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Original Research

Leveraging multi-generational workforce values in interactive information societies

Sophie van der Walt, Tanya du Plessis

SA Journal of Information Management; Vol 12, No 1 (2010), 7 pages. doi: 10.4102/sajim.v12i1.441

Submitted: 30 June 2010
Published:  19 November 2010

Abstract

Background: The success of organisations relies on various factors including the ability of its multi-generational workforce to collaborate within the interactive information society. By developing an awareness of the different values of a diverse workforce, organisations may benefit from diversity. Various diversity factors, such as ethnicity, age and gender, impact on the way people interact, especially in the interactive information society.

Objectives: This article advocates the need for generational awareness and addresses how this awareness presents benefits to companies, such as, increased productivity, improved succession planning policies and strategies to recruit and retain a diverse workforce. The research problem is directed at how diversity management influences Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y in terms of their work performance and co-worker relationships.

Method: The research design combines Critical Theory and Generational Theory within the mixed-method paradigm. The sequential exploratory design was decided upon as it studies the unknown relationships between different generations of employees. The literature review was followed by a quantitative empirical research component and data was collected by means of a questionnaire.

Results: The findings highlight specific differences between generations regarding their perspectives on work values and co-worker relationships, rewards, work-life balance and retirement.

Conclusion: The article concludes with recommendations on the role diversity management plays in terms of work performance and co-worker relationships. By leveraging generational awareness in the interactive information society organizations with a multi-generational workforce will succeed in the competitive business environment.


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Author affiliations

Sophie van der Walt, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Tanya du Plessis, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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