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Old 11-03-2014, 03:35 AM
 
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Hi,

I am working on the topic how of Generation Z might be better prepared for organizational change than Generation X, based on the hypothesis that change has become a bigger part of their life. Of course keeping in mind that organizational change is also becoming more frequent and constant so assumingly organizational change management will still have to go on but in a a different shape.

I am still doing a lot of research on this subject and if anyone has thoughts in regards to this, I would be keen to get someone else's opinion and expertise on the subject.

Kind regards,
J Goerlach
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Old 11-03-2014, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,233 posts, read 5,157,976 times
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We should start with the assumption that change is a bigger part of Gen Z life than Gen X (or any prior generation). Is that true? I think it's an easy and quick assumption, based on the fact that Gen Z is the leading generation, coming upon their own with the very latest technology. But there are some issues in that. First of all, it's still Gen X (if not Boomers) that is mostly creating the technology as it stands today. Gen Z is just now getting it's feet. They're beginning start-ups, they're code monkeys in the big tech companies. But they aren't calling the shots just quite yet. Age is a natural progression.

You need to broaden your personal scope, get into the life experiences of someone who is not Gen Z and see the world as it was when they were young and how it evolved. Gen Z has always had the internet, mobile phones, and for the most part, social media and youtube. It hasn't had to assimilate new uses of technology the way previous generations have. Boomers became adults in a time where you still had phone operators and when you didn't have word processors, cell phones, laptops... the freaking internet. They had to learn all of this in middle-age. Some of them are the ones who created it.

But you can even go back further. You can go back to the time where we didn't fly, we didn't drive or we didn't call. There is a generation, one that is very nearly gone, that can still remember people hardly did any of these things. I think one of them was just in the news because she was having an issue setting up her facebook account. She is 113.

My husband a former university researcher in tech and now works in industry believes that we have, or are approaching, limitations in our ability to change. He says that when you objectively look at what's available and what's hitting the market, products are offering less inovation, true innovation, and just more design (aka style). That we're going to offer you a Surface in a million variations, just slightly changing a component or two, maybe even creating a wearable device so you might "smartly" record and analyze your biological condition, but are these really truly cutting edge? Maybe they're a little faster, maybe they're a little less clunky, maybe they're just a little more user friendly.

My husband thinks humanity is a little bored: We've solved the basic needs.

I think the real change happened a long, long time ago. A time when we started realizing the potential of cheap, easily sourced fuel: carbon. I don't think most people can understand what an amazing substance this crap was and what it has allowed us to do. Nearly all of our technological advances have some sort of crude origin in oil. Despite our use of nuclear and the renewable fuel sources we are very, very much still dependent on carbon. Go back to the beginning of the industrial age and find the generation that watched the creation of the turbine engine. Tell me that didn't lead to significant organizational change.

I don't believe change is going to be a bigger part of Gen Z's life, if anything it will just be completely qualitatively different changes. Gen Z is going to have to figure out how to get the collective to rid itself of carbon fuel, or agree to systematically capture carbon emissions. We already have the technology to do a lot of these things. We don't have the political or social support. That will change. I think Gen Z will see a further erosion of world cultures and languages with globalization. They're going to have to grapple with economic instability and inequality domestically and abroad.

I think the real fun for Gen Z might be climate change. I don't know how or why Gen Z might be more prepared for this than Gen X. I would argue that it's probably the pre-industrial generation that is most prepared.. they know how to subside from the land and the efforts of their own hands.

Good topic.
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