Intergenerational Cultural Issues
My study is about the manner in which different generations of Americans perceive the importance of cross-cultural differences and how they respond to these differences. This is a problem worthy of study because the demographic composition of the United States has changed in fundamental ways in recent years, and current projections indicate that whites will no longer be in the majority in the foreseeable future having been replaced by Hispanics and African-Americans. Therefore, developing a better understanding concerning intergenerational cultural issues represents a timely and valuable enterprise.
Although additional research in this area is needed, what is known for certain today is that for the first time in United States history, there are four generations of Americans actively employed in the workplace together as shown in Table 1 below.
Current Estimates of Intergenerational Composition of the U.S. Workforce
Matures (aka "Traditionalists")
Millennials (aka "Generation Y")
Source: Adapted from Fabre, 2007, p. 55
According to Bernstein, Alexander and Alexander, (2008), the generational cohorts described in Table 1 above represent "the largest demographic shift since respect to leadership style preferences and the respective attributions of these four generations, there remains far less known concerning how these different generations of Americans view the cross-cultural shifts that are taking place in the country today.
Because of their age and experience, it is reasonable to suggest that Matures and Baby Boomers tend to occupy more positions of senior leadership in organizations today. Likewise, also due to their younger ages and lesser experience, it is also reasonable to posit that members of Generation X and Y occupy lower positions in the organizational hierarchy. These fundamental differences in age, experience and background will inevitably have an impact on how members of these different generations perceive cross-cultural differences as well as the importance they attribute to them. Indeed, some researchers even argue that the significant age differences, experience levels and backgrounds between the four generations of Americans in the workplace today represent a profound cultural difference in the first place (Merriweather & Morgan, 2013).…
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