Work values across generations

Jo-Ida C Hansen, Melanie E. Leuty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Mainstream publication discussions of differences in generational cohorts in the workplace suggest that individuals of more recent generations, such as Generation X and Y, have different work values than do individuals of the Silent and Baby Boom generations. Although extant research suggests that age may influence work values, few of the assertions about generation differences have been tested by empirical research. The present study investigated work values, as measured by the Minnesota Importance Questionnaire, across three generations (Silent Generation, N = 371; Baby Boom, N = 1179; and Generation X, N = 139) while accounting for age. Results suggested that workers from the Silent Generation placed more importance on Status and Autonomy than did Baby Boom or Generation X workers. More recent generations (Baby Boom and Generation X) were found to place more importance on Working Conditions, Security, Coworkers, and Compensation. Additional analyses suggest that, while the measured differences among the three generations are small, generation influences work values more so than does age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-52
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Career Assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012


  • birth cohort effects
  • generational differences
  • work values


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