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Running head: MANAGING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE 1
MANAGING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE 6
Managing a diverse workforce
Name
Institutional affiliation
What does it mean to be an effective manager in a diverse
workforce?
According to Chip Conley, the workforce diversity is
characterized of gender, ethnicity and age; which needs a much
keener attention. He points out that an effective manager should
realize that age diversity makes a company stronger and that
different generations within a workplace should focus on
mentoring one another at work. He emphasizes on the need to
allow openness with one another so that wisdom; knowledge,
experience and skills from the young to the old and vice versa.
According to Chip Conley, the current 60s is the new 40s and
that the current 30s is the new 50s; a key note to take on how
effective relationship in a workplace could enrichen a company
with greater shared wisdom and skills. Every manager need to
relate such knowledge in ensuring effective making of modern
elders from the millennials.
According to Chip, an effective manager should establish a
learning environment for the boomers and the millennials. Each
generation should see the other as assets from which they can
derive wisdom. Moreover, Chip calls for both the millennials
and the boomers to fix their ego, perhaps so that they can
enhance their relationship and get to learn from one another. He
calls for the need of the managers to enhance a growth mindset
in a workplace and the need for the employees to be curious of
getting to know what the other generation can offer, and trying
to oneself. Chip states that “Curiosity is the elixir for life”
Working on the psychological empowerment of specifics groups
and ensuring mental flexibility is very important for various
generations to work coherently effectively. Additionally, a
manager in charge of a diverse workforce should ensure that the
differences existing between the BB and X generations, and the
Y and Z generations should be harmonized so that they do not
tamper with the achievement of the organizations set goals and
objectives (Toro, Labrador-Fernández & De Nicolas, 2019).
Maintaining a positive working environment helps in enhancing
the performance of a diverse workforce. Looking at the small
business managers, workforce diversity can be well managed if
the owner’s manager supports the existing generational
interconnections and the variations as a result of the general
difference defining these groups by valuing their differences
and the similarities. An effective manager is therefore required
to cause a diversity openness among the workforce. Such ensure
the performance at all levels, i.e. both the organizational and
individual. A manager should, therefore, have the ability to
effectively enforce the eradication of the internal
communication barriers existing as a result generational, racial,
gender, ethnic, age, personality tenure, cognitive style,
education among other dissimilarities features amongst
individuals within the same workforce (Patrick & Kumar, 2012).
Improving corporate culture by unleashing creativity and
performance. A higher level diversity strategy requires the
workforce manager to be able tap the cultural, communicative
and creative skills of the employees. They should be able to
apply such diverse skills in improving the products of an
organization, customer experiences, and of most important
enhance the policies of an organization to accommodate every
group's skills to broaden the performance perspective.
Monitoring the differences in a group require the manager to be
patient and observant since the members will only perform after
they get to understand their different perspective and develop a
transactive memory. (Fassin, Van Rossem & Buelens, 2011).
Improving relationship with clients will help when building a
multigenerational team. This is very crucial for an
organizational manager to enhance diverse workforce efficiency
and make the employees embrace workplace diversity. First of
all, the manager needs to take note of all the differences and
similarities that exist among employees. He/she as well should
note their impact on the success of an organization. This is
because working with such teams blindly could inhibit teams’
productivity and lead to the failure of the organization.
Understanding the values of every generation in a work force
and the extent of could impact on the performance.
Allowing new employees to work in an area where they can
expect to advance is very important. The differences and
similarities could either be strengths or weaknesses of a
particular generation. Such a factor needed to be considered by
a manager to analyze hoe effective the workforce could be and
the possible performance hindrances. Understanding
generation’s work values promote deciding and developing of
an effective multigenerational workforce. For instance, a
competent manager incorporating the generation Z in a
workforce will require a clear understanding of their
inexperience, but also their unique features resulting from such
ignorance. Understanding how they interact with the technology
and their distinct behaviour is fundamental for better integration
into a workforce and create an interactive environment for
them. Else, complaints will divert the employees focus on
performance and growth driven solutions to focus on these
particular groups characteristics (Schroth, 2019).
Increasing employee morale, productivity, and retention is
very key in a diverse workforce. The manager needs to consider
the advantages of Generation Z over their inexperience
weaknesses (Schroth, 2019). Based on the current population,
this is the most racially and ethnically diverse group. They have
a better wellbeing economic wise and highly educated.
However, being a younger generation, they are prone to anxiety
and depression. Understand such will help the manager to
decide on an approach that boosts their commitment levels and
their performance turnover (Lawton & Carlos Tasso, 2016).
Considering the workforce diversity concerning the existing
similarities and difference will help in decreasing employee
complaints and litigation. A culture that embraces teamwork is
created, and the employees can coherently work and respecting
the values of one another. With such, issues such as picking
blames, stereotyping, ethnocentrism, discrimination and
backlashing and harassment will be eradicated hence creating a
positive and growth-focused environment (Patrick & Kumar,
2012).
References
Fassin, Y., Van Rossem, A., & Buelens, M. (2011). Small-
business owner-managers’ perceptions of business ethics and
CSR-related concepts. Journal of Business ethics, 98(3), 425-
453.
https://www.ted.com/talks/chip_conley_what_baby_boomers_ca
n_learn_from_millennials_at_work_and_vice_versa
Lawton, D. S., & Carlos Tasso, E. D. A. (2016). Diversity in the
workplace and the impact of work values on the effectiveness of
multi-generational teams. I-Manager's Journal on Management,
10 (3), 20-28.
Patrick, H. A., & Kumar, V. R. (2012). Managing workplace
diversity: Issues and challenges. Sage Open, 2(2),
2158244012444615.
Schroth, H. (2019). Are You Ready for Gen Z in the
Workplace?. California Management Review, 61(3), 5-18.
Toro, S. D., Labrador-Fernández, J., & De Nicolas, V. L.
(2019). Generational Diversity in the Workplace: Psychological
Empowerment and Flexibility in Spanish Companies. Frontiers
in psychology, 10, 1953.
Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 1 August 2019 |
Volume 10 | Article 1953
ORIGINAL RESEARCH
published: 23 August 2019
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01953
Edited by:
Melinde Coetzee,
University of South Africa, South Africa
Reviewed by:
Kgope P. Moalusi,
University of South Africa, South Africa
Mark Bussin,
University of Johannesburg,
South Africa
Nasima Mohamed Hoosen Carrim,
University of Pretoria, South Africa
*Correspondence:
Víctor L. De Nicolás
[email protected]
Specialty section:
This article was submitted to
Organizational Psychology,
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Psychology
Received: 29 April 2019
Accepted: 08 August 2019
Published: 23 August 2019
Citation:
Sobrino-De Toro I,
Labrador-Fernández J and
De Nicolás VL (2019) Generational
Diversity in the Workplace:
Psychological Empowerment and
Flexibility in Spanish Companies.
Front. Psychol. 10:1953.
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01953
Generational Diversity in the
Workplace: Psychological
Empowerment and Flexibility in
Spanish Companies
Ignacio Sobrino-De Toro1, Jesús Labrador-Fernández2 and
Víctor L. De Nicolás1*
1 Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, ICADE,
Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, Spain, 2 Facultad de
Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, CHS, Universidad Pontificia
Comillas, Madrid, Spain
Intergenerational diversity is a universal fact in sustainability
and today’s work environment.
Current studies seek to find differences that exist between these
generational groups that
coexist, cooperate, and sometimes compete in business
organizations. Sixteen focus
groups have taken place, four for each generation to find the
differences that may exist
depending on that group membership. Specifically, the
psychological empowerment and
psychological flexibility variables have been analyzed, which
have already shown their
relevance to improve performance. Results show differences
between the older generations
(BB and Gen X) and the younger ones (Gen Y and Gen Z).
Keywords: psychological flexibility, psychological
empowerment, generation, millennial, diversity
INTRODUCTION
The development of the Internet and data analysis (Geczy et
al., 2014), the abundance of
information (Southwell, 2005), the globalization (Mark, 1996),
the growing interest in diversity
(Guajardo, 2014), the increased consumer power (Kucuk, 2008),
or what is known as the
sharing economy (Belk, 2018), all represent deep changes which
are affecting people and
organizations to a great extent. This environment is now defined
as VUCA (Whiteman, 1998),
an acronym of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and
Ambiguity.
Companies are responding to this new environment in very
different ways. One of the
most common is the intensification of work, which is
understood both as the hours worked
as well as the intensity of the work. This intensification is
reaching the acceptable limits
(Brown, 2012) and at the same time has resulted in pressure on
employees moving from
peaks and troughs to becoming something continuous. This has
associated implications both
for people and companies (Dawson et al., 2001).
At the same time, employees’ commitment levels are at very
low levels. As a result, only
13% of employees say that they are committed to their company
(Gallup, 2013). This requires
greater attention if we remember the direct link between
commitment and performance, a
link which has been widely demonstrated (Harter et al., 2002).
The Human Resources function therefore has many aspects to
manage which were not
present in past decades. In a survey from 2013 carried out
among 1,300 Human Resources
professionals, 70% said they could not deal with complexity,
with 60% saying they had serious
doubts about their organization’s ability to deal with this
increasing complexity (Lumesse, 2013).
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Given that the ability to adapt is essential in order to achieve
good results (Heugens and Lander, 2009; Reeves and Deimler,
2011), people management in organizations needs to adopt new
tools and/or review existing ones in order to continue adding
value to organizations according to this new VUCA
environment.
In modern organizations, we may find employees of four
different
generations. Generational diversity is essential to face the
volatility
and uncertainty but at the same time it may increase complexity
regarding people management (Amayah and Gedro, 2014). A
better understanding of this generational diversity will help to
orientate politics and human resources practices.
Within this review of existing tools, we have identified two
which have a significant impact with regard to performance
and helping people to adapt to their professional environment:
psychological empowerment and psychological flexibility. Up
to date, there are no studies that analyze these concepts with
the generational aspect of the employees. This study seeks to
strengthen our understanding of these topics while identifying
possible differences by analyzing them from a generational
perspective, knowing that the diversity of human capital is
present in modern organizations (Shen et al., 2009; Page, 2010).
Generation, an Ambiguous Concept
Generational differences in the workplace as a research and
intervention topic have recently grown significantly in
popularity
(Joshi et al., 2011; Lyons et al., 2015; Campbell et al., 2017).
The number of widely circulated articles, media reports, and
blogs has grown even more significantly too. At the same time,
in the management world, there are numerous human resources
consulting initiatives which consider intergenerational diversity
and intervention policies are being created based on these.
Karl Mannheim, a pioneer in the conceptualization of the
term generation, proposed that a generation, any generation,
is determined by participation in the same events. These events
are the source of vital contents that are fixed in the consciences
of people as the “natural” way in which the world exists. As
a result, a natural image of the world is formed which guides
others, is the base from which subsequent events are
understood;
it is the code for interpreting everything that happens. For
Mannheim (1993), the process is very determinant because it
happens in the first stage of life. The active participation in
the social currents that constitute and give meaning to the
historical moment creates the generational bond. This is how
one generation creates a new historical situation (Mannheim,
1993; Edmunds and Turner, 2005).
Growing in a group does not only involve making assessments
based on these interpretation principles which the group are
characterized by, it also involves capturing certain aspects,
those nuances, and meanings of certain concepts in which
reality is present within the group (France and Roberts, 2015).
The individuals are linked through a generational connection,
only to the extent that they participate in social events which
represent and give meaning to the respective historical moment,
and to the extent that they take part (both actively and
passively) in new interactions which make up the new situation
(Mannheim, 1993; Pilcher, 1994).
To define and identify this great complexity with the date
of birth is a great simplification (Dimock, 2019). This
limitation
does not prevent the occurrence of many and very diverse
investigations in which the date of birth has been used as a
key criterion of differentiation (Kowske et al., 2010; Andert,
2011; Suomäki et al., 2019).
It is easy to think that, if someone has grown up and
developed in a different world to someone else in history,
they might have different ways of thinking, even if they are
from the same place. In the academic and empirical studies
environment, there is some controversy surrounding the
suitability of the “generation” concept, its explanatory
characteristic, and its reliability and applicability. The
fundamental
reproaches to these studies relate to the explanatory weakness
of the generation concept (Giancola, 2006; Ng and Feldman,
2010; Constanza et al., 2012; Constanza and Finkelstein, 2015).
Similarly, and equally as important, is the intrinsic link between
the generation concept and other variables such as age,
historical
period, and cohort when it comes to belonging to a group
(Campbell and Twenge, 2014; Segers et al., 2014), which
according to these criticisms make this an ambiguous concept.
On the other hand, it is recognized as an area of research
which lacks maturity and empirical contrast, although it is
growing and slowly consolidating (Lyons and Kuron, 2014).
There are studies that talk about differences in generations,
for example, Twenge and Campbell (2008), show how
generation
Y (Gen Y) has higher levels of self-esteem, anxiety, and
narcissism. On the other hand, other studies show that there
are practically no differences between generations (Hart et al.,
2003), Korn (2010) concludes that at the organizational level
the differences between generations are not very significant
(Korn, 2010).
It is important to mention that one of the areas where this
increase is most evident is in the study of how the differences
in generational identity have consequences in the workplace.
From the initial studies focused on the concept of generational
identity itself (Dencker et al., 2008; Joshi et al., 2010), there
has been a slow but steady increase and deepening in the
consequences of values at work, motivation, and other variables
relating to workplace performance (Twenge et al., 2010;
Sakdiyakorn and Wattanacharoensil, 2017).
Until very recently, bureaucratic organizations had a holistic
culture in which habits and ways of working were created
and determined, and these concealed diversity as well as the
novelty of new agents or employees (Lok and Crawford, 2004).
These days, although these socialization phenomena are still
present in company culture, they are no longer so prevalent;
autonomy and self-expression are considered essential for
workers’ knowledge (Robbins and Judge, 2009).
Employees’ Psychological Empowerment
The concept of empowerment (applied in companies), started
to become relevant when Conger and Kanungo (1988) identified
it as a key component for organizational management and
effectiveness, defining it as “a motivational construct aimed at
enablement rather than delegation”. Kanter (1993) considered
empowerment as the mobilization of resources, information,
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and support to get things done, incorporating the concept of
reporting lines, both formal and informal.
There are two different interpretations of empowerment in
the literature, the first of which is known as structural, based
on resources and the organization’s ability to act with regard
to its workers (MacDuffie, 1995; Wright et al., 2003; Gibson
et al., 2007). The second interpretation of empowerment is
linked to intrinsic motivation as well as employees’ reaction
to resources, information, and support which are made available
(Spreitzer, 1995). This interpretation is more closely linked to
the beliefs of the employees themselves (Harrim and Alkshali,
2008), and is known as psychological empowerment.
Thomas and Velthouse (1990) defined psychological
empowerment as being formed of four aspects: meaningfulness,
competence, choice, and impact. Based on this theoretical
model, Spreitzer (1995) created a measurement scale,
substituting “meaningfulness” with “meaning” and “choice”
with “self-determination” (Liden et al., 2000). Spreitzer’s
(1995)
model provides psychological empowerment with a motivational
dimension; that is, people who are empowered should
demonstrate an active attitude toward work, incorporating
their own beliefs to their role within the organization
(Fernández et al., 2015).
These four factors can be seen as a description of the
relationship between the employee and their work. Therefore,
competence considers the relationship between the person
and the tasks they carry out; meaning describes the link
between the employee’s objectives and goals with those of
the organization. Self-determination describes the freedom
with which the employee carries out tasks and the relationship
with the organization’s rules. Finally, impact reflects the
perception that the employee has with regard to the results
of their performance.
In recent decades, psychological empowerment has been
widely used in studies on workplace characteristics (Aryee
and Chen, 2006; Chen et al., 2007); a strong link between
intrinsic motivation and creativity (Zhang and Bartol, 2010),
supervision and leadership styles (Kim and Kim, 2013) was
identified. Relationships between this variable and results in
the workplace have also been identified, with negative impacts
on employee turnover being identified (Kim and Fernandez,
2017) and positive impacts between empowerment and
workplace satisfaction (Koberg et al., 1999; Liden et al., 2000;
Carless, 2004; Aryee and Chen, 2006), with the level of
commitment and improvement in the company’s performance
(Sahoo et al., 2010; Yao et al., 2013).
Although psychological empowerment has been widely
investigated, there are no studies that relate it with the
generations which would help to better orientate HR policies
and practices.
Psychological Flexibility
Psychological flexibility is the objective of clinical intervention
known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). As
a result, it is the final outcome of a process in which a number
of psychological variables (and their evolution) are taken
into account.
ACT is a therapy based on Relational Frame Theory, which
facilitates a change in behavior based on the way that people
establish relationships between words and events (Hayes et al.,
2001). As well as cognitive and behavioral aspects, ACT also
introduces a more transcendent component with elements such
as values. Its objective is to introduce greater flexibility in
terms of cognition, helping the person to confront situations
from a different perspective, allowing the person to establish
a new Relational Frame (Relational Frame Theory), and as a
result, new behavior (Hayes, 2004).
ACT is present across different types of intervention among
which the following can be highlighted: practicing mindfulness,
the use of metaphors, personal experience processes, learning
linked to the definition and achievement of goals and
objectives,
identification of values, etc. (Hayes et al., 2006).
ACT has been shown to be hugely effective in helping people
tackle complex situations such as anxiety, stress, depression,
psychosis, addictions, acute pain, etc., and has also proven
highly effective in reducing and transforming negative thoughts
(Zettle and Hayes, 1986; Bach and Hayes, 2002; Ruiz, 2010,
2012; Jansen et al., 2017). In summary, ACT is a collection
of tools which are proven to be effective in helping people
change their thoughts and behavior, even with complex
problems.
This therapeutic approach is based on a series of components
which are essential for understanding and achieving
psychological
flexibility. According to Hayes (2004), who created this
approach,
there are six: contact with the present moment, values,
committed
action, self as context, defusion, and acceptance (Hayes et al.,
2006). These six elements revolve around two poles: awareness
and acceptance, and commitment and adopting new behavior
(Hayes et al., 2006). The six elements mentioned are presented
in a hexagon known as the “hexaflex” (Hayes et al., 2006),
as shown in Figure 1.
The aim of ACT is to help individuals to be in touch with,
embrace, and evaluate their current circumstances in order to
act in a better way in various situations (Bond et al., 2006).
This means being psychologically flexible. We understand
psychological flexibility as the ability to connect with the
present
moment, with an attitude that embraces whatever is happening
in the moment, and as a result of this acceptance, acting with
awareness and consistently based on the person’s own values
(Hayes et al., 2004a,b). It is very closely linked to feeling like
a protagonist rather than a victim, as well as the ability to
choose and keep up the pace to achieve the end result, despite
any difficulties that may be encountered on the way.
