University of Twente Student Theses


Generational differences in work preferences

Hoff, Joost (2010) Generational differences in work preferences.

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Abstract:This study aimed at getting more insight in the work preferences of the youngest generation (born after 1985) and the differences with work preferences of older generations. The increasing numbers and influence of the youngest generation on the labor force brings up the necessity for organizations to become attractive as an employer. Using type of work and work environment as predictors of the recruitment outcomes organizational attraction and acceptance intentions, a questionnaire was developed which operationalizes the constructs that are mentioned by the youngest generation as being the most important. This questionnaire consisted of 7 constructs which in turn were measured by a total of 15 scales. Two samples of respondents were used (students and workers) which also made it possible to distinguish on work experience. The results showed that there were two types of differences. On the one hand differences in kinds of preferences, expressed by different operationalizations of the constructs. This was the case for the constructs; ‘challenge’, ‘task significance’, ‘transformational leadership’ and ‘promotion opportunities’. On the other hand differences in the levels of preferences were found which indicate that some aspects were preferred more or less by the youngest generation. Three scales were valued higher by youngsters. This was the case for ‘social support’, ‘transactional leadership, management-by-exception’ and ‘promotion opportunities’. Contrary, four other scales were valued significantly lower by the youngest generation. This was the case for ‘task significance’, ‘flexibility’, ‘transformational leadership’ and ‘social responsibility’. It can be concluded that there are differences in work preferences between the youngest and older generations. The results can be used to shape the aspects that are most preferred to the definition as used by this youngest generation. However, as the found differences were relatively small and more similarities could be noted, the overall conclusion is that the youngest generation does not seem to be as drastically different as popular press suggests.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
TNO Science and Industry
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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