The Impact of Social and Emotiona Intelligence on Employee Motivation in Multigenerational Workplace

Research Question



The Impact of Social and Emotiona Intelligence on Employee Motivation in Multigenerational Workplace (Njoroge, 2014).

Research Problem

Increasing workplace diversity is proving to be a big challenge for businesses and managers and various generations have unique workplace expectations. Organizations have to realize that in the multigenerational workforce present today, motivation involves a lot more than just a monetary reward system. There is a need for managers to engage minds and captivate the hearts of their employees through integration of emotional and social intelligence. The general problem brought out in this study is for managers and businesses to identify how to use emotional and social intelligence to increase motivation within a multigenerational workforce.

Research Question

The problem of the increasing workforce diversity and motivational issues at the workplace framed the research question. Organizations and managers can use emotional and social intelligence to solve motivational issues. The main research question was: What effect does emotional and social intelligence have on motivation of employees within a multigenerational workforce?

Research Purpose

The purpose of this study was to describe how managers can integrate emotional and social intelligence into everyday business operations. The study was aimed at developing an understanding of the effect of emotional and social intelligence and how these skills can be used to cultivate organizational cultures that improve employee motivation hence resolving motivational differences among various generations.

Research design

This study made use of the systematic review research design by using facts and studies gathered from various literature to prove the study theories. The systematic review design is normally used when gathering information on a specific research question while trying to identify, gather evidence and appraise a particular theory. It did not use any original or new work, instead used secondary sources to arrive at conclusions in the study.

Threats to validity

Despite the fact that systematic review focuses on gathering evidence, searching for this literature can be very tedious hence the researcher may not have time to find the best literature and may end up using past research or studies that were conducted haphazardly.  This means that the information gathered may not be fully correct and since it was the only method used, the invalidity in the research was not addressed. Using systematic review method also posed some limitations such as the lack of updating of literature when it was used. Most of the literature used was published a while ago hence the information given may not be up to date. It would have also helped if there was a specific standard used to select literature for use in order to obtain reliable data.

Findings and implications

Emotional and social intelligence have the capability of influencing employee behavior through enhancing positive attitude, job satisfaction and self-efficacy. The result of this is that employee motivation is enhanced. This implies that social and emotional intelligence can serve as successful factors in improving employee motivation within a multigenerational workforce.

Part 2

I believe the author could have utilized more resources including various research methods to develop an even more compelling case that would be irrefutable. Using systematic review may have compromised the reliability of the data especially if the researcher used literature from past years that had not been updated recently. Using other methods along with this would have helped increase the reliability of data gathered and do away with any doubt. The author failed to mitigate this validity issue by using the results gained solely from the systematic review.


Research Problem

Despite generational differences having an impact on motivation, it may not be the only factor that is at play. Organizations need to identify factors of job levels when trying to understand and enhance employee motivation. The general problem brought out in this study is whether or not the managerial level of employees has more to with motivation than the issue of generational diversity in the workplace.

Research Question

Employee motivation is a very important issue in an organization since it determines employee performance and job productivity. This is why it is important for managers and organizations as a whole to identify the real issues that affect motivation of employees. The main research question was: Are differences in work motivation among employees better explained by managerial levels rather than by generational differences?

Research Purpose

The purpose of this research was to investigate whether or not various generation differ in their levels of motivation and if these differences are as a result of generational diversity or managerial levels.

Research design

This study used the descriptive research design specifically survey which was carried out online using 3,440 participants all in various working positions. The participants were equally divided among the two genders (male and female) and originated from around 200 different companies. They voluntarily participated in the web-based survey whose results were used in this study.

Threats to validity

A web-based survey poses the threat of untrue information. Conducting a survey on people you have never met and will not meet even in the course of the study creates a huge risk of collecting false information which may render the results of the study invalid. The lack of a well-trained and skilled interviewer to probe and clarify may lead to less reliable data hence compromising the accuracy of the data gathered.

