Font Size

Generation Gap


Tim Bryce

Employee Management Articles
Submit Articles   Back to Articles

I'm hearing a lot about the generation gap in business; that young people are not working well with their elders, and there may very well be a lot of truth in this. Following World War II, the "Greatest Generation" took over and dominated business like never before. The 50's and 60's were the go-go years that propelled the American economy. During the 1960s' the "Baby Boomers" started to rebel and attacked the taboos of the day. Nonetheless, they eventually acclimated into the corporate cultures and learned from their elders. But a generational split occurred during the 1980's and 90's, and I attribute it to two reasons:

First, when the PC was introduced in the 1980's a new generation of younger workers were introduced to program and maintain them, A split then occurred in the Information Technology field whereby the "old guys" took care of the mainframes and the "young guys" stood in the opposing camp. Both thought they were right and wouldn't cooperate, hence the split. Ironically, both groups were right as we needed both technologies. But management didn't see this and allowed the division to grow and fester. This carried over into other parts of the work force where new attitudes challenged older and more established ones. In other words, technology played a significant role in the split.

Second, during the cost-cutting and downsizing years of the 1980's and 1990's companies abandoned the mentoring system, whereby older employees worked with younger people to teach them the business. Without such mentoring, the younger generation pushed the envelope over how business was conducted. Hence, the rise of individualism and changes in the workplace such as dress and social attitudes.

Interestingly, mentoring is starting to experience a resurgence as companies find it to be an effective approach for developing employees and promoting teamwork. Mentoring is a good approach for helping the younger people make the transition into the corporate culture and ultimately take over the business. It's natural and should be encouraged. Actually, we have had progressive classes of workers for literally thousands of years, e.g.; apprentices, intermediaries, and master craftsmen.

The one good thing resulting from the latest talk of generation gaps in business is that it is forcing companies to rethink social attitudes in the workplace. Such discussion is inevitable as companies have to learn to work as a team as opposed to a group of individuals.

About the Author

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He can be reached at

For a listing of Tim's Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Copyright 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Follow us @Scopulus_News

Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-02-15 14:31:38 in Employee Articles

All Articles

Copyright © 2004-2021 Scopulus Limited. All rights reserved.