One of the areas in which human beings confront situations
where their psychological flexibility is put into practice is the
workplace. There have been many empirical studies that have
explored psychological flexibility in the workplace, more
specifically with regard to health in the workplace (Flaxman
and Bond, 2010; Lloyd et al., 2013).
Multiple longitudinal studies have shown that there is a
correlation between higher levels of psychological flexibility,
and work related results, including better productivity,
improved
mental health, and increased ability to learn new skills at
work (Bond and Bunce, 2003; Bond and Flaxman, 2006; Bond
et al., 2016). It has also been found that people with higher
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levels of psychological flexibility make better use of the
resources
available to them in the work environment. Bond et al. (2008)
demonstrate that the highest levels of psychological flexibility
improved the positive impact of a job role redesign. Although
all these investigations indicate that psychological flexibility
may help organizations to help people to adapt to new changes,
there is no information about the differences in psychological
flexibility trough generations. This knowledge would help to
be more effective in HR actions and facilitate company’s
adaption
to environment challenges.
Objective of the Research
The investigation tries to increase the current knowledge of
the generational diversity within the professional environment
to help Human Resources areas to orientate their practices.
In a more specific sense, this research is to try to better
understand two variables which have an important impact on
helping workers to adapt to an ever-changing environment.
Therefore, we will analyze these based on a third component:
generational diversity. This research aims to answer the
question
of whether there are differences in the aforementioned discourse
depending on the generational group, in relation to their
psychological empowerment and psychological flexibility at
work.
Our initial hypothesis is that there may be differences
in both psychological variables due to being from a different
generation. Those generations with more experience and
more opportunities to reflect on their experiences show
greater levels of flexibility, and those groups with more
professional experience and a greater sense of their role in
the company also show clear differences with regard to
psychological empowerment.
METHODOLOGY
This is a qualitative study based on focus groups. These focus
groups have been conducted by a model and a method with
the aim of discussing and concluding the objectives of
the research.
Focus Groups
All participants were volunteers. They were selected by their
managers and HR Directors looking for diversity in educational
level, years in the company, sex, and hierarchical level. In
total, 16 focus groups took place, four for each age group
that was being studied; 156 workers participated in this stage
of the research, of which 88 were male and 68 were female.
The research team is incredibly grateful to the companies
who provided these employees: Baxter, BBVA, Enagás,
Ferrovial,
Gas Natural Fenosa, Heineken, Mapfre, Meta4, Orange,
Sabadell,
Sandoz, Santander, Pascual Hermanos, REPSOL, and Universia.
These companies are leaders in their sectors, and represents
baking, energy, construction, consumer goods, and pharma
industries. All the groups were recorded, and these recordings
were transcribed in order to analyze the discussion. As a result
of these groups, a “content base” was created to hold all the
information collected during the discussions.
Throughout the process, ethical standards were respected
according to the Helsinki Declaration (World Medical
Association,
2001). All participants gave their written informed consent to
be recorded and to use the information extracted from the
groups. There was complete transparency with the participants.
As previously said, the concept of generation includes
historical, social, and psychological variables. It is a concept
FIGURE 1 | Prepared by the authors based on Hayes et al.
(2006), p. 25.
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with multiple faces and related to each other with great
complexity, setting the limits of that complexity between two
birth dates is a simplification.
The generational dimension which this intergenerational
study hoped to provide presented various challenges due to
the various grouping options and the lack of clear consensus
defining each generation. Based on the meta-analysis by
Constanza
et al. (2012), the team decided to define the following four
groups, according to their year of birth: Baby Boomer – BB
(1955–1969), Generation X – Gen X (1970–1981), Generation
Y or Millennials (1982–1992), and lastly Generation Z – Gen
Z, those born after 19931.
Their availability to attend the group meetings was also
taken into account. This simplified and arbitrary way of
defining
a generation has been widely criticized (Constanza et al., 2012;
Constanza and Finkelstein, 2015), and the need to carry out
a deeper analysis on the variables involved in the generation
concept has been emphasized, so more than just the date of
birth is considered (Lyons and Kuron, 2014; Wang and Peng,
2015). Lyons and Schweitzer (2017) adopt a more
comprehensive
approach, based on the phenomena of social categorization
and identity (Lyons et al., 2015).
In all the focus groups in which people had been categorized
as members of a generation, there was discussion among the
group in terms of their awareness of belonging to that group
and how that categorization fits with their own perceptions.
The aim of this article is not to review the components of
social categorization, but we should highlight that only two
of the participants across all the groups were uncomfortable
with this categorization and identified themselves as belonging
to a different category. The rest were satisfied with the
proposed
examples, which is much higher than in previous studies
(Roberto and Biggan, 2014; Lyons and Schweitzer, 2017).
The four groups from the BB generation took place between
March 2016 and January 2017, with a total of 36 people taking
part, of which 22 were women and 14 were men. The groups
were made up of five, nine, 11, and 11 people. The four Gen
X groups took place between February 2016 and September
2016. In total, 41 people took part, of which 19 were women
and 22 were men. The groups were made up of 15, seven,
eight, and 11 people in each. The four Gen Y groups took
place between March 2016 and May 2016 with 43 people taking
part. There were 22 women and 21 men, and each group was
made up of 12, 11, seven, and 13 people. Gen Z was studied
between May 2016 and March 2017, with a total of 36 people
taking part (25 women and 11 men). Four groups took place
with six, eight, 10, and 11 people.
All the participants were current employees or interns. Interns
were included because of the young age of the last generation
represented (younger than 23 years old), of the companies
that provided samples the number of under 23 s was negligible.
Interns were included and, although they do not have permanent
employment with the company, it is the only opportunity to
see how members of this youngest generation are adapting to
1 In this article generations are named as BB, Gen X, Gen Y,
and Gen Z.
the workplace. In addition, interns represent many of the other
employees’ discourses. It is common for these interns to
be recognized as the main source of young talent and a “breath
of fresh air” in the company.
It is also necessary to mention that from this generation
there has also been access to young people who are “enjoying”
a graduate program, something which demonstrates exceptional
initiative, preparation and ability. In either case, the
representatives
of Gen Z which we have had access to (interns, employees, or
graduates), are not the typical example of this generation; rather
they are at the cutting edge.
Model and Method
Both psychological empowerment and psychological flexibility
have been studied quantitatively using scales. The
Psychological
Empowerment scale, known as the “Psychological
Empowerment
Instrument” was created by Spreitzer (1995), and consists of
12 items divided into four factors, with each of these made
up of three items. The original scale for measuring
psychological
flexibility was created by Hayes et al. (2004a,b) and consists
of seven items. Subsequently, Bond et al. (2011) created the
AAQ – II. Finally, Bond et al. (2013) created the WAAQ
adaptation of the scale in a professional context.
However, this study does not aim to measure but rather
better understand the generational component of each concept
relating to current employees who are experiencing the
pressures
of a job market full of uncertainty and volatility. We were
interested to understand perceptions of key aspects in their
environment, both of themselves and of the possibilities within
the world of work.
The focus groups were between one hour and an hour and
a half long. They were led by the research team and were
always organized around three key factors, which we could say
are existential.
Figure 2 shows the general framework which all the focus
groups were based on. The questions are illustrative; the aim
was for the discussion in the group to flow naturally, while
facilitating spontaneous access to the topics based on an open
and trusting environment. All the groups did start with the
same question: “How do you see the world in which you live
in?” The moderator was responsible for facilitating the
discussion,
encouraging members to speak, asking overly talkative members
to let others speak and encouraging all members to participate.
In addition, the moderator was responsible for taking notes
that may led to emerging questions. In this case, the moderator
also presented to the participants of the focus group the
questions that are shown in Figure 2, only when it was
necessary.
In many cases, the group itself was generating the discourse
(Onwuegbuzie et al., 2009).
The objective is to be able to analyze the consistency of
the discourse, as well as identify elements of psychological
empowerment and flexibility, based on the detailed discussion
on the realities faced in the workplace, avoiding the more
typical questions on empowerment and flexibility so as not
to steer the participants and skew the results.
https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology
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Sobrino-De Toro et al. …
Small-Business Owner-Managers’
Perceptions of Business Ethics
and CSR-Related Concepts
Yves Fassin
Annick Van Rossem
Marc Buelens
ABSTRACT. Recent academic articles point to an
increased vagueness and overlap in concepts related to
business ethics and corporate responsibility. Further, the
perception of these notions can differ in the small-
business world from the original academic definitions.
This article focuses on the cognition of small-business
owner-managers. Given the impact of small-business
owner–managers on their ventures, corporate responsi-
bility and ethical issues can take a different route in
SMEs. The small-business owner–manager is able to
shape the corporate culture and to enact values other
than profit. Adopting a cognitive perspective, we have
identified how the small-business owner–manager
makes sense of notions linked to corporate social
responsibility (CSR) and business ethics. The concept
of sensemaking has recently been applied to CSR (Basu
and Pallazzo, 2008; Cramer et al., 2006). Applying a
cognitive perspective to small-business owners may help
in explaining specific phenomena found within small-
business ownership. For this research, the Repertory
Grid Technique (RGT) is used, a method that has not
previously been widely applied in the business and
society field.
Our findings to an extent invalidate the confusion in
terminology found in the academic literature. Small-
business owner–managers, pragmatically and rather
clearly, differentiate among the various concepts related
to corporate responsibility and business ethics but, at
the same time, they recognise the interrelationships and
interdependencies of these concepts. These findings
contribute to a better understanding of how
small-business owners think and integrate corporate
responsibility and ethical issues into their decision-
making.
KEY WORDS: business ethics, corporate social respon-
sibility, corporate governance, small business, SME, family
business, entrepreneur, cognition, sensemaking, percep-
tion, Repertory Grid Technique
Introduction
Business ethics and corporate responsibility have been
increasingly considered by both academics and prac-
titioners in recent decades (Carroll and Buchholtz,
2006; Epstein, 1987; Schwartz and Carroll, 2008;
Vogel, 1991). The majority of academic research on
management have focused on large corporations,
including that in the domains of corporate social
responsibility (CSR) and business ethics. The issue of
corporate responsibility and ethics in small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has received only
limited attention in the literature (Gallo, 2004;
Murillo and Lozano, 2006; Spence, 1999).
Over a hundred concepts have been proposed on
how ethical issues in business should be defined
(Egels, 2005; van Marrewijk, 2003). This explosion of
concepts and definitions has increased vagueness and
ambiguity (van Marrewijk, 2003). The object of this
analysis is to explore the distinctiveness and clarity in
the perceptions of small-business owner-managers of
the concepts in this important field by studying the
knowledge structures, or mental models, that small-
business owners have developed to process informa-
tion. This provides a better understanding of how
these small-business owners think and make strategic
choices. The strong economic orientation of most
strategy research has led many studies to equate
entrepreneurial motivation with a desire for profit
(Mitchell et al., 2004). A clearer understanding of
how small-business owners interpret CSR and busi-
ness ethics might show that motivations other than
profit maximisation influence their decision making
(Klein and Kellermanns, 2008).
This article proceeds as follows. The first section
highlights the confusion surrounding the various
Journal of Business Ethics (2011) 98:425–453 � Springer 2010
DOI 10.1007/s10551-010-0586-y
concepts related to business ethics and CSR, and to the
lack of consistency in the use of these concepts. The
second section elaborates on the theme of cognition,
sensemaking and construing. Next, in the third sec-
tion, we formulate our research question and explain
the objective of this exploratory study, i.e. to under-
stand small-business owners’ cognition of CSR and
related topics through a combination of qualitative and
quantitative approaches. The fourth section outlines
the methodological issues, the research design and our
sampling. The empirical results are summarised in the
following (fifth) section. In the sixth section, the results
of our research are discussed and illustrated with
comments from small-business owner-managers. The
limitations and perspectives for further research pre-
cede concluding remarks in the final section.
Concepts related to business ethics
and corporate responsibility
The intermingled use of various CSR and business-
ethics-related concepts in numerous academic arti-
cles, in corporate communication and in the media has
lead to a certain confusion between those concepts.
Conceptual confusion in academic literature
A number of recent articles in the business and society
literature have drawn attention to the lack of consis-
tency and coherence, while retaining certain similar-
ities, in the definitions and use of concepts related to
business ethics and social responsibility such as stake-
holder theory, CSR, corporate citizenship, corporate
social performance, sustainable development and
business ethics. ‘Management literature treats these
concepts in one way and business ethics literature in
another way’ (Fisher, 2004, p. 391). With unclear
semantics and specialist terminology, concepts are
continuously mixed up in terms of context, content
and perspectives (Attarça and Jacquot, 2005; Epstein,
1987; Fisher, 2004; Wheeler et al., 2003). Further,
marketing labels dreamed up by consultants and new
concepts launched by academics amplify the confu-
sion in a competition to establish a dominant concept
(De Bakker et al., 2005).
In particular, two concepts, CSR and business
ethics, manifestly overlap and tend to be used almost
interchangeably in academic literature (Cacioppe
et al., 2008; Epstein, 1987; Ferrell, 2004; Joyner and
Payne, 2002; Vogel, 1991). Further, sustainability
and CSR seem to have converged in recent years
such that they are now very similar concepts (Staurer
et al., 2005; Waddock, 2004). The interrelationship
between these concepts is also illustrated by the
central role given to ethics in CSR and in the
stakeholder concept (Garriga and Melé, 2004;
Donaldson and Preston, 1995).
Alongside these major concepts, related broad
concepts such as the triple bottom-line, corporate
governance and accountability have emerged, while
many fragmented and more specific notions such as
safety, product liability, human rights, codes or
charters, and philanthropy have developed as sub-
domains (Carroll and Buchholtz, 2006; Crane and
Matten, 2004). Philanthropy was included as a fourth
stage in Carroll’s pyramid of CSR, after economic,
legal and ethical responsibilities (Carroll, 1991; Crane
and Matten, 2004; Porter and Kramer, 2006). Con-
versely, in the European Commission vision (Afuah,
2001), philanthropy was explicitly excluded from
CSR (Luetkenhorst, 2004), with the real objective of
CSR being also seen as sustainable development
(Eberhard-Harribey, 2006).
A comparison of a selection of articles by
authoritative scholars in Appendix A leads to the
conclusion that there is much confusion in this area
with vagueness and ambiguity attached to the
concepts. Similarly, leading handbooks on business
ethics incorporate various concepts, although the
label of stakeholder is a common thread. In addi-
tion to the above mentioned concepts, this study is
the first to also integrate corporate governance into
the analysis (Fassin and Van Rossem, 2009). Al-
though CSR and corporate governance have
developed along separate lines, some complemen-
tarities and an increasing overlap have been ob-
served (Aguilera et al., 2006; Beltratti, 2005; Morris
et al., 2002; Van den Berghe and Louche, 2005).
Other authors have depicted the interrelationships
and interdependencies among business ethics, cor-
porate governance and sustainability (Potts and
Maluszewski, 2004; Wieland, 2001). The list of
articles in Appendix A includes, in the middle
column, notes on the major and any additional
concepts considered in these articles. This list
highlights a number of common concerns expressed
426 Yves Fassin et al.
by authors. They raise a number of theoretical is-
sues around the concepts, and these articles clearly
express concerns about the lack of clarity in ter-
minology, vagueness in conceptualisation and
ambiguity in their interpretation (see also compar-
ative studies of De Bakker et al., 2005; Schwartz
and Carroll, 2008; Valor, 2005). The theoretical
issues involve differentiation issues such as overlaps
and similarities, matters of hierarchical positioning,
relationships and cross-connections, and placement
in existing frameworks. These issues can be viewed
as typical of competition among different streams of
research, with issues related to integration, con-
vergence or divergence, juxtaposition and com-
plementarity (De Bakker et al., 2005).
Conceptual confusion in corporate communications
and in the media
The confusion between concepts related to CSR and
business ethics increased when the academic literature
spread into daily business life and the press (for
example De Wilde, 2007; Verbeke, 2007). Many
CSR and business-related concepts have evolved in
parallel universes of companies and academia –
sometimes overlapping, sometimes not (Waddock,
2004) – because the vast amount of CSR literature
offered little practical guidance to corporate execu-
tives (Porter and Kramer, 2006). References to CSR,
sustainable development and corporate governance in
a corporation’s mission and value statements became
increasingly muddled. The numerous press articles on
the introduction of the various codes of conduct for
corporate governance (for example, Cadbury in the
United Kingdom (UK-Government, 2002), Tab-
aksblat in the Netherlands (Rijksoverheid, 2003) and
Lippens in Belgium (Commissie-Corporate-Govern-
ance, 2009) engendered, explicitly or implicitly, a
liaison between ethics and corporate governance
(Gasorek, 2003). Brochures and websites produced
by large companies increasingly referred to these
notions, with wide variations in the use of the ter-
minology (Schlegelmilch and Pollach, 2005).
Further, different ways of disseminating the con-
cepts related to business ethics and CSR added to the
inconsistency and confusion. Apart from the aca-
demic press, many other channels diffuse ideas to the
industrial and business world. For example, consul-
tants and professional organisations use their own
channels to disseminate such concepts (Fincham,
1995; Fineman, 2001; Scarbrough, 2003). They often
promote ‘new’ concepts and programmes as varia-
tions upon the same theme, but with a fashionable
new name (Berglund and Werr, 2000; Gill and
Whittle, 1992; Huczynski, 1993; Scarbrough, 2003).
In addition, the general media also transmit these
concepts, increasingly so since their regained interest
in business and entrepreneurship after the series of
scandals at the end of the twentieth century (Buelens,
2002; Elliott and Schroth, 2002; Fassin, 2005). Each
channel puts its own spin and emphasis on the con-
cepts concerned (Abrahamson, 1996; Abrahamson
and Fairchild, 2001). Moreover, just as in the fields of
product development and innovation, the dissemi-
nation of concepts does not always occur at the same
pace (Hansen et al., 2004; Schlegelmilch and Pollach,
2005).
Sensemaking, construing and mapping
methods
Over the years, various researchers such as Simon
(1947) and Weick (1995) have advocated adopt-
ing cognitive perspectives in management studies
alongside economic viewpoints. The cognitive per-
spective focuses on studying mental processes and
determining the role that they play in affecting
emotions and behaviour (Swan, 1997). The cognitive
perspective emphasises that information processing
capabilities are limited (Fiske and Taylor, 1991) and
vary from one person or organisation to another
(Starbuck et al., 1978; Sutcliffe, 1994). In addition,
information is not always sufficiently rich or varied, so
that interpretation involves elaboration (Porac and
Thomas, 1990; Reger and Huff, 1993). Termed dif-
ferently, instead of attempting to grasp everything,
people construe ‘mental representations’, often re-
ferred to as knowledge structures which are simplified
mental images of the world. These images then are
imposed upon the world and used to help process
information, to ‘make sense’ and ultimately to make
decisions (Kiesler and Sproull, 1982; Walsh, 1994).
