Generational Differences 1 Running head: GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES Generational Differences in Workplace Values Among Institutional Researchers: Implications for Improving the Profession William E. Knight W. E. Knight, Office of Institutional Research, Bowling Green State University, 708 East Wooster St., Bowling Green, OH 43403, 419-372-7791 (voice), 419-372-5315 (fax), email@example.com. Generational Differences 2 Abstract This study explored generational differences in workplace values and attitudes among institutional researchers. Learning more about this topic can serve to improve the employment experience of IR practitioners, the profession of IR, and, indirectly, higher education. 1,353 institutional researchers responded to a national survey comprised of workplace attitude and value scales, questions about birth year and generational affiliation, and demographic items. Analysis of variance results revealed significant differences in three of ten workplace value scales, with Boomers and Millennials valuing security more than members of the Silent Generation, members of the Silent Generation valuing authority more than Boomers or Gen X- ers, and Boomers valuing prestige more than Gen X-ers. Numerous generational differences in workplace values were found across sex, race, institutional sector, and job category groups as well as overall. Open-ended responses added depth and richness to the results. Suggestions are provided for managing, communicating with, and retaining members of the Silent, Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennial Generations in the IR workplace. key words: institutional research, generational differences in the workplace, work values, Silent Generation, Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials Generational Differences 3 Improving student access and success, containing costs, and demonstrating accountability are among the ever-increasing pressures facing American higher education (Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, 2008; National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, 2006; United States Department of Education, 2006). Institutional research (IR) can help institutions respond to these pressures by facilitating organizational learning (Kezar, 2005; Terkla, 2008). Improving the employment experience of IR practitioners, can strengthen the profession of IR, and, indirectly, assist in improving higher education. IR is essential to accreditation, the search for best practices, governance, quality improvement initiatives, accountability standards, and program review (Milam, 2005), assessment and evidence-based decision making (Terkla, 2008); understanding faculty workload (Middaugh, Kelly, & Walters, 2008) student populations (Delaney, 2008); and in strategic planning (Voorhees, 2008). In promoting student success, the use of data to guide institutional reflection, action and decision making are key (Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, Whitt, and Associates, 2005). There is growing literature on understanding and improving the effectiveness of IR and its practitioners (Augustine, 2001; Delaney, 1997, 2000, 2001; Hurst, Matier, & Sidle, 1998; Knight, 2003, 2010; Knight & Leimer, 2010; Knight, Moore, & Coperthwaite, 1997; Lohman, 1998; Polk, 2001; Terenzini, 1993, 1995; Volkwein, 1999). No previous research, however, has explored the issue of generational differences among institutional researchers and their implications. Fyock (1990) noted that failure to deal with generational differences in the workplace could lead to misunderstandings, miscommunications, and mixed signals, while Kupperschmidt (2000) stated that understanding generational differences can improve productivity and innovation. Understanding and leveraging Generational Differences 4 generational differences among employees can improve employee satisfaction and retention (Westerman & Yamamura, 2007). A growing body of literature (c.f., Adams, 2000; Bradford, 1993; Jurkiewicz, 2000; Jurkiewicz & Brown, 1998; Karp, Sirias, & Arnold, 1999; Kupperschmidt, 2000; O’Bannon, 2001) has documented generational differences between Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, who have constituted the two largest employee generational groups before the recent entry of Millennials into the workforce. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 58 percent of human resource professionals reported observing conflict among employees as a result of generational differences (Society for Human Resource Management, 2004). Smola and Sutton (2002) carried out the largest-scale, most representative known national study of generational differences in employee workplace values. Data were collected from 335 persons with varied demographic characteristics and whose employment spanned a variety of professions. Despite an insufficient sample of employees from other than the Boomer and Gen Xer generations as well as low reliabilities for two of the workplace value scales, Smola and Sutton (2002) concluded that work values are “more influenced by generational experiences than by age and maturation” (p. 379), and that these differences have implications for developing, motivating, and communicating with employees. Generations and Workplace Implications Much of the literature dealing with the effects of generational differences in the United States1 is rooted in the work of Strauss and Howe (1991), who studied people and events throughout American history since 1584 and concluded that the history of our nation can be viewed as a succession of generational biographies. They define a generation as “a cohort group whose length approximates the span of a phase of life and whose boundaries are fixed by peer Generational Differences 5 personality” (p. 60). They posit that generations take on distinct personalities as a result of “social moments,” which they explain as “era[s], typically lasting about a decade, when people perceive that historic events are radically altering their social environment” (p. 71). They state that A social moment not only shapes personality, according to current phase of life roles, but also forges an enduring bond of identity between each cohort group and its role—and acquired style that defines both how each group will later regard itself and how it will be regarded by others. (p. 444). The four generations currently in the American workforce are defined below in terms of the traits described by Straus and Howe’s theory, a recent report by the Population Reference Bureau (Carlson 2009), and Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak’s (2000), extension of these ideas into the workplace. The Silent Generation was born between 1925 and 19422. Its members were overwhelmed by the dual crises of the Great Depression and World War Two in their youth, they responded in young adulthood by becoming highly risk-adverse, broke free from earlier conformity and became indecisive in mid-life, and have finally become comfortable in their older adulthood. Some of the pivotal events during their lives have included McCarthyism while they were in their twenties, the social upheavals of the 1960s and early 1970s when they were in their early twenties through mid-forties, and Watergate and the energy crisis while they were in their forties. Their core values include hard work, sacrifice, conformity, respect