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									                                               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),

wknight@bgsu.edu.
                                                 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
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       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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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       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
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       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.
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        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


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                                         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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