Sensemaking is an activity where cognitive structures
and structuring devices are used to perceive situations
and to interpret their perceptions (Sackmann, 1992)
to make sense of an ambiguous situation (Higgins
427Small-Business Owner-Managers’ Perceptions of Business
Ethics and CSR-Related Concepts
et al., 1977). Mental representations then guide
cognition and actions related to choices (Daft and
Weick, 1984; Stubbart, 1989). It has been argued that
managers generally shape their environment through
‘enactment’ – by constructing interpretations and
then acting as if such interpretations are the reality
(Bandura, 1986; Corbett and Hmieleski, 2007; Daft
and Weick, 1984; Porac et al., 1989). Herein also lies
what is called the ‘thinking–doing’ step. According to
several authors organisational sensemaking proceeds
from the scanning of information sources, through
interpretation of data, to action (Daft and Weick,
1984; Forbes, 1999; Weick, 1995). Sensemaking and
enactment are often referred to as a constructive
perspective on knowledge (Spender, 1996).
Such a cognitive perspective has been applied in
many strategic management studies, especially those
focusing on the upper echelons of larger companies
(Barr, 1998; Calori et al., 1992; Isabella and Waddock,
1994), and more recently also when considering
small-businesses and entrepreneurship (Corbett and
Hmieleski, 2007; Krueger, 2007; Mitchell et al.,
2004, 2007; Morris et al., 2002). Adopting a cognitive
perspective on small-business owners may well help in
explaining specific phenomena within small-business
ownership (Carland et al., 1984). Small-business
owners live within different contexts and environ-
ments, and think differently, from managers (Baron,
1998). The essential distinguishing factor between
small-business owners and entrepreneurs. on the one
hand, and managers, on the other, is in the bearing of
risk. The business is generally the primary source of
income for small-business owner-managers and will
consume the majority of their time and resources
(Carland et al., 1984). Another difference between
small and large companies is the extent of their re-
sources. A small-business venture has been defined as
any business that is independently owned and oper-
ated, and that is not dominant in its field (Carland
et al., 1984) or in which the firm’s optimum size is
generally small (d’Amboise and Muldowney, 1988).
Moreover, one should not forget that, by their very
nature, SMEs do not form a homogeneous entity
(Beaver, 2002). Hence, cognition research has the
potential to shed new light on many aspects of how
topics related to CSR and business ethics are per-
ceived by small-business owner-managers.
Related to this cognitive approach is the issue of
how to disclose people’s knowledge structures (Eden,
1992). Often graphical mental maps and related
mapping methods are used (Eden, 1992). A graphical
mental map can be defined as a graphical represen-
tation that provides a frame of reference for what is
known and what is believed (Fiol and Huff, 1992). In
line with Korzybski’s (1933) premise – the map is not
the territory,– it must be noted that what we term as
knowledge structures is not the same as graphical
representations of these knowledge structures: ‘it is
not obvious or empirically proven that managers
actually have cognitive maps in their heads or else-
where’ (Stubbart and Ramaprasad, 1990, p. 216).
Cognitive mapping methods can never claim to
completely represent human cognition and thinking
(Eden, 1992). That is of course why different map-
ping methods have been developed (Eden and
Spender, 1998), each capturing a different dimension
of the ‘territory’. Huff (1990) suggested five families
of cognitive maps, based on the purpose of the
mapping, their interpretive input from the researcher
and the parts of the knowledge structures captured.
Mapping methods are nested on two dimensions:
methodological issues and the research context
(Jenkins, 1998).
Given this argument, this article focuses on a
cognitive study to determine how small-business
owner-managers make sense of concepts related to
CSR and business ethics. The article emphasises the
content of the knowledge structures of small-business
owners as individuals. The content of a knowledge
structure plays an important role if one accepts that an
individual’s beliefs influence their intentions (Ajzen,
1991) and actions (Mitchell et al., 2007).
Research question
If, as has been indicated above, academic researchers
are not able to clearly distinguish between CSR and
related concepts, then how can one expect the
business community to understand the meanings and
differential characteristics of these concepts? This
question is all the more pertinent since these notions,
once they are conveyed by non-specialists such as
general business authors and journalists, lead to
greater vagueness, ambiguity and confusion (Abra-
hamson and Fairchild, 2001; Meyer, 1996).
The CSR and related concepts were initially
introduced into larger companies, albeit not without
428 Yves Fassin et al.
some difficulties. Nowadays, various initiatives at
European, national and regional levels are tending to
introduce and disseminate these notions to smaller
organisations, including SMEs.
1
However, if large
companies experience difficulties in understanding
and adopting these concepts, how can we expect
SME owner-managers to distinguish the precise
impact of the various concepts? On the other hand,
is it possible that, despite the academic confusion,
there is some degree of sensemaking and pragmatism
amongst small-business owners (Weick, 1995)?
As noted in the ‘‘Introduction’’ section, corporate
responsibility and ethics in SMEs has only recently
received limited attention in the literature. The
majority of empirical studies on CSR and ethics
have focused on large companies (Spence, 1999;
Vyakarnam et al., 1997). The limited number of
studies concerning SMEs have compared the atti-
tudes of managers in large companies to those of
small-business owners (Longenecker et al., 1989).
More recently, some scholars have investigated
ethics in innovative entrepreneurial ventures (Bucar
et al., 2003; Hannafey, 2003). However, few studies
investigate how small-business owner–managers
make sense of concepts surrounding CSR and ethics.
While number of studies on the attitude of small-
business owner–managers have been undertaken
(Quinn, 1997), cognitive studies on the CSR per-
ceptions of small-business leaders are comparatively
rare (Boal and Newman, 1985). More recently, the
concept of sensemaking has been applied to CSR
(Basu and Pallazzo, 2008; Cramer et al., 2006).
Corporate responsibility and ethical issues have a
different width in SMEs. Most ventures have only
one or a few key managers (mostly the owners) at
their core, and relatively few hierarchical levels. Thus,
their beliefs and decision-making processes are likely
to be more concentrated than those in large organi-
sations. Fewer hierarchical levels permit closer con-
tact with all personnel. The effects of managerial
cognition are thus likely to be more direct in venture
settings than in larger, more established organisations
(Forbes, 1999) and the impact of small-business
owner-managers on their organisation is extremely
influential, and maybe even more important than in
large organisations (Bucar and Hisrich, 2001). Often,
as the sole or a major decision-maker, the small-
business owner-manager has the possibility to shape
the corporate culture and to enact values other than
profit (Klein and Kellermanns, 2008; Nicholson,
2008). As such, understanding how small-business
owners interpret and enact business ethics and
CSR-related concepts may shed light on how these
concepts will eventually be implemented (Murillo
and Lozano, 2006; Perrini et al., 2007). While exec-
utives in larger corporations may experience pressures
to realise short-term results, the owner of a small
family business, with a perspective on continuity, may
adopt a longer-term approach (Hoffman et al., 2006).
Nevertheless, the risks faced by an owner in terms of
personal financial investment, job security and status
may lead to different psychological pressures, where
conflicts of interest cannot be excluded.
The aim of this study, then, is to uncover how
small-business owners understand the notions of
corporate responsibility, business ethics and related
concepts. Particularly, the aim of this research is to
reveal whether small-business owners see business
ethics and CSR as interchangeable concepts, and
whether in their mind CSR and sustainability cover
similar issues. In addition, the analysis will verify
how small-business owners position philanthropy in
relation to CSR and business ethics related concepts.
Methodology
Repertory Grid Technique
As explained above, a cognitive and constructivist
approach has been identified as appropriate. In line
with the cognitive and constructivist approach as
set out above, the knowledge structures of small-
business owner–managers concerning CSR and related
concepts will be established and compared, albeit
with the caution that few (if any) mapping methods
can truly claim to represent human cognition. Our
aim was to understand how small-business owner–
managers construe their world and, more particu-
larly, we wanted to know how they understand or
make sense of concepts related to CSR and business
ethics, and how they represent and distinguish among
the ideas and thereby impose meaning on organisa-
tional issues. The Repertory Grid Technique (RGT)
is consistent with such an interpretive perspective
(Fransella et al., 2004) and with the aim of drawing
knowledge structures. RGT is an interviewing
technique, underpinned by Kelly’s Personal Con-
429Small-Business Owner-Managers’ Perceptions of Business
Ethics and CSR-Related Concepts
struct Theory (1955) on cognition. In order to
guarantee the validity of the maps, the used methods
should be based on a proper theoretical basis (Eden,
1992; Eden and Spender, 1998).
Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory provides a
fundamental framework for both theoretical and
applied studies of knowledge acquisition and repre-
sentation. In line with the cognitive and constructive
view as set out above, Kelly depicted people as
scientists who try to understand the world around
them by developing and testing their own (implicit)
theories. Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory people’s
actions as being determined by how they understand
situations and people. Kelly’s Personal Construct
Theory posits that bipolar constructs (or dimensions)
(such as nice vs. awful) are the primary mechanism
that individuals use to organise, simplify and interpret
the mass of stimuli which confront them. One’s
understanding of the world is thus the result of an
active process (Marsden and Littler, 2000; Tan and
Hunter, 2002), which Kelly (1955, p. 50) termed as
‘construing’. Constructs have a function for the indi-
vidual. They serve as tools to make up the view of
the world by continuous (dis)confirmation, thus
to ‘construe’ reality (Kelly, 1955). Constructs are
organised in systems, often hierarchical in structure.
Hence, Kelly introduced the notion of a psychological
space as a term for a region in which people may place
and classify their experience, a kind of knowledge
structure. People have different constructs for differ-
ent areas and constructs can change through experi-
ence (Kelly, 1955).
The RGT then may be considered a method of
exploring constructs and construct systems. The
RGT elicits bipolar constructs through an interview
in which a set of elements (in our case, concepts
related to CSR and business ethics) is provided, and
questions are asked about the relationships between
these elements. To put it another way, the RGT
aims to identify mental categorisations (Huff, 1990)
which are developed from perceived similarities and
differences in the attributes of the objects or events
being classified, and which are then related to one
another to form an overall knowledge structure.
Besides the sound theoretical foundation of RGT
in the social science tradition, there are other reasons
why we chose this mapping method. As noted, there is
a dearth of methods available for capturing actors’
mental representations, and the RGT is a method
proven to minimise researcher bias compared to
other mapping methods (Easterby-Smith et al., 1996;
Ginsberg, 1989). It also allows one to elicit dimensions
that could be lost using other methods (Reger, 1990a),
and it is useful with participants who are unlikely to
complete surveys (Rynes et al., 2007). The RGT also
permits a mixed method approach such as combining
content analysis and categorisation, statistical measures
and multidimensional scaling methods (Bood, 1998).
The repertory grid tries to reconcile two opposing
traditions in the social sciences: a contextual rich
interpretation with a pure mathematical elegance.
The RGT has found many applications within dif-
ferent disciplines such as (clinical) psychology (Leach
et al., 2001), marketing (Henderson et al., 2001),
strategic management (Daniels et al., 1994; Reger and
Palmer, 1996) and sport management (Balduck et al.,
2010), although it is not yet used extensively in
business and society fields (Bendixen and Thomas,
2000). By applying a content analysis, dictionary
knowledge that compromises commonly held
descriptions and refer to content (Sackmann, 1992), is
revealed (Bood, 1998). Using more complicated anal-
yses (such as multidimensional scaling) may reveal
axiomatic knowledge (Bood, 1998; Hodgkinson,
2005) that refers rather to reasons and explanations, to
the ‘why’ things and events happen (Sackmann, 1992).
Sample
The target group for our study was small-business
owner–managers and, hence, interviewees were
both managers and owners, or at least major share-
holders, of their company.
Given the variety of small businesses, it was nec-
essary to further limit the target group (Longenecker
et al., 1996). Only small businesses that fitted with a
specified organisational structure and covered at least
three functional areas with different functional staff
were included. Further, the companies had to be
located in Belgium and, to keep our sample homo-
geneous, we restricted our search to Dutch-speaking
business owners. Except for a few recent starters, the
small-business owners included in our random sam-
ple had been running their business for at least last
5 years. When using the RGT, a sample of 15–25
interviewees within a population is deemed adequate
to generate sufficient constructs to approximate the
430 Yves Fassin et al.
universe of meaning surrounding a given situation
(Easterby-Smith, 1980; Ginsberg, 1989; Shane and
Stuart, 2002). Potential interviewees were recruited
from a database of 200 small-business owners who
had followed a short general management course at a
local business school and who fulfilled the condi-
tions described above. At random, 30 of these
owner–managers were invited by post to participate
in the RGT interviews. Fifteen small-business entre-
preneurs reacted positively. To ensure a sufficient
variety in the sectors represented, eight additional
small-business owners were selected from the com-
mittee of the national federation of industries or were
added through referral by the initial group. In this
way, we were able to hold RGT interviews with 23
diverse small-business owners, which took place in
the last quarter of 2006 and the first quarter of 2007.
More than half of the 23 interviewees had taken
over the family business. A few of the interviewees
had started their own company from scratch; and five
of them had acquired their business, sometimes
through a management buyout. Nearly half of the
businesses were production firms, one-third were
solely involved in distribution activities, and one-fifth
were in the business of supplying services. Except for
the construction (4) and the IT (3) sectors, no other
sector had more than two representatives. The
number of employees varied from 5 to 170, with the
majority having between 15 and 50 employees. Only
four of …
Assignment name: Scenario Analysis: What does it mean to be
an effective manager in a diverse workforce?
Length: 750 words excluding references (± 10%)
Assignment 1 - What does it mean to be an effective manager in
a diverse workforce?
There are 4 steps to writing this essay
Step 1: Read & Watch
· Read the article by Schroth, H 2019, ‘Are You Ready for Gen
Z in the Workplace?’, California Management Review, vol. 61,
no. 3, pp. 5–18. (Links to an external site.) [make sure you are
logged into the RMIT library to access this site].
· Watch ‘What baby boomers can learn from Millennials at work
and vice versa’ (Conley 2018) Ted Talk
· As you read and watch, think about how these two sources can
help you answer the topic question: "What does it mean to be
an effective manager in a diverse workforce?" NOTE: we are
asking you to focus primarily on inter-generational diversity for
this task.
If you're having trouble viewing the video please try the
following link: What Baby Boomers Can learn from millennials
at work (Links to an external site.)
Step 2: Find at least three credible journal articles in addition to
the resources in Step 1
Now that you have noted how these two resources help you
answer the question, what other peer-reviewed, academic
journal articles can you find to help you build on those
arguments?
Select between 3 - 6 articles you wish to include. Take notes or
mark up the articles to identify the key points. Next, analyse
the key points in relation to the topic question. Use these key
points to support your approach to answering the topic question
in the 3 body paragraphs of your essay.
I have already attached the references for you please see
attachments ref 1-4
Step 3: Write your argumentative essay
Step 4: Referencing guidelines
· Your reference list should include the Schroth article, the
Conley (2018) TED Talk along with a minimum of three other
credible sources:
· Schroth, H 2019, ‘Are You Ready for Gen Z in the
Workplace?’, California Management Review, vol. 61, no. 3,
pp. 5–18. doi: 10.1177/0008125619841006.
· Conley, C 2018, What baby boomers can learn from
Millennials at work and vice versa, TED Salon: Verizon
September, viewed 10 April 2019,
<https://www.ted.com/talks/chip_conley_what_baby_boomers_
can_learn_from_millennials_at_work_and_vice_versa>.
· You must refer to between 3 - 6 other credible, peer-reviewed
For your references please see attachments files already
uploaded
RESEARCH PAPERS
20
INTRODUCTION
Building effective multi-generational work teams is a
crucial task for organizational leaders that look for
efficiency and embrace the diversity existing in the
workplace. Understanding the similarities and differences
of the generation’s work values is the first step towards
organizational success. The lack of that knowledge could
inhibit the productive function of work teams, which would
be detrimental to an organization. A qualitative,
descriptive case study methodology was conducted to
h e l p u n d e r s t a n d t h e w o r k v a l u e s o f t h r e e
generations—Baby Boomer, Generation X, and
Generation Y or Millennial. An interpretation of the
collected data resulted in a synthesis of generational work
values that determined how they differ and how much
that impacts success in multi-generational teams. The
findings of the study identified three core themes -
dedication, responsibility, and teamwork - to understand
the similarities and differences among the three
generations. In addition, the study produced outcomes
that can help managers or leaders to develop effective
work teams by considering the strengths and weaknesses
of each generation. It also found ways to alleviate any
potential disconnect between organizational leaders
and employees during the development of multi-
generational work teams.
1. The Research Study
A qualitative, descriptive case study was conducted
including a population of 23 employees of one
homebuilding organization located on the outskirts of
Houston, Texas to illustrate the similarities and differences
in the work values of the participants. The impact of those
differences and similarities has helped understand the
work values of three generations, the Baby Boomer, the
Generation X, and the Generation Y/Millennials, and the
impact on multi-generational work teams. The knowledge
gained from the study could be used to promote the
development of effective multi-generational work teams.
There have been several studies from different angles
relating to generational differences that range from
workplace behavior that pertain to job mobility, the
compliance with work rules and policies as well as the
willingness to work overtime; why multigenerational
workplaces are important; designing a workplace for
different generations; and, the actual differences versus
the perceived differences of each generation (Brecton,
* Research Affiliate, Center for Workplace Diversity Research,
School of Advanced Studies, University of Phoenix, USA.
** University Research Chair, Center for Workplace Diversity
Research, School of Advanced Studies, University of Phoenix,
USA.
ABSTRACT
st
Companies and organizations that want to become or remain
successful in the 21 century face a constant challenge of
dealing with the great diversity existing in the world. That
diversity presents itself in many dimensions such as gender,
race
and ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture, thinking, among many
others. The diversity found in the workforce of most
companies and organizations, including different generational
cohorts of workers (Baby Boomers, Generation X, and
Generation Y or Millennials) represent a great challenge to
them, and a better understanding of that can lead to better
outcomes. Facing diversity instead of avoiding it, is the beacon
for a path towards success. This paper will discuss the
impact of different generations in the workforce and how
understanding and embracing different work values can lead
to build effective and efficient multi-generational teams.
