A New Generation of Change : Generation Y and its Attitude towards Organizational Change Projects
Abstract: Background: In today’s fast-moving society organizational changes have become absolutely essential for long-lasting success. A great challenge is to create the internal support for change projects among the employees in order to avoid failure. The underlying problem to this study focuses on the perception towards change under the aspect of a new generation which more and more represents today's workforce. Research Question: Are there relations between distinct characteristics of Generation Y and their attitude towards change and does this result in new approaches for practical implementations? Purpose: The purpose of this study is to scrutinize typical characteristics of Generation Y and find out if they influence their attitude (“Readiness for change”, “Commitment to change”, “Openness to change” and “Cynicism about change”) towards change projects. This enhances existing knowledge about the attitude towards change and how this interrelates with specific characteristics. The authors aim is to find out which characteristics can be identified as beneficial for change and how that can be useful for collocating successful change project teams. Method: A qualitative research method with an abductive approach was used in this study. The authors were conducting two phases of qualitative interviews. The first interview phase composed of eight respondents with distinct expertise in change projects and the second phase composed of nine (three respondents each from Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers) interviews. The respondents had no specific knowledge in the field of change but experience in working with Generation Y which assisted to expose their specific characteristics. Theoretical Framework: The underlying theories consist of employees’ general attitude towards organizational change as well as the distinct characteristics of Generation Y. For a more practice-oriented evaluation of the implementation of organizational change, the theory about change project teams is presented as well. Findings: The study revealed that members of Generation Y are well equipped with a set of distinct characteristics that positively influence their attitude towards organizational change. Characteristics like “Informationalization”, “High level of education”, “High level of flexibility”, “Critical Thinking” and “Globality” were evaluated as having positive effects on their “Openness to Change”, “Readiness for Change”, “Commitment to Change”, and “Cynicism about Change”. Furthermore, those findings enhance existing selection processes when it comes to the collocation of change projects teams.
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