for authority, patience, honor, and duty before pleasure. Assets on the job for members of this generation include stability, loyalty, thoroughness, hard work, and attention to detail, while difficulty with Generational Differences 6 ambiguity and change, discomfort with conflict, hesitancy to buck the system, and reticence when they disagree with superiors are their liabilities. The Boomers were born between 1943 and 1960. They were indulged during their youth in the late 1940s and the 1950s. Strauss and Howe describe them as narcissistic during their young adulthood in the 1960s and 1970s. Boomers in mid-life have taken for granted that they can and will experience everything that the American Dream has to offer. Some of their seminal life events have included rock and roll and the fear of nuclear war in their youth; the Civil Rights Era, the introduction and widespread availability of birth control and recreational drugs, the Kennedy and King assassinations, the Vietnam War, the Kent State shootings, disco, and Watergate in their young adulthood; and the Reagan Revolution and the economic boom of the 1980s and 1990s in mid-life. Their core values include optimism, a team orientation, personal gratification, health and wellness, personal growth, work, and involvement. Their workplace assets include willingness to go the extra mile, being good team players, and being service oriented, while their liabilities include self-centeredness, reluctance to go against peers, being overly sensitive to feedback, being judgmental of those who see things differently, and putting process ahead of results. Members of the Gen X cohort were born between 1961 and 1981. Straus and Howe describe them as criticized in their youth, risk-prone in rising adulthood, and slowing down in mid-life. Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak describe them as self-reliant, seeking a sense of family, searching for balance, having a nontraditional orientation about time and space, enjoying informality, being unimpressed by authority, skeptical bordering on cynical, attracted to extreme leisure activities, and technologically sophisticated. Some of the events that have affected the Gen Xers so far in their lives include Roe v. Wade, Three Mile Island, the economic downturn of Generational Differences 7 the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Iran hostage crisis, the New Conservatism, and the Challenger explosion in their youth; the end of the Cold War, the Clinton impeachment, Operation Desert Storm, and the high tech boom and bust in their young adulthood. They are experiencing the War on Terror and the economic downturn in their mid-lives. Gen Xer core values include diversity, thinking globally, balance, technoliteracy, informality, self-reliance, and pragmatism. Their work personality assets include adaptability, independence, comfort with technology, creativity and lack of intimidation by authority, while their liabilities include impatience, poor people skills, and cynicism. The Millennials were born between 1982 and 2000. Some of the descriptors used for them by Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak and Coomes and DeBard (2004) include optimistic, used to feeling special, stressed and overscheduled, valuing authority, and civic-minded. Some of the events that have influenced their lives so far include the Nation facing trade and budget deficits, the War on Drugs, school violence, and the OJ Simpson trial. Their core values include optimism, civic duty, confidence, achievement, sociability, morality, and diversity. Work trait assets for this group include optimism, collective action, tenacity, multitasking ability, and comfort with technology, while their liabilities include the need for supervision and structure and difficulty dealing with conflict. Method Participants The study population was comprised of all institutional research professionals from the United States appearing in the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) member database as of August 30, 2009. Email addresses of AIR members whose titles (e.g., faculty member, graduate assistant) suggested that they were not full-time IR practitioners (525) were removed Generational Differences 8 from the 3,050 email addresses supplied by AIR, resulting in a population of 2,525. Survey responses were elicited from this entire population; there was no sampling. Email messages requesting participation in the survey were sent on September 30, October 15, and October 26, 2009. 1,353 responses were received; when corrected for email addresses that were found to be invalid (31), a 54% response rate was obtained. The first survey question asked participants if they were practicing institutional research professionals. The 78 participants who said they were not practicing institutional research professionals were excluded from further analyses. The second question asked participants if they grew up in the United States. The 107 participants who said they did not grow up in the United States were also excluded from further analyses. Representativeness of the participants to the entire AIR member database was explored by comparing known characteristics of these two groups. As shown in Table 1, there were no significant differences between the participants and the AIR member population with respect to sex, institutional control, or institutional highest degree level, although participants were more likely than members of AIR in general to be Caucasian. A limitation of this study is that institutional researchers who were not AIR members were not contacted. While the representation of all institutional researchers among the AIR membership is not completely known, evidence suggests that those in two-year and smaller institutions are under-represented by AIR membership and those in four-year and larger institutions are over-represented (R. Swing, personal communication September 10, 2008). Members of the Silent Generation comprised 3% of the participants; 45% were Boomers; 48% were Gen Xers; and 4% were Millennials. Measures Generational Differences 9 Data were collected by means of a web-based survey developed for the study. Demographic items included birth year, which was used to establish generation status, as well as sex, race/ethnicity, job title, and institutional type. Participants were given descriptions of the Silent, Boomer, Gen-Xer, and Millennial generations and asked to indicate the group with which they identified if different than as defined by birth order. The dependent variables included two scales that measure work values and attitudes. Smolla and Sutton (2002) developed a survey of work values that was based upon an earlier survey developed by Cherrington (Cherrington, Condie, & England, 1979; Cherrington, 1980). Smolla and Sutton’s items were expressed in three scales, Desirability of Work Outcomes, Pride in Craftsmanship, and Moral Importance of Work. They found the reliability of the Desirability of Work Outcomes scale to be .79; of the Pride in Craftsmanship scale to be .61, and of the Moral Importance of Work scale to .39. Due to the low reliability of the two scales, only the Desirability of Work Outcomes scale was used in this study, and other measures of work values that had greater reliabilities were sought. The Work Values Survey (WVS) was developed by Edwards and Cable (2002) based upon the model of human values developed by Schwartz (1992). Like Schwartz’s (1992) scale, the WVS model is organized around two axes that differentiate basic human motivations. The first axis is openness to change versus conservation, which distinguishes values in terms of pursuing new intellectual and emotional interests versus seeking certainty and preserving the status quo. The second axis is self-enhancement versus self-transcendence, which arrays values in terms of enhancing personal interests versus promoting the welfare of others. Drawing from this model, Edwards and Cable (2002) identified eight core work values representing Generational Differences 10 altruism, relationships, pay, security, authority, prestige, variety, and autonomy. . . . Reliabilities for the three-item scales ranged from .73 to .87 and averaged .82 in the [Edwards & Cable] 2002 study. (Cable & Edwards, 2004, p. 825) Each work value was measured using three items, all of which used a five-point scale. The construct validity of the WVS was confirmed in a study by Edwards and Cable (2009), in which the reliabilities of the work value scales ranged from .69 to .90. The survey ended with an open-ended question that read “Please use the space below to tell us anything else you would like to share about your values and expectations for your job and how they relate to your membership in the Silent, Boomer, Gen Xer or Millennial generations.“ Procedures Pilot testing was carried out with members of the Ohio Association for Institutional Research and Planning in August 2009. Pilot test participants indicated that no changes were necessary in the survey. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the Desirability of Work Outcomes (DWO) scale items were best treated as two separate scales, DWO--Intrinsic and DWO--Extrinsic. The 24 WVS items clustered into 8 scales as expected. Scale reliabilities were .94 for DWO—I, .91 for DWO—E, and ranged from .76 to .94 for the 8 WVS scales. Data were screened for missing values, multivariate outliers, linearity, normality, and homoscedasticity using procedures suggested by Mertler and Vannatta (2005). All variables used in the research models have fewer than 5% of missing cases. After 22 cases were identified as multivariate outliers, they were deleted, resulting in a final sample size of 1,005. Generation groups were developed based upon responses to the item about birth year. Groups were adjusted based upon responses to the additional generation status question. Significant differences in the workplace value scales were investigated by means of analysis of variance with post hoc tests. Generational Differences 11 Responses to the open-ended survey item were analyzed by breaking material into small units of observation, developing initial themes or categories within the findings, and considering alternative interpretations that either confirmed the initial themes or led to the creation of new ones. Results As shown in Table 2, significant differences were found across generational groups in 3 of the 10 work values scales. Effect sizes (η2) were all very low. As shown in Table 3, Boomers and Millennials valued security more than members of the Silent Generation, members of the Silent Generation valued authority more than Boomers or Gen Xers, and Boomers valued prestige more than Gen Xers. For females, relationships were significantly more important for members of the Silent Generation than for Gen Xers and Millennials, and for Boomers than for Gen Xers. For males, security was significantly less important for members of the Silent Generation than for other groups; authority was significantly more important for Boomers than for Gen Xers; and prestige was significantly more important for Gen Xers than for Millennials. For people of color, pay was significantly more important for Gen Xers than for Boomers; prestige was significantly more important for Boomers than Gen Xers and Millennials, and for Gen Xers than for Millennials; and autonomy was significantly more important for Boomers than for Millennials. For Caucasians, authority was significantly more important for members of the Silent Generation and Boomers than it was for Gen Xers. For participants who worked in two-year public institutions, DWO-I and DWO-E were significantly more important for Millennials than for members of the other generational groups; Generational Differences 12 altruism was significantly more important for Millennials than it was for Boomers and gen Xers; and prestige was significantly less important for Millennials than it was for members of the other groups. For participants who worked at four-year private institutions, DWO-E was significantly more important for Boomers than for Gen Xers and Millennials and pay was significantly more important for Gen Xers than for members of the Silent generation and Boomers and for Millennials than members of the Silent Generation. For participants who worked in four-year public institutions, prestige was significantly more important for Boomers than Gen Xers. For participants who described their job category as analyst or coordinator, pay was significantly more important for Boomers than for members of the Silent Generation and Millennials, and for Gen Xers than for Millennials. Also for analysts and coordinators, prestige was significantly more important for Boomers than for Gen Xers. Responses to the open-ended survey item yielded 27 single-spaced pages of responses, which were grouped into themes of work ethic, schedule, structure, recognition, and work-life balance. Work Ethic: Members of the Silent Generation and Boomers had many comments about the lack of work ethic that they perceived on the part of Gen Xers and Millennials, for example: I would like my staff to have the same or similar dedication and work ethic that I hold and find it frustrating when the Gen Xers and Millennials on my staff do not show that dedication, persistence and desire to meet deadlines. I find many of the current Millennial expectations of what work should be ridiculous and frankly stupid. Of course, I could just have a particularly bad crop of spoiled-brat Millennials on my hands. The ones I work with are arrogant, spoiled, entitled, and often sexist males who simultaneously complain about being held to high standards as an unavoidable part of the job and complain that “The old people”—Boomers and Gen Generational Differences 13 Xers—“should just retire and get out of our way so we can move up.” Direct quote. Their work doesn’t match their ambition; they’re sloppy and expect older people (especially women) to clean up after them. Something I think worthy of note: I am 62 and am an assistant director at my institute. The director of the institute, my supervisor, is 37. There are distinct differences in the way we handle the delegation of tasks (he does a lot more of it than I do), working on projects to completion (he hands-off a project when he is bored with it or if it requires a lot of time), and overall attention to detail (except for budgeting, I pay much more attention to detail). After a little more than two years of observing these and other distinctions, I've come to think it is a function of a generational difference in the way we view our work. Don't misunderstand; we are able to work well together and happen to like each other personally. In addition, I