Findings and implications

According to the study, despite the Generation X, Late Boomers and Early Boomers differing in internal and external motivations, there was a much higher variance when it came to managerial level. Individuals in the higher managerial levels had lower levels of extrinsic motivation while individuals in the lower managerial levels had higher levels of intrinsic motivation. This shows that the issue of work motivation is more dependent on managerial level than it is on generational diversity.

Part 2

In this study, the author makes a compelling case for the significance of the findings from the study by discussing all the elements involved and giving conclusive meanings to the results obtained from the survey. Considering the findings were gathered form 200 different companies, it makes it possible to generalize the finding to represent an entire population. The study failed to address the lack of an interviewer which may have caused a loophole in the result obtained hence causing issues in validity which the author did not address. This loophole should have been accounted for somehow in the results by showing the chance or probability for inaccurate data during the discussion of the results but this was not the case



Research Problem

Increasing workplace diversity is proving to be a big challenge for businesses and managers and various generations have unique workplace expectations. Businesses and managers are unable to manage the challenges and conflicts that arise within a multigenerational workforce especially when it comes to work-value conflicts. The general problem is for organizations to identify the causes of work-value conflicts and how they can be resolved.

Research Question

The research question in the study was: What is the relationship between generational cohorts and the development of work-value conflicts that establish conditions for adaptive management practices?


Research Purpose

The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that cause work-value conflict and identify ways to resolve them so that employees can enjoy working in a harmonious environment.

Research design

This research used the systematic review methodology whereby literature on workplace generational differences was gathered and carefully evaluated to find answers to the research question. The evidence was gathered using searches from over 100 academic databases and scholarly publishers available online.

Threats to Validity

The results of this study were arrived at based solely on the evidence gathered from the peer-reviewed academic journals. Some of this journals may have been written with bias depending on what the author’s aim was hence may not be so reliable. Considering no other methodology was used, there is a likelihood of invalidity in the data.

Findings and Implications

The study identified leadership as a major variable affecting the smooth and successful operation of a multigenerational workforce. Those in leadership positions must develop skills to help them manage a multigenerational workforce in the most effective way possible. This results imply the important role that leaders in organizations play in resolving conflicts among their employees. They must recognize and implement education and communication variables through well-developed strategies failure to which they will continue experiencing generational conflicts at the workplace.

Part 2

This study may have only used the systematic review methodology but the author uses the evidence gathered to make quite a compelling case that breaks down all variables identified and explains them beyond any reasonable doubt. However, use of academic journals may lead to gathering of evidence that is not diverse and cannot be generalized because the writers all have different point of views which is what they use when developing the articles. The findings may have ended up reflecting more of the journal writers’ views than the reality that the research was aimed at identifying.


Research Problem

Millennials have had very different life experience compared to their predecessors. This means they have a new way of seeing things, thinking and behaving. This generation is one that puts little value on motivational methods that work on other generations. The general problem is for organizations to identify things that inspire this very modern generation with completely different views and expectations.


Research question

The research question in the study was: What are some of the ways that can be used to inspire Millennials in the workplace?

Research Purpose

The purpose of this study was to identify tools that can be employed to motivate the millennial generation. It evaluates the characteristics of this generation to determine what things are important to them hence determining what organizations can use to inspire them in the workplace.

Research Design

The study used the qualitative research design whereby a random sample of 150 individuals within the Los Angeles metropolitan area was chosen. Data was collected using paper and pencil and was done anonymously using open-ended questions.  Data was later analyzed using set procedures to help determine its validity.

Threats to Validity

The subject of study is one that affects an entire generation. However, the sample used was too small to generate results that can be applied to the entire generation. This makes the data arrived at less reliable. It is impossible to generalize the findings gathered because they are gathered from a very small population compared to the population of the study subject

Findings and Implications

Generation Y is one that expects stimulation, compensation and collaboration. They are a generation with a lot of energy and a desire to work hard just like the older generations. However, they do not respond effectively to being placed in some office or cubicle looking at files the whole day. They enjoy challenges and excitement. This shows that if organizations need to see productivity within the Millennials workforce, they must be willing to let them work in different ways as long as the final objective is achieved.

