This website wants to improve the understanding between the different generations. It is based on research conducted for a dissertation. This research explored age and generation effects in cultural differences. With the help of this website it is hoped to not only create awareness for generational cultural differences but also to improve the the quantitative basis of the Generation Typology Model (GTM). This model, based on a questionnaire, shows the individual generational culture orientation. The model is hoped to improve the readers own understanding of his or her generational culture, as well as highlighting any potential problems with other generational types. Exploring the model is easy. Just fill in the questionnaire and you will receive your own personal generational profile. It is hoped that a lot of visitors of this web-site will test the model and provide inside into their generational personality.

Background

It is only recently that a somewhat quite revolution has taken place. For the first time in history four generations are at work at the same time namely:

  • Matures
  • Baby Boomers
  • Generation X'ers
  • Nexters

Each generation brings its own set of values, beliefs, life experiences and attitude to the workplace and this can be a problem. America is already experiencing these generational differences. They are identified as one of the fundamental reasons for American companies to experience hiring challenges and to have increasing communication problems. These difficulties result in high turnover in personnel and a fall in morale (Lancaster et al., 2002). Margaret Fell (1999) shows that due to the nearly non-existent generational dialogue in companies, the workplace not only loses out on humanity but will also be unable to mobilize the individual’s full potential. This will lead ultimately to economic losses (Reischmann, 1999). Even worse, when times are getting harder, namely, in the job market, the generations are likely to entrench themselves even more deeply into the attitudes and behaviour that have been ingrained in them. American corporations are already shaken to the very core as the cost of human capital spirals upward. Without the knowledge of the individual’s generational framework, managers will be unable to create understanding between the different generations. This is a pre-requisite for ensuring that everybody is acting in a unified way which is a critical skill for a company if it wants to survive in today’s multigenerational workplace. It is and will be an increasingly challenging task. It is calculated that 2-4% bottom-line productivity is lost due to generational differences and miscommunication in industry (Tsacoumis, 2002).

The technological revolution has exacerbated this situation. With the introduction of computers and the internet, the world is now closely connected and information is freely available. This has changed dramatically the way companies do business. It has also put a greater divide between the generations. Those who grew up with technology and the ones who are playing catch up. Even with time different generations of employees will not become more alike with age. They will carry their “generational personalities” with them throughout their lives (Lancaster et al., 2002).

Many employers and employees ignore these differences. They assume that as all experience the same life stages, all are bound to see them the same way. But a number of researchers think that this is too simple a view. All human beings have certain life stages in common, but no one generation approaches them the same way. According to BridgeWorks Generations Survey (Lancaster et al., 2002) the majority of Baby Boomers plan never to retire. They intend to keep working in some form or another for as long as possible. In contrast the majority of the Matures look at retirement as a well earned reward. In order to understand who the generations really are and what makes them tick, one needs to adopt an “ageless thinking” attitude. It is important to look at how each generation shares a common history. The events and conditions an individual experiences during the formative years will determine who he is and how he will see the world. As a result these events and conditions will form the “generational personality”.

It is understandable that people will first of all seek friends within their own age group. They are connected through their generation mentality. As Fell (1999) points out “Young people tend to share more closely the values and behaviour of other young people than of older people.”

Social scientists have attributed this gap to a variety of factors: technology, increased communication and contemporary physical and psychological developments.

Furthermore researchers like Strauss et al. (1991) think that in recent decades as societies are becoming more and more open and mobile the distinction between one’s own society and others may be disappearing. Therefore one can think that the real cultural clashes no longer take place between the youngster of France and Germany but between the youngsters of today and their parents.