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Generationally Based Differences in the Workplace: Is There a There There?

  • David P. Costanza (a1) and Lisa M. Finkelstein (a2)

Stereotypes about generational differences in the workplace abound, and interventions for helping organizations and managers to deal with these supposed differences are increasing. In addition to popular press articles describing the differences and extolling the practices and strategies to deal with them, there are a growing number of researchers who are attempting to establish that there are such differences. Overall, however, there is little solid empirical evidence supporting generationally based differences and almost no theory behind why such differences should even exist. The purposes of this focal article are to explore the myths surrounding generations, to review the risks in using generations in organizational decisions, and to make recommendations for practitioners and researchers on how to proceed in this area.

Corresponding author
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to David P. Costanza, Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication, The George Washington University, 600 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20052. E-mail:
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