Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Research Questions the Net Gen Hype

The results of another study are casting more doubt on the prevailing view of the "net generation". This study, out of Ashridge Business School in the UK, produced similar results to those from our BCIT study and are consistent with research done in Australia and elsewhere in the UK.

The Ashridge study found, among other things:
  • Media hype has produced a largely untrue image of Generation Y, which may be restricting their potential in the workplace and society.
  • Just like any other group of human beings, Generation Y is made up of individuals. There are wide variations in their attitudes and behaviour.
  • The generational landscape is complex, with many different influences and variables. Teasing out real cause and effect is a challenge.
  • Generational boundaries of about 20 years do not accurately represent the backgrounds and behaviours of cohesive groups. Instead, Generation X and the Baby Boomers are better represented by being split into two ten-year cohorts, and the same may be true of Generation Y as it matures.
  • Viewpoint is important. How each person sees him/herself and how others may see that person is often different and leads to stereotyped images of Generation Y and of older generations by Generation Y.
One concern I have about this study is few details of the research methodology are provided and it appears that the full report is only available for purchase.

4 comments:

ConnectingTheDots said...

Very interesting blog, and the Ashridge study is right on point. Numerous experts have agreed with this point Ashridge makes about generations getting shorter; many analysts now believe, partly because of the acceleration of culture, that generations are roughly 10 to 14 years long.

One of the interesting consequences of this new thinking is the emergence of Generation Jones, born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and Generation X. GenJones is particulary relevant here since the vast majority of GenYers are the ofsfpring of GenJones parents.

Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten a ton of media attention, and many top commentators from many top publications and networks (Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) now specifically use this term. In fact, The Associated Press' annual Trend Report chose the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009.

Here is a recent op-ed about GenJones as the new generation of leadership in USA TODAY:
http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20090127/column27_st.art.htm

Here's a page with a good overview of recent media interest in GenJones:
http://generationjones.com/2009latest.html

Mark Bullen said...

Thanks for this but I'm not sure whether to take the labelling of a new generation seriously or not.

Mark.

Cleocatra said...

Aren't the issues about 1) the validity of these generational constructs in general and 2) as a result their reliability for making claims that 3) affect policy and practice?

Mark Bullen said...

Yes, those are the key issues.