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What Does it Mean to be an Effective Manager in a Diverse Workforce?

Info: 1401 words (6 pages) Essay
Published: 27th May 2021 in Management

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A manager is a person who is responsible for planning, organising, leading and controlling at the workplace. Today, the contemporary workplace in most companies and organisations keeps changing to the new managerial style of management. In modern management perspective, two approaches can be used to face the challenges which are the system view of organisations and the contingency thinking in a dynamic and complex environment. Due to the differences in the gender, ethnicity, age, personality, culture, ability and sexual orientation, managers need to understand and embrace diversity to create an inclusive workplace culture (Schermerhorn et al. 2017). The workplaces today require important managerial traits including the personal style of leadership and organisational cultural intelligence. One of the keys to be a successful manager is to understand and value the generational diversities. The cooperation between the younger generation and the older generation is important for the work. The differences between generations at the workplace not only on age term but it also includes the knowledge, skills, values and so on. The experts on management field published a unique concept that maintains the relationship between generations; called inter-generational mutual mentorship. The Multi-generational workforce has several aspects that can affect the work balance and workers’ relationships.

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Younger generations face many difficulties to contribute to the older generational work community. Lack of experiences, behaviour, emotions and communication skills are the main challenges for younger generational employees (Schroth, 2019). Experience and knowledge of workers have changed from generation to another and that what creates distance in the workplace. Although there are differences in the level of knowledge and experience between the generations, an effective manager can emerge a work community where older and younger generational employees can cooperate to exchange the knowledge and experience (Jenkins 2008). Emotions and behaviour vary between the generations which also affect worker’s productivity; Amayah and Gedro (2014, p. 40) said  ‘behaviors signal an employee's commitment to the organization’. As the importance of communication skills at the workplace has increased, the interpersonal skills of workers shall improve too. A successful manager should provide a suitable environment where workers can break down status barriers by increasing the frequency of interpersonal contact. According to the Holtzhausen and Fourie (2008) article, an effective and efficient internal communication between the workers will support the foundation of any business and it will prevent the existence of grapevine communication, rumours, and innuendo.

The intergenerational mutual mentorship is the key for generational differences at the workplace. Age diversity in the workplace has caused social and behavioural changes since the reliance on digital intelligence (DQ) has increased. In modern workplaces, younger generations take place in power, and modern elder appeared through intergenerational reciprocity experience (Conley 2018) Ted Talk. The flow of wisdom and knowledge between two different generations to foster mutual learning and growth is called intergenerational mentorship. The effects of intergenerational reciprocity across different contexts and population have appeared remarkably, thus establishing it as an essential consideration in understanding intergenerational workforce (Bang, Zhou Koval & Wade-Benzoni, 2017). The research of Lawton and De Aquino (2016) indicates that Older employees such as Baby Boomers tend to get the work gone and have more wisdom whereas younger workers such as millennials tend to visualize what needs to be done, and then proceed using the shortcuts to accomplish the work.

Managers today play a pivotal role in terms of managing the various influences of intergenerational ethical, social and cultural issues. Three main factors are related to the ethical managerial behaviour of employees including personal, organisational and environmental influences (Schermerhorn et al. 2017).  According to Cogin (2012) article, due to the differences in perceptions of work ethics and work-life demands; around 58 per cent of Human Resources Management professionals reported a large conflict between older and younger workers. A team with multi-generational members at the workplace will need to improve the understanding of culture as well as generational differences. A talented manager should establish an open work environment that suits multi-generational workers regarding their generational cultural perspective. The effects of traditional culture on the intergenerational workplace is essential to uncover the modern workplace dynamics (Bond, cited in Chuang & Wang 2018). The diversity of intergenerational workforce usually produces some social problems which might affect the productivity of the workers. Although social intergenerational problems may appear at any multi-generational work environment, an effective manager can manage the employees to be social secure by benefiting from social intergeneration. ‘An intergenerational perspective does not signal a conflict or a threat to social work; rather, it functions as a learning opportunity between different viewpoints’(Brandt, Roose & Verschelden 2015, p. 1267).

Managements style differs from a manager to another according to the work environment, workforce diversity, manager’s skills and experiences, worker’s status and so on. The difficulty of having a multigenerational workforce is to maintain the relationship between workers where every member in the work respect the other member socially, culturally and ethically. Finally, mangaers need to integrate their knowledge through the experiences in different fields hence overcoming the inter-generational work challenges.


  1. Amayah, A & Gedro, J 2014, 'Understanding generational diversity: Strategic human resource management and development across the generational “divide”', New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, vol. 26, no. 2, pp.36-48.
  2. Bang, H, Zhou Koval, C & Wade-Benzoni, K 2017, 'It's the thought that counts over time: The interplay of intent, outcome, stewardship, and legacy motivations in intergenerational reciprocity', Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 73, pp.197-210.
  3. Brandt, S, Roose, R & Verschelden, G 2015, 'Coming Up for Air: Exploring an Intergenerational Perspective on Social Work', British Journal of Social Work, vol. 46, no. 5, pp.1266-1281.
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  5. Cogin, J 2012, 'Are generational differences in work values fact or fiction? Multi-country evidence and implications', The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 23, no. 11, pp.2268-2294.
  6. Conley, C 2018, What baby boomers can learn from Millennials at work and vice versa, TED Salon: Verizon September, viewed 10 April 2019,   https://www.ted.com/talks/chip_conley_what_baby_boomers_can_learn_from_millennials_at_work_and_vice_versa  .
  7. Holtzhausen, L & Fourie, L 2008, 'Communicating to a diverse workforce', Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 13, no. 1, pp.80-94.
  8. Jenkins, J 2008, 'Strategies for managing talent in a multigenerational workforce', Employment Relations Today, vol. 34, no. 4, pp.19-26.
  9. Lawton, D & De Aquino, C 2016, 'Diversity in the Workplace and the Impact of Work Values on the Effectiveness of Multi-Generational Teams', i-manager’s Journal on Management, vol. 10, no. 3, p.20.
  10. Schermerhorn, J, Davidson, P, Woods, P, Factor, A, Simon, A & McBarron, E 2017, Management, 6th Asia-Pacific Edition, 6th ed, Sydney: John Wiley.
  11. Schroth, H 2019, 'Are You Ready for Gen Z in the Workplace?', California Management Review, vol. 61, no. 3, pp.5-18.


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