Keywords: Workplace Diversity, Generational Cohorts, Work
Values, Team Building.
DEB S. LAWTON *
By
CARLOS TASSO E. DE AQUINO **
DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE AND THE IMPACT OF
WORK VALUES
ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MULTI-GENERATIONAL
TEAMS
i-manager’s Journal o Management, n l lVol. 10 No. 3
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RESEARCH PAPERS
21
Walker, and Jones-Farmer, 2014; Lester, Standifer, Schultz,
and Windsor, 2012, Swan, 2012; and Tomislav, 2014).
According to Amayah and Gedro (2014), although there
are many stereotypes about generational characteristics,
the research that formally consolidates the topic across
an array of studies is limited, so the idea was to conduct a
study that would inform through a comprehensive set of
considerations for policies, practices, and training and
development. However, in this case, providing a synthesis
and generalization of generational work value similarities
and differences was necessary for a qualitative,
descriptive case study to help with the interpretation of the
verbal statements to answer the questions:
·How are the work values of the Baby Boomer,
Generation X, and Generation Y/Millennial employee
similar or different?;
·Why do generational differences in work values affect
multi-generational work teams? How do generational
work value similarities or differences influence
employees that belong to a particular generation
within the work team?;
·Why do managers or leaders need to understand the
impact generational work value similarities or
differences of a particular generation, may have on
the work environment when developing work teams?
The study entailed a discussion of the findings based on
the pilot study participants (3), and the 20 case study
participants to reflect on whether generational similarities
or differences impact the work team or a manager's or
leader's ability to develop effective work teams.
The findings of the study are representative of several
factors that contribute to the understanding of
generational work values. The scope of the study was
p e r t i n e n t b e c a u s e a d e s c r i p t i v e, c a s e s t u d y
methodology guided the exploration of the work values of
the Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Generation
Y/Millennial participants.
2. Generational Work Values and the Three Themes
The research was divided into two parts: a pilot phase, with
three participants, and the case study phase, including
20 new participants. The pilot study was conducted to test
the feasibility of the interview questions posed to
participants, which included one Baby Boomer, one
Generation X, and one Generation Y/Millennial. While
themes emerged, the interpretations of those themes
were not considered during the analysis of the descriptive
study. As part of the feasibility study, an alteration of the
construction of the interview questions was needed to
provide clarity for the study. The pilot study that was
conducted offered a means to triangulate the data.
In the case study phase, the responses from the twenty
participants identified three themes, two of which were
major themes that emerged from the coded transcripts,
to provide an understanding of generational work values.
The themes that emerged were dedication, responsibility,
and teamwork. Incorporating the nuances of the coded
themes showed, how multi-generational work teams can
become more responsive to the organization based on
the diversity of the participants.
2.1 Theme One: Dedication
The dedication of the employees in each generation to
the work team showed a commitment to all facets of the
project. This was validated when the coding showed that
dedication emerged as a theme, with the majority of the
participants implying that a job needs to be done. Some
participants felt a lack of dedication could substantially
impact teamwork. The participants reported that, if there
was a lack of dedication, work processes would slow down
and the teamwork effectiveness would eventually
disappear.
An analysis of the data collected from each generational
cohort showed that, participants from multiple
generations believed, either the job gets done no matter
what or, there is a high level of dedication for the job that
needs to get done. Yeaton (2008) reported that, the
Generation Y/Millennial employee has good morality and
is civic-minded, which gives this group a strong sense of
dedication to the team and the organization. In
comparison, the technological savvy of the Generation X
employee, and the demand for a balance between life
and work, gives employees from that specific cohort, less
motivation for dedication to the job when compared to
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RESEARCH PAPERS
the other two generations included in this study (Johnson,
Rogers, 2006). For the Baby Boomer employees,
dedication means a commitment and determination to
complete a project of any length (Richardson, 2008).
The study concluded that the dedication level differed
from one generation to another and it is directly related to
how employees approach a task. For instance, Baby
Boomer employees are strictly focused on getting the task
done. Generation X employees understand that tasks
need to get completed, but also include an analysis
process to figure out how to accomplish the task. The
Generation Y/Millennial employees visualized what needs
to be done, and then proceed to find shortcuts to
accomplish the task without thinking through the various
possibilities.
2.2 Theme Two: Responsibility
Responsibility showed conscientiousness by the
participant about the project. A mixture of beliefs from
each generation pertaining to the impact of work values
on the work team was part of what was gleaned from this
theme. The responsibility of an employee towards the work
environment was demonstrated by a willingness to
contribute to the organization. Responsibility was linked to
the commitment, cooperation, and dedication an
employee had towards the work team and the mission of
the organization. The data related to this core theme
corroborated the results of Dumbrava, Gavreleta, and
Lupulescu (2009), finding that the rules are based on
values and principles, including the responsibility that
helped make the organization function and move toward
a common goal.
The participants interviewed believed, responsibility and
dedication are important work values when developing
multi-generational work teams and that the level of
responsibility each generation contributed to the work
environment was very important. More importantly, the
participants thought that, a difference of responsibility
levels existed from one generation to another, which
could result in conflicts that impact negatively the team
work and, therefore, the organization. Dumbrava et al.
(2009) also implied, when there is a lack of responsibility,
the organization loses the “… invisible control …,” and the
behavior becomes unacceptable (p. 87).
Responsibility was an important component of every
generation's work values, but the definition of responsibility
might be different for each generational cohort. For an
instance, Baby Boomer employees thought, the
Generation Y/Millennial employees know more than the
other generations and think less about the team due to an
unfavorable work ethic. On the other hand, the
Generation Y/Millennial employees perceived the
opposite. Generation Y/Millennial employee felt the need
to respond quickly, had a lot of good ideas, and could
bring a fresh, new perspective to the team. The gap
between the work value perceptions of these two groups
clearly indicated the responses pertaining to responsibility
differ. The perceptions shared by Generation X
participants showed that, Baby Boomers would be a good
source of information. The Generation X participants
believed their responsibility is to get the job done and are
focused on job priorities. Robinson (2009) believed,
responsibility was part of the nature that makes up a
person's value system through three interconnected
modes: (a) imputability, that guides the actions of a
person, (b) accountability, by making a person answer to
someone, and (c) the liability that a person answer for
something or someone (p. 11). The underlying thought
process, if truly a basis for human value systems, could be
the identifying key that motivates each generation in the
work environment.
2.3 Theme Three: Teamwork
Along with dedication and responsibility, teamwork
becomes more effective due to the commitment of
every member of the work team. However, when
teamwork is not present, the attributing factor could very
well be a lack of dedication and responsibility. Managers
and leaders compensated for the lack of dedication and
responsibility by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses
of each employee to ensure cohesion in the work team,
and, as a result, develop a work team that has a high level
of dedication and responsibility to ensure a productive
work team.
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RESEARCH PAPERS
The study corroborated the findings of Bourgeois (2006)
who identified in general that, employees want to be
valued. The employees want to be recognized for the
work values that are brought into the work place.
Managers and leaders should acknowledge the work
values of multiple generations by integrating the work
values of different generations into the work team, thus
making each employee belonging to different
generations feel as though each are assets to the
organization. The role each generation plays within the
work environment is crucial to maintain multi-
generational teams, and an understanding of the
similarities and differences in generational work values is
crucial to the success of any work team in any
organization.
To understand the similarities and differences among
generational work values as recognition of the basis for
the work values, lead to the ideologies of each
generation. The knowledge, Baby Boomers have due to
life experiences, impacts each generation and the
stability of the organization (Patota et al., 2007). The fact
remains that, each generation has specific ideologies
within the generational makeup. Another thought
pertaining to the basis of work values was that, the
ideologies culminated from the life experiences become
more noticeable when taken into consideration and
understood by other generations.
Cennamo and Gardner (2008) suggested that, the Baby
Boomer employee relied on the traditional work values of
hard work and dedication, whereas the Generation
Y/Millennial employees placed a high importance on
work-life balance. The knowledge that one generation
can give and the other can receive is equally important to
both generations. The key to all strategic decisions and
successful interactions among work teams relied on
dedication and teamwork. Although the Generation
Y/Millennial employee is known to think more creatively,
the freedom to maintain creativity does not come without
the need to prove that capability (Schwarz, 2008).
The interview responses emphasized the value placed on
teamwork for the work team environment to be
successful. For instance, the Baby Boomer generation
believed teamwork was an important consideration when
deciding to develop multi-generational work teams. The
generations that participated in the study felt inadequate,
when there was a need to understand what motivates the
Baby Boomers because the Baby Boomers are beginning
to retire. The Generation X and Generation Y/Millennial
generations recognized that, not being prepared enough
to continue the momentum, the Baby Boomer
employees have created, could be detrimental. The
younger generations realized, there was much to
contribute to the way, the Baby Boomer employees have
constructed the work place. For instance, many of the
employees belonging to the younger generations felt the
need to move away from manual processes and into an
electronic age that would streamline those processes
and provide more efficiency.
When building work teams, the work values of different
generations must be integrated. Each generation was
optimistic, ambitious, and had a belief that teamwork was
the key to overcome diversity (Patterson, 2005). One
generation may have strengths that complement the
weaknesses of another generation. There was a broad
diversity in generational thought processes. Payment
(2008) agreed that, Generation X employees do not like
people to get involved and can make progress by working
alone. According to Swan (2012), a multigenerational
workforce brings a diverse set of skills complementing the
attributes that help strengthen the effectiveness and
capability of the organization.
The consensus among employees from the three
generations was that, the integration of different work
values offers a positive atmosphere of diversity when
introduced into the work team. Big ideas, more diverse
brainstorming, balance, and added value are some of
the perceptions that were uncovered from a cross-
section of generational participants. Mostly all employees
agreed that, the Generation Y/Millennial employee had
the most ideological demeanor than employees
belonging to the other two generations. Baby Boomers
and Generation X participants felt that, the idealistic views
of the Generation Y/Millennial participants contributed
freshness and an ability to revive the old, mundane ideals
li-manager’s Journal o Management, Vol. No. 3 ln 10
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RESEARCH PAPERS
of the older generations. At particular stages in an
individual's life experience, sharing knowledge may be
easier because of a genuine interest in the development
of future generations (Brun de Pontet, Wrosch, and Gagne,
2007). Future generations become more receptive
toward accepting of the advice from older generations
as the life stages progress.
Bringing ideas into a work team can be good or bad
because of the diversity of the generations that
participate on the work team. Leveraging the strengths
against the weaknesses, and the realization that
members of different generations have unique qualities
such as creativity, will positively contribute to the work
team (Di Meglio et al., 2005; Vanden Bergh, and Stuhlfaut,
2006; Weston, 2001). Generation X employees have the
work value diversity of the Baby Boomer employee and
the freshness of the Generation Y/Millennial employee,
which may allow each generation to understand the
other generations to make work teams more effective.
3. Research Findings
New processes may be frustrating for Generation X
employees because of the ideology gained by being
raised by Baby Boomer parents and by feeling the
satisfaction of understanding the technological methods
created by the youngest Baby Boomers (Blythe et al.,
2008). Generation Y/Millennial participants had a different
set of experiences. Generation Y/Millennial employees
grew up technologically advanced and tends to
become impatient with manual processes (Lower, 2008).
However, due to the generational life experiences,
personal values also differ, causing a lack of loyalty
opening the door to instigate a decision to terminate
employment (Brecton, Walker, and Jones-Farmer, 2014).
The stereotypes that surround the Baby Boomer,
Generation X and Generation Y/Millennial employees
suggest, there are differences relating to the workforce
and, as a result, the assumption is that, the Baby Boomers
will have fewer job mobility behaviors than the Generation
X and GenerationY/Millennial employee (Brecton, Walker,
and Jones-Farmer, 2014). Therefore, especially if the
decision to terminate employment becomes a non-issue
to the Generation Y/Millennial employee, the experience
level of this generation would allow creativity to be
introduced into the work environment, and would
become the team design that the other generations
envision. The influence and experience of members of all
generations contribute to each person's own set of beliefs
and values, or what is expected of others (Crumpacker
and Crumpacker, 2007).
The experiences of multiple generations become an
asset for the work teams within an organization, rather than
an unknown mixture of talents. Several methods can be
used to provide focus on the abilities of each generation.
The methods used should enhance the work environment,
provide a road map for competence building by setting
goals, and encourage communication to help develop
efficient work teams (Boguslauskas and Kvedaraviciene,
2009). Identifying ways an organization could use
different approaches to develop multi-generational work
teams would be beneficial for the organization. The
following approaches would help the managers or
leaders and employees gain an understanding of
generational work habits:
·Personality assessments geared to identify
generational nuances allow organizational leaders to
gain a deeper understanding of the work values of
each generation;
·Team building exercises to help members of each
generation realize the strengths and weakness of
each participant; and
·Take ownership of projects on a rotating basis to
s t r e n g t h e n l e a d e r s h i p a b i l i t i e s a m o n g a l
l
the generational cohorts.
Those approaches would alleviate any potential stress or
disconnect between generations due to misunderstandings
about how each the generation works in a team setting.
The groups inter viewed provided the necessar y
information to develop an understanding of generational
work value similarities and differences that may aid in the
development of multi-generational work teams
(Neuman, 2003).
To recognize patterns in the work values, the analyses
included in this research study used personal, social,
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RESEARCH PAPERS
organizational and cultural components to underscore
how similarities or differences in generational work values
apply to the organization (White, 2005). In fact, Li and
Nimon (2008) believed, the recognition of generational
work value similarities or differences play a particular role
in the development of new procedures to help improve
organizational performance. By ignoring any similarities or
differences in work values among the employees of
different generations, a one-size-fits-all procedural
approach could result, which does not satisfy the criteria
needed for creating the diversity found in multi-
generational work teams (Li and Nimon, 2008). Work
culture can play a role that is an actual difference from
one generation to another and that is the view of formal
authority, the association with leadership, and the
appropriate way to conduct work tasks (Lester, Standifer,
Schultz, and Windsor, 2012). Moreover, Hallberg and
Schaufeli (2006) posit an engagement with the job was
distinguishable from an involvement and commitment to
the job, emphasizing that each member of a work team
must feel valued and understood, regardless of the
generational category. The work preferences include
distinctive job characteristics and any potential match or
mismatch in generational preferences and the expected
job performance could have a positive or negative
outcome across generational cohorts, emphasizing the
importance of understanding generational differences
(Tomislav, 2014).
The findings of this research study are clear revelations for
the leaders or managers of the organizations, because
without an understanding of the diversity of work values,
organizations could be at risk of dysfunction within a work
team environment (Renn, 2008). Nixon (2008) believed,
there are advantages for employers to assist employees
when attempting to resolve tensions between different
generations, and this can be accomplished in an open
atmosphere that does not diminish respect. In addition,
the importance of developing strategies for resolving
conflict should bring into focus the realization that each
generation can be perceived differently, so the process
should be as transparent as possible to avoid further
conflict (Nixon, 2008; Cooper, 2005; Grover, 2005).
According to Behrens (2009), most individuals within the
workplaces, do not identify with generational similarities or
differences due to the traditional work models and
existing training programs.
The factors, and consideration of the themes that
emerged, could help an organization understand the
importance of multi-generational work value traits and
aid in the development of more cohesive multi-
generational work teams (Gleeson, 2007). Kearney et al.
(2009) stated that, since the organizations rely on team
function within the work environment, gaining the
knowledge of the “… different dimensions of diversity …,”
and the levels of personality, makes it easier to develop a
good team structure (p. 581). Austin, Kelecevic, Goble,
and Mekechuk (2009) echoed the sentiment of the
finding that, the process of developing teams begins
through communication that clarifies the similarities or
differences in the level of work experience and the
perceptions of work values of each generation.
Conclusion
This research study indicated that, the possibility of
developing successful multi-generational work teams
does exist. There were more similarities than differences in
the way each generation viewed the work values of other
generations. Each generation had a desire to
accomplish the tasks presented in the work environment,
whether in a team setting or not. The development of
multi-generational work teams continue to be a work in
progress for many organizations as similarities or
differences in the work values among generations
become more familiar, and less complex, and as “…
members interact over time, and evolve and adapt as
situational demands unfold …” (Kozlowski and Ilgen,
2006, p. 78). As employees' perceptions evolve, the
understanding of these similarities and differences can
help organizations recognize what needs to be in place to
begin developing multi-generational work teams
(Guastello, 2007).
The study used a method to help provide an
understanding of generational diversity through the
categories that emerged from the data that was
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December 2015 - February 2016
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RESEARCH PAPERS
collected from each participant. An understanding of the
diversity ensured that, the patterns were not a view of the
participants' two-dimensional reality (Scott and Howell,
2008). The two-dimensional reality pertains to a constant
comparison of patterns, which describe the participants'
reality. If the participant looks beyond those two-
dimensional realities, and delves into more complex
multi-dimensional constructivist ecology, the patterns
would show the participant's character in a group setting
(Scott and Howell, 2008).
Analysis of data also showed that, each generation was
not aware of the thoughts, feelings, and work values of the
other generations. The coded themes that emerged,
validated the fact that each generation had personal
perceptions, but none of the participants had explored
the possibility of similarities or differences in work values
among generations, or how the similarities or differences
in work values could have an influence on the work team.
If communication among generations was enhanced,
members of each generation may come to understand
that, there are many similarities in the perception of work
values among generations. This insight would have a
definite impact on how managers or leaders can begin to
understand how multi-generational work teams would
interact.
References
[1]. Amayah, A.T., & Gedro, J. (2014). “Understanding
generational diversity: Strategic human resource
management and development across the generational
“divide””. New Horizons in Adult Education & Human
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[2]. Austin, W., Kelecevic, J., Goble, E., & Mekechuk, J.
(2009). “An overview of moral distress and the Pediatric
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[3]. Behrens, W. (2009). “Managing millennials”.
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[4]. Blythe, J., Baumann, A., Zeytinoglu, I. U., Denton, M.,
Akhtar-Danesh, N., Davies, S. et al., (2008). “Nursing
generations in the contemporary workplace”. Public
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[5]. Boguslakanskas, V., & Kvedaraviciene, G. (2009).
“Difficulties in identifying company's core competencies
and core processes”. Engineering Economics, Vol.62(2),
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[6]. Bourgeois, T. (2006). “The challenge of changing
values, beliefs, and expectations”. Leader to Leader,
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[7]. Brecton, J.B., Walker, H.J., & Jones-Farmer, A. (2014).
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[8]. Brun de Pontet, S., Wrosch, C., & Gagne, M. (2007).
