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Baby Boomers: Power and Authority

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Baby Boomers are individuals who were born between 1946 and 1964. This era was called Baby Boomers because of the additional seventeen million babies born during that time period compared to previous time frame. It has had the biggest impact in America due to the great amount of people. Baby Boomers, been though a great deal during their life span due to the country being torn by : Vietnam War, civil rights movement, John F. Kennedy and Marin Luther King Jr. assassinations. Protesting against our own government, and participating in these movements has shaped many Baby Boomers into leadership positions which hold supremacy and authority. Power and Authority

Baby Boomers, were brought up to respect people with power and authority. According to Yang & Guy, “Baby Boomers grew up in an era of prosperity and optimism and bolstered by the sense that they are a special generation capable of changing the world, have equated work with self-worth, contribution and personal fulfillment” (Pg. 270, 2006). Baby Boomers have many great attributes compared to later generations, and strongly believe that hard work and sacrifice are the ways to gain respect and will eventually pay off. They are the group that started the workaholic movement and love working as a team and making decisions as a group.

When a Baby Boomer is given a task, they will finish it until it is completed. If they frequently keep receiving advice or criticism they will feel offended due to the nature of their leadership roles. According to Sally Kane, ” Baby Boomers are extremely hardworking and motivated by position, perks and prestige. Baby Boomers relish long work weeks and define themselves by their professional accomplishments. Since they sacrificed a great deal to get where they are in their career, this workaholic generation believes Generation X, and Generation Y pay their dues and conform to a culture of overwork. Baby Boomers may criticize younger generations a lack of work ethic and commitment to the workplace” (2011). Conflicts and Managing Baby Boomers

Even though Baby Boomers are extremely hard workers and career oriented, there are a few negative stereotypes that surround Baby Boomers in the workforce despite them being more established, stable and developed than other generations. Some of the stereotypes include being too expensive, harder to manage than other generations, dislike change, and are not technologically advanced. One of the most incompatible generations with the Boomers is with Generation Y. According to Hammill, “When A Baby Boomer is working for a Generation Y individual, and there is nothing but animosity between the two. Why? Generation Y individuals, born since 1980, have many of the traits of the Veterans. They are not like their parents. They are curious, goal-oriented and loyal. Solution, consider having Boomers work for Veterans rather than Gen Ys” (2005) .Managing a Baby Boomer can be difficult since they are leadership orientated. Recognition is extremely important for a Baby Boomers. According to Russell, “Recognition is very important for Baby Boomer employees. Recognize achievements personally and publicly. Listening to their ideas and suggestions is another way that you can recognize the contributions of individuals. Embrace and encourage implementation of their best ideas” (2012).

Baby Boomers are moved by conflicting desires wishing to compete as individuals and at the same time be part of a team at least one text recommends that the best strategy may be to convince them that focusing on the team in the short term is the most effective way to distinguish themselves in the long term.” As a manger placing these rules which seem to be pretty simple can bring the best out of your Baby Boomer employees, and it’s very important as a manager to identify the differences between the characteristics of each generation to bring the best out of your employees. Personal and Family Values

Baby Boomers and Generation X both share important principles. Family is the most important to both of these generations. Baby Boomers questioned the most sensitive social values. They deeply believe in the slogan “never trust anyone”, they were left by themselves to create their own path in life which lead to them to be solely dependent on themselves and nobody else, where an outsider might view them as selfish. According to Vassolo, “Deep-seated individualism makes Boomers hard to pin down in terms of values, and typical research is of little help. Good health, fitness, functionality, well-being, close relationships with family and friends, altruism, kindness, compassion, self-respect, spirituality, intellectual curiosity, fun, happiness, financial security, power, recognition, excitement, balance, civility, conservatism and liberalism” (2009). Baby Boomers are very complex and not always satisfied with their efforts especially when it comes to themselves and family. They always feel like they are giving 100% when it comes to relationships, work, and family. Boomers are very hard on themselves, and they always question if they are doing the right thing, and they always feel like they can push themselves to do better.


Yang. S. M., & Guy, M. E. (2006, February). GenXers versus boomers: Work motivators and management implications. Public Performance & Management Review, 29, 267–284.

Anick, T. (2009, March). Generational differences . Retrieved from http://rtc.umn.edu/docs/2_18_Gen_diff_workplace.pdf

Kane, S. (2011, April). Baby boomers. Retrieved from http://legalcareers.about.com/od/practicetips/a/Babyboomers.htm

Vassolo, V. (2009, April). What’s a baby boomer value?. Retrieved from http://positiveagers.blogspot.com/2009/04/whats-baby-boomer-value.html

Russell, G. (2012, September). Managing across generations. Retrieved from http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/aug09/managing3.asp

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