Part 2

The author of this research was not exhaustive in the study. First the methodology used was not efficient in representing the subject of study and the variables identified were not clearly discussed and interpreted. The fact that the research was carried out haphazardly brings out validity issues that may require the research being carried out again. The results gathered from this study cannot be generalized as they use a very small sample from only one area to draw conclusions that affect an entire generation.


Research Problem

Different generational cohorts exhibit different attitudes when it comes to work. The problem discussed in this study is the impact generation has on work attitudes and identifying how the work attitudes of Millennials differ from those of older generations.

Research Question

The research question in this study was: What is the impact of generations on work attitude and how do the Millennials differ from the rest in this aspect?


Research Purpose

This study is aimed at providing information and detailed evidence on the effect of generational variances on work attitude as well as look at Millennials attitude and how it differs from other generations.

Research Design

The study used qualitative design whereby a sample within the U.S was used. The sample was obtained from Kenexa Work Trends using 18 years of repeated administration. The data collected was later analyzed through use of a hierarchical age-period-cohort model recommended for analysis when using repeated cross-sectional data.

Threats to validity

Due to the originality of this study, it is possible that it had a lot of loopholes that were not identified in the course of research. This poses a threat in the reliability and accuracy of the data and findings gathered.

Findings and Implications

There was a great variance between work attitudes among various generations. However, the size of the effect of this was relatively smaller as it depended on the work attitude. Considering different generations respond to different approaches, the study implies that the cost of customizing approaches to suit each generation should be weighed against the benefits that could come with considering generational differences.

Part 2

The Researcher failed to develop a compelling case considering the study does not put into consideration the historical events that will pass after the data collection was closed in 2009. This events are important as they influence the Millennials hence affecting their perspective when they join the workforce. These factors may create a major indifference in implications of findings which the author failed to acknowledge. The results cannot be generalized as it used data gathered from one organization only. The research also has various limitations which the author did not address such as the repeated administration over the years. Maybe that is what brought about the issue of work attitude.


Literature Review

Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y are the main generations present in today’s workforce. Factors that cause the differences between generations seem even greater and the challenges this presents in the workplace can be seen clearly in organizations today (Bennett, 2012). However, different generations need and must together efficiently which means that managers and businesses need to take into great consideration these generational differences in order to successfully manage workplaces  (Benson, 2011)

Employee motivation is a very important issues in organizations since it determines the work performance and productivity of the business. In today’s highly competitive work environment, successful tools for employee motivation especially in a multigenerational workforce continues to big a huge challenge in many organizations. The main asset for businesses has become human capital which means that there success is dependent on their employees’ performance. Ability and motivation are factors used to describe employee performance and since there are no particular methods of employee motivation, organizations must develop ways and practices for motivating employees that meet their needs regardless of their age (Devadass, 2011).

Motivation is defined as the inner drive that pushes somebody to perform a task or satisfy particular needs. Therefore, an individual will put more effort into an activity only if it results to the satisfaction of the need aimed at by the individual. A recent theory put forward by Nohria shows that workplace motivation can be measured using four elements: satisfaction, engagement, intention to quit and commitment (Nohria, 2008).  Satisfaction refers to whether an individual in the workplace feels that his expectations and needs are met by the organization. On the other hand, engagement refers to the level of dedication that an employee puts into their work while commitment is how connected or close an employee feels to his workplace. Intention to quit refers to the thought or plan of an employee to leave the organization.

Each generation has specific tools for motivation that work best on them based on their characteristics. Millennials are motivated by interesting and fun work that does not require them to spend 8 hours every day seated in some room. Millennials are not just about finding work and making money, they look and have an urge for personal fulfillment and happiness even when it means making less money. To this generation, having a sense of contentment with their work is more important than a pay raise or a promotion. This shows that Generation Y put more focus on their need to comprehend and bond considering the global and environmental issues that they have experienced in their lifetime. Their characteristics can also be as a result of the need to connect which is attributed to growth in technology and the fact that they basically live off it.

