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Publication type: Master thesis
Title: Workplace and leadership characteristics expected by the Millennial generation in Portugal and Switzerland : recommendations for employers
Authors: Martinez Franco Pereira, Sofia
Advisors / Reviewers: Seelhofer, Daniel
DOI: 10.21256/zhaw-2089
Extent: 93
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher / Ed. Institution: ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Language: English
Subject (DDC): 658.3: Human resource management
Abstract: In the United States, Millennials have already become the largest generational cohort within the workforce and is increasingly growing importance worldwide as they assume middle management and senior positions. Therefore, understanding Millennials’ needs and preferences is vital so as to effectively manage human resources in multigenerational organizations. Subsequently, the aim of this master thesis is to analyze to what extent Millennials from two different European countries, Switzerland and Portugal, are different regarding their preferences towards workplace and leadership characteristics. In order to answer the research objectives and research questions, extensive literature about the different generations, Millennials, and Millennials expectations towards the organizational environment and leader’s attributes was reviewed with the aim of developing a framework comprising items regarding workplace and leadership characteristics most significant to Millennials. The workplace characteristics were organized in four different sub-categories: “work atmosphere”; “social impact and significant job experience”; “work/life balance”; and “workplace motivators”. The leadership characteristics were assessed as a single category. Additionally, other items were evaluated in a more general section and a multigenerational comparison comprising Millennials, Generation X and Boomers was included within each category. Afterwards, an online survey was developed and distributed among Millennials in Switzerland and Portugal through convenience sampling and by making use of channels such as Facebook, WhatsApp and email. The results obtained validated most of the items included in the theoretical framework. In fact, regarding the workplace characteristics and both Millennials in Switzerland and Portugal, providing a nurturing work atmosphere is essential. Millennials want to work for organizations that promote career advancement opportunities, training and development and open communication across all levels. Furthermore, promoting self-esteem and ensuring that this Generation understands what they are actually working on is important. Moreover, work/life balance is essential and despite some conflicting results, flexibility and working for different organizations are important. Other aspects that are central to members of this generation are naturally salary, working in teams and running challenging tasks. Concerning the ideal leader for Millennials, it is possible to point out that this generation clearly pursues a leader that is peopleoriented, inclusive, influences the direction of the organization, promotes teamwork as well as innovation and technology, uses plain straight-talking language and provides regular and constructive feedback. Yet, leaders should be less supportive when working with Swiss Millennials as they look for more autonomy and less guidance. Regarding the multigenerational comparison, despite not being the core of the master’s thesis, results were quite unforeseen. Millennials and Generation X exhibited similar results across all sections while Boomer’s results were slightly different and often more positive. Similar conclusions to the ones drawn above were gathered. Yet, it is important to point out that due to the small sample size concerning Generation X and particularly Boomers the results are not representative. As a recommendation, employers should understand and promote the items discussed above, analyzing carefully each of them and taking into account that occasionally different preferences might emerge within the same generational cohort and from the same country when regarding one specific item. By doing so, organizations can achieve competitive advantage and foster organizational commitment so as to thrive in today’s market.
License (according to publishing contract): CC BY-NC-ND 4.0: Attribution - Non commercial - No derivatives 4.0 International
Departement: School of Management and Law
Appears in collections:MSc International Business

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