think I notice these differences more than he does. One thing I do is never say it is not my job! Whenever I can, I am always there to assist in anyway that I can. Many times I am called upon to help other departments with software training or questions about particular software programs. I am not a clock watcher. I am here early and many times I am here well after 5:00 pm. I believe that Baby Boomers are more conscientious than other generations. A variant of these comments was the response of a Gen Xer about Millennialls: As a Gen Xer in an IR office where the average age of full time staff is 28, all of my coworkers are younger. I prefer to work independently on projects with minimal supervision. Working with younger employees who crave constant feedback can be time consuming. Younger workers tend to regard dress codes and work time as flexible. For example, they believe that arriving at work at 8:15 is on time, even though the office opens at 8. I believe that if something urgent comes up outside of office hours it your responsibility as a salaried employee to make every effort to complete the task. My younger coworkers do not share this viewpoint. Other comments from members of the older generations suggested not just perceptions of a lesser work ethic on the part of members of younger generations, but their sense of resentment as a result. Based on definitions of generational status, I (as a Boomer) am considered a staple. I am seen as someone who is a hard worker, dependable, responsible, and timely. Since I can get the job done, I am often tasked with doing it. Since I don't set boundaries for myself, I am often asked to function outside any boundary. The assumption is that my work Generational Differences 14 ethic is based on the need for job security. The reality is that I know that my contribution is important. The assumption is that I willingly sacrifice a personal life and risk health to get the next promotion. The reality is that my generation has to accept undue burden because rising generations are not taking it on. It's extremely interesting that my children (in the [sic] early 20's) vow they will NEVER be comitted [sic] to a job like I am. I am a member of the President's Cabinet and often work 50-60 hours a week. I view this as being a part of my job where my children view it as exploitation and slavery. I worry that they will not be able to get ahead or maintain a good position. Generational differences for sure. I bring a depression baby attitude to my work. Get the job done, get it done correctly and recognition and reward will follow. Wrong! but too late to change now. While one Millennial participant seemed to support perceptions of members of her generation that were held by members of the Silent Generation and Boomers, I believe my Millennial generation is one of the first to have everything we want always at our fingertips. We haven't had to struggle through world wars or live through the civil rights era. We put ourselves in deep debt because when we want something, we go online and use a credit card to order it instantly. We grew up when the economy was great and it's difficult for us to live any other way. I think this shows up in our work ethic and, in many cases, our values. other younger participants provided more nuanced explanations about generational differences in work ethic. I believe my generation, the Gen Xers, have experienced our parents job loss, and many of us have lost jobs that are not due to our own actions. This has deeply affected me and caused me to realize that I am the only person who can be responsible for my career, which must be carefully managed. It is unfortunate for my employers, but career advancement in higher education only happens with the willingness to be mobile. When you consider the importance of institutional memory and good, consistent data analysis, the frequent job switching of institutional researchers is a serious problem for higher education. I am fully aware of my contribution to the problem. However, I have finally landed in a career field that I enjoy, and that has excellent rewards; I would be foolish not to take advantage of the career opportunities. As a Gen Xer, I prefer to work in a Results Only Work Environmnet (ROWE). Look it up online. Basically it's a new way of defining work which does not measure time put in Generational Differences 15 but focuses on results produced. Honestly, this is the most important thing to me, even more important than money. In my future job searches, this is what I will be looking for in an employer. As a member of the Millennial generation, we have big ideas and big expectations. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we have the ability (at this point) to translate this momentum completely into direct action as most of us are probably either in middle management or at the entry level of our organization. Therefore, we are left with trying to communicate our ideas and our perspectives to our bosses to try to "be the change we wish to see in the world." I don't think that this is necessarily a bad thing or an unusual problem between people in different generations, but it does come with it a certain level of frustration as the techniques and skills that we have learned in graduate school is [sic] vastly different from what the people who manage us have learned. Just in terms of technology, the Millennials have grown up with computers, cell phones, and other advances that make the world seem a smaller and more manageable place. This has shaped the way we think and the way we solve a problem. Also in terms of data analysis, our analytical techniques are more sophisticated as the field has advanced exponentially in the last decade or so and we have the most recent education. In general, some of us are frustrated because we are a highly educated population (a larger proportion of us have graduate level degrees), but yet we don’t have enough experience for people (i.e. university administrators) to feel confident in our abilities to manage and direct an office. I think this creates a slight tension in the workplace as we might expect to be promoted quickly or to gain more authority/responsibility due to our degree credentials but this is happening at a slower rate than we expect. I also feel that my generation has a tough time dealing with the hierarchy of an organization and rather colleagues be treated as the equals that they are. Other generations (in my opinion) feel more comfortable or secure with this hierarchy. The good news is that Millennials take excessive pride in their work and want to make sure that we please our supervisors (direct and indirect). We also can learn fairly quickly and are quite adaptable. Schedule: Gen Xers and Millennials identified the importance that flexibility in work schedules had for them, a value that they felt differentiated them from members of the older generations. As a Gen Xer, I feel that my generation values quite highly flexibility in their work schedules, while focusing on meeting deadlines by working at home and in the office, rather than focusing on working a set schedule of 9 to 5 everyday. One aspect of my work that I value is flexibility. Standard hours are 9-5, but with all the technology available, I feel like I work during off hours as well which affords me to Generational Differences 16 come and go as I please during