When it comes to Generation X, these individuals are more driven by the need to acquire. A survey carried out by shows that people in this generation have lived and seen a life of struggle due to economic downturns which makes monetary rewards have great value to them. This generation is not into much adventure considering most are people with responsibilities and families to take care of. They appreciate having various options to choose from in their careers. Unlike the Millennials who love excitement and the feel for adventure, this generation values a flexible job schedule with very little travel as it enables them to spend time with their families which is among their priorities. They understand the need for a work-life balance and know that rewards that can be obtained in the short-term are of much more use to them than the long-term reward (Gibson, 2009). For instance, individuals in Generation X will appreciate having a weekend off after a long week than having a huge bonus at the end of the business year.

Acar noted in his research that many members of the Generation X grew up with two-working parents or with divorced parents which means they were forced to become independent while they were still very young (Acar, 2014). Their life experiences included constantly changing environments, lack of social structure and lack of family bonds such as those enjoyed by Baby Boomers. Cekada also shows that Generation X individuals grew to become latchkey children due to always arriving home to an empty and lonely house. All these factors have made this generation an independent one which places more value on family and friends than material things (Cekada, 2012).

When it comes to baby boomers, these individuals grew up in an environment made up of changing gender roles and increased divorce trends. Boomers grew up in the television era hence got the chance to hear and see various political and civil issues such as human rights, Vietnam protesting and assassinations of some great people in history such as Martin Luther King Jr. Festing and Schafer showed that Boomers were more committed to employment and could work even for a lifetime and understood company loyalty (Festing, 2014). A study carried out by Zeeshan and Iram criticized Baby Boomers for devoting their time to success at the expense of their families whom they could not spend time with due to busy work schedules (Zeeshan, 2012). Individuals in this generation develop characteristics of workaholics and are willing to give up everything else just to save and build their careers. They live to work and their jobs are their number one priority.

The traditionalists are also still part of today’s workforce. These members are people who were born before 1945 and as early as 1922. Although various research has been carried out to describe their characteristic and their view on workplace motivation, it still not clearly known the impact traditionalists in the workforce have on the economy especially the job market. In addition Baby Boomers have had their retirement age delayed which mean they spend more years working. Having members of this generation still working poses a great risks of younger generation and new skills being left out in the job market because their places are filled in by older generations (Munnell, 2012).



How does delayed retirement for Baby Boomers increase unemployment levels among Millennials?

Research purpose

This study will be aimed at gathering evidence showing that the policies for delaying retirement for Baby Boomers are a great contributor to the high levels of unemployment among the young people. In many parts of the world, young graduates struggle to find jobs for years because they are left out due to lack of experience, experience they will never have because the opportunities they could get in organizations to train themselves are still occupied by people who have worked for more than 50 years in the same or different positions. It will also show how the motivational factors of Baby Boomers differ from those of the Millennials using the Herzberg Two-Factor theory with the two main factors being hygiene factors and motivational factors. This theory will be used to show why a workplace whose majority of employees are Baby Boomers would not be suitable for Millennials due to the difference in motivational factors. The dissatisfiers are sufficient for motivation in Baby Boomers while Millennials require both the dissatisfiers and motivational factors for job satisfaction. The research will show why these significant difference lies in motivational factors of these two generations.

Research design

Both quantitative and qualitative designs will be used. The study will use population labor surveys carried out in Kenya within the years 1999 to 2013. The analysis will focus on variations across different countries to determine whether longer workforce participation by Baby Boomers affects the younger generation when it comes to their employment levels, job satisfaction, wages and average hours worked. Systematic review of literature on Herzberg two-factor theory will also be used to determine why Baby Boomers are motivated by hygiene factors while Millennials are for the motivation factors. The research will also look at how the current workplace full of baby boomers cannot satisfy millennials unless they adopt motivation factors. It is through the analysis of this theory that we will determine the effect of longer workforce participation of Baby Boomer on the job satisfaction of Millennials.

