Jessica Kriegel is the author of Unfairly Labeled and previously was a Senior Organizational Development Consultant at Oracle Corporation. She holds a Doctorate from Drexel University. Her degree is in educational leadership and management focusing on generational differences.
Generational Stereotypes Are Wrong
She realized, however, upon her research she was totally off base. She figured Millenials would want more technology, and baby boomers would want more face to face, but in her literary review of material available, a lot of contradictions in the literature. Most of it was based on perception and anecdotes. Actual data was minimal. Her research concludes that generational groups can’t really be put into categories, the major difference between them is simply age, youth or inexperience.
Her research was at a railroad organization. She asked about learning style preferences but was shocked when she asked about their preferences for particular technologies. There was no correlation for technology preference, within various generations. The literature she had read previously was severely flawed.
Where Do These Generational Stereotypes Come From?
So, how did we actually get here? How are we so wrong? Kriegel explains that there is a system in the brain that hates ambiguity and craves patterns and categories. The simpler we can categorize our life around us, the happier our brain, even if it means oversimplifying complexities. If we can classify Millenials, who seem to be changing the world, now people can act, read articles, and control the situation. We can check it off as “understood.” Simply put, the reason we want to label millennials is because we’re lazy. And sadly, this affects our management.
Even today, when the word “millennial” is spoken, several associations immediately pop into managers heads. Managers associate tech-savviness, entitlement, thinking differently, desiring meaning in their work, etc. And while this sometimes may be the case, it has nothing to do with their generation. It has everything to do with the fact, that some Millenials simply haven’t been in the workforce and some have. It’s merely inexperience.
Kriegel says in her own experience, she’s supposed to be more tech-savvy than her father, yet he knows more about tech than she does. Or, she’s supposed use Facebook, but not only does she not know how to use it, but she doesn’t even have an account. Indeed these expectations are more common than the earlier literature would lead us to believe.
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