Original Research

Millennials hold different cultural values to those of other generations: An empirical analysis

Carolyn Easton, Renier Steyn
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 20 | a1901 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v20i0.1901 | © 2022 Carolyn Easton, Renier Steyn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 February 2022 | Published: 28 July 2022

About the author(s)

Carolyn Easton, Graduate School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Renier Steyn, Graduate School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: Literature on the appropriate management of millennials in the workplace is plentiful. This differential treatment is on the premise that millennials hold different values to other generations.

Research purpose: The aim of this research was to test the assumption of cultural value differences between the generations and to specify where these differences exist.

Motivation for the study: Knowledge of specific values held by the millennials will assist those who work with this generation to adjust their behaviours.

Research approach/design and method: This research was conducted in South Africa in organisations, sampling employees across three generations. Cross-sectional data were collected using an instrument based on Hofstede’s typology. After confirming the reliability and general factorial validity of the instrument, mean scores were compared using analyses of variance. As a broad measure, the correlation between age and the cultural values was determined.

Main findings: There were significant differences between the generations on three of Hofstede’s cultural value dimensions, namely long-term orientation, power distance and masculinity. Millennials scored lower on power distance and masculinity compared to the Baby Boomer generation and Generation X. Millennials scored higher on long-term orientation compared to the Baby Boomer generation.

Practical/managerial implications: This research affirms some of the existing stereotypes about millennials and specifies where these exist. These results can be used to better understand and effectively work with millennials in the workplace.

Contribution/value-add: Through this study, we can acknowledge that millennials are somewhat different from the other generations in the workplace and so should be treated somewhat differently.


Keywords

Hofstede; characteristics; cultural values; generations; millennials

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