Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Gerald F. Smith


"Much has been written to describe generational differences in today's workforce, including the problems of managing ateam of multi-generational workers. These differences are often a source of conflict among employees but they could also be a source of strength." (Patota, 2007) This research is intended to show what type of generational diversity is present in the workplace in Iowa. It will be designed to show what types of conflict are common in the workplace due to generational diversity. Another aspect is the perception of each generation towards the other generations which will also be covered by this research. This information will then be used to determine whether or not the conflict can be used for productive means. Following this, the information will be used to best determine what each generation requires from management and how to best meet those needs. This will allow the Iowa workplace to be much more efficient and productive. It will also help employers to better match managers with employees and to eliminate unnecessary conflict.

It is very important to note that the research being done on generational diversity in the workplace is in its infancy. Not much time has been devoted to this area of study which means there is a lot of room to make mistakes or wrong assumptions. While much research has been done on generalized differences between the generations, this cannot be absolutely transferred to the workplace because there has been no proven correlation by a scientific study showing that these differences lead to conflict. There is only anecdotal evidence up to this point in time. Several hypotheses have been proposed, but none have received strong evidential support. The conflict and workplace issues could be related more to individual characteristics than to characteristics that are associated with the whole generation. There is a need to do more research to determine the actual cause of workplace conflict.

Year of Submission



Department of Management

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (28 pages)