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Prepublication Copy Uncorrected Proofs ARE GENERATIONAL CATEGORIES MEANINGFUL DISTINCTIONS FOR WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT? Committee on the Consideration of Generational Issues in Workforce Management and Employment Practices Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education A Consensus Study Report of
Prepublication copy, uncorrected proofs THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 This activity was sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI) and was accomplished under Grant Number W911NF-19-1-0012. The views and conclusions contained in this publication are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, position, or decision, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI) or the U.S. Government, unless so designated by other documents. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation herein. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-XXXXX-X International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-XXXXX-X Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25796 Additional copies of this publication are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2020 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Are Generational Categories Meaningful Distinctions for Workforce Management? Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25796.
Prepublication copy, uncorrected proofs The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org.
Prepublication copy, uncorrected proofs Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the studyâs statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committeeâs deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task. Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies. For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo.
Prepublication copy, uncorrected proofs COMMITTEE ON THE CONSIDERATION OF GENERATIONAL ISSUES IN WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES NANCY T. TIPPINS (Chair), The Nancy T. Tippins Group, LLC, Greenville South Carolina ERIC M. ANDERMAN, Department of Educational Studies, The Ohio State University JOHN BAUGH, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis MARGARET E. BEIER, Department of Psychological Sciences, Rice University DANA H. BORN, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School of Government CHANDRA CHILDERS, Institute for Womenâs Policy Research, Washington, DC BRENT DONNELLAN, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University ARMANDO X. ESTRADA, Department of Policy, Organizational, & Leadership Studies, Temple University BRIAN HOFFMAN, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia ARNE L. KALLEBERG, Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina RUTH KANFER, School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology MARIA LYTELL, RAND Corporation, Arlington, VA MICHAEL S. NORTH, New York University Stern School of Business JOANNE SPETZ, Institute For Health Policy Studies and Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco MO WANG, Warrington College of Business, University of Florida JULIE ANNE SCHUCK, Study Director ERIN HAMMERS FORSTAG, Science Writer ANTHONY MANN, Program Associate v
Prepublication copy, uncorrected proofs BOARD ON BEHAVIORAL, COGNITIVE, AND SENSORY SCIENCES SUSAN T. FISKE (Chair), Department of Psychology and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University JOHN BAUGH, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis WILSON S. GEISLER, Center for Perceptual Systems, University of Texas, Austin MICHELE GELFAND, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park NANCY G. KANWISHER, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology WILLIAM M. MAURER, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine TERRIE E. MOFFITT, Department of Psychology, Duke University and School of Social Development, King's College, London STEVEN E. PETERSEN, Department of Neurology and Neurological Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine ELIZABETH A. PHELPS, Department of Psychology, Harvard University TIMOTHY J. STRAUMAN, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University BARBARA A. WANCHISEN, Director ADRIENNE STITH BUTLER, Associate Board Director JACQUELINE COLE, Senior Program Assistant vi
Prepublication copy, uncorrected proofs ACKNOWLEDGMENTS On behalf of the Committee on the Consideration of Generational Issues in Workforce Management and Employment Practices, we thank the many people who contributed their time and expertise to assist in the committeeâs work and the preparation of this report. The study was initiated by the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI), and we are particularly grateful for the guidance and support provided by Gerald (Jay) Goodwin, ARI, to facilitate the committeeâs work. As discussed in this report, the nature of work and the composition of workers are changing rapidly in the 21st century. Although there have been many other events, the COVID-19 pandemic that emerged during the final stages of this study has demonstrated just how rapidly things can change and emphasized to organizations the importance of having the capabilities to adjust their workforce policies to new environments. Regardless of whether change is gradual and incremental or rapid and catastrophic, employers are often challenged to find new ways of managing their workforces across the employment life cycle. The U.S. military is not immune to these changes and is faced with many of the same challenges as other employers in both the private and public sectors. Advice on managing multiple generations in the workforce is quite prevalent but sometimes contradictory. The committee was tasked to review the state and rigor of the empirical work related to