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…
SAGE Open
April-June 2012: 1 –15
© The Author(s) 2012
DOI: 10.1177/2158244012444615
http://sgo.sagepub.com
Introduction
The concept of diversity includes acceptance and respect. It
means understanding that each individual is unique, and rec-
ognizing our individual differences. These can be along the
dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation,
socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs,
political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of
these differences in a safe, positive, and fostering environ-
ment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond
simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimen-
sions of diversity contained within each individual.
Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve
understanding and appreciating interdependence of human-
ity, cultures, and the natural environment; practicing mutual
respect for qualities and experiences that are different from
our own; understanding that diversity includes not only ways
of being but also ways of knowing; recognizing that per-
sonal, cultural, and institutionalized discrimination creates
and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustain-
ing disadvantages for others; and building alliances across
differences so that we can work together to eradicate all
forms of discrimination.
Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences
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Running head MANAGING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE1MANAGING A DIVERSE.docx
Running head MANAGING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE1MANAGING A DIVERSE.docx
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Running head MANAGING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE1MANAGING A DIVERSE.docx
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Running head MANAGING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE1MANAGING A DIVERSE.docx

  • 1. Running head: MANAGING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE 1 MANAGING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE 6 Managing a diverse workforce Name Institutional affiliation What does it mean to be an effective manager in a diverse workforce? According to Chip Conley, the workforce diversity is characterized of gender, ethnicity and age; which needs a much keener attention. He points out that an effective manager should realize that age diversity makes a company stronger and that different generations within a workplace should focus on
  • 2. mentoring one another at work. He emphasizes on the need to allow openness with one another so that wisdom; knowledge, experience and skills from the young to the old and vice versa. According to Chip Conley, the current 60s is the new 40s and that the current 30s is the new 50s; a key note to take on how effective relationship in a workplace could enrichen a company with greater shared wisdom and skills. Every manager need to relate such knowledge in ensuring effective making of modern elders from the millennials. According to Chip, an effective manager should establish a learning environment for the boomers and the millennials. Each generation should see the other as assets from which they can derive wisdom. Moreover, Chip calls for both the millennials and the boomers to fix their ego, perhaps so that they can enhance their relationship and get to learn from one another. He calls for the need of the managers to enhance a growth mindset in a workplace and the need for the employees to be curious of getting to know what the other generation can offer, and trying to oneself. Chip states that “Curiosity is the elixir for life” Working on the psychological empowerment of specifics groups and ensuring mental flexibility is very important for various generations to work coherently effectively. Additionally, a manager in charge of a diverse workforce should ensure that the differences existing between the BB and X generations, and the Y and Z generations should be harmonized so that they do not tamper with the achievement of the organizations set goals and objectives (Toro, Labrador-Fernández & De Nicolas, 2019). Maintaining a positive working environment helps in enhancing the performance of a diverse workforce. Looking at the small business managers, workforce diversity can be well managed if the owner’s manager supports the existing generational interconnections and the variations as a result of the general difference defining these groups by valuing their differences and the similarities. An effective manager is therefore required to cause a diversity openness among the workforce. Such ensure the performance at all levels, i.e. both the organizational and
  • 3. individual. A manager should, therefore, have the ability to effectively enforce the eradication of the internal communication barriers existing as a result generational, racial, gender, ethnic, age, personality tenure, cognitive style, education among other dissimilarities features amongst individuals within the same workforce (Patrick & Kumar, 2012). Improving corporate culture by unleashing creativity and performance. A higher level diversity strategy requires the workforce manager to be able tap the cultural, communicative and creative skills of the employees. They should be able to apply such diverse skills in improving the products of an organization, customer experiences, and of most important enhance the policies of an organization to accommodate every group's skills to broaden the performance perspective. Monitoring the differences in a group require the manager to be patient and observant since the members will only perform after they get to understand their different perspective and develop a transactive memory. (Fassin, Van Rossem & Buelens, 2011). Improving relationship with clients will help when building a multigenerational team. This is very crucial for an organizational manager to enhance diverse workforce efficiency and make the employees embrace workplace diversity. First of all, the manager needs to take note of all the differences and similarities that exist among employees. He/she as well should note their impact on the success of an organization. This is because working with such teams blindly could inhibit teams’ productivity and lead to the failure of the organization. Understanding the values of every generation in a work force and the extent of could impact on the performance. Allowing new employees to work in an area where they can expect to advance is very important. The differences and similarities could either be strengths or weaknesses of a particular generation. Such a factor needed to be considered by a manager to analyze hoe effective the workforce could be and the possible performance hindrances. Understanding generation’s work values promote deciding and developing of
  • 4. an effective multigenerational workforce. For instance, a competent manager incorporating the generation Z in a workforce will require a clear understanding of their inexperience, but also their unique features resulting from such ignorance. Understanding how they interact with the technology and their distinct behaviour is fundamental for better integration into a workforce and create an interactive environment for them. Else, complaints will divert the employees focus on performance and growth driven solutions to focus on these particular groups characteristics (Schroth, 2019). Increasing employee morale, productivity, and retention is very key in a diverse workforce. The manager needs to consider the advantages of Generation Z over their inexperience weaknesses (Schroth, 2019). Based on the current population, this is the most racially and ethnically diverse group. They have a better wellbeing economic wise and highly educated. However, being a younger generation, they are prone to anxiety and depression. Understand such will help the manager to decide on an approach that boosts their commitment levels and their performance turnover (Lawton & Carlos Tasso, 2016). Considering the workforce diversity concerning the existing similarities and difference will help in decreasing employee complaints and litigation. A culture that embraces teamwork is created, and the employees can coherently work and respecting the values of one another. With such, issues such as picking blames, stereotyping, ethnocentrism, discrimination and backlashing and harassment will be eradicated hence creating a positive and growth-focused environment (Patrick & Kumar, 2012).
  • 5. References Fassin, Y., Van Rossem, A., & Buelens, M. (2011). Small- business owner-managers’ perceptions of business ethics and CSR-related concepts. Journal of Business ethics, 98(3), 425- 453. https://www.ted.com/talks/chip_conley_what_baby_boomers_ca n_learn_from_millennials_at_work_and_vice_versa Lawton, D. S., & Carlos Tasso, E. D. A. (2016). Diversity in the workplace and the impact of work values on the effectiveness of multi-generational teams. I-Manager's Journal on Management, 10 (3), 20-28. Patrick, H. A., & Kumar, V. R. (2012). Managing workplace diversity: Issues and challenges. Sage Open, 2(2), 2158244012444615. Schroth, H. (2019). Are You Ready for Gen Z in the Workplace?. California Management Review, 61(3), 5-18. Toro, S. D., Labrador-Fernández, J., & De Nicolas, V. L. (2019). Generational Diversity in the Workplace: Psychological Empowerment and Flexibility in Spanish Companies. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 1953.
  • 6. Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 1 August 2019 | Volume 10 | Article 1953 ORIGINAL RESEARCH published: 23 August 2019 doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01953 Edited by: Melinde Coetzee, University of South Africa, South Africa Reviewed by: Kgope P. Moalusi, University of South Africa, South Africa Mark Bussin, University of Johannesburg, South Africa Nasima Mohamed Hoosen Carrim, University of Pretoria, South Africa *Correspondence: Víctor L. De Nicolás [email protected] Specialty section: This article was submitted to Organizational Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology
  • 7. Received: 29 April 2019 Accepted: 08 August 2019 Published: 23 August 2019 Citation: Sobrino-De Toro I, Labrador-Fernández J and De Nicolás VL (2019) Generational Diversity in the Workplace: Psychological Empowerment and Flexibility in Spanish Companies. Front. Psychol. 10:1953. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01953 Generational Diversity in the Workplace: Psychological Empowerment and Flexibility in Spanish Companies Ignacio Sobrino-De Toro1, Jesús Labrador-Fernández2 and Víctor L. De Nicolás1* 1 Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, ICADE, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, Spain, 2 Facultad de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, CHS, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, Spain Intergenerational diversity is a universal fact in sustainability and today’s work environment. Current studies seek to find differences that exist between these generational groups that coexist, cooperate, and sometimes compete in business organizations. Sixteen focus
  • 8. groups have taken place, four for each generation to find the differences that may exist depending on that group membership. Specifically, the psychological empowerment and psychological flexibility variables have been analyzed, which have already shown their relevance to improve performance. Results show differences between the older generations (BB and Gen X) and the younger ones (Gen Y and Gen Z). Keywords: psychological flexibility, psychological empowerment, generation, millennial, diversity INTRODUCTION The development of the Internet and data analysis (Geczy et al., 2014), the abundance of information (Southwell, 2005), the globalization (Mark, 1996), the growing interest in diversity (Guajardo, 2014), the increased consumer power (Kucuk, 2008), or what is known as the sharing economy (Belk, 2018), all represent deep changes which are affecting people and organizations to a great extent. This environment is now defined as VUCA (Whiteman, 1998), an acronym of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. Companies are responding to this new environment in very different ways. One of the most common is the intensification of work, which is understood both as the hours worked as well as the intensity of the work. This intensification is reaching the acceptable limits (Brown, 2012) and at the same time has resulted in pressure on employees moving from
  • 9. peaks and troughs to becoming something continuous. This has associated implications both for people and companies (Dawson et al., 2001). At the same time, employees’ commitment levels are at very low levels. As a result, only 13% of employees say that they are committed to their company (Gallup, 2013). This requires greater attention if we remember the direct link between commitment and performance, a link which has been widely demonstrated (Harter et al., 2002). The Human Resources function therefore has many aspects to manage which were not present in past decades. In a survey from 2013 carried out among 1,300 Human Resources professionals, 70% said they could not deal with complexity, with 60% saying they had serious doubts about their organization’s ability to deal with this increasing complexity (Lumesse, 2013). https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology www.frontiersin.org https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology#articles http://crossmark.crossref.org/dialog/?doi=10.3389/fpsyg.2019.0 1953&domain=pdf&date_stamp=2019-08-23 https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology#editorial-board https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology#editorial-board https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01953 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ mailto:[email protected] https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01953 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01953/f ull https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01953/f
  • 10. ull https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01953/f ull https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01953/f ull https://loop.frontiersin.org/people/775377/overview https://loop.frontiersin.org/people/729196/overview Sobrino-De Toro et al. Generational Diversity in the Workplace Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 2 August 2019 | Volume 10 | Article 1953 Given that the ability to adapt is essential in order to achieve good results (Heugens and Lander, 2009; Reeves and Deimler, 2011), people management in organizations needs to adopt new tools and/or review existing ones in order to continue adding value to organizations according to this new VUCA environment. In modern organizations, we may find employees of four different generations. Generational diversity is essential to face the volatility and uncertainty but at the same time it may increase complexity regarding people management (Amayah and Gedro, 2014). A better understanding of this generational diversity will help to orientate politics and human resources practices. Within this review of existing tools, we have identified two which have a significant impact with regard to performance and helping people to adapt to their professional environment: psychological empowerment and psychological flexibility. Up to date, there are no studies that analyze these concepts with the generational aspect of the employees. This study seeks to strengthen our understanding of these topics while identifying
  • 11. possible differences by analyzing them from a generational perspective, knowing that the diversity of human capital is present in modern organizations (Shen et al., 2009; Page, 2010). Generation, an Ambiguous Concept Generational differences in the workplace as a research and intervention topic have recently grown significantly in popularity (Joshi et al., 2011; Lyons et al., 2015; Campbell et al., 2017). The number of widely circulated articles, media reports, and blogs has grown even more significantly too. At the same time, in the management world, there are numerous human resources consulting initiatives which consider intergenerational diversity and intervention policies are being created based on these. Karl Mannheim, a pioneer in the conceptualization of the term generation, proposed that a generation, any generation, is determined by participation in the same events. These events are the source of vital contents that are fixed in the consciences of people as the “natural” way in which the world exists. As a result, a natural image of the world is formed which guides others, is the base from which subsequent events are understood; it is the code for interpreting everything that happens. For Mannheim (1993), the process is very determinant because it happens in the first stage of life. The active participation in the social currents that constitute and give meaning to the historical moment creates the generational bond. This is how one generation creates a new historical situation (Mannheim, 1993; Edmunds and Turner, 2005). Growing in a group does not only involve making assessments based on these interpretation principles which the group are characterized by, it also involves capturing certain aspects, those nuances, and meanings of certain concepts in which reality is present within the group (France and Roberts, 2015).
  • 12. The individuals are linked through a generational connection, only to the extent that they participate in social events which represent and give meaning to the respective historical moment, and to the extent that they take part (both actively and passively) in new interactions which make up the new situation (Mannheim, 1993; Pilcher, 1994). To define and identify this great complexity with the date of birth is a great simplification (Dimock, 2019). This limitation does not prevent the occurrence of many and very diverse investigations in which the date of birth has been used as a key criterion of differentiation (Kowske et al., 2010; Andert, 2011; Suomäki et al., 2019). It is easy to think that, if someone has grown up and developed in a different world to someone else in history, they might have different ways of thinking, even if they are from the same place. In the academic and empirical studies environment, there is some controversy surrounding the suitability of the “generation” concept, its explanatory characteristic, and its reliability and applicability. The fundamental reproaches to these studies relate to the explanatory weakness of the generation concept (Giancola, 2006; Ng and Feldman, 2010; Constanza et al., 2012; Constanza and Finkelstein, 2015). Similarly, and equally as important, is the intrinsic link between the generation concept and other variables such as age, historical period, and cohort when it comes to belonging to a group (Campbell and Twenge, 2014; Segers et al., 2014), which according to these criticisms make this an ambiguous concept. On the other hand, it is recognized as an area of research which lacks maturity and empirical contrast, although it is growing and slowly consolidating (Lyons and Kuron, 2014).
