Cross-Generational Issues in Organizations


  • Jill Waymire Paine

Document type: Encyclopedia Entry

Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia

Year: 2006


  • Business Case
  • Flexible Work Arrangements/Flexibility
  • Generations/Generational
  • Managers/Supervisors


  • Business and Management


Focusing on cross-generational issues is increasingly becoming imperative for leaders of organizations. Never before in history have four generations interacted so closely in the workforce. Many effective leaders are seeking to understand how to harness the talent, motivation, and leadership potential of their employees of different generations and how to quell the potential conflict among them (Conger, 1998; Flynn, 1996; Lancaster & Stillman, 2002; Zemke, Raines, & Filipczak, 1999). Although multiple generations have worked together historically, they were largely segregated by the hierarchical structure of the manufacturing-based economy. The senior leadership was generally comprised of white males of the oldest generation who presided over the middle-aged middle managers. Junior level employees were the youngest and most inexperienced in the organization. As individuals matured in age, their responsibility, status, and salary in their careers incrementally increased. Individuals generally endured each successive level for several years before expecting promotion. The solid walls between levels generally kept generations from integrating (Zemke, et al., 1999).

Link:Cross-Generational_Issues encyclopedia