Strengths and weaknesses of proposed design

The strengths of the design to be used in the study include the use of data gathered over a long period of time which will be expected to give more conclusive results as compared to using data gathered over a short period of time. Data on Herzberg two theory will help show that there are more causes for unemployment of millennials than just the lack of vacancy. The type of environment and motivational factors provided in a workforce made up primarily of baby boomers cannot suit Millennials. These data will help give theoretical evidence that keeping Baby Boomers in the workforce past their retirement actually causes unemployment of Millennials, not because of lack of vacancies but because of lack of workplace motivation factors that suit them. However, the design may also have some weaknesses such as the results may not be conclusive enough to use in drawing conclusions that affect the rest of the world considering that the study will only use data from Kenya. Using data gathered over a long time may also pose a problem since it may not vividly reflect the current situation at hand. It may be helpful to use a more recent year-range while gathering data to enhance validity of results.

Threat to validity

Most of data collected by the government is made up of just estimated and rounded-up figures which may result to invalid data hence less reliable results. Another threat lies within the theory discussed which is suspect to its own limitations such as respondent used in Herzberg’s research commonly associated job satisfaction with things they could give themselves credit for or those that were under their control. On the other hand, dissatisfaction was associated with environmental factors or factors controlled by management.

Constructs to be measured

Items that will be measured will include number of people within the older generation still employed, hours worked and wages paid. Through the use of an Ordinary Least Square, we will measure the hours worked and the labor force participation. To show that there is a crowding-out effect, an increase in employment for older people will result in an increase in youth unemployment. The coefficient will be negative and quite significant hence proving that employment for older people really has an impact on the level of unemployed youths all over Kenya.

Testing Quality of findings

To determine if the findings made are accurate, the same data will be analyzed using a different model that has been researched and approved. This will help ascertain that findings made are accurate and reliable. Data gathered form the labor surveys could also be compared with data from various company employee records which the researcher would use as hard evidence by analyzing the number of employees in the company who are of retirement age but are still working thanks to the late retirement policy implemented by the government.

Justification for Research Design

The research design that will be employed in the study would be more effective due to the vast nature of the data that will be collected and analyzed. Huge amounts of data require models that can breakdown all the various figure to reveal meaningful data that can be used and understood easily. use of  systematic review design will ensure thorough theoretical evidence on the issue is gathered and provide points of references for those interested in furthering the research or validating it. Systematic review is also suitable since it has higher level of reliability as a literature used is published and peer reviewed by experts in the field. This provides a higher level of data validity unlike other methods especially if used alongside another research method like in this case.

Methods of Data Analysis

Data was analyzed using charts and tables. The levels of older population still employed and those of the unemployed younger population will be converted into percentage and represented in pie charts to bring out the real picture of which population is suffering in terms of employment.

Significance of Data Collected

The data gathered over that period of time will help provide evidence showing that delaying the retirement age of older generations results in lack of employment opportunities for the younger generations. This information will help give policy makers in the labor departments something to think about and find ways that they can formulate policies that will help the young generation secure jobs hence balancing the economy. It will also prove that the young people have a lot of unexplored talent and skill that economies all over the world would greatly benefit from but only if they are given the chance to put them into use. Analysis of the Herzberg two-factor theory will also bring out motivation factors of Baby Boomers, most of which fall under genetic factors. Factors such as pay, benefits, company policies and employee status are things that Baby Boomers consider necessary for their motivation at work but Millennials disagree.  Millennials need motivational factors such as growth, recognition and sense of achievement. This results will show why it is difficult to accommodate Millennials and give them satisfaction in a workforce whose majority population is Baby Boomers.


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Theory and Practice