  • 13. There are studies that talk about differences in generations, for example, Twenge and Campbell (2008), show how generation Y (Gen Y) has higher levels of self-esteem, anxiety, and narcissism. On the other hand, other studies show that there are practically no differences between generations (Hart et al., 2003), Korn (2010) concludes that at the organizational level the differences between generations are not very significant (Korn, 2010). It is important to mention that one of the areas where this increase is most evident is in the study of how the differences in generational identity have consequences in the workplace. From the initial studies focused on the concept of generational identity itself (Dencker et al., 2008; Joshi et al., 2010), there has been a slow but steady increase and deepening in the consequences of values at work, motivation, and other variables relating to workplace performance (Twenge et al., 2010; Sakdiyakorn and Wattanacharoensil, 2017). Until very recently, bureaucratic organizations had a holistic culture in which habits and ways of working were created and determined, and these concealed diversity as well as the novelty of new agents or employees (Lok and Crawford, 2004). These days, although these socialization phenomena are still present in company culture, they are no longer so prevalent; autonomy and self-expression are considered essential for workers’ knowledge (Robbins and Judge, 2009). Employees’ Psychological Empowerment The concept of empowerment (applied in companies), started to become relevant when Conger and Kanungo (1988) identified it as a key component for organizational management and effectiveness, defining it as “a motivational construct aimed at enablement rather than delegation”. Kanter (1993) considered
  • 14. empowerment as the mobilization of resources, information, https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology www.frontiersin.org https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology#articles Sobrino-De Toro et al. Generational Diversity in the Workplace Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 3 August 2019 | Volume 10 | Article 1953 and support to get things done, incorporating the concept of reporting lines, both formal and informal. There are two different interpretations of empowerment in the literature, the first of which is known as structural, based on resources and the organization’s ability to act with regard to its workers (MacDuffie, 1995; Wright et al., 2003; Gibson et al., 2007). The second interpretation of empowerment is linked to intrinsic motivation as well as employees’ reaction to resources, information, and support which are made available (Spreitzer, 1995). This interpretation is more closely linked to the beliefs of the employees themselves (Harrim and Alkshali, 2008), and is known as psychological empowerment. Thomas and Velthouse (1990) defined psychological empowerment as being formed of four aspects: meaningfulness, competence, choice, and impact. Based on this theoretical model, Spreitzer (1995) created a measurement scale, substituting “meaningfulness” with “meaning” and “choice” with “self-determination” (Liden et al., 2000). Spreitzer’s (1995) model provides psychological empowerment with a motivational dimension; that is, people who are empowered should demonstrate an active attitude toward work, incorporating
  • 15. their own beliefs to their role within the organization (Fernández et al., 2015). These four factors can be seen as a description of the relationship between the employee and their work. Therefore, competence considers the relationship between the person and the tasks they carry out; meaning describes the link between the employee’s objectives and goals with those of the organization. Self-determination describes the freedom with which the employee carries out tasks and the relationship with the organization’s rules. Finally, impact reflects the perception that the employee has with regard to the results of their performance. In recent decades, psychological empowerment has been widely used in studies on workplace characteristics (Aryee and Chen, 2006; Chen et al., 2007); a strong link between intrinsic motivation and creativity (Zhang and Bartol, 2010), supervision and leadership styles (Kim and Kim, 2013) was identified. Relationships between this variable and results in the workplace have also been identified, with negative impacts on employee turnover being identified (Kim and Fernandez, 2017) and positive impacts between empowerment and workplace satisfaction (Koberg et al., 1999; Liden et al., 2000; Carless, 2004; Aryee and Chen, 2006), with the level of commitment and improvement in the company’s performance (Sahoo et al., 2010; Yao et al., 2013). Although psychological empowerment has been widely investigated, there are no studies that relate it with the generations which would help to better orientate HR policies and practices. Psychological Flexibility Psychological flexibility is the objective of clinical intervention known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). As
  • 16. a result, it is the final outcome of a process in which a number of psychological variables (and their evolution) are taken into account. ACT is a therapy based on Relational Frame Theory, which facilitates a change in behavior based on the way that people establish relationships between words and events (Hayes et al., 2001). As well as cognitive and behavioral aspects, ACT also introduces a more transcendent component with elements such as values. Its objective is to introduce greater flexibility in terms of cognition, helping the person to confront situations from a different perspective, allowing the person to establish a new Relational Frame (Relational Frame Theory), and as a result, new behavior (Hayes, 2004). ACT is present across different types of intervention among which the following can be highlighted: practicing mindfulness, the use of metaphors, personal experience processes, learning linked to the definition and achievement of goals and objectives, identification of values, etc. (Hayes et al., 2006). ACT has been shown to be hugely effective in helping people tackle complex situations such as anxiety, stress, depression, psychosis, addictions, acute pain, etc., and has also proven highly effective in reducing and transforming negative thoughts (Zettle and Hayes, 1986; Bach and Hayes, 2002; Ruiz, 2010, 2012; Jansen et al., 2017). In summary, ACT is a collection of tools which are proven to be effective in helping people change their thoughts and behavior, even with complex problems. This therapeutic approach is based on a series of components which are essential for understanding and achieving psychological flexibility. According to Hayes (2004), who created this
  • 17. approach, there are six: contact with the present moment, values, committed action, self as context, defusion, and acceptance (Hayes et al., 2006). These six elements revolve around two poles: awareness and acceptance, and commitment and adopting new behavior (Hayes et al., 2006). The six elements mentioned are presented in a hexagon known as the “hexaflex” (Hayes et al., 2006), as shown in Figure 1. The aim of ACT is to help individuals to be in touch with, embrace, and evaluate their current circumstances in order to act in a better way in various situations (Bond et al., 2006). This means being psychologically flexible. We understand psychological flexibility as the ability to connect with the present moment, with an attitude that embraces whatever is happening in the moment, and as a result of this acceptance, acting with awareness and consistently based on the person’s own values (Hayes et al., 2004a,b). It is very closely linked to feeling like a protagonist rather than a victim, as well as the ability to choose and keep up the pace to achieve the end result, despite any difficulties that may be encountered on the way. One of the areas in which human beings confront situations where their psychological flexibility is put into practice is the workplace. There have been many empirical studies that have explored psychological flexibility in the workplace, more specifically with regard to health in the workplace (Flaxman and Bond, 2010; Lloyd et al., 2013). Multiple longitudinal studies have shown that there is a correlation between higher levels of psychological flexibility, and work related results, including better productivity, improved mental health, and increased ability to learn new skills at
  • 18. work (Bond and Bunce, 2003; Bond and Flaxman, 2006; Bond et al., 2016). It has also been found that people with higher https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology www.frontiersin.org https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology#articles Sobrino-De Toro et al. Generational Diversity in the Workplace Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 4 August 2019 | Volume 10 | Article 1953 levels of psychological flexibility make better use of the resources available to them in the work environment. Bond et al. (2008) demonstrate that the highest levels of psychological flexibility improved the positive impact of a job role redesign. Although all these investigations indicate that psychological flexibility may help organizations to help people to adapt to new changes, there is no information about the differences in psychological flexibility trough generations. This knowledge would help to be more effective in HR actions and facilitate company’s adaption to environment challenges. Objective of the Research The investigation tries to increase the current knowledge of the generational diversity within the professional environment to help Human Resources areas to orientate their practices. In a more specific sense, this research is to try to better understand two variables which have an important impact on helping workers to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Therefore, we will analyze these based on a third component: generational diversity. This research aims to answer the question
  • 19. of whether there are differences in the aforementioned discourse depending on the generational group, in relation to their psychological empowerment and psychological flexibility at work. Our initial hypothesis is that there may be differences in both psychological variables due to being from a different generation. Those generations with more experience and more opportunities to reflect on their experiences show greater levels of flexibility, and those groups with more professional experience and a greater sense of their role in the company also show clear differences with regard to psychological empowerment. METHODOLOGY This is a qualitative study based on focus groups. These focus groups have been conducted by a model and a method with the aim of discussing and concluding the objectives of the research. Focus Groups All participants were volunteers. They were selected by their managers and HR Directors looking for diversity in educational level, years in the company, sex, and hierarchical level. In total, 16 focus groups took place, four for each age group that was being studied; 156 workers participated in this stage of the research, of which 88 were male and 68 were female. The research team is incredibly grateful to the companies who provided these employees: Baxter, BBVA, Enagás, Ferrovial, Gas Natural Fenosa, Heineken, Mapfre, Meta4, Orange, Sabadell, Sandoz, Santander, Pascual Hermanos, REPSOL, and Universia. These companies are leaders in their sectors, and represents
  • 20. baking, energy, construction, consumer goods, and pharma industries. All the groups were recorded, and these recordings were transcribed in order to analyze the discussion. As a result of these groups, a “content base” was created to hold all the information collected during the discussions. Throughout the process, ethical standards were respected according to the Helsinki Declaration (World Medical Association, 2001). All participants gave their written informed consent to be recorded and to use the information extracted from the groups. There was complete transparency with the participants. As previously said, the concept of generation includes historical, social, and psychological variables. It is a concept FIGURE 1 | Prepared by the authors based on Hayes et al. (2006), p. 25. https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology www.frontiersin.org https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology#articles Sobrino-De Toro et al. Generational Diversity in the Workplace Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 5 August 2019 | Volume 10 | Article 1953 with multiple faces and related to each other with great complexity, setting the limits of that complexity between two birth dates is a simplification. The generational dimension which this intergenerational study hoped to provide presented various challenges due to the various grouping options and the lack of clear consensus
  • 21. defining each generation. Based on the meta-analysis by Constanza et al. (2012), the team decided to define the following four groups, according to their year of birth: Baby Boomer – BB (1955–1969), Generation X – Gen X (1970–1981), Generation Y or Millennials (1982–1992), and lastly Generation Z – Gen Z, those born after 19931. Their availability to attend the group meetings was also taken into account. This simplified and arbitrary way of defining a generation has been widely criticized (Constanza et al., 2012; Constanza and Finkelstein, 2015), and the need to carry out a deeper analysis on the variables involved in the generation concept has been emphasized, so more than just the date of birth is considered (Lyons and Kuron, 2014; Wang and Peng, 2015). Lyons and Schweitzer (2017) adopt a more comprehensive approach, based on the phenomena of social categorization and identity (Lyons et al., 2015). In all the focus groups in which people had been categorized as members of a generation, there was discussion among the group in terms of their awareness of belonging to that group and how that categorization fits with their own perceptions. The aim of this article is not to review the components of social categorization, but we should highlight that only two of the participants across all the groups were uncomfortable with this categorization and identified themselves as belonging to a different category. The rest were satisfied with the proposed examples, which is much higher than in previous studies (Roberto and Biggan, 2014; Lyons and Schweitzer, 2017). The four groups from the BB generation took place between March 2016 and January 2017, with a total of 36 people taking
  • 22. part, of which 22 were women and 14 were men. The groups were made up of five, nine, 11, and 11 people. The four Gen X groups took place between February 2016 and September 2016. In total, 41 people took part, of which 19 were women and 22 were men. The groups were made up of 15, seven, eight, and 11 people in each. The four Gen Y groups took place between March 2016 and May 2016 with 43 people taking part. There were 22 women and 21 men, and each group was made up of 12, 11, seven, and 13 people. Gen Z was studied between May 2016 and March 2017, with a total of 36 people taking part (25 women and 11 men). Four groups took place with six, eight, 10, and 11 people. All the participants were current employees or interns. Interns were included because of the young age of the last generation represented (younger than 23 years old), of the companies that provided samples the number of under 23 s was negligible. Interns were included and, although they do not have permanent employment with the company, it is the only opportunity to see how members of this youngest generation are adapting to 1 In this article generations are named as BB, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z. the workplace. In addition, interns represent many of the other employees’ discourses. It is common for these interns to be recognized as the main source of young talent and a “breath of fresh air” in the company. It is also necessary to mention that from this generation there has also been access to young people who are “enjoying” a graduate program, something which demonstrates exceptional initiative, preparation and ability. In either case, the representatives of Gen Z which we have had access to (interns, employees, or graduates), are not the typical example of this generation; rather
  • 23. they are at the cutting edge. Model and Method Both psychological empowerment and psychological flexibility have been studied quantitatively using scales. The Psychological Empowerment scale, known as the “Psychological Empowerment Instrument” was created by Spreitzer (1995), and consists of 12 items divided into four factors, with each of these made up of three items. The original scale for measuring psychological flexibility was created by Hayes et al. (2004a,b) and consists of seven items. Subsequently, Bond et al. (2011) created the AAQ – II. Finally, Bond et al. (2013) created the WAAQ adaptation of the scale in a professional context. However, this study does not aim to measure but rather better understand the generational component of each concept relating to current employees who are experiencing the pressures of a job market full of uncertainty and volatility. We were interested to understand perceptions of key aspects in their environment, both of themselves and of the possibilities within the world of work. The focus groups were between one hour and an hour and a half long. They were led by the research team and were always organized around three key factors, which we could say are existential. Figure 2 shows the general framework which all the focus groups were based on. The questions are illustrative; the aim was for the discussion in the group to flow naturally, while facilitating spontaneous access to the topics based on an open and trusting environment. All the groups did start with the
  • 24. same question: “How do you see the world in which you live in?” The moderator was responsible for facilitating the discussion, encouraging members to speak, asking overly talkative members to let others speak and encouraging all members to participate. In addition, the moderator was responsible for taking notes that may led to emerging questions. In this case, the moderator also presented to the participants of the focus group the questions that are shown in Figure 2, only when it was necessary. In many cases, the group itself was generating the discourse (Onwuegbuzie et al., 2009). The objective is to be able to analyze the consistency of the discourse, as well as identify elements of psychological empowerment and flexibility, based on the detailed discussion on the realities faced in the workplace, avoiding the more typical questions on empowerment and flexibility so as not to steer the participants and skew the results. https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology www.frontiersin.org https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology#articles Sobrino-De Toro et al. … Small-Business Owner-Managers’ Perceptions of Business Ethics and CSR-Related Concepts Yves Fassin
  • 25. Annick Van Rossem Marc Buelens ABSTRACT. Recent academic articles point to an increased vagueness and overlap in concepts related to business ethics and corporate responsibility. Further, the perception of these notions can differ in the small- business world from the original academic definitions. This article focuses on the cognition of small-business owner-managers. Given the impact of small-business owner–managers on their ventures, corporate responsi- bility and ethical issues can take a different route in SMEs. The small-business owner–manager is able to shape the corporate culture and to enact values other than profit. Adopting a cognitive perspective, we have identified how the small-business owner–manager makes sense of notions linked to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business ethics. The concept of sensemaking has recently been applied to CSR (Basu
  • 26. and Pallazzo, 2008; Cramer et al., 2006). Applying a cognitive perspective to small-business owners may help in explaining specific phenomena found within small- business ownership. For this research, the Repertory Grid Technique (RGT) is used, a method that has not previously been widely applied in the business and society field. Our findings to an extent invalidate the confusion in terminology found in the academic literature. Small- business owner–managers, pragmatically and rather clearly, differentiate among the various concepts related to corporate responsibility and business ethics but, at the same time, they recognise the interrelationships and interdependencies of these concepts. These findings contribute to a better understanding of how small-business owners think and integrate corporate responsibility and ethical issues into their decision- making.
  • 27. KEY WORDS: business ethics, corporate social respon- sibility, corporate governance, small business, SME, family business, entrepreneur, cognition, sensemaking, percep- tion, Repertory Grid Technique Introduction Business ethics and corporate responsibility have been increasingly considered by both academics and prac- titioners in recent decades (Carroll and Buchholtz, 2006; Epstein, 1987; Schwartz and Carroll, 2008; Vogel, 1991). The majority of academic research on management have focused on large corporations, including that in the domains of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business ethics. The issue of corporate responsibility and ethics in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has received only limited attention in the literature (Gallo, 2004; Murillo and Lozano, 2006; Spence, 1999). Over a hundred concepts have been proposed on
  • 28. how ethical issues in business should be defined (Egels, 2005; van Marrewijk, 2003). This explosion of concepts and definitions has increased vagueness and ambiguity (van Marrewijk, 2003). The object of this analysis is to explore the distinctiveness and clarity in the perceptions of small-business owner-managers of the concepts in this important field by studying the knowledge structures, or mental models, that small- business owners have developed to process informa- tion. This provides a better understanding of how these small-business owners think and make strategic choices. The strong economic orientation of most strategy research has led many studies to equate entrepreneurial motivation with a desire for profit (Mitchell et al., 2004). A clearer understanding of how small-business owners interpret CSR and busi- ness ethics might show that motivations other than profit maximisation influence their decision making
  • 29. (Klein and Kellermanns, 2008). This article proceeds as follows. The first section highlights the confusion surrounding the various Journal of Business Ethics (2011) 98:425–453 � Springer 2010 DOI 10.1007/s10551-010-0586-y concepts related to business ethics and CSR, and to the lack of consistency in the use of these concepts. The second section elaborates on the theme of cognition, sensemaking and construing. Next, in the third sec- tion, we formulate our research question and explain the objective of this exploratory study, i.e. to under- stand small-business owners’ cognition of CSR and related topics through a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. The fourth section outlines the methodological issues, the research design and our sampling. The empirical results are summarised in the following (fifth) section. In the sixth section, the results of our research are discussed and illustrated with
  • 30. comments from small-business owner-managers. The limitations and perspectives for further research pre- cede concluding remarks in the final section. Concepts related to business ethics and corporate responsibility The intermingled use of various CSR and business- ethics-related concepts in numerous academic arti- cles, in corporate communication and in the media has lead to a certain confusion between those concepts. Conceptual confusion in academic literature A number of recent articles in the business and society literature have drawn attention to the lack of consis- tency and coherence, while retaining certain similar- ities, in the definitions and use of concepts related to business ethics and social responsibility such as stake- holder theory, CSR, corporate citizenship, corporate social performance, sustainable development and business ethics. ‘Management literature treats these
  • 31. concepts in one way and business ethics literature in another way’ (Fisher, 2004, p. 391). With unclear semantics and specialist terminology, concepts are continuously mixed up in terms of context, content and perspectives (Attarça and Jacquot, 2005; Epstein, 1987; Fisher, 2004; Wheeler et al., 2003). Further, marketing labels dreamed up by consultants and new concepts launched by academics amplify the confu- sion in a competition to establish a dominant concept (De Bakker et al., 2005). In particular, two concepts, CSR and business ethics, manifestly overlap and tend to be used almost interchangeably in academic literature (Cacioppe et al., 2008; Epstein, 1987; Ferrell, 2004; Joyner and Payne, 2002; Vogel, 1991). Further, sustainability and CSR seem to have converged in recent years such that they are now very similar concepts (Staurer et al., 2005; Waddock, 2004). The interrelationship
  • 32. between these concepts is also illustrated by the central role given to ethics in CSR and in the stakeholder concept (Garriga and Melé, 2004; Donaldson and Preston, 1995). Alongside these major concepts, related broad concepts such as the triple bottom-line, corporate governance and accountability have emerged, while many fragmented and more specific notions such as safety, product liability, human rights, codes or charters, and philanthropy have developed as sub- domains (Carroll and Buchholtz, 2006; Crane and Matten, 2004). Philanthropy was included as a fourth stage in Carroll’s pyramid of CSR, after economic, legal and ethical responsibilities (Carroll, 1991; Crane and Matten, 2004; Porter and Kramer, 2006). Con- versely, in the European Commission vision (Afuah, 2001), philanthropy was explicitly excluded from CSR (Luetkenhorst, 2004), with the real objective of
  • 33. CSR being also seen as sustainable development (Eberhard-Harribey, 2006). A comparison of a selection of articles by authoritative scholars in Appendix A leads to the conclusion that there is much confusion in this area with vagueness and ambiguity attached to the concepts. Similarly, leading handbooks on business ethics incorporate various concepts, although the label of stakeholder is a common thread. In addi- tion to the above mentioned concepts, this study is the first to also integrate corporate governance into the analysis (Fassin and Van Rossem, 2009). Al- though CSR and corporate governance have developed along separate lines, some complemen- tarities and an increasing overlap have been ob- served (Aguilera et al., 2006; Beltratti, 2005; Morris et al., 2002; Van den Berghe and Louche, 2005). Other authors have depicted the interrelationships
  • 34. and interdependencies among business ethics, cor- porate governance and sustainability (Potts and Maluszewski, 2004; Wieland, 2001). The list of articles in Appendix A includes, in the middle column, notes on the major and any additional concepts considered in these articles. This list highlights a number of common concerns expressed 426 Yves Fassin et al. by authors. They raise a number of theoretical is- sues around the concepts, and these articles clearly express concerns about the lack of clarity in ter- minology, vagueness in conceptualisation and ambiguity in their interpretation (see also compar- ative studies of De Bakker et al., 2005; Schwartz and Carroll, 2008; Valor, 2005). The theoretical issues involve differentiation issues such as overlaps and similarities, matters of hierarchical positioning,
  • 35. relationships and cross-connections, and placement in existing frameworks. These issues can be viewed as typical of competition among different streams of research, with issues related to integration, con- vergence or divergence, juxtaposition and com- plementarity (De Bakker et al., 2005). Conceptual confusion in corporate communications and in the media The confusion between concepts related to CSR and business ethics increased when the academic literature spread into daily business life and the press (for example De Wilde, 2007; Verbeke, 2007). Many CSR and business-related concepts have evolved in parallel universes of companies and academia – sometimes overlapping, sometimes not (Waddock, 2004) – because the vast amount of CSR literature offered little practical guidance to corporate execu- tives (Porter and Kramer, 2006). References to CSR,
