Conflicts in Intergenerational Workplace


Conflicts in intergenerational workplace 2

Conflicts in Intergenerational Workplace


Generational diversity is a growing phenomenon in business environments. The current workforce is a representation of the greatest diversity of generations than any other time in history. Some workplaces have four generations working together therefore individuals with different experiences, skills and values work with one another. The generational diversity brings about conflicts which can be capitalized to have significant benefits and decrease negative consequences. Humanities educate some important things such as empathy and cultural awareness which are both required to manage workplace diversity to reduce negative consequences. Social sciences such as sociology study the structure and functioning of the human society. Through sociology, the root causes of conflicts in an intergenerational workplace are determined. History teaches generational interactions and how they have evolved over time. Millennials interact in a different manner compared to other generations, which may also be a contributing factor towards workplace conflicts. Natural sciences are utilized in testing developing and researching hypothesis. In this case, the hypothesis may be that with different generational cohorts, conflicts in a workplace are more likely to emerge but may be beneficial when managed appropriately.

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Generational interactions have changed over the years. Again the knowledge, skills and values taught have changed. Baby boomers (1946-1964) were taught that it is important to express themselves in a creative manner and appreciate individualism. Currently, they are best known for their great work ethic, dedication and experience. The Generation X (1963-1980) grew up being taught to become self-reliant, have a great entrepreneurial spirit and balance their personal and work life especially because they grew in an era where divorce rates were significantly rising. The Millennials (1980-2000) embrace multiculturalism and immediate interactions as their way of life. In the work place, they are characterized by great technological know-how and their capabilities to effectively multitask (Ng, 2018).


Humanities emphasize on empathy and cultural awareness which are crucial in preventing and managing workplace conflicts. Empathy refers to the ability to understand another individual and his/her feelings. In a workplace, people are faced with different challenges related to work or their personal lives and they greatly appreciate when their co-workers understand them. Cultural awareness entails understanding other groups and being open in regards to their beliefs and attitudes. Generally, this is embracing the cultures of other groups to ensure that conflicts do not arise due to cultural differences (Woodward, 2015). Through empathy and cultural awareness, employees are able to effectively work as a team therefore improving their productivity.

Social sciences

The sociology of work focuses on the social relations and structures within an organization that influence the behavior and identity of employees in the organization. Organization structures should promote working in diverse teams, redefine discrimination and various forms of diversity and have clear policies against discrimination. Through such structures, conflicts within an organization can be managed and corrective measures utilized in addressing cases of discrimination based on one’s culture, background, religion, race etc.

Natural sciences

Natural sciences mainly deal with developing and researching hypothesis. In this case, hypotheses are utilized in determining the main factors that cause intergenerational conflicts. For instance, differences in communication, skills, experience and values can be evaluated to determine the factor which is the greatest cause of intergenerational conflicts. According to Parry (2017), communication differences are the main cause of intergenerational conflict. This is because without effective communication, tasks are poorly assigned and team members poorly work with one another therefore they are less productive.


Ng, E. S., Lyons, S. T., & Schweitzer, L. (2018). Prelims’, Generational Career Shifts.

Parry, E. (2017). New perspectives on generational diversity at work: Introduction. In Generational Diversity at Work (pp. 17-24). Routledge.

Woodward, I., Vongswasdi, P., & More, E. (2015). Generational diversity at work: A systematic review of the research.