WHEN GENERATIONS COLLIDE: Who They Are. Why They Clash. How to Solve the Generational Puzzle at Work
Lynne C. Lancaster, . . Harper Business, $25.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-06-662106-7
Lancaster and Stillman, partners in a consulting firm, tackle a potential conflict in the workplace: disparities in age may lead people to see situations differently. The authors divide the workforce into four categories: Traditionalists, born between 1900 and 1945; Baby Boomers, born 1946 to 1964; Gen-Xers, 1965–1980; and Millennials, born after 1980; these temporal and social demarcations show where conflicts may lie. This book, like the consultants' mission statement, "bridge[s] the gap between generations by helping people look beyond their own perspectives." No matter how well intentioned, this approach ensures a few inherent problems. Stereotyping is a danger when characterizing groups this large, and the authors don't always avoid the trap. Is it really accurate, for example, to say that Millennials are unique in wanting their work to have value? But the bigger problem is that an initial premise is questionable. The authors say, "Finding common ground with members of our own generation at work is relativity easy," but if it were, there wouldn't be a need for diversity training. And as any manager can attest, people can be difficult no matter what their age. Acknowledging that people of various ages see things differently is worthwhile. However, Lancaster and Stillman disappoint in failing to supply specifics for what to do about those differences.
Reviewed on: 11/19/2001