Millennials and the World of Work: An Organization and Management Perspective
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The purpose of this article is to provide a contextual overview that illustrates and illuminates some of the defining characteristics of the Millennial generation. This study offers a framework for understanding the most compelling issues organizations face in their efforts to effectively incorporate the generation currently entering the workforce.
This is a review and commentary that links together current research on Millennials in the workplace into a cohesive narrative, supplemented by several short business case studies and the authors’ own research, insights, and experiences working with Millennials in a university.
This article explores the ways in which college-educated members of the Millennial generation approach the world of work, especially in the context of their particular relationships with technology and institutions. Drawing on our experience as educators, we share our observations, along with those of others, highlighting organizational best practices when we have encountered them. We have grounded our thinking in the context of research and surveys about this population, including our own work, and examined the particular behaviors that seem to be most relevant to the tasks of recruiting, managing, and developing the generation now entering the workforce.
While cross-generational workplace tensions are neither new nor likely to dissipate, we believe that additional insights gained by exploring this complex and sometimes paradoxical generation will facilitate the ability to tap into their many abilities and talents.
This article sets aside the question of whether there are genuine differences in values across generations and instead examines two compelling factors that differentiate Millennial behaviors in the workplace. The first is their incorporation of technology as a “sixth sense” and as a fully integrated means of interacting with the world. The second is their expectation of organizational accommodation, stemming from their prior experiences and the degree to which institutions have made themselves malleable to the needs and desires of this cohort. Although much has been written about Millennials in the workforce, this approach provides a unique and nuanced understanding of the genesis of certain sets of behaviors and expectations.
KeywordsGenerational differences Millennials Workplace interaction Technology Organizational culture
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