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The Four Generations Running the Business World

by admin on March 6, 2014

The economy has been less than stable in the past decades and as a result people are working longer. For the first time there are four different generations in the workplace. Knoll Workplace Research published a study Generational Preferences: A Glimpse into the Future Office.

All 4 generations are defiantly products of their time. As political, technological and economic trends change so do the views of people in the work place.

Silent Generation (1929- 1945) The silent generation tend to be hard workers and savers. They value family and see hard work as a way to express their love for their family by providing security for them. Technology was limited in the work place. Which can result in tough transitioning to new technologies. Some experienced the great depression as children and stay away from credit or purchasing beyond their means.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964) Baby Boomers are products of feminism, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights.  This was a generation of empowerment they believe that they can make a difference and are fiercely independent.

Baby Boomers are often split into two subcategories:

Traditionals (1946-1954) and Generation Jones (1955- 1964) both categories have similar work ethics. They are dedicated to their companies and strong believers in team work. Differences occur with the Traditionals support of idealism and Generation Jones frustration with idealism. Financially Traditionals started to practice using credit to purchase. Generation Jones took that practice further viewing shopping as a “social activity” and showed no reservations about using credits cards.

Views on family became the immediate family. Traditionals developed closer relationships with their children but not their own parents. Generation Jones had a heavy family obligation, taking care of their kids and their aging parents.  Technology was slowly introduced during this time with personal computers.

Generation X (1965- 1978) In Generation X you see a major changes in society. Having witnessed the instability of their parent’s finances and romances, job satisfaction became paycheck based. They tend to be very cautious financially. Technology continued to grow with the mass use of mobile phones. This generation is often referred to as “Latch-key kids” and appreciate their children being independent.

Generation Y (1979-1997) Most Generation Y’s have been submerged in technology since an early age. The expanded social outreach technology provided to them resulted in the crossings of culture and support for tolerance and equality. Because of the internet and social media this generation is very connected to the world socially and expects a work life balance. This generation will sacrifice higher pay for flexibility. Due to the unstable market conditions this generation is typically financially dependent on their parents longer than any generation and often return home after leaving the nest.

These conflicting ideas and behaviors can cause conflict in the work place, when generations refuse to compromise or work together. However when combining the ideas and values of the four generations companies can expand their market reach and demographic. Each generation can learn from the others in different aspects leading to a productive and culturally rich work environment.

Do you relate the values of your generation? Tell us below.

Generational Preferences: A Glimpse into the Future Office

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