How Did this 4-Generation Phenomenon Happen?

Strauss and Howe

image from amazon.com

The end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries have seen a rare historical event in the workplace where four of the 20th century generations have the opportunity to work together. This phenomenon is a result of societal and health shifts, where people of each generation are living longer, and thus, staying in the workplace longer.

Strauss and Howe (1991) in the their book Generations: The History of America’s Future presented their research and predictions that have changed how human history is viewed and what the future holds. The authors described in detail each American generation over a 400 year span, which ranges from the Puritans who first came to America, to the Millennials who came of age in the year 2000, many who have already graduated from college and have entered the workforce. Traditionalists and older Baby Boomers who still have not retired even well into their 60s and 70s are working alongside Generation Xers and Millennials.

Because of this, the characteristics (described in subsequent blogs), preferences and traits of each generation have caused the age-old, communication “generation gap” in the workplace.

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