The discursive      construction of                  Rebecca Whiting                                       and     ‘genera...
Key assumptions in variable-based     research on generations          ‘Generations’ are birth cohorts shaped by a shared...
Background: Current discourses of generations     Generations     as identity    Inter-generational                     ...
Age at Work project          12 month e-research project to map the language           of age at work using English langu...
Age at                                   work                                  media                                 conve...
This presentation     Analyses     a sample week of data from the      project     Explores the discursive construction ...
Data            Scope of data not determined by traditional national,             organizational and temporal boundaries ...
Project Data   Search / data                   Quantity      Quantity        Approx                                   (sam...
National &                                     regional                   Campaign            press                    & l...
http://ageatwork.wordpress.com
Genres of discursive resources          used to ‘know’ and construct          generations       Statistics         e.g. ...
‘Knowing’ Generations     Statistics                        Attributes     Visual   images                   Case     ...
Statistics         From Womaneer blog         BPW Foundation voice          positioned as expert         Gen Y very cle...
Visual images         From The Telegraph (UK)         Finance Section         Physical: male youth         Dress: 2 ho...
Attributes        London Free Press.com (UK)        Attributes are ascribed to         construct generations and        ...
Case Stories           Deccan Herald (India)            reproducing New York            Times           Case story deplo...
Conclusions           By looking at emerging media we can shift research out            of traditional organizational con...
References           Pritchard, K and Whiting, R (2012) ‘Autopilot? A reflexive review of the piloting            process...
Age at Work         Seminar   Friday 21st September 2012             Katrina Pritchard                                    ...
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The discursive construction of 'generations' discourse conference 19 july2012

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The discursive construction of 'generations' discourse conference 19 july2012