the normal work day. I like being accountable for doing whatever necessary to get my work done and for my accomplishments; not for maintaining a strict work schedule. This may be more characteristic of the Millenial [sic] generation than my Gen Xer generation... It seems as though I was born right on the cusp of GenX/Millennial (1981) depending on what source is being used. I tend to identify more with GenX. I will say I definitely appreciate flexibility in my job. If I have something I need to be at home for and I am able to do my work from home, then I like that flexibility. Simply being in the office does not equate to productivity for me, as it might for earlier generations. Occasionally, older colleagues who are in the same building, but not in my department will comment about my absence. In reality, it is not any of their business what I work out with my supervisor, but I think they comment because of a generational expectation. Structure: Participants from the Silent and Boomer generations emphasized the importance for them of structure in the workplace, Clear direction and mentoring guidance are both extremely important to me. I always say that I am a rule follower and I think that comes from being a child of the 50's. I like order, systems and processes and I follow them. Sticking to rules and guidelines is critical to me, which I think helps me in the IR profession. while those from younger generations emphasized the importance of flexibility. I've noticed distinct differences between Gen Xers and Boomers. Gen Xers seem to appreciate having more autonomy and as supervisors are more willing to allow employees to work independently. Boomers seem to appreciate a solid chain of command and are more likely to micro-manage. I also feel that my generation has a tough time dealing with the hierarchy of an organization and rather colleagues be treated as the equals that they are. Other generations (in my opinion) feel more comfortable or secure with this hierarchy. Recognition: Several Gen Xers and Millennials commented upon the importance for them of Generational Differences 17 recognition for their accomplishments rather than having recognition be based upon longevity and formal authority. I don't think the x'ers [sic] are as compelled by status. It isn't that x'ers [sic] don't want the "finer" things in life...but I think as a generation we are more attuned to the price paid for the finer things in terms of lost autonomy, time, etc. Not everything is worth the price. I want a job that I feel contributes....but I don't much care about how others perceive me in the chain of command. I want recognition based on my work and quality of my work, not my title and years of endurance at a job. One thing I read about Gen Xers that definitely applies to me is a respect for skill, knowledge and wisdom rather than job title. I am much more impressed by people who do good work, do innovative things, think creatively, etc. than I am by people who hold particular positions. It's a helpful perspective in that I'm not easily intimidated by positions but it's a problem in that I'm not always as respectful or formal as Boomers would like. I believe that the Gen Xer in me expects to earn respect by providing quality products and great service and by showing that I genuinely care about the outcomes of projects for the sake of the campus and higher education as a whole. I do think that there is a gap between those who might be in a management position - earlier Gen Xers and older - where micromanagement and hierarchical expectancy is the norm. I have experienced this multiple times and I believe it is one of the largest gaps to overcome - respecting someone for talent, education, and motivation vs. title, rank, and age. In general, some of us are frustrated because we are a highly educated population (a larger proportion of us have graduate level degrees), but yet we don’t have enough experience for people (i.e. university administrators) to feel confident in our abilities to manage and direct an office. I think this creates a slight tension in the workplace as we might expect to be promoted quickly or to gain more authority/responsibility due to our degree credentials but this is happening at a slower rate than we expect. Work-Life Balance: Several Gen X and Millennial participants (but none from the older generations) also commented on the importance of work-life balance. Work/life balance is extremely important. I like having a clear distinction between worklife and homelife. I carry a briefcase to and from work, but I prefer it to contain no more than pencil and paper and my lunch. Generational Differences 18 I also draw a clear distinction between my work and my home life and roles. I believe that for the most part, if one comes to work prepared to work, there is no reason why someone would need to spend more than 40 hours per week working (with the occasional exception when a time-sensitive, special project is due). This isn't to imply that I am lazy, but I think that some people feel that if they aren't putting in 60-70 hours a week their jobs are at risk. I owe my employer my best possible effort when I am at work, but my employer doesn't demand that I make my job my life, and I think I am actually more productive because I have learned to draw a distinct boundary between the two major aspects of my life. I think Boomers and older colleagues invest too much identity into their jobs and establish an unbalanced work/life standard that I reject. I often try to steal the blackberry from our chief of staff so she can breathe a little, but she hyperventilates when I attempt to do so. It's important for me not to be a work-aholic like some admin are. I work to live, not live to work. I will occasionally stay after hours to complete a job, but if the demands start requiring me to do it regularly, that's when I'll probably look elsewhere. My life outside of work (i.e. family, church, friends) is just as important as my life in the workplace. Discussion Smola and Sutton (2002) found significant differences in three items within their survey for their overall sample: Gen Xers were significantly more likely to report wanting to be promoted more quickly than Boomers (Desirability of Work Outcomes scale); Gen Xers were also significantly more likely than Boomers to agree that “working hard makes one a better person” and less likely to agree that work should be one of the most important parts of a person’s life (Moral Importance of Work scale). The current study found no significant differences in Smola and Sutton’s Desirability of Work Outcomes scale, but did find three significant generation-based differences in the eight Work Values Survey scales (Edwards and Cable, 2002): Boomers and Millennials valued security more than members of the Silent Generation, members of the Silent Generation valued authority more than Boomers or Gen Xers, and Boomers valued prestige more than Gen Xers. While none of the literature reviewed indicated Generational Differences 19 significant differences in workplace values for demographic sub-groups, several differences were found here by sex, race, institutional sector, and job category. Limitations and Delimitations As noted earlier, the survey population was limited to AIR members, and it is known that two-year and smaller institutions are under-represented in AIR. Further, Caucasians