Motivation & Attitude of Generation Y in India: An Exploratory Study

By Bansal, Nidhi; Srivastava, D. K. | Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, July 2017 | Go to article overview

Motivation & Attitude of Generation Y in India: An Exploratory Study


Bansal, Nidhi, Srivastava, D. K., Indian Journal of Industrial Relations


Introduction

Generational cohorts include individuals born around the same time who share distinctive social or historical life events during critical developmental periods (Schaie, 1965). Each generation is influenced by broad forces (i.e., parents, peers, media, critical economic and social events, and popular culture) that create common value systems distinguishing them from people who grew up at different times (Meglino & Ravlin, 1998). The youngest generation in today's workforce is Generation Y. The group of young individuals born between the years of 1980 and 1999 is commonly known as Generation Y (Jennings, 2000). Generation Y has a variety of names such as Nexters, N-Genres, Echo Boomers, and Millenniums etc. (Glass, 2007). This large pool of new workers comes with a mindset that is very different from that of the earlier generations (Parry, Professor Stefan Strohmeier, Guillot-Soulez & Soulez, 2014). One of the most important reasons why we need to have a clear understanding of the characteristics of Gen Y in India is the notion of the 'demographic dividend'. Gen Y would form close to 75% of the global workforce by the year 2025 (Catalyst, 2015). According to the Economic Survey (2013-14), India will become the youngest country by 2021, with 64% of its population in the working age group of 20-35. Leaders are finding it challenging to manage the Gen Y effectively (Sharkawi, Mohamad & Roslin, 2016) and if they lack interest or are not maturing in their jobs, they will change organizations (Dulin, 2008). Thus, recruitment and retention of "generation Y" employees will be a vital factor of the staffing policies and strategies in the forthcoming years (Mitsakis & Talampekos, 2014).

With youth becoming part of the organizations, there is a need to work with, engage and manage Generation Y employees differently from what is required to manage previous generation employees (Huntley, 2006; Wey Smola & Sutton, 2002a). Most workplaces have multi generations of workforce. Each generation is characterized by unique abilities and competencies, and leveraging them is a key to an organization's success (Millar, Vicki Culpin, Hernaus & Poloski Vokic, 2014; Rentz, 2015; Vicki Culpin, Carla Millar, Kai Peters, Kultalahti & Viitala, 2015a). Generational difference in approaches and attitudes to work can result in intergenerational conflict that can compromise organizational performance (McGuire, Todnem By & Hutchings, 2007). Thus, there is a requirement to understand the attitude and motivation of generation Y employees and also need to find the ways to manage intergenerational conflict and generational differences. Understanding this generation helps businesses develop policies to suit the needs of generation Y, which results in an inclusive workplace that celebrates harmonious work environment. This understanding also improves productivity and innovation in young employees, who will soon fill managerial positions (Kupperschmidt, 2000; Lyons & Kuron, 2014). This large pool of talent will not only strengthen India's economic status but it also would be able to supply human capital to the developed nations in future. Therefore, the characteristics of generation Y will be common around the world. Thus, the study on generation Y can provide important guidelines for employers around the globe.

Most of the studies on generational differences, and generation Y in particular, have been done in Western countries; there is need to examine the influence of national culture (Yi, Ribbens, Fu, & Cheng, 2015) and its impact on generational characteristics. Hence, in order to foster generational synergy in the workplace, it is important for Indian managers to understand the variations in value structures of the different generations. Gen Y is increasing its presence at workplaces across the world and limited research has been done to study their motivations, needs, and expectations at work in Indian context (Khera & Malik, 2017). …

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