Chapter I. Introduction
1.1 Background Information
Recently, diversity has been a big question mark regarding the generational gap. About 30 years back, the indication 'generation gap' was predominantly preferred to characterize the rivalry of two or three generation within a household. However, in a current situation, the gap is referring to workwise, where different workers from their age are struggling to cooperate among each other, due to different perceptions, mentality, and intentions (Kogan, 2001). Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak (2000 cited by Gursoy, Maier and Chi, 2008) stated, that people within a particular organization, with several generations share the same workplace both with employees as young as teenagers and as old as their closest ancestors, for the very first time.
In order to have a better overview, there are some generations that are worthy to mention. Starting with the 'Baby Boomers' (born in 1946-1954), whose way of thinking, approach or character were contrasting in many aspects from now. Additionally, they are mostly affected by the long duration of the historical point of view such as the Kennedy, Martin Luther King assassinations, the Vietnam war and the Civil Right movement (The WJSC, 2017). Moving on to 'Generation X' (born in 1961/64-65 to 1975-83), not only periods from claiming investment success, but people in this era were also affected by the early 1980s recession (Krywulak and Roberts, 2009 cited by Vasanthi Srinivasan, 2012). After 'Generation X' comes 'Generation Y', which is also known as 'the Millennials'. People who belong to this generation were relatively born in 1980 to 2000 (Erickson, 2008). Collectively mentioning about the Millennials, they share particular characteristics in opposition to other said generations. From the quantity point of view, education, to ethical diversion (Howe and Strauss, 2000). Similar to the previous statement, Morton (2002) claims that other features such as liberated, self-reliant and smart individuals. Differences in outlooks and values of the generations can be sources of misunderstanding and lack of appreciation, particularly in the workforce.
1.2 Rationale of the study
In recent years, there has been considerable study on distinguishing generational gap in the workforce. For instance, Oliver (2006) discovered that over past years, the Millennials have not been concerned about a job for life, yet what they have been attempting to be flexible and balanced at work from home. He (2006) also states that the generation Y tend to be more demanding about finding positions, regarding to job conditions, recognition, payment and promotion. In contrast to the previous findings, Cascio (2006) explains that Baby Boomers consider the more the hours at work, the harder the action is. Next factor affecting hard work is how long ones are involved and committed to the company. Study by The edge (2011) found out that most recruiters and employers have been facing particular difficulties in term of approaching and hiring people from the new generation Y. As a result of their own working standards, values and understanding of leadership and the model of work environment in general. Supporting this study, according to the Australian report (Hays, 2013) in term of what factors support the Millennials in America choose their jobs. Similar to the Millennials from many countries, they too look for what fits their personalities, work-life balance and flexibility were also one of them. Nevertheless, another outlook from Gorgon and Steele (2005 cited by Gursoy and Chi, 2008) mentioned that changes of management practices has been made within organizations and demographical workforce is changing with them. They further explained, that because of the changes along with the generational gap within a workplace can occur not only positive, but also negative impacts on employee retention, attitude and the benefits of the company itself. Referring to the interests, creativity tend to be understood as one of the most distinctive ones of generational mix. Most of the time, employees working together appear to be more imaginative from different perspectives to solve issues. On the other hand, Raines (2003) claims that the generational mix along with the integration can also develop complications among the generations, as a result of their contrasting opinions, values, mentalities or even a form of appearance at work.
As a consequence, the paper is going to explore more in-depth about the generational gap between the Millennials and Generation X while working side by side with each other, what is it, that the two cohorts are struggling within the workplace? Moreover, we will be investigating on how do perceptions of the generations differ from each other regarding work values, challenges ones might be facing and how the gap effects on work engagement among employees. It is generally believed that generational gap is not something unfamiliar. While there already have been studies around the area in past decades, not only from the hospitality's point of view but also from various fields dealing with similar issues, the topic seems to remain contemporary in current days.
The author decided to further research on the perceptive insight of each generation since it has not been undertaken or very wage within a hotel chain operating in the States. However, there have been changes in the hospitality industry in recent years. Big companies such as Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Hyatt or Hilton have been slowly realizing that there are significant differences in term of human recourses and capital comparing to the rest of resources of the organizations (Gursoy et al., 2008). They further explained how important is to pay attention to the regulations of the funds to achieve exceptional performance and increase customer care. As a result, Orgaard et al. (2008) has cited in Gursoy et al. (2008) that there have been programs and rules in the process of development to compile a work environment which enables employees from diverse generations to enhance satisfaction during working time, to receive rewards reasonably and most importantly to have well-maintained relationship among each other. Therefore, the author intends to analyze behaviors and relationship between millennials and Generation X. Moreover, the study is conducted Marriott Marquis in San Francisco.
1.3 Aims and Objectives
The aim of the research paper is to clarify the difficulties that Millennials have been facing at work and the generation gap that exists with other generations, notably Generation X, in the contexts of the US drawing on kitchen employees at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco. In order to obtain the aims, three objectives will be pursued:
- To investigate if kitchen employees of The Marriott in San Francisco are conscious of generational differences
- To gather information on the types of generational work values among kitchen staff at Marriott, San Francisco
- To compare generational differences among the kitchen employees in work values and the consequences of these
Chapter II. Literature Review
Traditionally the workplace was constituted of "old timers"(generation X) who possess a great deal of experience and the younger "hotshots" (millennials) who have the know it all notion in them. The younger employees have always viewed their older counterparts as past their best years of productivity while the more former employees see the millennials as opportunists looking for quick paths to success. However, the modern workplace is a bit more complicated than that. Employers in the modern world have the daunting task of dealing with the demands of four different generations. Usually, the most significant challenge is creating an environment where all ages see past their selfish differences and accommodate each with a common goal in mind. This paper analyzes the generational gap between generation X and the millennials from an employee perspective.
2.2. Comparing aspects between Millennials and Generation X of a workplace
It is generally believed, that one's desired workplaces can be driven by the generational personalities that ones have. In a study by Ruch (2000), he explained that due to lack of understanding about the generational gap, ones could face difficulties in their businesses in term of miscommunication between the who generations. He further explains, that the earlier statement can contribute to build a healthy relationship among the people working in the company (Ruch, 2000). Based on these generational differences, the specific needs and wishes often do differ from one generation to another. Therefore, Zvikaite-Kotting (2007), proposed that individuals from dissimilar ages might struggle with understanding each other's viewpoints about working strategy, which then leads to stress, confusion and frustration to the challenging working environment like hospitality.
As earlier alluded, generational differences lead to variations in tastes and preferences. These variations influence several aspects of the workplace such as recruitment policies, leadership methods, marketing techniques and so on. Studies have managed to prove considerable differences in behavior and tastes between generation X and the millennials in the workplace. Employers, therefore, have the task of integrating these generations to form a performing team. This integration has to be done based on the qualities each generation brings to the side (Hicks, 1999).
In the 16th century, the belief that work values such as hard work, frugality, and dedication were desirable to God and were necessary foundations for salvation gave birth to the Protestant Work Ethic (PWE) (Steiner and Steiner, 2000). Other ethical systems such as business ethi...
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