International Perspectives on the Millennial Generation
Edited by Eddy S. Ng, Sean Lyons and Linda Schweitzer
Chapter 11: Will Millennials save the world through work? International generational differences in the relative importance of corporate social responsibility and business ethics to turnover intentions
At the heart of any generation gap lies differing values, priorities and ideals. Whether you are talking about countercultural Baby Boomers bucking the sociopolitical norms of the Greatest Generation, or civicminded Millennials demanding more accountability and responsibility from the Baby Boomers at their organizations’ helms, tensions between generations can be attributed to differences in what they value and find important. Therefore, it is necessary to examine what these generations value, what makes them happy and how these things might be different between them–especially at work. Popular wisdom and empirical research suggest the Millennials are interested in the social good and are attracted to organizations that function by a higher standard of ethical and socially responsible conduct (Hewlett et al., 2009; Strauss and Howe, 1991). On the other hand, empirical research also supports the idea that Millennials are self- centered and motivated more by extrinsic rewards like salary (Twenge, 2010). So, which is it? Will they insist on meaningful contributions to society from their organizations or simply settle for a big paycheck? In addition to Millennials in the US, what about the young adult generation in other countries; will these young people across the world help improve it by demanding more ethical and socially responsible organizations? Testing generational differences is a challenge made even more complicated by looking across countries.
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