were over- represented among the participants. Perhaps more importantly, readers are cautioned to not over-generalize about generational differences to the point that they start to function as stereotypes. The study showed significant differences in workplace values across generational groups in three of ten scales (albeit with small effect sizes) and themes developed from the open- ended survey item highlighted the importance of generational differences in terms of work ethic, flexibility in work schedules, work structure, recognition, and work-life balance. Nevertheless, many other factors, such as understanding institutional context, engagement, relationship, trust, professional development, workload, personal and professional qualities, technical competencies, perceived organizational support, burnout, advancement opportunities, rewards and recognition, job embeddedness, and available job alternatives (Knight, 2010; Knight and Leimer 2010), affect institutional researchers’ feelings about their jobs. Participants in this study commented upon this delimitation, including the observation from one that “I am as taciturn as a Silent, as ambitious as a Boomer, as earnest as an Xer, and as impatient as a Millenial,” the concise comment that “I think the generational differences are a crock,“ the longer but equally sharp statement that The study of generational differences is silly and a waste of time. It is based on stereotyping and is similar to racism. There are too many individuals who do NOT match the characteristics of others in their so-called "generations," just as there are minority Generational Differences 20 group members who are not poor and uneducated. They do not appreciate being characterized as such by these types of studies. The results of your study will, of course, be interesting, but how will it help us improve our work? and the following statement, which suggests an area for further research: It would be interesting to elaborate on this study in the relationships BETWEEN the generations within the workplace, rather than just focusing on their values. Focus groups by generation would be a nice addition to this study. That way you could hear if they counter-balance each other, if there are difficulties with reporting relationships because of age, if there are training issues and so on. It might be interesting to compare these data to some personality measures someday, also, so you can untangle the individual effects from those of the cohort. Qualitative approaches, particularly focus groups comprised of institutional researchers of varied generational groups, could add depth and nuance to our understanding of how generational differences affect how IR professionals view and perform their jobs. As noted above, a quantitative study that included both personality measures and generational identities could serve to distinguish between individual and generation group-based differences. Better understanding of how sex, race/ethnicity, institutional sector, and job category mitigate generational effects on work values and experiences requires better understanding in general about how these demographic and employment factors shape the job experiences on institutional researchers. While further research is necessary to verify and extend these results, both the quantitative and qualitative results of the current study suggest that generational differences do matter, thus it is useful to examine implications for managing, communicating with, and Generational Differences 21 retaining members of the Silent, Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennial Generations in the IR workplace. Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak (2000) provide personnel management strategies for generational types. They note that members of the Silent Generation often find technology challenging and intimidating; they suggest using trainers who speak the language of members of the Silent Generation or taking a “train the trainer” approach in working with this group; they suggest communicating in person and with handwritten notes with members of the Silent Generation, not by email; they emphasize recognizing members of this group with plaques, photos, and other traditional rewards. With Boomers, Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak (2000) note that motivating messages are “we value you,” “we need you,” “you are worthy,” and “your contributions are unique and important;’ they suggest stressing to Boomers that they have the opportunity to really make a difference in the organization; they note the importance of teaching Boomers the organizational politics when they are in a new job; they stress including lots of professional development opportunities when working with Boomers; they make a case for communicating with and motivating Boomers by using the personal touch, giving them perks, and involving them in decision making. Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak (2000) suggest that when working with Gen Xers, give them lots of stimulation and lots of work they that can juggle, let Xers figure out things for themselves rather than forcing them to participate in training, encourage fun at work, provide flex time, give them access to the latest technology, and shield them from organizational politics. When working with Millennials, Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak (2000) suggest having them work in teams with other bright, creative people, give them the message that “you can be a hero here; you can make a big difference here,” and throw away all of your perceived notions about gender roles. Although members of the Silent and Boomer Generations may not perceive strong difference between the Gen Xers and the Generational Differences 22 Millennials, Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak (2000) stress the importance of understanding that these two groups have very different motivators. The authors also highlight the difference in perceptions of the Boomers between the Boomers themselves and the Gen Xers: Boomers view themselves as the new generation to whom the torch was passed; they believe they changed the world for the better in the 1960s and 1970s; Gen Xers think Boomers have taken all of the opportunities away from them and that putting forth the kind of effort that Boomers do will not get them anything. Further implications for managing, communicating with, and retaining members of the Silent, Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennial Generations in the IR workplace can be gained with the summary of how members of the four generations see the world, as articulated by Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak (2000) (see Table 12). For example, when an IR manager discusses implementing flex-time as a result of urging by Gen X staff members, members of the Silent Generation may see this as laziness on the part of their junior colleagues, while Boomers may decide that taking advantage of flex time will reflect poorly on them. If IR staff members are asked to take on a team approach to completing projects, Silents might agree because this is what the supervisor decided, Boomers and Millennials may be enthusiastic since this is their preferred approach, and Xers may resent this idea and just want to be left alone to do their part of the work. Reactions of IR staff members to a new