Generational Stereotypes Fuel Workplace Hostility, New Study Reveals

Workplace Hostility

Generational Stereotypes Fuel Workplace Hostility, New Study Reveals

The impact of generational stereotypes on workplace hostility is a growing concern, according to recent research. This issue extends beyond the widely propagated myths of ‘snowflake’ Millennials and ‘technophobic’ Baby Boomers. The study suggests that these stereotypes are fuelling actual intergenerational conflict in workplaces, particularly in the United States.

The research, published last month, reveals that Baby Boomers and Millennials perceive each other as more dissimilar and threatening compared to other adult generations. The root of this hostility varies, with Boomers fearing that Millennials’ worldview undermines traditional values, while Millennials feel that Boomers are obstructing their path to financial stability and political power.

Interestingly, hostility levels diminished when researchers debunked popular generational stereotypes and reminded both groups of their shared experiences at different life stages. However, the persistence of these stereotypes is concerning. As study author Stéphane Francioli notes, “the fact that people believe in them has real consequences.”

Despite numerous scholars highlighting the flaws of generational generalisations over the years, employers continue to stereotype younger workers as lazy and self-centred, and older workers as frail and resistant to change. This is in spite of a 2020 report by the US National Academy of Sciences advising employers against basing recruitment and management policies on these stereotypes, stating that such practices are neither scientifically supported nor beneficial for workforce management.

So, is there a possibility that these age-based assumptions could eventually dissipate? Mauro Guillén, outgoing dean of the Cambridge Judge Business School, believes the shift is already underway. In his forthcoming book, “The Perennials”, Guillén suggests that we are moving towards a ‘postgenerational’ society. This society will be characterised by individuals defined by their actions and lifestyle, rather than their birth year.

Evidence supporting this shift includes an increase in individuals over 30 engaging in online education and young entrepreneurs leading large companies with older workforces. These trends have been largely driven by technological advancements such as electric height adjustable standing desks or online learning platforms. Furthermore, retired individuals are returning to work, and brands are feeling the pressure to appeal to a diverse age range, rather than just the newest consumers.

Despite these promising signs, it remains uncertain whether generational labels will ever truly disappear. Humans have a natural tendency to categorise and generalise; it’s part of what makes us human. However, we could certainly benefit from a reality check.

In a world where you can buy standing desks or enrol in an online course regardless of your age, perhaps it’s time we move beyond generational stereotypes in the workplace. After all, whether we’re using the best sit stand desk or considering the health benefits of an electric stand up desk, our actions speak louder than our birth year.

In conclusion, while generational stereotypes may persist, it’s crucial for employers to recognise their potential harm. By fostering an environment that values individuals for their skills and contributions rather than their age, we can create more harmonious workplaces and ultimately benefit from the diverse experiences and perspectives that each generation brings to the table.

author avatar
Guy Director
Higher Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Ergomotion Director since 2005.

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Google Reviews

Andrew Pieterse 14/06/24

Great service and really quick shipping. It is great to know that you are getting quality parts from a Scandinavian manufacturer with your standing desk purchase rather than the cheap knock off stuff you get from other major brands. Reasonably priced for the quality too!

Janette Clarke 20/05/24

Guy was very accommodating with meeting him at a time that suited me. He assembled the desk prior to me collecting so I only had to carry it inside with help (it's pretty heavy). The desk is great, the storage racks underneath with the 6 x built in powerpoints was worth the extra money. I have a functioning & tidy workplace.
Guy was brilliant, I highly recommend.

Nickel 10/05/24

Have now purchased 2 stand up office desks off Guy, benchmark sales service from him, all via email, so easy; from quote to plug in, only matched by the strong quality of these machines, solid and stable. If only everything in life was this easy and reliable.

Jennifer Fadriquela 23/03/24

I purchased an EDesk this month from Ergomotion, and it was a remarkably smooth transaction. Guy was eager to answer all my questions before my purchase. As a first-time buyer of a standing desk, I truly appreciated how he addressed my queries with thorough details and provided options within my budget.

The delivery process was also smooth, despite a slight delay in the ETA. Guy ensured I received all necessary updates from the courier/removalist.

I've been using the desk for a couple of weeks now and I'm satisfied with it. It's sturdy on all height adjustments and the motor works as expected. I also like oak finish because it's clean-looking and suits my room setup.

Overall, I'm happy with my purchase and I'll definitely recommend Ergomotion to someone looking for their desk needs.

Josh Oliver 04/02/24

I've had an ergomotion desk for 10 years. It's still as good today as it was brand new. Over the years Guy has always responded promptly to any guidance I've needed (mostly help putting the desk back together after removalists take it apart).

Michael Cheung 18/01/24

Great service from Guy and the team at Ergomotion! Helped with all my queries and was able to source a standing desk part for me when many others weren't able! Highly recommend!

Shao Lei 30/11/23

Decent desk and awesome service. Highly recommend

Rod Hathway 10/11/23

Awesome experience. Great value, super customer experience, ordered, assembled and picked up in 24 hours!

Dom K 06/11/23

Skip the big name brands and buy from Guy instead, 10/10 linak parts with a very well built tabletop.

Chris Wu 06/11/23

I purchased the edesk from Guy at Ergomotion. Guy was a pleasure to deal with and the desk arrived the next day. Guy was highly knowledgeable on the desk and provided very prompt support on the installation. I can highly recommend Ergomotion.