  • 36. sustainable development and corporate governance in a corporation’s mission and value statements became increasingly muddled. The numerous press articles on the introduction of the various codes of conduct for corporate governance (for example, Cadbury in the United Kingdom (UK-Government, 2002), Tab- aksblat in the Netherlands (Rijksoverheid, 2003) and Lippens in Belgium (Commissie-Corporate-Govern- ance, 2009) engendered, explicitly or implicitly, a liaison between ethics and corporate governance (Gasorek, 2003). Brochures and websites produced by large companies increasingly referred to these notions, with wide variations in the use of the ter- minology (Schlegelmilch and Pollach, 2005). Further, different ways of disseminating the con- cepts related to business ethics and CSR added to the inconsistency and confusion. Apart from the aca- demic press, many other channels diffuse ideas to the
  • 37. industrial and business world. For example, consul- tants and professional organisations use their own channels to disseminate such concepts (Fincham, 1995; Fineman, 2001; Scarbrough, 2003). They often promote ‘new’ concepts and programmes as varia- tions upon the same theme, but with a fashionable new name (Berglund and Werr, 2000; Gill and Whittle, 1992; Huczynski, 1993; Scarbrough, 2003). In addition, the general media also transmit these concepts, increasingly so since their regained interest in business and entrepreneurship after the series of scandals at the end of the twentieth century (Buelens, 2002; Elliott and Schroth, 2002; Fassin, 2005). Each channel puts its own spin and emphasis on the con- cepts concerned (Abrahamson, 1996; Abrahamson and Fairchild, 2001). Moreover, just as in the fields of product development and innovation, the dissemi- nation of concepts does not always occur at the same
  • 38. pace (Hansen et al., 2004; Schlegelmilch and Pollach, 2005). Sensemaking, construing and mapping methods Over the years, various researchers such as Simon (1947) and Weick (1995) have advocated adopt- ing cognitive perspectives in management studies alongside economic viewpoints. The cognitive per- spective focuses on studying mental processes and determining the role that they play in affecting emotions and behaviour (Swan, 1997). The cognitive perspective emphasises that information processing capabilities are limited (Fiske and Taylor, 1991) and vary from one person or organisation to another (Starbuck et al., 1978; Sutcliffe, 1994). In addition, information is not always sufficiently rich or varied, so that interpretation involves elaboration (Porac and Thomas, 1990; Reger and Huff, 1993). Termed dif-
  • 39. ferently, instead of attempting to grasp everything, people construe ‘mental representations’, often re- ferred to as knowledge structures which are simplified mental images of the world. These images then are imposed upon the world and used to help process information, to ‘make sense’ and ultimately to make decisions (Kiesler and Sproull, 1982; Walsh, 1994). Sensemaking is an activity where cognitive structures and structuring devices are used to perceive situations and to interpret their perceptions (Sackmann, 1992) to make sense of an ambiguous situation (Higgins 427Small-Business Owner-Managers’ Perceptions of Business Ethics and CSR-Related Concepts et al., 1977). Mental representations then guide cognition and actions related to choices (Daft and Weick, 1984; Stubbart, 1989). It has been argued that managers generally shape their environment through
  • 40. ‘enactment’ – by constructing interpretations and then acting as if such interpretations are the reality (Bandura, 1986; Corbett and Hmieleski, 2007; Daft and Weick, 1984; Porac et al., 1989). Herein also lies what is called the ‘thinking–doing’ step. According to several authors organisational sensemaking proceeds from the scanning of information sources, through interpretation of data, to action (Daft and Weick, 1984; Forbes, 1999; Weick, 1995). Sensemaking and enactment are often referred to as a constructive perspective on knowledge (Spender, 1996). Such a cognitive perspective has been applied in many strategic management studies, especially those focusing on the upper echelons of larger companies (Barr, 1998; Calori et al., 1992; Isabella and Waddock, 1994), and more recently also when considering small-businesses and entrepreneurship (Corbett and Hmieleski, 2007; Krueger, 2007; Mitchell et al.,
  • 41. 2004, 2007; Morris et al., 2002). Adopting a cognitive perspective on small-business owners may well help in explaining specific phenomena within small-business ownership (Carland et al., 1984). Small-business owners live within different contexts and environ- ments, and think differently, from managers (Baron, 1998). The essential distinguishing factor between small-business owners and entrepreneurs. on the one hand, and managers, on the other, is in the bearing of risk. The business is generally the primary source of income for small-business owner-managers and will consume the majority of their time and resources (Carland et al., 1984). Another difference between small and large companies is the extent of their re- sources. A small-business venture has been defined as any business that is independently owned and oper- ated, and that is not dominant in its field (Carland et al., 1984) or in which the firm’s optimum size is
  • 42. generally small (d’Amboise and Muldowney, 1988). Moreover, one should not forget that, by their very nature, SMEs do not form a homogeneous entity (Beaver, 2002). Hence, cognition research has the potential to shed new light on many aspects of how topics related to CSR and business ethics are per- ceived by small-business owner-managers. Related to this cognitive approach is the issue of how to disclose people’s knowledge structures (Eden, 1992). Often graphical mental maps and related mapping methods are used (Eden, 1992). A graphical mental map can be defined as a graphical represen- tation that provides a frame of reference for what is known and what is believed (Fiol and Huff, 1992). In line with Korzybski’s (1933) premise – the map is not the territory,– it must be noted that what we term as knowledge structures is not the same as graphical representations of these knowledge structures: ‘it is
  • 43. not obvious or empirically proven that managers actually have cognitive maps in their heads or else- where’ (Stubbart and Ramaprasad, 1990, p. 216). Cognitive mapping methods can never claim to completely represent human cognition and thinking (Eden, 1992). That is of course why different map- ping methods have been developed (Eden and Spender, 1998), each capturing a different dimension of the ‘territory’. Huff (1990) suggested five families of cognitive maps, based on the purpose of the mapping, their interpretive input from the researcher and the parts of the knowledge structures captured. Mapping methods are nested on two dimensions: methodological issues and the research context (Jenkins, 1998). Given this argument, this article focuses on a cognitive study to determine how small-business owner-managers make sense of concepts related to
  • 44. CSR and business ethics. The article emphasises the content of the knowledge structures of small-business owners as individuals. The content of a knowledge structure plays an important role if one accepts that an individual’s beliefs influence their intentions (Ajzen, 1991) and actions (Mitchell et al., 2007). Research question If, as has been indicated above, academic researchers are not able to clearly distinguish between CSR and related concepts, then how can one expect the business community to understand the meanings and differential characteristics of these concepts? This question is all the more pertinent since these notions, once they are conveyed by non-specialists such as general business authors and journalists, lead to greater vagueness, ambiguity and confusion (Abra- hamson and Fairchild, 2001; Meyer, 1996). The CSR and related concepts were initially
  • 45. introduced into larger companies, albeit not without 428 Yves Fassin et al. some difficulties. Nowadays, various initiatives at European, national and regional levels are tending to introduce and disseminate these notions to smaller organisations, including SMEs. 1 However, if large companies experience difficulties in understanding and adopting these concepts, how can we expect SME owner-managers to distinguish the precise impact of the various concepts? On the other hand, is it possible that, despite the academic confusion, there is some degree of sensemaking and pragmatism amongst small-business owners (Weick, 1995)? As noted in the ‘‘Introduction’’ section, corporate responsibility and ethics in SMEs has only recently received limited attention in the literature. The
  • 46. majority of empirical studies on CSR and ethics have focused on large companies (Spence, 1999; Vyakarnam et al., 1997). The limited number of studies concerning SMEs have compared the atti- tudes of managers in large companies to those of small-business owners (Longenecker et al., 1989). More recently, some scholars have investigated ethics in innovative entrepreneurial ventures (Bucar et al., 2003; Hannafey, 2003). However, few studies investigate how small-business owner–managers make sense of concepts surrounding CSR and ethics. While number of studies on the attitude of small- business owner–managers have been undertaken (Quinn, 1997), cognitive studies on the CSR per- ceptions of small-business leaders are comparatively rare (Boal and Newman, 1985). More recently, the concept of sensemaking has been applied to CSR (Basu and Pallazzo, 2008; Cramer et al., 2006).
  • 47. Corporate responsibility and ethical issues have a different width in SMEs. Most ventures have only one or a few key managers (mostly the owners) at their core, and relatively few hierarchical levels. Thus, their beliefs and decision-making processes are likely to be more concentrated than those in large organi- sations. Fewer hierarchical levels permit closer con- tact with all personnel. The effects of managerial cognition are thus likely to be more direct in venture settings than in larger, more established organisations (Forbes, 1999) and the impact of small-business owner-managers on their organisation is extremely influential, and maybe even more important than in large organisations (Bucar and Hisrich, 2001). Often, as the sole or a major decision-maker, the small- business owner-manager has the possibility to shape the corporate culture and to enact values other than profit (Klein and Kellermanns, 2008; Nicholson,
  • 48. 2008). As such, understanding how small-business owners interpret and enact business ethics and CSR-related concepts may shed light on how these concepts will eventually be implemented (Murillo and Lozano, 2006; Perrini et al., 2007). While exec- utives in larger corporations may experience pressures to realise short-term results, the owner of a small family business, with a perspective on continuity, may adopt a longer-term approach (Hoffman et al., 2006). Nevertheless, the risks faced by an owner in terms of personal financial investment, job security and status may lead to different psychological pressures, where conflicts of interest cannot be excluded. The aim of this study, then, is to uncover how small-business owners understand the notions of corporate responsibility, business ethics and related concepts. Particularly, the aim of this research is to reveal whether small-business owners see business
  • 49. ethics and CSR as interchangeable concepts, and whether in their mind CSR and sustainability cover similar issues. In addition, the analysis will verify how small-business owners position philanthropy in relation to CSR and business ethics related concepts. Methodology Repertory Grid Technique As explained above, a cognitive and constructivist approach has been identified as appropriate. In line with the cognitive and constructivist approach as set out above, the knowledge structures of small- business owner–managers concerning CSR and related concepts will be established and compared, albeit with the caution that few (if any) mapping methods can truly claim to represent human cognition. Our aim was to understand how small-business owner– managers construe their world and, more particu- larly, we wanted to know how they understand or
  • 50. make sense of concepts related to CSR and business ethics, and how they represent and distinguish among the ideas and thereby impose meaning on organisa- tional issues. The Repertory Grid Technique (RGT) is consistent with such an interpretive perspective (Fransella et al., 2004) and with the aim of drawing knowledge structures. RGT is an interviewing technique, underpinned by Kelly’s Personal Con- 429Small-Business Owner-Managers’ Perceptions of Business Ethics and CSR-Related Concepts struct Theory (1955) on cognition. In order to guarantee the validity of the maps, the used methods should be based on a proper theoretical basis (Eden, 1992; Eden and Spender, 1998). Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory provides a fundamental framework for both theoretical and applied studies of knowledge acquisition and repre-
  • 51. sentation. In line with the cognitive and constructive view as set out above, Kelly depicted people as scientists who try to understand the world around them by developing and testing their own (implicit) theories. Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory people’s actions as being determined by how they understand situations and people. Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory posits that bipolar constructs (or dimensions) (such as nice vs. awful) are the primary mechanism that individuals use to organise, simplify and interpret the mass of stimuli which confront them. One’s understanding of the world is thus the result of an active process (Marsden and Littler, 2000; Tan and Hunter, 2002), which Kelly (1955, p. 50) termed as ‘construing’. Constructs have a function for the indi- vidual. They serve as tools to make up the view of the world by continuous (dis)confirmation, thus to ‘construe’ reality (Kelly, 1955). Constructs are
  • 52. organised in systems, often hierarchical in structure. Hence, Kelly introduced the notion of a psychological space as a term for a region in which people may place and classify their experience, a kind of knowledge structure. People have different constructs for differ- ent areas and constructs can change through experi- ence (Kelly, 1955). The RGT then may be considered a method of exploring constructs and construct systems. The RGT elicits bipolar constructs through an interview in which a set of elements (in our case, concepts related to CSR and business ethics) is provided, and questions are asked about the relationships between these elements. To put it another way, the RGT aims to identify mental categorisations (Huff, 1990) which are developed from perceived similarities and differences in the attributes of the objects or events being classified, and which are then related to one
  • 53. another to form an overall knowledge structure. Besides the sound theoretical foundation of RGT in the social science tradition, there are other reasons why we chose this mapping method. As noted, there is a dearth of methods available for capturing actors’ mental representations, and the RGT is a method proven to minimise researcher bias compared to other mapping methods (Easterby-Smith et al., 1996; Ginsberg, 1989). It also allows one to elicit dimensions that could be lost using other methods (Reger, 1990a), and it is useful with participants who are unlikely to complete surveys (Rynes et al., 2007). The RGT also permits a mixed method approach such as combining content analysis and categorisation, statistical measures and multidimensional scaling methods (Bood, 1998). The repertory grid tries to reconcile two opposing traditions in the social sciences: a contextual rich interpretation with a pure mathematical elegance.
  • 54. The RGT has found many applications within dif- ferent disciplines such as (clinical) psychology (Leach et al., 2001), marketing (Henderson et al., 2001), strategic management (Daniels et al., 1994; Reger and Palmer, 1996) and sport management (Balduck et al., 2010), although it is not yet used extensively in business and society fields (Bendixen and Thomas, 2000). By applying a content analysis, dictionary knowledge that compromises commonly held descriptions and refer to content (Sackmann, 1992), is revealed (Bood, 1998). Using more complicated anal- yses (such as multidimensional scaling) may reveal axiomatic knowledge (Bood, 1998; Hodgkinson, 2005) that refers rather to reasons and explanations, to the ‘why’ things and events happen (Sackmann, 1992). Sample The target group for our study was small-business owner–managers and, hence, interviewees were
  • 55. both managers and owners, or at least major share- holders, of their company. Given the variety of small businesses, it was nec- essary to further limit the target group (Longenecker et al., 1996). Only small businesses that fitted with a specified organisational structure and covered at least three functional areas with different functional staff were included. Further, the companies had to be located in Belgium and, to keep our sample homo- geneous, we restricted our search to Dutch-speaking business owners. Except for a few recent starters, the small-business owners included in our random sam- ple had been running their business for at least last 5 years. When using the RGT, a sample of 15–25 interviewees within a population is deemed adequate to generate sufficient constructs to approximate the 430 Yves Fassin et al.
  • 56. universe of meaning surrounding a given situation (Easterby-Smith, 1980; Ginsberg, 1989; Shane and Stuart, 2002). Potential interviewees were recruited from a database of 200 small-business owners who had followed a short general management course at a local business school and who fulfilled the condi- tions described above. At random, 30 of these owner–managers were invited by post to participate in the RGT interviews. Fifteen small-business entre- preneurs reacted positively. To ensure a sufficient variety in the sectors represented, eight additional small-business owners were selected from the com- mittee of the national federation of industries or were added through referral by the initial group. In this way, we were able to hold RGT interviews with 23 diverse small-business owners, which took place in the last quarter of 2006 and the first quarter of 2007. More than half of the 23 interviewees had taken
  • 57. over the family business. A few of the interviewees had started their own company from scratch; and five of them had acquired their business, sometimes through a management buyout. Nearly half of the businesses were production firms, one-third were solely involved in distribution activities, and one-fifth were in the business of supplying services. Except for the construction (4) and the IT (3) sectors, no other sector had more than two representatives. The number of employees varied from 5 to 170, with the majority having between 15 and 50 employees. Only four of … Assignment name: Scenario Analysis: What does it mean to be an effective manager in a diverse workforce? Length: 750 words excluding references (± 10%) Assignment 1 - What does it mean to be an effective manager in a diverse workforce? There are 4 steps to writing this essay Step 1: Read & Watch · Read the article by Schroth, H 2019, ‘Are You Ready for Gen
  • 58. Z in the Workplace?’, California Management Review, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 5–18. (Links to an external site.) [make sure you are logged into the RMIT library to access this site]. · Watch ‘What baby boomers can learn from Millennials at work and vice versa’ (Conley 2018) Ted Talk · As you read and watch, think about how these two sources can help you answer the topic question: "What does it mean to be an effective manager in a diverse workforce?" NOTE: we are asking you to focus primarily on inter-generational diversity for this task. If you're having trouble viewing the video please try the following link: What Baby Boomers Can learn from millennials at work (Links to an external site.) Step 2: Find at least three credible journal articles in addition to the resources in Step 1 Now that you have noted how these two resources help you answer the question, what other peer-reviewed, academic journal articles can you find to help you build on those arguments? Select between 3 - 6 articles you wish to include. Take notes or mark up the articles to identify the key points. Next, analyse the key points in relation to the topic question. Use these key points to support your approach to answering the topic question in the 3 body paragraphs of your essay. I have already attached the references for you please see attachments ref 1-4 Step 3: Write your argumentative essay Step 4: Referencing guidelines
  • 59. · Your reference list should include the Schroth article, the Conley (2018) TED Talk along with a minimum of three other credible sources: · Schroth, H 2019, ‘Are You Ready for Gen Z in the Workplace?’, California Management Review, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 5–18. doi: 10.1177/0008125619841006. · Conley, C 2018, What baby boomers can learn from Millennials at work and vice versa, TED Salon: Verizon September, viewed 10 April 2019, <https://www.ted.com/talks/chip_conley_what_baby_boomers_ can_learn_from_millennials_at_work_and_vice_versa>. · You must refer to between 3 - 6 other credible, peer-reviewed For your references please see attachments files already uploaded RESEARCH PAPERS 20 INTRODUCTION Building effective multi-generational work teams is a crucial task for organizational leaders that look for efficiency and embrace the diversity existing in the workplace. Understanding the similarities and differences of the generation’s work values is the first step towards organizational success. The lack of that knowledge could
  • 60. inhibit the productive function of work teams, which would be detrimental to an organization. A qualitative, descriptive case study methodology was conducted to h e l p u n d e r s t a n d t h e w o r k v a l u e s o f t h r e e generations—Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Generation Y or Millennial. An interpretation of the collected data resulted in a synthesis of generational work values that determined how they differ and how much that impacts success in multi-generational teams. The findings of the study identified three core themes - dedication, responsibility, and teamwork - to understand the similarities and differences among the three generations. In addition, the study produced outcomes that can help managers or leaders to develop effective work teams by considering the strengths and weaknesses of each generation. It also found ways to alleviate any potential disconnect between organizational leaders and employees during the development of multi-
  • 61. generational work teams. 1. The Research Study A qualitative, descriptive case study was conducted including a population of 23 employees of one homebuilding organization located on the outskirts of Houston, Texas to illustrate the similarities and differences in the work values of the participants. The impact of those differences and similarities has helped understand the work values of three generations, the Baby Boomer, the Generation X, and the Generation Y/Millennials, and the impact on multi-generational work teams. The knowledge gained from the study could be used to promote the development of effective multi-generational work teams. There have been several studies from different angles relating to generational differences that range from workplace behavior that pertain to job mobility, the compliance with work rules and policies as well as the willingness to work overtime; why multigenerational
  • 62. workplaces are important; designing a workplace for different generations; and, the actual differences versus the perceived differences of each generation (Brecton, * Research Affiliate, Center for Workplace Diversity Research, School of Advanced Studies, University of Phoenix, USA. ** University Research Chair, Center for Workplace Diversity Research, School of Advanced Studies, University of Phoenix, USA. ABSTRACT st Companies and organizations that want to become or remain successful in the 21 century face a constant challenge of dealing with the great diversity existing in the world. That diversity presents itself in many dimensions such as gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture, thinking, among many others. The diversity found in the workforce of most companies and organizations, including different generational cohorts of workers (Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y or Millennials) represent a great challenge to them, and a better understanding of that can lead to better outcomes. Facing diversity instead of avoiding it, is the beacon for a path towards success. This paper will discuss the impact of different generations in the workforce and how understanding and embracing different work values can lead
  • 63. to build effective and efficient multi-generational teams. Keywords: Workplace Diversity, Generational Cohorts, Work Values, Team Building. DEB S. LAWTON * By CARLOS TASSO E. DE AQUINO ** DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE AND THE IMPACT OF WORK VALUES ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MULTI-GENERATIONAL TEAMS i-manager’s Journal o Management, n l lVol. 10 No. 3 December 2015 - February 2016 RESEARCH PAPERS 21 Walker, and Jones-Farmer, 2014; Lester, Standifer, Schultz, and Windsor, 2012, Swan, 2012; and Tomislav, 2014). According to Amayah and Gedro (2014), although there are many stereotypes about generational characteristics, the research that formally consolidates the topic across
  • 64. an array of studies is limited, so the idea was to conduct a study that would inform through a comprehensive set of considerations for policies, practices, and training and development. However, in this case, providing a synthesis and generalization of generational work value similarities and differences was necessary for a qualitative, descriptive case study to help with the interpretation of the verbal statements to answer the questions: ·How are the work values of the Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Generation Y/Millennial employee similar or different?; ·Why do generational differences in work values affect multi-generational work teams? How do generational work value similarities or differences influence employees that belong to a particular generation within the work team?; ·Why do managers or leaders need to understand the impact generational work value similarities or
  • 65. differences of a particular generation, may have on the work environment when developing work teams? The study entailed a discussion of the findings based on the pilot study participants (3), and the 20 case study participants to reflect on whether generational similarities or differences impact the work team or a manager's or leader's ability to develop effective work teams. The findings of the study are representative of several factors that contribute to the understanding of generational work values. The scope of the study was p e r t i n e n t b e c a u s e a d e s c r i p t i v e, c a s e s t u d y methodology guided the exploration of the work values of the Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Generation Y/Millennial participants. 2. Generational Work Values and the Three Themes The research was divided into two parts: a pilot phase, with three participants, and the case study phase, including 20 new participants. The pilot study was conducted to test
  • 66. the feasibility of the interview questions posed to participants, which included one Baby Boomer, one Generation X, and one Generation Y/Millennial. While themes emerged, the interpretations of those themes were not considered during the analysis of the descriptive study. As part of the feasibility study, an alteration of the construction of the interview questions was needed to provide clarity for the study. The pilot study that was conducted offered a means to triangulate the data. In the case study phase, the responses from the twenty participants identified three themes, two of which were major themes that emerged from the coded transcripts, to provide an understanding of generational work values. The themes that emerged were dedication, responsibility, and teamwork. Incorporating the nuances of the coded themes showed, how multi-generational work teams can become more responsive to the organization based on the diversity of the participants.
