1 3 Impact of Intergenerational Differences on Workplace Motivation American Military University



Impact of Intergenerational Differences on Workplace Motivation

American Military University
PSYC 521 Organizational Behavior


With increasing competition in the business environment, corporations pursuing performance excellence have realized the importance of workplace motivation, especially given the changing workplace demographics. Perhaps for the first time, the current workplace landscape accommodates four age generations working together (Heyns and Kerr, 2018). Notably, the increasing mix of different generations in the workforce has increased workplace diversity and complexities. Owing to the pronounced differences between generations, it is hard for corporations to fully understand the factors that influence their employees’ motivations, attitudes, and behaviors, as they are intrinsically different. The perceived differences between the Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and millennials in the workplace suggest that each generation of workers is driven by different motivations, accentuating the need for insight on effectively motivating each group for increased performance. The current study hypothesizes that various generational cohorts differ significantly from each other based on their intrinsic and extrinsic motivational preferences, as they are motivated by different values, priorities, and cultures.

The current research explores the relationship between intergenerational workforces and employee motivation in the U.S. retail industry. With significant changes in the business environment, it is critical to gain a comprehensive understanding of the factors that foster optimal performance. In the past decade, the U.S. retail landscape has changed significantly, with more individuals from younger generations joining the industry rapidly. Born in different generations, younger and older employees in the current retail space are believed to have different values and priorities that drive their motivation and performance in the workplace. Accordingly, it is essential to investigate how different generational cohorts’ manifest motivation in the workplace to understand how corporations can leverage their intergenerational employees to foster better performance. The current study will provide critical information on the differences and similarities between the intrinsic and extrinsic motivational stances of employees from different generations. This will assist company management in gaining insight into motivational factors and processes that are most influential for each generational cohort and assist them in adapting to more effective motivational strategies that improve employee retention. The current study is relevant to psychology as it will build on the self-determination theory by exploring how various psychological factors lead to the differences or similarities in the extrinsic and intrinsic motivations of various generational cohorts. As a future psychologist, the current research will offer critical insight into how to approach motivational issues in the workplace when dealing with clients from different generations.



Heyns, M. M., & Kerr, M. D. (2018). Generational differences in workplace motivation. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 16. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.967