Differences in Values by Generation

Do values differ across generations? How so? Answer: Yes, values differ from generation to generation. INTRODUCTION There is a serious new problem in the most environments, and it has nothing to do with crime, employment or finance. Instead, it is the problem of distinct generations attempting to work together and often colliding as their paths cross. Individuals with different values, different ideas, different ways of getting things done and different ways of communicating in every area of society have always existed.

So, why is this becoming a problem now? The definition of value chosen for this purpose was illustrated by Schwartz, “desirable, trans-situational goals, varying in importance that serves as guiding principles in people’s lives” (2006,). In other words, values are motives formed from people attitudes or desirable concept that guides their behavior. There are four generations of people, from 1922 -1945 the ‘veterans’, 1946-1964 the ‘Baby Boomers’, 1965-1980 Generation X and from 1981-2000 Generation Y.While individuals in different generations are diverse, they nevertheless share certain thoughts, values, and behaviors because of certain shared events. Furthermore, these values, reactions, and behaviors definitely differ across all these generations. Values are a substantial driving force behind human attitudes and behaviors, therefore it play a vital role in obtaining basic and social needs. Values are beliefs that people hold regarding how individuals should ideologically behave (Ros, Schwartz & Surkiss, 1999).The aim of this study is to identify the different types in values in four generations and how they can affect the environment.

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The type of values to be discussed include, core values, family education, organisation and financial values. Each generation distinct value systems will be analysed. THE VETERAN The veteran members of this generation can describe as the private, silent generation, who believe in paying their dues, for whom their word is their bond. They prefer to behave in a more diplomatic manner, have a great deal of respect for authority and very consistent in taking care of their ersonal items and supporting family life. Members of this generation have also been characterized as loyal workers, highly dedicated, carefree to risk and strongly committed toward teamwork and collaboration. They have also been described as having a high regard for developing communication skills, (Jenkins, 2007). Acquiring an education was like a dream for them, similarly their portrait of attributes in the formation of a nuclear family was an avenue to advance their status in society. Saving or putting away money was a feature of their attitude and way of life.

BABY BOOMERS Baby Boomers are people born during the period 1946-1964. The core values exhibited is this generation stem from amount of respect they had for authority, believe that hard work and sacrifice are the price to pay for success. They grew up in an era of optimism and they are a special generation capable of changing the world, have equated work with self-worth, contribution and personal fulfillment. They started the workaholic trend to provide the best for their family, furthering their education and paying their dues to achieve promotion.They also like teamwork, communication and group decision-making to promote health, wellness, personal growth and gratification.

(Rath, 1999). Finally, they seek job security, a sense of entitlement by being good at relationships, reluctant to go against peers and judgments of others who do not see things their way (Zemke et al. , 2000). They also thrive on the possibility for change, have been described as the show me generation, and will fight for a cause even though they do not like problems. (Rath, 1999). GENERATION X This generation consists of individuals born between 1968 and 1979.

They were called the baby bust generation X (Xers), because of its small size relative to the previous generation. Their philosophies include having fun, being informal and always tend to be skeptical about most things. (Zemke et al. , 2000). Regarding their mode of family value, these individuals at school age, usually spends part of the day unsupervised at home while the parents are at work.

They sought to develop themselves through continuous learning and strong technical skills. (Rath, 1999). Results are their education values, followed by a sense of accomplishment and not the clock.Naturally these people would question authority figures and are not intimidated by them. They like to receive feedback are adaptable to change and prefer flexible schedules, (Zemke et al. , 2000). Money does not necessarily motivate members of this generation, but the absence of money might lead them to lose motivation.

They can tolerate work as long as it is fun, like to be entrepreneurial and creative. Although they are individualistic, they may also like teamwork, more so than boomers (Karp et al. , 2002). Looking at their financial value, one can safely class them to be more conservative in spending.They like to invest in safe and profitable returns but, are very cautious about utilizing their money. Memories of the veteran attitude towards financial awareness spend only where needed and save the rest for glooming days. GENERATION Y Members of Generation Y (Gen Y) may include individuals born between 1980 and 2000.

These people look at the real world, seeking to summon their own passion, courage and determination. Clearly, an independent spirited generation fueled by a strong sense of their personal values and beliefs. (Phillips. C. 2009).Most parents of the Generation Y consider it imperative to pass on core family values to their children by giving them feeling of identity and encouragement to honor the family traditions.

However they don’t appreciate the value of family like previous generations, morals have changed as well as priorities, and closeness of family. Devote their time in work rather than family time, main reason being most parents are divorced. (The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association Office of Diversity, 2006). In an organization they value good work, ethics, team work and work life balance.

Furthermore, they seek flexibility, adaptable to change, more independency and desire a more balanced life. They are the most highly educated and confident generation, they enjoy multi-tasking, value training, more demanding and focus on being entrepreneurs. (Crampton & Hodge, 2006). These characteristics are not much different to what people desire in an organization. Generation Y have considerably less company loyalty than previous generations and are more prepared to walk and seek another organisation that is more suited to their needs if they are dissatisfied.

Generation Y is also known as the millennium generation, due increased computer technology. Their educational level focuses on things such as, type papers, surf the internet, create power point presentations and emails. These individuals love to learn and getting a degree is no longer reserved for the elite, it is the norm. Due to technology, individuals and families can purchase things even if don’t have the money to pay for it. They buy it regardless, using credit rather than waiting and saving the money.This has become a big problem because of the easy availability of credit cards to everyone and they don’t understand the value of money.

CONCLUSION Each generation has some distinct and similar core, family, education, organization and financial values. Learning how to communicate with the different generations can eliminate many major confrontations and misunderstandings in society. Whether at a family gathering, social event or in the workplace, interacting with individuals or groups of intergenerational, their respective values and characteristics must be respected.People values have changed rapidly from 1950’s, but also decline in moral values to solve problems and handle real life situations independently. This writer believes the changes in values across generations were caused through beliefs, moral decline of family in terms of poverty, educational underachievement, and anti-social behaviour. Family breakdowns, drug use, alcohol abuse, violent crime and welfare dependency have all increased.

Therefore, according to Sandra F. 1999, “A value is a social principle goal, or standard held by an individual, class, or society. Values are shaped by the surrounding situations”.



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