Summary of How Generational Stereotypes Hold Us Back at Work

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How Generational Stereotypes Hold Us Back at Work summary
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Grouping your workforce into millennials, boomers, gen Xers, and other generational subsets may seem like a good way to understand their values, needs and behaviors. But the concept of generations may be a false construct, warns social psychologist Leah Georges, which makes using it a bad investment for companies. Instead, she advocates in favor of seeing people as individuals and meeting them in what innovation thought leader Nilofer Merchant calls their “onlyness” – their unique standpoint, personal history and experience.

About the Speaker

Social psychologist and researcher Leah Georges consults with businesses to address generational myths and stereotypes.



Researchers often divide the American workforce into five distinct generations, which the media position as adversarial.

Demographics and research often sort the US population into five generations differentiated by birth year and attributes. According to this system, members of the Greatest Generation, born between 1922 and 1943, are silent, obedient, selfless types. The baby boomers, born between 1944 and 1960, are communicative workaholics who value competition. Generation X, born between 1961 and 1980, are “the lost generation” and were the first to seek work-life balance. Millennials, born between 1981 and 2000, grew up surrounded by technology and the ideology that every effort gets a trophy. Generation Z, those born starting in the year 2000, are the high school interns and soon-to-be graduates.

Blogs, articles, and other media often lambast various generations or reinforce...

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