Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD)

Department

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Margaret Diddams

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Paul Yost

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Jama Rand

Keywords

millennials, baby boomers, generation X, generational differences, work-life balance, valuing leisure

Abstract

This study examined generational differences in the interaction between valuing leisure and having work-life balance to predict the extra-role behaviors of altruism and conscientiousness. I predicted that Millennial’s (b. 1981-2000) higher value of leisure and desire to have work-life balance would negatively influence their willingness to engage in organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs). Specifically, I hypothesized that a) Millennials would report valuing leisure more yet have less work-life balance compared to Baby Boomers (b. 1946-1965) and Gen Xers (b. 1966-1980); b) Baby Boomers would report higher levels of altruistic and conscientious behaviors and c) Millennials who showed a negative interaction of valuing leisure and having less work-life balance would be less likely to engage in OCBs than others.

The participants where 187 full time employees over 18 (22% Baby Boomers, 33% Gen X, 45% Millennials; 61 % Caucasian, 69% female, average age of 39, (SD = 10.9), and 31 % defense industry employees) who completed an online survey regarding their perceptions of their own altruistic and conscientious behaviors, work-life balance, desire for leisure, the conscientiousness personality trait, work-life enrichment, and demographic questions.

I used hierarchical multiple regression to analyze the hypothesized interactions which were not significant. However, Millennials did report significantly less conscientious behaviors than Baby Boomers (p < .01). The personality trait of conscientiousness, which served as a control variable, accounted for 23 % of the variability in conscientious behaviors. There was also non-significant yet trending data to suggest that Millennials would value leisure more yet have less work-life balance compared to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

One implication from the findings is that managers may need to provide Millennials more flexibility in being able to define their roles and hours while simultaneously clarifying expectations related to conscientiousness.

Furthermore, future research needs to revisit the OCB and work-life balance measures as they may need to be updated to reflect the technological changes in today’s workplace. Overall, the results suggest that the values among the generations may not differ; however, the enactment and operationalization of these values may be different for each generation.

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