generations and assess whether generational categories are meaningful in tackling workforce management problems. To fulfill its charge, the committee heard from numerous people, including researchers, human resources professionals, military personnel officers, and corporate speakers. We are grateful to the input provided by these experts during our meetings and workshops and would like to thank the following presenters: Alexander Alonso, Society of Human Resource Management; David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Peter Cappelli, Wharton Business School; Brian Carter, The Brian Carter Group; David Chu, Institute for Defense Analyses; Philip Cohen, University of Maryland; David Costanza, The George Washington University; Jennifer J. Deal, Center for Creative Leadership; Eric Dunleavy, DCI Consulting, director, Personnel Selection and Litigation Support Division; Richard Fry, Pew Research Center; Curtis L. Gilroy, retired, director, accession policy, Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD); Rick Guzzo, Mercer; Lernes âBearâ Hebert, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness, DoD; Steve Henderson, Bureau of Labor Statistics; Martha Hennen, Securities and Exchange Commission; Kim Lear, Inlay Insights, Inc.; Don Lustenberger, DCI Consulting; Sean Lyons, University of Guelph; Haig Nalbantian, Mercer; Frederick Oswald, Rice University; Cort Rudolph, Saint Louis vii
Prepublication copy, uncorrected proofs University; Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Christine Selph, Deloitte; William J. Strickland, retired CEO, Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), and retired colonel, U.S. Air Force; Jean M. Twenge, San Diego State University; Stephen E. Watson, Human Capital Management, U.S. Navy; Cortney Weinbaum, RAND; and Ken Willner, Employment Law Department, Paul Hastings. This report, the result of the committeeâs work, contains our final conclusions and recommendations. Its preparation would not have been possible without the contributions and hard work of many individuals. The members of the committee dedicated their time and energy to collecting information, discussing alternative approaches, and drafting the report. The National Academies staff facilitated all aspects of the committeeâs work. Special thanks go to Julie Schuck, the study director, who performed a tremendous amount of research for the committee and kept the study organized and moving forward; Erin Hammers Forstag, science writer, who assisted with editing and drafting text for the report; Jeanne Rivard and Tina Winters, who provided research support in managing the generational literature and report elements; and Jacqueline Cole, Thelma Cox, and Anthony Mann, who handled the logistics for the committee and our invited guests at various stages of the project. Barbara Wanchisen, director of the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, and Adrienne Stith Butler, associate board director, provided guidance to the committee throughout the study. In addition, the committee acknowledges the contributions of the Academies Research Center and Rebecca Morgan in searching databases and assembling the generational literature for this study and other staff members; Kirsten Sampson-Snyder, DBASSE reports officer for the Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE); and Monica Feit, DBASSE deputy executive director, who provided guidance and facilitated the report review process. This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Peter Cappelli, Center for Human Resources, Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania; G. Marius Clore, Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institutes of Health; Jose M. Cortina, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, School of Business, Virginia Commonwealth University; Lisa Finkelstein, Department of Psychology, Northern Illinois University; Emma Parry, Human Resource Management, Cranfield School of Management; Paul R. Sackett, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota; and Donald M. Truxillo, Department of Psychology emeritus, Portland State University Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the reportâs conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Howard M. Weiss, School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology and Jonathan S. Skinner, Department of Economics, Dartmouth College. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of viii
Prepublication copy, uncorrected proofs this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies. Nancy T. Tippins, Chair Julie Anne Schuck, Study Director ix
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Prepublication copy, uncorrected proofs Contents Summary 1 INTRODUCTION The Committeeâs Charge Approach to this Study Key Concepts Organization of the Report 2 THE CHANGING WORLD OF WORK AND WORKERS The Broad Context of Work The Discrete Context of Work Discussion 3 ORIGIN AND USE OF GENERATIONAL THEORIES Early Sociological Theories of Generations Influential Popular Theory of Generations Generational Labels Widespread Use of Generational Terminology Summary 4 REVIEW OF GENERATIONAL LITERATURE Overall State of the Literature Conceptual Issues in the Literature Methodological Issues in the Literature Discussion 5 ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVES FOR RESEARCH The Inherent Appeal of Generations Risks of Using Generational Categories Perspectives to Advance Research Summary 6 WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT IN A NEW ERA Examples of Workforce Management Challenges Workplace Opportunities in the Changing World of Work Discrimination and the Law Recommendation for Effective Workforce Management References Appendix A Details of Literature Review Appendix B Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff xi