supervisor may also differ by their generational affiliations; the Silent Generation staff members may say “well, she’s the boss,” the Boomer might wonder “how is she going to interact with me?,” the Xers’s view might be “let’s see what she can do,” and the Millennial may ask “can’t we all just get along?” Since most Millennials are likely to be in entry-level IR jobs, it may be worthwhile to conclude with implications for IR managers who may be members of the older generations for Generational Differences 23 retaining and promoting the careers of Millennial staff members. Sujansky and Ferri-Reed (2009) note that “Managers need to consider ways in which they can create an environment on the job that is fast-paced, engaging, and enjoyable” (p. 21) and provide fulfilling work and challenging assignments, building individual relationships, recognizing individual accomplishment, and providing frequent and plentiful of feedback. They make a case for “Challeng[ing] Millennials to take on more or different responsibilities. . . . The projects can’t be mere busywork. The goals must be clear and the importance of the project to the future of the organization must be highlighted” (p. 83). They note that “One way to maintain their long-term commitment is to make sure that they have continual learning and development opportunities.” (p. 84) The authors also point out that “Not surprisingly, most Millennials tend to embrace change very enthusiastically. They’re used to working quickly and under pressure, so many of them actually thrive when change is one the table. As notable multitaskers, they aren’t necessarily thrown off track when a curve comes their way. As a leader, you may in fact find that dangling a change in front of your younger employees is a very effective way to motivate them.” (p. 99). Sujansky and Ferri-Reed (2009) devote a great deal of their book to stressing the importance of communication to ensure the success of Millennials. “The idea of giving constant feedback may seem exhausting or unnecessary to the average manager, but its exactly what Millennials say they need. Taking the time to give more feedback keeps your employees striving to do their best and provides the information Millennials need for personal development.” (p. 104) “They were raised by parents who believed in the value of positive feedback and who went out of their way to make sure their children developed a strong sense of self-esteem. The Millennials’ teachers were also taught to provide lots of reinforcement as a more effective means Generational Differences 24 of instruction.” (p. 110) Millennials expect their supervisors to anticipate their needs, just as their parents have done. “The Mature generation, and to a lesser extent, the Baby Boomer generation, were both more accustomed to following marching orders. . . . When it comes to the Milennial generation, however, communication is hypercritical. Younger workers may well be unable to function if they can’t see the bigger picture.” (p. 116) They want a clear idea of how they can grow in the job. Millennials need lots of real-time feedback, not annual performance reviews. The authors also note that “Millennials are expecting frequent contact with their bosses, which includes lots of praise and an open exchange of ideas” (p. 37) Millennials will take any delay in their performance reviews as negative feedback. Millennials expect to have the latest technology at their fingertips. They may expect that everyone will communicate with them on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Sujansky and Ferri-Reed (2009) note that “Technology is at the heart of the Millennial Generation’s work ethic” (p. 22). They suggest that managers do not object object if employees use MP3s while they work, and consider providing televisions in the workplace. Millennials prefer text messages or instant messaging or Skype or Twitter or YouTube to face-to-face meetings in many situations. “If it can be safely said that Generation X was raised with new technologies, it must be noted that Milennials were totally immersed in the new technologies of their era. For Gen Xers, technology was a brave new world. For Millennials, technology is the world.” (p. 172) Sujansky and Ferri-Reed (2009) explain that Millennials expect to be compensated for their talents and contributions not the amount of time they have put in. If they put in more hours one day, they get to expect to be able to put in fewer the next. “This perspective on work time partly stems from a desire to improve on existing ways of doing things.” (p. 8). Generational Differences 25 Finally, the authors state that Millenials saw their parents’ expectations of lifetime employment with one company shattered; consequently they have decided that there is no reward for loyalty to their organization. They expect that their skills will carry them far and they will seek other employment if they perceive that this is not the case. While IR supervisors who are members of older generations may view these perspectives negatively, they must acknowledge them as affecting the current and future IR workforce and proceed accordingly. Not only will Millennials have our jobs in the future, they are funding our retirement. Generational Differences 26 References Adams, S. J. (2000). 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A test of leadership: Charting the future of U. S. higher education. Retrieved July 20, 2008 from http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/hiedfuture/reports/final-report.pdf Volkwein, J. F. (Winter 1999). The four faces of institutional research. In J. F. Volkwein (series ed. & vol. ed.), What is institutional research all about? A critical and comprehensive assessment of the profession (pp. 9-19). New Directions for Institutional Research, 104. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Vorhees, R. A. (2008). Institutional research’s role in strategic planning. In. D. G. Terkla (ed.), Institutional research: More than just data (pp. 77-85). New Directions for Higher Education, 141. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Westerman, J. W., & Yamamura, J. H. (2007). Generational preferences for work environment fit: Effects on employee outcomes. Career Development International, 12(2), 150-161. Generational Differences 32 Footnote 1. Straus and Howe (1991) and other sources note that the “personalities” of the generations they describe are unique to persons who grew up in and experienced “social moments” in the United States. Those who experienced seminal events during their events in other nations presumably identify with their own generational cohorts. 