The different types of generations - Maxicours

The different types of generations

  • Connaitre les différents types de générations.
Points clés
  • Une génération désigne un groupe de personnes nées durant la même période et qui, en conséquence, partagent un ensemble de références et de savoir-faire.
  • Depuis 1929, on distingue cinq générations : les traditionnalistes, les baby boomers, les générations X, Y et Z.
  • La technologie (notamment les télécommunications) a énormément évolué au cours des dernières années, ce qui tend à creuser un fossé entre les générations.
1. Introduction

What we are going to study here concerns the different types of generations that have existed in the last ninety years, and the difficulties of communicating that some generations which have not experienced the same technologies meet in the domain of work. But first, we must explain what a generation is.

A generation is a group of people who were born in the same period of time and who, consequently share the same views as far as education, technology, economy... are concerned. To differentiate each generation, the latter are given a name which tends to explain who they are.

2. The five generations since 1929
  1. Traditionalists : born between 1929 and 1945, they were raised at a time when the world had to face wars and the Great Depression. People then made plans for the future and hoped for a better life. They did not oppose their bosses and obey them because authority represented an important value. They also were very cautious and their motto was “ Just in case ”. As far as technology is concerned, they discovered the first radios.
  2. Baby boomers : born between 1946 and 1964, they are much more optimistic than their predecessors, even if some wars (Vietnam, Algeria...) are still being waged around them. They believe that hard work can be rewarded. Contrary to their parents, they do not hesitate to rebel against their boss if they are unfair. They are also more independent and want to learn by themselves. Their motto is “ Just do it ”. As for technology, they see the first TV sets emerge.
  3. Generation X : born between 1965 and 1976, this generation is rather pessimistic and they enjoy life before it is too late. To them, education is important and if, at work, something disappoints them, they will prefer leaving instead of questioning management. Materialism, two parents working and technology (computers and the Internet become accessible) can define the world Gen-Xers live in. Their motto is “ I’m owed something ”.
  4. Millennials / Generation Y : born between 1977 and 1995, they live in a world where diversity, technology and terrorism prevail. They tend to work in groups rather than individually and do not hesitate to question authority. Gen-Ys are materialistic and their attitude towards life could be summed up by the motto “ Just experience it ”. As for technology, they have everything they need to be connected 24/7 !
  5. Generation Z : born after 1995, they are very optimistic and open-minded as they believe in diversity, equality and non-discrimination. They live in different family structures and do their shopping on the Internet. Their best friend seems to be the mobile phone and its numerous apps ! They are very important for marketers as they influence their parents’ purchases (food, travel, furniture...).
3. Communication problems

As you can see above, the latest generations are very different from their grandparents, which can be a problem in the domain of work as they do not communicate in the same way. When some are used to face-to-face or telephone communications, others type messages or send emails, when emails do not seem archaic, as Millenials or Gen-Zs think. Or they have recourse to audio or video conferences, when they do not interact through social networks. And such ways of behaving can of course lead to communication gaps within a company.

Indeed, how can people who grew up with a black and white television adapt to the situation ? It seems so difficult ! As everything is going faster and faster the new generations are perfectly at ease and can adapt very quickly, which is not the case for their parents or grandparents. But one must live with their times, mustn’t they ?

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