience and the people who it work with. However, the later generation value more on the connection with its co-workers. Hansen and Leuty, also suggest that the variance between the generations on what they value at work could just mean the different way for the generation to illustrate its importance (page 15-16). For example, the younger generation could show ones importance by connecting between the co-workers since he or she is value by others in the work place.

Lastly, the authors suggest  the importance to the organization that having the information about the different generation’s work value is a key knowledge to satisfy and retain the organization’s employees (page 16-17).  I believe that by understand the difference values and the preference of the different generations, the organization then  further improve work environment and work experience.


  • Leuty, M. E., & Hansen, J. C. (2012). Work values across generations. Journal of Career Assessment, 20(1), 34-52. doi:10.1177/1069072711417163
  • Slack, T., Amis, J., & Hinings, C. R. (2002). Values and organizational change. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 38(4), 436-465. doi:10.1177/002188602237791
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2 Responses to Work Values Diversity in Generation Groups

  1. Great topic. In addition to values,tThere is also a problem with an aging workforce unwilling to share their knowledge and experience with the millennial generation. They hold knowledge as power and do not want to pass this on to the younger workforce yet, because they fear it might impact their own appeal to the employer. Some have suggested that by implementing mentoring programs, organizations can bridge the gap between the ages. Younger workers can mentor on new technologies and ideas, and the baby boomers can share their wealth of experience. Here is a great YouTube video outlining just that.

    • hsuchaochao says:

      Relating to the article that I read, the problem with the elder generations are unwilling to share or pass on the experience could be that the older generations focus more on the task itself rather than the relationship with colleagues, specially their subordinate. In addition, I think it could also be the way the generation was brought up as an worker. The younger generation has the idea of teamwork emphasize from school and leisure activities. on the other hand, even though the older generation has vast experience, most of those experience was gain or learn by their own. Therefore, with out proper training or systematic approach, the older generation does not really know how pass on the experience to the younger generation.

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