Generation conflict on value understanding of work

The professional success of Generation X and the Baby Boomers is based on the fact that they often have subordinated themselves and their life concept to the work requirements. In the case of additional work, this dependency leads to frustration, which results in lower efficiency and lack of esteem and can go as far as internal dismissal. The digital natives, on the other hand, are more independent. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, they feel less pressure to adapt and demand participation at eye level. They judge work assignments for meaningfulness and personal learning interest and leave the company if they do not see both fulfilled. Last but not least, her own parents were the best example of how little joyful and family-compatible a workaholic life is. The reward concept for skilled workers socialized in industrial economics (Baby Boomers and Generation X) are powers and privileges. The reward concept for the network generation, however, is the active participation in an interesting project and the appreciation of the community. Thus, many digital natives reject the work ethic of older employees, based on diligence and obedience. For them, instead, experience and respect count – at eye level. They want to work faster on their own responsibility, they want constructive feedback instead of critical control. The Generation X and older managers, wise enough to enable young professionals to do what they have been denied to do in their day-to-day work, will ultimately benefit from a confident workforce that does not pay lip service to the young and old who are actively involved that everyone with their individual skills counts for the community.

  1. Organizational factors

Social change continues in the companies. Organizations are undergoing a profound change at a structural, procedural, cultural and personal level. Theoretically, leadership and leadership systems should be appropriate to these essential conditions. Practically, however, they often remain strangely untouched.

  • The way we work and where we work is changing. The Internet and digital technologies, especially the mobile use of data and information, not only redesign our everyday lives, they also lead to profound changes in the economy and in the world of work: in the context of digitization, new forms of human interaction emerge among themselves, but also with data worlds and the physical environment. The “Internet of Things and Services” is being created, which will enable the provision of everyday services and work processes in the future, thanks to a network of people, machines and environments, customized and automated, and will form new “smart” services. This leads to largely digitized work concepts and processes. Not only in the knowledge-intensive processes in the office and administration, but also in industry and in many service sectors, digital content is changing work contents and forms. Robots will cooperate with humans. New forms of collaboration and better ergonomics will emerge, in factories, in logistics, but also in people-centered services. The “Internet of Things” is also increasingly involved in manufacturing processes, where it realizes completely new possibilities of individualized production concepts and an increased cooperative self-organization of its employees on the basis of so-called cyber-physical systems. What is already standard in highly automated areas such as electronics manufacturing can be transferred to lot size 1 areas with today’s possibilities. Both the spatial-temporal distance between the management level and the managed and the potential of this networked self-organization clearly call into question presence and control-oriented management mechanisms.
  • Automation will replace a significant proportion of jobs. The increasing interconnectedness of supply and demand with regard to the localizability, evaluability and combinability of all arising communication, position and change data not only offers new business opportunities, which are comprehensively summarized under the buzzword of “Big Data”, but will also further optimize the organizational processes. This is worth a critical look: It raises the question of who in the future will do any work at all.

Automation will replace up to 47 percent of office, administration, service and sales jobs, according to a study by the University of Oxford. In particular, the algorithms will change the office and thus also the everyday life of the executives, because in the near future they could derive decisions from within seconds. In addition to processing operations, especially knowledge-intensive activities of analysis, synthesis and interpretation come under pressure; they may possibly be provided by intelligent algorithms. On the basis of a framework agreement, entire purchasing transactions and decisions can be made automatically. Even market observations, performance measurements and analyzes, still created today by the management, could translate the intelligent software from networked system and environment data much more quickly into vivid infographics and steer the corresponding person in quasi-real time. Supposedly secure jobs are becoming increasingly substitutable and relocatable. This also threatens knowledge workers to become the losers of technical progress, which are considered largely safe in previous rationalization discussions.

  • Human labor needs redefinition. The algorithmization and automation described mercilessly shows us how intelligent sensors and software are now communicating and how little the knowledge worker has developed in terms of his abilities. The challenge now is to productively relate the labor force in general and the knowledge workers in particular to the systems.

Which skills they have to train as human beings to qualify against the algorithm in the future, exactly this definition and qualification is the central task, the solution should take the leadership now to their responsibilities to the employees to do justice. In contrast to the algorithms, this not only means a new definition of what remains as competences and activities of the knowledge worker, but also what tasks management bodies no longer have to fulfill instead.

  • The principle of self-organization could be much broader. The concept of “Industry 4.0” as an idea of the increasing networking of humans and machines as well as the most diverse addressable, communicable objects in terms of cyber-physical systems holds opportunities for companies, which lie in the increasing decentralization and small-scale coordination of all actors. This allows people (in a positive case) greater autonomy and flexibility – without the need for classic instructions “from above”.