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Towards a model of human resource solutions for achieving intergenerational interaction in organisations

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Purpose ‐ Achieving intergenerational interaction and avoiding conflict is becoming increasingly difficult in a workplace populated by three generations ‐ Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers and Generation Y-ers. This paper presents a model and proposes HR solutions towards achieving co-operative generational interaction. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This paper adapts Park's theory of race relations to explain the distinctiveness of generational work groups and the challenges and opportunities that these groups present when interacting in organisations. Rashford and Coghlan's cycle of organisational change, based on the K├╝bler-Ross grief cycle, is then mapped onto Park's race relations cycle in order to link generational interaction to emotional reactions to change over time. Findings ‐ The paper sets out a research agenda for examining how generations interact in the workplace. It acknowledges the limitations of using Park's theory of race relations, in particular the criticisms levelled at assimilationist approaches. Originality/value ‐ The paper provides an alternative viewpoint for examining how generations co-exist and interact and shows how HR solutions can respond to the needs of different generations.
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Keywords: Baby boomer generation; Organizational change; Organizational culture; Social stratification

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 2, 2007

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