Workplace Comparisons Part 3: Preferences for Receiving Information

Communication at work should be designed based on the way employees like to receive information. The idea that Baby Boomers continue to adapt their own communication styles in their workplaces may stem from their preferences for receiving daily world and local news through a variety of media sources such as television and radio, as well as through print media, but many also receive news from online sources. To support this idea, the following paragraphs contain quotes from focus group participants from the collection of my thesis data.

Each generation prefers receiving their world and local news differently.Traditionalists prefer reading the newspaper for news and like to discuss current events face-to-face. Traditionalist Adam shared, “we take two papers, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee.” Members of Generation X seem to prefer getting news through online sources (e.g., or streaming news media downloaded onto computers), allowing for quick sorting and subsequent viewing. Millennials rely on current technology for news including, but not limited to, phone texting from media sources, podcasts, online webinars and social networking sites.

Kent, a Gen-Xer, said, “TV is too slow, I just use my I-phone and go to the web on my own time.” Similarly, Cara said, “I get my news online and maybe from the TV, but I rarely read the paper.” Fellow Millennial Cindy, agreed and said, “I text my intellectual friends for more information.”

Sandwiched in the middle is the Baby Boomer who likes to get news from a variety of sources including print and broadcast media and from the web. Boomer John said he gets his news from, “all of the above…each has its own twist on the story. I used to get the paper but I can go online later and read. TV is easier.” These differences can ultimately lead to miscommunication between members of each generation. This carries over to the workplace where the Baby Boomer supervisor or worker must constantly adapt his or her own style to effectively communicate with the other three generations.

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