Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace: A Critical Review

Han, Peter
Mharapara, Tago
Staniland, Nimbus
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

As we have entered the 21st century, the demographics of the workplace now consists of four distinct generations (Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y). As a result, intergenerational communication is becoming an increasing timely issue that is gaining interest for both academics and business practitioners. However, the existing empirical studies about intergenerational communication within the workplace are often understudied, compared with other factors of intergenerational issues, such as gender, and sex. Guided by the research questions: what is known from the management and communication literature about intergenerational communication in the workplace? And, what are the communication differences between different generations? The aim of this study is to synthesize the present empirical literature on intergenerational communication in the workplace, to identify various themes; as well as to raise recommendations for future studies and practitioners. From an analysis of 32 studies six key themes emerged: 1) communication technology, 2) dynamics of relationships, 3) health and well-being, 4) intergenerational communication differences and preferences, 5) attitudes and values, 6) learning and literacy. My systematic review contributes to the development and consolidation of the theory of intergenerational communication, to be more specific, unlike other studies which focused on family context, this dissertation emphasised the workplace context, and also specified the importance of future research areas and application in a more qualitative approach.

Intergenerational Communication , Communication in the workplace , Generational communication , Inter-group Communication
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