Hoole and Bonnema (2015) conducted a study to determine if there was a relationship between work engagement and meaningful work between different age groups. Descriptive statistics were used to attain more information about the sample and a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) were conducted to avoid Type I error. The baby boomer generation was found to have the highest relationship between work engagement and meaningful work then Gen X and Gen Y.
Kordbacheh et al. (2014) studied relationship factors that contributed towards employee engagement and their differences comparing younger and older employees. The study used sequential multiple regression analysis of participants between the ages of 18 to 69 (average age of 39) who work at least 20 hours a week in the United States. This article determined that older employees were more engaged with their work than younger employees whether or not
motivation or other factors were present within the job.
Lapoint and Liprie-Spence (2017) examined an enormously diverse work environment with employees of different cultures, ethnicity, age, and gender. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the results of a 19-question survey, dispensed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to a centralized purchasing group in which the first four questions were about their personal information such as age, gender, years of employment and the type of job they have. Whereas the next 15 questions asked the respondents for their individual and job-related perceptions and opinions. The research concluded that age plays a vital role in employee engagement. Older employees tended to be more engaged compared to the younger employees.
Schullery (2013) examined the difference of generational values of the 4 generations currently in the workforce and the impact on workplace engagement. A survey of 16,000 high school students of 3 different generations was analyzed. It was revealed that the Millennial generation values differ from previous generations which impacts how employers need to engage with these employees.
In summary, the research indicated that employee engagement differs across various age generations. Hoole and Bonnema (2015) indicated that the Baby Boomer generation was found to have the highest relationship between work engagement and meaningful work. Kordbacheh et al. (2014) showed that older employees are more motivated with their work in comparison to younger employees. Lapoint and Liprie-Spence (2017) concluded that age plays a vital role in employee engagement with older employees being more engaged. Schullery (2013) indicated that millennial engagement differed from older generational values. Overall, the literature review indicated that a relationship existed between employee engagement and the age group.
Transformational Leadership and Employee Engagement
Leadership style has a vast impact on employees and employee engagement. Many researchers have examined the significance of leadership styles and gender. Carless (1998) and Druskat (1994), indicated that transformational leadership may be more of a feminine style.
Carless pointed out that female managers tend to be more transformational than male managers.
Eagly et al. (2003) revealed that women may favor the transformational leadership style more
because “with a means of overcoming the dilemma of role incongruity – namely, that
conforming to their gender role can impede their ability to meet the requirements of their leader role” (p. 5). They also found a significant difference in the age group for transformational leadership. Individuals aged 46 and above were ranked highest for transformational leadership whereas, employees between the age group of 36-45 ranked the lowest.
Building on the findings of the GLOBE study, Gergen et al. (2014) examined how the perception of leadership was viewed differently according to the variables of gender and age.
Gergen et al. (2014) found that women preferred a transformational leadership style that consisted of the following characteristics: charisma, the ability to inspire, to motivate, and to expect high performance outcomes from others. According to the text, Baby Boomer females valued this type of leadership over their male counterparts. Gergen et al. (2014), found that older workers value relationships, trust and workplace support more than a work environment that has relationship conflicts.
In summary, studies have shown that transformational leadership motivated and inspired subordinates to be more productive and focused more on meeting the individual’s needs.
Females tended to express the transformational leadership style as they tended to have more personable, charismatic, and empathetic characteristics than men. While Eagly et al. (2003) found that older individuals were more influenced by transformational leadership, there is not enough research to indicate that this is the case. Therefore, this study hypothesizes that transformational leadership will be more positively related to work engagement of younger generations and female employees than male employees.
Hypothesis 1a: Generations will moderate the effect of transformational leadership on employees’ engagement in the workplace, such that transformational leadership is more positively related to work engagement of younger generations.
Transactional Leadership and Employee Engagement
Transactional managers oversee employees through judicious and monetary methods;
basically, they are not exceptionally worried about the needs of their employees, but instead, figure out how to invigorate subordinates' extraneous work inspiration by methods for task-arranged administration. At the point when subordinates accomplish the objectives that the organization requires, transactional leaders reward employees with what the organization has confirmed, such as promotion and money.
Popli and Rizvi (2016) found that the transactional leadership style had a moderate relationship with employee engagement. