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Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in Your Workplace Hardcover – October 11, 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Learning about differences may be fun, but learning about cooperation is useful. And it's here that Generations at Work becomes a valuable tool." --Fast Company

Book Description

Veterans...Baby Boomers...GenXers ...Nexters. Mix them all together, and what do you get? Sometimes disaster! Here are fresh insights and practical solutions for easing the inevitable conflicts of today's age- and values-diverse workplace, where people just don't see work (or life) the same way.

"They have no work ethic."

"So I told my boss, 'If you're looking for loyalty, get a dog."

"I will not attend meetings that start after 5."

There's a serious new problem in the workplace, and it has nothing to do with downsizing, change, foreign competition, pointy-haired bosses, cubicle envy, or greed. Instead, it's the problem of distinct generations--the Veterans, the Baby Boomers, the GenXers, and (coming soon) the Nexters--crossing paths and sometimes colliding.

So how can you manage this motley group with their conflicting work ethics, dissimilar values, and idiosyncratic styles? How do you get them to stop snarling at each other? How do you motivate them to work together?

Generations at Work is the first book to clearly outline each group's primary characteristics, and to explain the seminal events and cultural icons that shaped their attitudes and values. But it doesn't just provide an astute sociological portrait. The book also offers practical, sound solutions for avoiding (or remedying) the most common mistakes of managing in today's cross-generational workplace.

Readers will find profiles of companies with effective strategies for smoothing generational conflict...a true-to-life case study of a manager caught in the crossfire...and 21 key questions and answers for solving cross-gen problems.

For anyone struggling to manage a workforce with different ways of working, talking, and thinking, Generations at Work both explains the gulf that separates the generations and offers insightful solutions for creating workplace harmony.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM; 1 edition (October 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814404804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814404805
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Never before has there been such diversity in the workforce. This is particularly true of the range of ages that co-exist on the job. In Generations At Work, the authors identify the four generations, the particular problems you may encounter managing them, and potential solutions. As the employee pool matures, this is knowledge every manager of a cross-generational workforce will need. These categories are, of course, cut rather broad. This book is probably better used as an idea toolbox than gospel writ.

The Generations:

1. Veterans (1922-1943): The World War II generation's dedication to the values of civic pride, loyalty and respect for authority have become a continuing influence in the following generations.

· Veterans tend to be more directive in leadership roles.

· Veterans are used to working in teams under strong leadership.

· Veterans can be prone to the "we've never done it that way before" mentality.

· Veterans often find technology intimidating and confusing.

2. Boomers (1943-1960): This generation tends to be idealistic and driven.

· Find out how they want to be managed.

· Expect a reaction if things don't go well.

· Motivate them with lots of public recognition, and involvement in decision-making.

· When mentoring them be tactful, let them tell you how they're doing, and think of yourself as a friendly equal.

3. Xers (1960-1980): The Xers are deeply cynical about management and the driven attitudes of the Veterans and Boomers. It is, however, possible to motivate Xers.

· Make your work environment as flexible as possible.

· Provide them with up-to-date technology.
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Format: Hardcover
This study of the beliefs and values of the major generational groups and their attitudes to each other provides a thorough basis for understanding issues that are likely to arise in the workplace. The authors highlight the very different attitudes to work, life and the importance of life style between the generations. They offer ideas for dealing effectively with each generation and with the differences between them.
The book is readable and well set out. A chapter is devoted to each generation group, each with useful tabulations and comparisons. This is followed by case studies of good inter-generational relationships and a couple of chapters of advice.
The book is concerned primarily with the present - that is with how these differences impact on today's working life, but the sketches of each generation also provide insights into what may happen to work arrangements as different value systems become dominant.
An interesting and important question of course is 'What is going to happen to business itself, its values and its relationship to wider society?' Unfortunately this question is not even raised, the implicit assumption being that business will continue unchanged even if ways of organising and doing business change. A dangerous assumption!
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Format: Hardcover
Inspired by Neil Strauss's and Neil Howe's groundbreaking generational studies, "Generations At Work" is a readable and easily understandable primer to successfully understanding and coping with a heretofore unprecedented socioeconomic phenomenon--a workplace simultaneously containing several generations; from elders in their 70s to young people in their 20s.

The authors do a good job of explaining and describing each group's attitudes, shared beliefs, investment practices, buying habits and work methods--all of these having been shaped by different historical events (at least in the USA) and the relevant generational experiences derived from those events. The book also contains a series of sample profiles and vignettes which are a useful basis for comprehending and motivating (and marketing and selling to) various age groups.

On the minus side, far too much obsessive attention and empty praise has been generously lavished on the still-untested Millennials--almost to the point of evangelistically fetishizing them much like the Soviet Communist Party had for decades emptily and shrilly fetishized their "Heroes of Labor" and similar groups. I suspect this approach (with its hardy and predictable but now-less-obvious condescending and dismissive attitude toward Generation X) reflects the arrogant Boomer sensibility of the book's authors.
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Format: Hardcover
Managing the many different types of people in health care is very challenging! I already knew about the difficulties that dealing with many different disciplines and cultures presented, but this book gave me a new way to look at the different cultures of age!
This book was written in a very easy to read format, with lots of information on the personalities, attitudes, and work habits of the different generations. The practical tips in this book were very helpful to my own managerial practice. Even though this book used business examples, I found it very applicable to the health care setting. Often, problems that are found in business are multiplied in health care because we deal with people who are sick, injured, or at the end of life.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has to work with people who spring from different generations.
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