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Generation Blend: Managing Across the Technology Age Gap Hardcover – March 3, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Generation Blend

Technology and demographics are on a collision course. Digital Natives, Boomerang Boomers, and Generation X-ecutives are all grappling with the transformative implications of Web 2.0 technologies, and organizations are scrambling for the best ways to unlock the talents of a multigenerational workforce in a connected world. Generation Blend ventures deep into the technology age gap and provides real-world solutions to combine the best that younger and older workers have to offer.

Generation Blend explores how generational attitudes toward technology affect issues as diverse as recruitment and retention, employee training, management decision-making, collab-oration, knowledge sharing, work/life balance, and ordinary workday activities. How can your organization promote the continuity of knowl-edge and culture in the face of the coming demographic transition? What hidden factors put new technology deployments at risk? How can IT departments manage the growing demand for social and collaborative software while maintaining governance and security? What initiatives can you launch to bridge the divide in work styles and tech-savvy that separates veterans and newcomers in the workforce?

In Generation Blend, author Rob Salkowitz builds on the groundbreaking work of Don Tapscott (Wikinomics, Growing Up Digital), William Strauss and Neil Howe (Generations, Millennials Rising), and many others to connect the dots of sociology, technology, and management, and trace a roadmap for decision-makers. Generation Blend is rich with research and includes two original in-depth case studies from organizations that have developed unique approaches to bridging the technology age gap: Microsoft's Board of the Future project, which assembles college-age students from around the world to discuss a wide range of workplace issues, and Older Adults Technology Services, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to intergenerational technology training and reciprocal mentoring programs. Organizations of all types and sizes can profit from their methods.

The retirement of the Baby Boomers, the arrival of the Millennials, and the impact of Web 2.0 technology in the enterprise create unprece-dented complexity for employers and workers in the 2010s and beyond. Organizations looking to solve the puzzle of productivity across the technology age gap should start with Generation Blend.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Generation Blend: Managing Across the Technology Age Gap

"There is no more important issue facing today's enterprise than the digital age gap. To avoid a generational clash and exploit the power of intergenerational collaboration and knowledge sharing, every organization needs to think differently. Generation Blend spells out clearly what your company needs to do to get it right."
—Don Tapscott, coauthor, Wikinomics and author, Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation

"Salkowitz usefully explains how generational attitudes shape workers' responses to technologies in the workplace and offers practical recommendations for how organizations can respond to increase the success of technological innovation. He opens a discussion that will only rise in importance as the rising generation of Millennials enters the workplace in full force in the decade ahead."
—William Strauss and Neil Howe, authors of Generations: A History of America's Future and Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation

"The dirty little secret of essentially every company is that their most critical asset is their people. Generation Blend is a uniquely powerful tool for grasping the forces that are driving the tumultuous changes afoot in today's workforce, and for managing with and through them most effectively. Rooted in the concrete lessons of case study, it draws important lessons for managers and decision-makers who must understand the future of the workplace—and that, I believe, means all of us. Generation Blend is must-reading for managers who mean to succeed over the next decade."
—Lawrence Wilkinson, Chairman, Heminge and Condell, and cofounder of Global Business Network

"Generation Blend presents timely data and analysis about the generations from a wide range of sources and is sure to become essential reading for people who want to understand and bridge the generational divide at work. If you want to engage, motivate, and retain young workers without driving the veteran workers away, then this book can help you."
—Penelope Trunk, business columnist, The Boston Globe and author, Brazen Careerist

"Rob Salkowitz turns traditional thinking upside down for a witty and enlightening look at the unique technological challenges facing today's workforce."
—Paul Andrews, technology columnist and author, How the Web Was Won

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470193964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470193969
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,123,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
40 years ago as a graduate teaching assistant only 5 years older than the kids I was teaching I realized there was a generation gap. Their language was different from mine. Their expectations different. Even their ways of approaching tasks was different. Today, my peers are all labeled Baby Boomers. If there were differences in thinking then, when we were so much more homogeneous, how much more are the differences today. I know I have to work hard to even understand the Gen X and Millenial "kids" we're employing today. And it's up to our generation to adapt or die. We have the perspective to see how we interacted with the generation that came before us as well as those who are nipping at our heels. Salkowitz has done an impressive job of identifying the way each generation works and interacts... and provides a valuable tool for us older managers to understand what makes younger employees tick... and how we can work together to make the workplace more productive and less frustrating.
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Format: Hardcover
Generation Blend: Managing Across the Technology Age Gap, by Rob Salkowitz is a book that might have saved me a lot of trouble. I have been managing a social media evangelism effort at Xerox for the past year, and learned many of the lessons in this book the hard way. But then, a year ago, this book probably could not have been written; 2007 was, in many ways, the year these lessons became very clear. The book tries to do three things: describe generational differences in attitudes and approaches towards work and careers, explain them, and examine one aspect of how to manage them: social computing technology. The results, respectively, are very competent, exceeds expectations and competent. Or B+, A+ and B- if you prefer letter grades. But the one A+ is well worth the cost of the book, and it is relatively straightforward to manage around the weaknesses on the other two fronts. It would have been a brilliant book if it had just focused on the explain bit.
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Format: Hardcover
As we move forward, it will become increasingly valuable for managers, project leaders, people at every level to understand the challenges presented by the intersection of generational cohorts. Rob Salkowitz has provided all of us with a tremendous resource in this text. It has already furnished me with practical advice that I have found useful in the field.
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Format: Hardcover
Salkowitz geeft in het boek antwoorden op de vraag hoe technologie van invloed is op de verschillende nu levende generaties (leeftijdscohorten) en in hoeverre the best of breed van zowel de technologie als mensen te combineren zijn in aandachtsgebieden als werving, retentie, training, management, en dergelijke.

De kloof tussen de extremen digibeet en NetGen is het resultaat van een conflict tussen mensen en technologie waar het gaat om verwachtingen, prioriteiten, begrip van werk en wereld. Hoe lastig kan het zijn een vertegenwoordiger van een generatie boven je te vertellen wat er nu zo zinvol is aan blogs, online sociale netwerken, enzo? En wat snap ik van tieners die huiswerk, Last.fm, MSN en online games pijnloos kunnen combineren? Wil je er in een zakelijke setting wat mee, roept Salkowitz je op serieus naar vijf vragen te kijken:

1. leg je helder de voordelen van technologie uit?
2. stel je technologie ten dienste van de bedrijfsvoering?
3. is technologie toegankelijk voor verschillende stijlen van werken?
4. ondersteunt je bedrijfscultuur je strategische keuzes op het vlak van technologie?
5. bouw je bruggen of werp je muren op?

Toegespitst op kennismanagement is het succes van web 2.0 technologieën afhankelijk van het gemak dat oudere kennisdragers ervaren in zowel de technische als culturele context. Specifieke training en direct adresseren van zorgpunten die leven bij de betreffende generatiegenoten helpt dit te vergroten. Babyboomers en Generatie X-genoten kunnen het tempo en intensiteit van productiviteit, innovatie en reactiesnelheid vergroten. Ze hebben allerhande (technologische) mogelijkheden daarvoor.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book give a generational view of technology that led to quite a few "aha" moments for me.

My biggest "aha" was when the author gave an example in which some highly skilled Boomers choose to stick with an inferior e-mail technology when a better choice (a collaborative Web site) was available. Because hardly anyone used the site, the group cited the low level of utilization as justification for their refusal to participate.

I've seen this happen many times and have been so frustrated!

But the author explains: "You have a group of highly skilled Boomer professionals accustomed to autonomy and control, whose power often stems directly from privileged access to information, suddenly being asked to share information out in the open . . . they will receive little personal credit and risk being exposed as incompetents if they prove unable to master an extremely basic (if unfamiliar) set of practices and technologies." Bottom line: "the social incentives are diametrically opposed to everything we know about the generational work style of Boomers. It challenges their need for implicit social hierarchies based on hidden knowledge and relationships, personal autonomy and expression and status-based exemption from control and supervision . . ."
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