2. Various authors sometimes give different names to the generations described here and list slightly different ranges of birth years for them. I have used the labels and birth year ranges provided by Straus and Howe (1991). Generational Differences 33 Table 1 Comparison of Survey Participants to the Population of AIR Members Survey Participants AIR Member Population N % N % χ2 Sex Female 64% 56% 2.29 Male 36% 44% Race/Ethnicity People of Color 10% 16% 4.50* Caucasian 90% 84% Institutional Control For-Profit 3% 2% 3.00 Private, Not-For-Profit 39% 32% Public 58% 66% Institutional Level Two-Year or Less 25% 19% 2.34 Four-Year or Greater 75% 81% ________________________________________________________________________ Generational Differences 34 Note. * = p < .05. Generational Differences 35 Table 2 One-Way Analysis of Variance Summary for Work Values by Generation Status Source df SS MS F η2 Desirability of Work Outcomes--Intrinsic Between groups 3 304 102 1.02 .003 Within group 1001 100208 100 Total 1004 100513 Desirability of Work Outcomes--Extrinsic Between groups 3 36 12 0.58 .002 Within group 1001 19796 20 Total 1004 19831 Altruism Between groups 3 19 6 1.91 .006 Within group 1001 3395 3 Total 1004 3414 Relationships Between groups 3 16 5 1.05 .003 Within group 1001 5122 5 Total 1004 5138 Pay Between groups 3 12 4 1.49 .004 Within group 1001 2788 3 Total 1004 2800 Security Between groups 3 38 13 2.66* .008 Within group 1001 4795 5 Total 1004 4833 Generational Differences 36 Authority Between groups 3 64 21 2.96* .009 Within group 1001 7197 7 Total 1004 7260 Prestige Between groups 3 36 12 3.57* .011 Within group 1001 3388 3 Total 1004 3424 Variety Between groups 3 2 1 0.21 .001 Within group 1001 3612 4 Total 1004 3614 Autonomy Between groups 4 17 6 1.56 .005 Within group 1001 3557 4 Total 1004 3574 Note. * = p < .05. Generational Differences 37 Table 3 Means and Standard Deviations for Work Values by Generation Status Silent Boomer Gen X-er Millennial M SD M SD M SD M SD DWO--Intrinsic 13.7 4.7 16.1 10.5 16.5 9.8 17.2 9.7 DWO--Extrinsic 120.7 3.9 10.8 4.4 10.4 4.5 10.7 4.8 Altruism 13.0 1.8 13.0 1.8 12.8 1.9 13.3 2.0 Relationships 11.4 2.0 11.2 2.2 10.9 2.3 11.0 2.6 Pay 12.0 1.5 12.4 1.7 12.6 1.7 12.2 2.1 Security 12.0a,b 2.4 13.0a 2.1 12.7 2.3 13.0b 2.1 Authority 11.5a 2.7 10.8b 2.6 10.4a,b 2.8 10.6 2.7 Prestige 11.8 1.7 11.9a 1.7 11.5a 1.9 11.3 2.7 Variety 12.5 1.7 12.3 1.9 12.4 1.9 12.2 1.8 Autonomy 12.5 1.7 12.7 1.9 12.6 1.9 12.1 2.0 Note. Means in a row sharing subscripts are significantly different. For all measures, higher means indicate higher scale scores. Generational Differences 38 Table 4 One-Way Analysis of Variance Summary for Work Values by Generation Status for Females and Males Source df SS MS F η2 Relationships for Males Between groups 3 66 22 3.96** .032 Within group 357 1997 6 Total 360 2063 Security for Females Between groups 3 39 13 2.83* .013 Within group 634 2889 5 Total 637 2928 Authority for Females Between groups 3 66 22 3.09* .014 Within group 634 4472 7 Total 637 3534 Prestige for Females Between groups 3 33 11 3.43* .016 Within group 634 2036 3 Total 637 2069 Note. * = p < .05, ** = p < .01. Generational Differences 39 Table 5 Means and Standard Deviations for Work Values by Generation Status for Females and Males Silent Boomer Gen X-er Millennial M SD M SD M SD M SD Males Relationships 12.0a,b 1.9 11.0c 2.1 10.4a,c 2.6 9.6b 3.1 Females Security 11.6a,b,c 2.8 13.1a 2.1 12.9b 2.1 13.2c 2.1 Authority 11.7 2.4 10.9a 2.5 10.3a 2.8 10.9 2.8 Prestige 12.1 1.2 12.0 1.6 11.7a 1.9 11.2a 1.8 Note. Means in a row sharing subscripts are significantly different. For all measures, higher means indicate higher scale scores. Generational Differences 40 Table 6 One-Way Analysis of Variance Summary for Work Values by Generation Status for Persons of Color and Caucasians Source df SS MS F η2 Pay for Persons of Color Between groups 3 46 15 5.46** .155 Within group 89 250 3 Total 92 297 Prestige for Persons of Color Between groups 3 101 34 9.45*** .240 Within group 89 320 4 Total 92 421 Autonomy for Persons of Color Between groups 3 33 11 2.80* .086 Within group 89 340 4 Total 92 383 Authority for Caucasians Between groups 3 64 21 3.01* .010 Within group 882 6289 7 Total 885 6353 Note. * = p < .05, ** = p < .01, *** = p < .001. Generational Differences 41 Table 7 Means and Standard Deviations for Work Values by Generation Status for People of Color and Caucasians Silent Boomer Gen X-er Millennial M SD M SD M SD M SD Persons of Color Pay 11.5 2.1 13.2a 1.6 13.5a 1.7 11.1a,b 2.0 Prestige 10.0 2.8 12.4a,b 1.5 11.5a,c 2.0 8.5b,c 2.5 Autonomy 10.5 0.7 13.5a 1.7 12.6 2.1 11.6a 1.9 Caucasians Authority 11.4a 2.6 10.7b 2.5 10.3a,b 2.8 10.6 2.9 Note. Means in a row sharing subscripts are significantly different. For all measures, higher means indicate higher scale scores. Generational Differences 42 Table 8 One-Way Analysis of Variance Summary for Work Values by Generation Status for Two-Year Public, Four-Year Public, and Four-Year Private Source df SS MS F η2 DWO—I for Two-Year Public Between groups 3 1011 337 2.98* .038 Within group 226 25521 133 Total 229 26532 DWO—E for Two-Year Public Between groups 3 255 85 4.48** .056 Within group 226 4297 19 Total 229 4553 Altruism for Two-Year Public Between groups 3 20 7 2.73* .035 Within group 226 563 2 Total 229 583 Prestige for Two-Year Public Between groups 3 44 15 4.10** .052 Within group 226 816 3 Total 229 860 DWO—E for Four-Year Private Between groups 3 157 52 2.79* .022 Within group 377 7071 19 Total 380 7228 Pay for Four-Year Private Between groups 3 21 7 2.91* .023 Within group 377 909 2 Generational Differences 43 Total 380 930 Prestige for Four-Year Public Between groups 3 43 14 3.27** .039 Within group 324 1070 3 Total 327 1113 Note. * = p < .05, ** = p < .01, *** = p < .001. Generational Differences 44 Table 9 Means and Standard Deviations for Work Values by Generation Status for Two-Year Public, Four-Year Public, and Four-Year Private Silent Boomer Gen X-er Millennial M SD M SD M SD M SD Two-Year Public DWO—I 14.6a 5.8 17.1b 11.7 16.1c 9.1 26.9a,b,c16.6 DWO—E 9.9a 3.8 10.9b 4.6 10.4c 4.1 15.9a,b,c 5.4 Altruism 13.6 1.3 13.1a 1.6 12.9b 1.6 14.2a,b 1.1 Prestige 12.4a 1.9 11.9b 1.8 11.8c 1.9 9.7a,b,c 3.3 Four-Year Private DWO—E 11.5 4.5 11.1a,b 4.4 10.1a 4.3 8.3b 3.6 Pay 11.7a,b 1.4 12.3c 1.4 12.6a,c 1.7 12.8b 1.7 Four-Year Public Prestige 11.8 1.9 11.8a 1.5 11.1a 2.0 10.9 2.4 Note. Means in a row sharing subscripts are significantly different. For all measures, higher means indicate higher scale scores. Generational Differences 45 Table 10 One-Way Analysis of Variance Summary for Work Values by Generation Status for Directors or Higher, Assistant/Associate Directors, and Analysts/Coordinators Source df SS MS F η2 Pay for Analysts/Coordinators Between groups 3 28 9 3.43* .014 Within group 277 766 3 Total 280 280 Prestige for Analysts/Coordinators Between groups 3 33 11 3.08* .032 Within group 277 991 4 Total 280 1025 Note. * = p < .05, ** = p < .01, *** = p < .001. Generational Differences 46 Table 11 Means and Standard Deviations for Work Values by Generation Status for Directors or Higher, Assistant/Associate Directors, and Analysts/Coordinators Silent Boomer Gen X-er Millennial M SD M SD M SD M SD Analysts/Coordinators Pay 11.4a 1.1 12.7a,b 1.5 12.6c 1.7 11.8b,c 2.2 Prestige 11.7 1.8 11.8a 1.7 11.1a 1.7 11.0 2.9 Note. Means in a row sharing subscripts are significantly different. For all measures, higher means indicate higher scale scores. Generational Differences 47 Table 12 How Members of Different Generations See The World Silent Boomers Xers Millenials Outlook Practical Optimistic Skeptical Hopeful Work Ethic Dedicated Driven Balanced Determined View of Authority Respectful Love/Hate Unimpressed Polite Leadership by Hierarchy Consensus Competence Pulling Together Relationships Personal Personal Reluctant Inclusive Sacrifice Gratification to Commit Turnoffs Vulgarity Political Cliché, Promiscuity Incorrectness Hype Note. Based on Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak (2000), p. 155.
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