  1. 1. The discursive construction of Rebecca Whiting and ‘generations’ at Katrina Pritchard work Department of Organizational Psychology Birkbeck,10th International Conference on University of LondonOrganizational Discourse: Processes,practices and performance18 – 20 July 2012 Research funded by Richard Benjamin Trust (Early Career Award 1103)http://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  2. 2. Key assumptions in variable-based research on generations  ‘Generations’ are birth cohorts shaped by a shared socio- cultural environment  Generational cohort theory predicts that this affects values, attitudes, beliefs e.g. Twenge et al, 2012  Many organizational studies  take generational differences as an established starting point for research into variables of managerial interest such as work ethic and values (Meriac et al, 2010; Ng et al, 2010; Smola & Sutton, 2002)  use a particular generation (e.g. ‘Millenials’) as the target for investigation (De Hauw & De Vos, 2010)  Conceptual and methodological limitations where large scale survey methods are deployed to map differences in variables across (disputed and poorly defined) generational divides (Deal et al, 2010; Macky et al, 2008; Parry & Urwin, 2011)http://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  3. 3. Background: Current discourses of generations  Generations as identity  Inter-generational equity  Generations as  The ‘lost generation’ differencehttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  4. 4. Age at Work project  12 month e-research project to map the language of age at work using English language web-based media:  maps voices  follows conversations  examines the construction of age discourses and particular concepts  explores relationships between them  Data collection: ‘tracking’ and ‘trawling’ for 5 months using Google and Nexis alerts, Twilerts and website change detection alerts  Methodology: discourse analysis incl Rose (2001)http://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  5. 5. Age at work media conversations voiceshttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  6. 6. This presentation  Analyses a sample week of data from the project  Explores the discursive construction of ‘generations’  Aims to develop an understanding of the ways in which emerging media are implicated in the practices and processes of this construction within current debates about age and workhttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  7. 7. Data  Scope of data not determined by traditional national, organizational and temporal boundaries  Data include:  Newspaper articles and online reader comments  Websites, blogs and web forum  Images that accompany these texts  Tweets  YouTube videos, podcasts and webinars  Usually termed ‘secondary’ data as it is unsolicited or ‘naturally occurring’  Terms ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ (and boundaries between them) are increasingly blurred and potentially unhelpful  Has implications for ‘fitting’ new types of data and opportunities for data collection into e.g. ethical frameworkhttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  8. 8. Project Data Search / data Quantity Quantity Approx (sample week) (average hits quantity for per sample project (c 150 day) days) Google and Nexis Alerts 38 5.42 813 Search terms: “age discrimination”; “age regulation”; “age diversity”; “generation + work”; “older worker”; “youth employment” > relevant media items Twilerts: 361 51.57 7736 Search terms: “age discrimination”; “older worker”; “younger worker”; and 2 named organizations > relevant tweetshttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  9. 9. National & regional Campaign press & lobby Government groups Professional bodies Charities Voices Law firms Recruitment and management consultants Bloggers Academicshttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  10. 10. http://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  11. 11. Genres of discursive resources used to ‘know’ and construct generations  Statistics  e.g. employment rates and periods of unemployment calculated with reference to cohorts based on chronological marker  Attributes  e.g. characteristics or forms of behaviour such as work motivation and technological know-how  Case stories  e.g. narratives about individual members of a generation, either reinforcing or repudiating a prevalent stereotype  Visual images  e.g. photos of individuals or groups featured in text, stock photography, commissioned graphics and photoshttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  12. 12. ‘Knowing’ Generations  Statistics  Attributes  Visual images  Case stories Copyright acknowledgements and details included inhttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com following slides
  13. 13. Statistics  From Womaneer blog  BPW Foundation voice positioned as expert  Gen Y very clearly defined by birth cohort  Statistics operate as a technology of expertise to construct different groups and comparisons between them  Deployed to create categories of identity  Form the basis for establishing them as mutually exclusive ‘generations’ within the labour market Downloaded from http://womaneer.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/young-working-women-experience-gender- and-age-discrimination/ Original date of download 28/11/11, screen shot captured 5/6/12http://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  14. 14. Visual images  From The Telegraph (UK)  Finance Section  Physical: male youth  Dress: 2 hoodies (hard to reach, maligned, threatening)  Physical artefacts: visual metaphors of unemployment, the brick wall, number 13, urban  Interpersonal representations: alone, static, arms folded, sideways look  ‘Jobless generation’ invoked Downloaded from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8915671/The-truth-behind-the-new-jobless- generation.html Original date of download: 3/12/11 Screen shot captured: 5/6/12 Picture credit: Getty Imageshttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  15. 15. Attributes  London Free Press.com (UK)  Attributes are ascribed to construct generations and differences between generations  Used to establish taxonomies of generations through an essentialising and homogenising discourse  Worked up to commodify both ‘generations’ and expert knowledge about them as products or services marketable to employer organizations (e.g. ‘How to manage Millenials’)  Subject position of ‘expert’  Legitimise strategy of creation of‘knowledge intensive jobs’ for Gen Y Downloaded from http://www.lfpress.com/homes/2011/11/23/19011066.html Original date of download 30/11/11 Screen shot capture 5/5/12http://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  16. 16. Case Stories  Deccan Herald (India) reproducing New York Times  Case story deployed as a discursive device to prepare the ground for, and embed new constructions of, ‘generations  Extreme case formulation of scale of job search  Syllogistic linking of social unrest, strikes and youth unemployment Downloaded from http://www.deccanherald.com/content/206650/young-jobless-uks-lost- generation.html Original date of download 1/12/11 Screen shot capture 5/5/12http://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  17. 17. Conclusions  By looking at emerging media we can shift research out of traditional organizational context and take a broader perspective on those voices engaged in conversations about age and work  Specifically, how these are implicated in the practices and processes of constructing ‘generations’  Boundaries are blurred: organizational discourse does not just happen in organizations but between them  Different genres of discursive resources are used to construct generations  These require less and less explanation across different media as the establishment of generational labelling acquires legitimacy  Focus on generations deflects from more structural factors affecting jobs and workhttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  18. 18. References  Pritchard, K and Whiting, R (2012) ‘Autopilot? A reflexive review of the piloting process in qualitative e-research’ Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management (In Press)  De Hauw, S., & De Vos, A. (2010). Millennials Career Perspective and Psychological Contract Expectations: Does the Recession Lead to Lowered Expectations? Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(2), 293-302.  Deal, J. J., Altman, D. G., & Rogelberg, S. G. (2010). Millennials at Work: What We Know and What We Need to Do (If Anything). Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(2), 191-199.  Macky, K., Gardner, D., & Forsyth, S. (2008). Generational differences at work: introduction and overview. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23(8), 857-861.  Meriac, J. P., Woehr, D. J., & Banister, C. (2010). Generational Differences in Work Ethic: An Examination of Measurement Equivalence Across Three Cohorts. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(2), 315-324.  Ng, E. S. W., Schweitzer, L., & Lyons, S. T. (2010). New Generation, Great Expectations: A Field Study of the Millennial Generation. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(2), 281-292.  Parry, E., & Urwin, P. (2011). Generational Differences in Work Values: A Review of Theory and Evidence. International Journal of Management Reviews, 13(1), 79-96.  Smola, K. W., & Sutton, C. D. (2002). Generational differences: revisiting generational work values for the new millennium. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23, 363-382.  Twenge, J.M., Campbell, W.K., Freeman, E.C.(2012) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2012, Vol. 102, No. 5, 1045–1062,http://ageatwork.wordpress.com
  19. 19. Age at Work Seminar Friday 21st September 2012 Katrina Pritchard and at Rebecca Whiting Birkbeck, University of London Dept of Organizational Psychology Outline agenda: This project aims to map the11.00 – 13.00: Age at work: voices and language of age at work. Adoptingconversations from our data a discursive framework, we are13.00 – 14.00: Lunch considering the construction of age14.00 – 16.00: E-research: discourses; looking at particularmethodological challenges and insights conceptions (such as generations)from our project and examining their inter- relationship.The seminar is free but registration is required Research funded by Richard Benjamin TrustTo register or for more information, (Early Career Award 1103)please see our research blog athttp://ageatwork.wordpress.com

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