  • 67. 2.1 Theme One: Dedication The dedication of the employees in each generation to the work team showed a commitment to all facets of the project. This was validated when the coding showed that dedication emerged as a theme, with the majority of the participants implying that a job needs to be done. Some participants felt a lack of dedication could substantially impact teamwork. The participants reported that, if there was a lack of dedication, work processes would slow down and the teamwork effectiveness would eventually disappear. An analysis of the data collected from each generational cohort showed that, participants from multiple generations believed, either the job gets done no matter what or, there is a high level of dedication for the job that needs to get done. Yeaton (2008) reported that, the Generation Y/Millennial employee has good morality and is civic-minded, which gives this group a strong sense of
  • 68. dedication to the team and the organization. In comparison, the technological savvy of the Generation X employee, and the demand for a balance between life and work, gives employees from that specific cohort, less motivation for dedication to the job when compared to li-manager’s Journal o Management, Vol. No. 3 ln 10 December 2015 - February 2016 22 RESEARCH PAPERS the other two generations included in this study (Johnson, Rogers, 2006). For the Baby Boomer employees, dedication means a commitment and determination to complete a project of any length (Richardson, 2008). The study concluded that the dedication level differed from one generation to another and it is directly related to how employees approach a task. For instance, Baby Boomer employees are strictly focused on getting the task done. Generation X employees understand that tasks
  • 69. need to get completed, but also include an analysis process to figure out how to accomplish the task. The Generation Y/Millennial employees visualized what needs to be done, and then proceed to find shortcuts to accomplish the task without thinking through the various possibilities. 2.2 Theme Two: Responsibility Responsibility showed conscientiousness by the participant about the project. A mixture of beliefs from each generation pertaining to the impact of work values on the work team was part of what was gleaned from this theme. The responsibility of an employee towards the work environment was demonstrated by a willingness to contribute to the organization. Responsibility was linked to the commitment, cooperation, and dedication an employee had towards the work team and the mission of the organization. The data related to this core theme corroborated the results of Dumbrava, Gavreleta, and
  • 70. Lupulescu (2009), finding that the rules are based on values and principles, including the responsibility that helped make the organization function and move toward a common goal. The participants interviewed believed, responsibility and dedication are important work values when developing multi-generational work teams and that the level of responsibility each generation contributed to the work environment was very important. More importantly, the participants thought that, a difference of responsibility levels existed from one generation to another, which could result in conflicts that impact negatively the team work and, therefore, the organization. Dumbrava et al. (2009) also implied, when there is a lack of responsibility, the organization loses the “… invisible control …,” and the behavior becomes unacceptable (p. 87). Responsibility was an important component of every generation's work values, but the definition of responsibility
  • 71. might be different for each generational cohort. For an instance, Baby Boomer employees thought, the Generation Y/Millennial employees know more than the other generations and think less about the team due to an unfavorable work ethic. On the other hand, the Generation Y/Millennial employees perceived the opposite. Generation Y/Millennial employee felt the need to respond quickly, had a lot of good ideas, and could bring a fresh, new perspective to the team. The gap between the work value perceptions of these two groups clearly indicated the responses pertaining to responsibility differ. The perceptions shared by Generation X participants showed that, Baby Boomers would be a good source of information. The Generation X participants believed their responsibility is to get the job done and are focused on job priorities. Robinson (2009) believed, responsibility was part of the nature that makes up a person's value system through three interconnected
  • 72. modes: (a) imputability, that guides the actions of a person, (b) accountability, by making a person answer to someone, and (c) the liability that a person answer for something or someone (p. 11). The underlying thought process, if truly a basis for human value systems, could be the identifying key that motivates each generation in the work environment. 2.3 Theme Three: Teamwork Along with dedication and responsibility, teamwork becomes more effective due to the commitment of every member of the work team. However, when teamwork is not present, the attributing factor could very well be a lack of dedication and responsibility. Managers and leaders compensated for the lack of dedication and responsibility by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each employee to ensure cohesion in the work team, and, as a result, develop a work team that has a high level of dedication and responsibility to ensure a productive
  • 73. work team. i-manager’s Journal o Management, n l lVol. 10 No. 3 December 2015 - February 2016 23 RESEARCH PAPERS The study corroborated the findings of Bourgeois (2006) who identified in general that, employees want to be valued. The employees want to be recognized for the work values that are brought into the work place. Managers and leaders should acknowledge the work values of multiple generations by integrating the work values of different generations into the work team, thus making each employee belonging to different generations feel as though each are assets to the organization. The role each generation plays within the work environment is crucial to maintain multi- generational teams, and an understanding of the
  • 74. similarities and differences in generational work values is crucial to the success of any work team in any organization. To understand the similarities and differences among generational work values as recognition of the basis for the work values, lead to the ideologies of each generation. The knowledge, Baby Boomers have due to life experiences, impacts each generation and the stability of the organization (Patota et al., 2007). The fact remains that, each generation has specific ideologies within the generational makeup. Another thought pertaining to the basis of work values was that, the ideologies culminated from the life experiences become more noticeable when taken into consideration and understood by other generations. Cennamo and Gardner (2008) suggested that, the Baby Boomer employee relied on the traditional work values of hard work and dedication, whereas the Generation
  • 75. Y/Millennial employees placed a high importance on work-life balance. The knowledge that one generation can give and the other can receive is equally important to both generations. The key to all strategic decisions and successful interactions among work teams relied on dedication and teamwork. Although the Generation Y/Millennial employee is known to think more creatively, the freedom to maintain creativity does not come without the need to prove that capability (Schwarz, 2008). The interview responses emphasized the value placed on teamwork for the work team environment to be successful. For instance, the Baby Boomer generation believed teamwork was an important consideration when deciding to develop multi-generational work teams. The generations that participated in the study felt inadequate, when there was a need to understand what motivates the Baby Boomers because the Baby Boomers are beginning to retire. The Generation X and Generation Y/Millennial
  • 76. generations recognized that, not being prepared enough to continue the momentum, the Baby Boomer employees have created, could be detrimental. The younger generations realized, there was much to contribute to the way, the Baby Boomer employees have constructed the work place. For instance, many of the employees belonging to the younger generations felt the need to move away from manual processes and into an electronic age that would streamline those processes and provide more efficiency. When building work teams, the work values of different generations must be integrated. Each generation was optimistic, ambitious, and had a belief that teamwork was the key to overcome diversity (Patterson, 2005). One generation may have strengths that complement the weaknesses of another generation. There was a broad diversity in generational thought processes. Payment (2008) agreed that, Generation X employees do not like
  • 77. people to get involved and can make progress by working alone. According to Swan (2012), a multigenerational workforce brings a diverse set of skills complementing the attributes that help strengthen the effectiveness and capability of the organization. The consensus among employees from the three generations was that, the integration of different work values offers a positive atmosphere of diversity when introduced into the work team. Big ideas, more diverse brainstorming, balance, and added value are some of the perceptions that were uncovered from a cross- section of generational participants. Mostly all employees agreed that, the Generation Y/Millennial employee had the most ideological demeanor than employees belonging to the other two generations. Baby Boomers and Generation X participants felt that, the idealistic views of the Generation Y/Millennial participants contributed freshness and an ability to revive the old, mundane ideals
  • 78. li-manager’s Journal o Management, Vol. No. 3 ln 10 December 2015 - February 2016 24 RESEARCH PAPERS of the older generations. At particular stages in an individual's life experience, sharing knowledge may be easier because of a genuine interest in the development of future generations (Brun de Pontet, Wrosch, and Gagne, 2007). Future generations become more receptive toward accepting of the advice from older generations as the life stages progress. Bringing ideas into a work team can be good or bad because of the diversity of the generations that participate on the work team. Leveraging the strengths against the weaknesses, and the realization that members of different generations have unique qualities such as creativity, will positively contribute to the work team (Di Meglio et al., 2005; Vanden Bergh, and Stuhlfaut,
  • 79. 2006; Weston, 2001). Generation X employees have the work value diversity of the Baby Boomer employee and the freshness of the Generation Y/Millennial employee, which may allow each generation to understand the other generations to make work teams more effective. 3. Research Findings New processes may be frustrating for Generation X employees because of the ideology gained by being raised by Baby Boomer parents and by feeling the satisfaction of understanding the technological methods created by the youngest Baby Boomers (Blythe et al., 2008). Generation Y/Millennial participants had a different set of experiences. Generation Y/Millennial employees grew up technologically advanced and tends to become impatient with manual processes (Lower, 2008). However, due to the generational life experiences, personal values also differ, causing a lack of loyalty opening the door to instigate a decision to terminate
  • 80. employment (Brecton, Walker, and Jones-Farmer, 2014). The stereotypes that surround the Baby Boomer, Generation X and Generation Y/Millennial employees suggest, there are differences relating to the workforce and, as a result, the assumption is that, the Baby Boomers will have fewer job mobility behaviors than the Generation X and GenerationY/Millennial employee (Brecton, Walker, and Jones-Farmer, 2014). Therefore, especially if the decision to terminate employment becomes a non-issue to the Generation Y/Millennial employee, the experience level of this generation would allow creativity to be introduced into the work environment, and would become the team design that the other generations envision. The influence and experience of members of all generations contribute to each person's own set of beliefs and values, or what is expected of others (Crumpacker and Crumpacker, 2007). The experiences of multiple generations become an
  • 81. asset for the work teams within an organization, rather than an unknown mixture of talents. Several methods can be used to provide focus on the abilities of each generation. The methods used should enhance the work environment, provide a road map for competence building by setting goals, and encourage communication to help develop efficient work teams (Boguslauskas and Kvedaraviciene, 2009). Identifying ways an organization could use different approaches to develop multi-generational work teams would be beneficial for the organization. The following approaches would help the managers or leaders and employees gain an understanding of generational work habits: ·Personality assessments geared to identify generational nuances allow organizational leaders to gain a deeper understanding of the work values of each generation; ·Team building exercises to help members of each
  • 82. generation realize the strengths and weakness of each participant; and ·Take ownership of projects on a rotating basis to s t r e n g t h e n l e a d e r s h i p a b i l i t i e s a m o n g a l l the generational cohorts. Those approaches would alleviate any potential stress or disconnect between generations due to misunderstandings about how each the generation works in a team setting. The groups inter viewed provided the necessar y information to develop an understanding of generational work value similarities and differences that may aid in the development of multi-generational work teams (Neuman, 2003). To recognize patterns in the work values, the analyses included in this research study used personal, social, i-manager’s Journal o Management, n l lVol. 10 No. 3 December 2015 - February 2016
  • 83. 25 RESEARCH PAPERS organizational and cultural components to underscore how similarities or differences in generational work values apply to the organization (White, 2005). In fact, Li and Nimon (2008) believed, the recognition of generational work value similarities or differences play a particular role in the development of new procedures to help improve organizational performance. By ignoring any similarities or differences in work values among the employees of different generations, a one-size-fits-all procedural approach could result, which does not satisfy the criteria needed for creating the diversity found in multi- generational work teams (Li and Nimon, 2008). Work culture can play a role that is an actual difference from one generation to another and that is the view of formal authority, the association with leadership, and the appropriate way to conduct work tasks (Lester, Standifer,
  • 84. Schultz, and Windsor, 2012). Moreover, Hallberg and Schaufeli (2006) posit an engagement with the job was distinguishable from an involvement and commitment to the job, emphasizing that each member of a work team must feel valued and understood, regardless of the generational category. The work preferences include distinctive job characteristics and any potential match or mismatch in generational preferences and the expected job performance could have a positive or negative outcome across generational cohorts, emphasizing the importance of understanding generational differences (Tomislav, 2014). The findings of this research study are clear revelations for the leaders or managers of the organizations, because without an understanding of the diversity of work values, organizations could be at risk of dysfunction within a work team environment (Renn, 2008). Nixon (2008) believed, there are advantages for employers to assist employees
  • 85. when attempting to resolve tensions between different generations, and this can be accomplished in an open atmosphere that does not diminish respect. In addition, the importance of developing strategies for resolving conflict should bring into focus the realization that each generation can be perceived differently, so the process should be as transparent as possible to avoid further conflict (Nixon, 2008; Cooper, 2005; Grover, 2005). According to Behrens (2009), most individuals within the workplaces, do not identify with generational similarities or differences due to the traditional work models and existing training programs. The factors, and consideration of the themes that emerged, could help an organization understand the importance of multi-generational work value traits and aid in the development of more cohesive multi- generational work teams (Gleeson, 2007). Kearney et al. (2009) stated that, since the organizations rely on team
  • 86. function within the work environment, gaining the knowledge of the “… different dimensions of diversity …,” and the levels of personality, makes it easier to develop a good team structure (p. 581). Austin, Kelecevic, Goble, and Mekechuk (2009) echoed the sentiment of the finding that, the process of developing teams begins through communication that clarifies the similarities or differences in the level of work experience and the perceptions of work values of each generation. Conclusion This research study indicated that, the possibility of developing successful multi-generational work teams does exist. There were more similarities than differences in the way each generation viewed the work values of other generations. Each generation had a desire to accomplish the tasks presented in the work environment, whether in a team setting or not. The development of multi-generational work teams continue to be a work in
  • 87. progress for many organizations as similarities or differences in the work values among generations become more familiar, and less complex, and as “… members interact over time, and evolve and adapt as situational demands unfold …” (Kozlowski and Ilgen, 2006, p. 78). As employees' perceptions evolve, the understanding of these similarities and differences can help organizations recognize what needs to be in place to begin developing multi-generational work teams (Guastello, 2007). The study used a method to help provide an understanding of generational diversity through the categories that emerged from the data that was li-manager’s Journal o Management, Vol. No. 3 ln 10 December 2015 - February 2016 26 RESEARCH PAPERS
  • 88. collected from each participant. An understanding of the diversity ensured that, the patterns were not a view of the participants' two-dimensional reality (Scott and Howell, 2008). The two-dimensional reality pertains to a constant comparison of patterns, which describe the participants' reality. If the participant looks beyond those two- dimensional realities, and delves into more complex multi-dimensional constructivist ecology, the patterns would show the participant's character in a group setting (Scott and Howell, 2008). Analysis of data also showed that, each generation was not aware of the thoughts, feelings, and work values of the other generations. The coded themes that emerged, validated the fact that each generation had personal perceptions, but none of the participants had explored the possibility of similarities or differences in work values among generations, or how the similarities or differences in work values could have an influence on the work team.
  • 89. If communication among generations was enhanced, members of each generation may come to understand that, there are many similarities in the perception of work values among generations. This insight would have a definite impact on how managers or leaders can begin to understand how multi-generational work teams would interact. References [1]. Amayah, A.T., & Gedro, J. (2014). “Understanding generational diversity: Strategic human resource management and development across the generational “divide””. New Horizons in Adult Education & Human Resource Development. Vol.26(2), pp.36-48. Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company. [2]. Austin, W., Kelecevic, J., Goble, E., & Mekechuk, J. (2009). “An overview of moral distress and the Pediatric Intensive Care Team”. Nursing Ethics, Vol.16(1), pp.57-68. [3]. Behrens, W. (2009). “Managing millennials”.
  • 90. Marketing Health Services, Vol.77(2), pp.56-59. [4]. Blythe, J., Baumann, A., Zeytinoglu, I. U., Denton, M., Akhtar-Danesh, N., Davies, S. et al., (2008). “Nursing generations in the contemporary workplace”. Public Personnel Management, Vol.37(2), pp.137-159. [5]. Boguslakanskas, V., & Kvedaraviciene, G. (2009). “Difficulties in identifying company's core competencies and core processes”. Engineering Economics, Vol.62(2), pp.75-81. [6]. Bourgeois, T. (2006). “The challenge of changing values, beliefs, and expectations”. Leader to Leader, Vol.(42), pp.7-10. [7]. Brecton, J.B., Walker, H.J., & Jones-Farmer, A. (2014). “Generational differences in workplace behavior ”. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Vol.44, pp.175-189. [8]. Brun de Pontet, S., Wrosch, C., & Gagne, M. (2007). “An exploration of the generational differences in levels of control held among family businesses approaching
  • 91. … SAGE Open April-June 2012: 1 –15 © The Author(s) 2012 DOI: 10.1177/2158244012444615 http://sgo.sagepub.com Introduction The concept of diversity includes acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and rec- ognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and fostering environ- ment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimen- sions of diversity contained within each individual. Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve understanding and appreciating interdependence of human- ity, cultures, and the natural environment; practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own; understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing; recognizing that per- sonal, cultural, and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustain- ing disadvantages for others; and building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eradicate all forms of discrimination. Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences