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Bridging the Boomer-Xer Gap

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Bridging the Boomer-Xer Gap

Creating Authentic Teams for High Performance at Work

Davies-Black Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Baby Boomers are aging hippies with a peace-love mentality; Xers are money-grubbing kids. Now, make them a team.

Editorial Rating



The three authors - consultant Hank Karp, organizational development executive Connie Fuller and academic Danilo Sirias - admit they began their project with some hypotheses about the differences between Boomers and Xers. One of the most powerfully suggestive was the theory that Xers are much more individualistic than Boomers, which has the potential to create some worrisome issues for managers. Although their statistical analysis found some support for this notion, it also revealed, paradoxically, that Xers are real team players, perhaps even more so than Boomers. The authors do their best to write around that awkward fact, but the fact stubbornly remains: when it comes to working on teams, only seemingly subtle differences separate Boomers and Xers. The book offers a lot of reliable, proven tips about team management, so it is worthwhile. However, its credibility is somewhat damaged by the authors’ repeated references to differences and gaps whose existence seems pretty minimal, even in the eyes of their own research. While that may make this seem like a curious book about a solution to an elusive problem, recommends it to those who are also pursuing solid, general team management guidance.


Boomers and Xers

Everyone born in the United States between 1945 and 1962 is a Boomer - a member of the Post-World War II Baby Boom generation. Everyone born between 1963 and 1982 is an Xer, from Generation X, a phrase coined because no one thought of anything more descriptive to call them.

What’s the difference between a Boomer and an Xer? That’s a very good question, particularly for managers who must fuse Boomers and Xers into good, working teams.

According to the results of hundreds of surveys conducted in large corporations and agencies and on college campuses, members of both generations perceive quite a few differences between Boomers and Xers, some more significant, some less, some more completely actual, others less so. Among them:

• Boomers are becoming grumpy old timers, much as their parents did.

• Boomers live to work; Xers work to live.

• Xers were latchkey kids.

• Boomers are older than Xers and, thus, usually rank higher than Xers in organizations. • Boomers vastly outnumber Xers. The advent of the birth control pill and Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion rights, influenced the years when members...

About the Authors

Hank Karp is a principal of Personal Growth Systems, a Virginia-based consulting firm. Connie Fuller is an organizational development specialist at AG Communication System, a Lucent Technologies subsidiary. Danilo Sirias is assistant professor of management at Saginaw Valley State University.

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