University of Twente Student Theses


Work-Values Differences within Generation Y : Recommendations for HR Management in the Hospitality Industry.

Kranenberg, Ellis (2014) Work-Values Differences within Generation Y : Recommendations for HR Management in the Hospitality Industry.

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Abstract:Generation Y (also known as Yers) has started to take a prominent position in today’s workforce. With this new position comes a new territory of research. The research about this generation has increased over the past years, with most of this research focusing on characteristics of Generation Y (Sheahan (2005), Martin (2005), Armour (2005)) and the differences between generations (Smola and Sutton (2002), Cennamo and Gardner (2008)). The aim of this research was to provide HR Management with insights on Generation Y (born between 1982 and 2002) and differences in work related values between the members of this generation within the Hospitality industry. Generation Y has started to take place in the workforce and comes with new needs and demands. This generation lives in a time where everything is changing more rapidly than ever before. This research is interested in finding if there are therefore differences within the generation. Wong et al. (2008) states that there are characteristic differences in work values which are defining for a group that forms a generation. When this is not understood correctly by organizations it can lead to conflicts, issues in communication or influence productivity negatively (Wong et al., 2008). This is in line with this research, of which the main research question is: “Do Generation Y Students and Professionals show intra-Gen Y differences in work-related values, and what does this mean for HR Management?” The first step taken in this research was the literature review. The core concepts of the research question were clearly defined and existing literature on work related values were researched. The literature review resulted in clear concepts which were used to outline the structure of the exploratory interviews held with members of Generation Y. These interviews were used to get a clear understanding of the perceptions of Generation Y and to better understand the subject of this research. The exploratory interview analysis formed the basis of the questionnaire, together with the literature review. The literature review revealed two main theories which were combined with the interview analysis to develop the questionnaire. The first theory was by Wong et al. (2008), who described seven dimensions of work-related values, namely; achieving, affiliate, optimistic, variety-seeking, independent-minded and conscientious. The values discussed by Kalleberg (1977) can be considered to be included by Wong et al. (2008). The second theory was by Shacklock & Brunetto (2005), which named three factors, namely; financial factors, intrinsic factors and organizational policies and practices. Eleven dimensions were developed. Ambition measured the level of ambition of the respondent. Social was there to see how important working in a team was. Optimism measured the positivity of the respondent. Variety looked at the need the respondents had to have variety in their tasks. Independence focused on how much the respondent had their own ideas, instead of following the ideas of others. Time Management discussed how capable the respondent was of managing tasks in time. Motivation looked at the drive of the respondent. The Finance dimension researched the importance of rewards. Work-Life, measured how much the respondents value their personal live in relation to work. Organizational Practices and Policies focused on how much these were desired by the respondent and Internet and Social Media measured the role these two factors play in the life of the respondents. The eleven dimensions were measured by developing a total of 36 statements, which were to be answered (online) by Hospitality Professionals and Hospitality Students from either the Netherlands or the People’s Republic of China and were born between 1982 and 2002. The Netherlands was chosen to represent the developed economy, while the People’s Republic of China was chosen to represent the emerging economy. These countries were chosen since both have hospitality professionals and schools present and the members of Generation Y in these two countries are expected to understand English. A total of 121 people responded, of which 116 were found to fit the criteria described above and completed the questionnaire. These 116 questionnaires were used to analyse five hypotheses, in which each of the hypotheses was tested by dividing the 116 respondents up into different sample groups per nationality (Dutch/Chinese), occupation (Hospitality Professional/Hospitality Student), Hospitality Professionals (Dutch/Chinese), Hospitality Students (Dutch/Chinese) and Gender (Male/Female). This division was made to get a clear understanding of differences between the sample groups within Generation Y. A limitation of this research is that the sample is not representative and thus further research is needed to be able to generalise the results. However this research could serve as a basis to form hypotheses or this research could be expanded worldwide. The results of this research are mostly applicable for HR management in the Hospitality Industry. The results showed that HR management does not have to consider differences based on gender, since no significant results were found on differences on perceptions of work values between male and female respondents. Next to that the Dimension Independence did not show any significant results, indicating this does not have to be considered as being different between any of the sample groups. Overall, the Chinese respondents indicated that Finance and Rewards are a more important work value to them than the Dutch respondents. The Dutch respondents on the other hand ranked Ambition higher, which indicates career prospects and opportunities are more important to them. Having variety in their tasks was also more important to the Dutch respondents. The Dutch respondents also demonstrated to be more optimistic than the Chinese respondents, indicating a more positive outlook on life. The Chinese respondents indicated that work plays a bigger role of importance in their live than the Dutch respondents, whose responses indicated more of a “Work to life, not life to work” mentality. The Chinese respondents also indicated that the Internet and Social Media play a bigger role in their professional and personal lives than the Dutch respondents. The findings showed that there are significant differences between the different samples groups researched. This could help HR management in identifying which work-related values are considered the same and which are considered differently by their target group. This can help HR in the way they recruit students, by anticipating on their wants and needs in the recruitment process. HR can also use this research to determine which work-related values are important to their employees (Hospitality Professionals sample) and use this information when developing policies. This research helps in understanding that Human Resources should not just focus on differences between generations, but also on differences within a generation to be able to answer the wants and needs of their people. Keywords: Generation Y; HRM; work-related values; generational differences; hospitality industry.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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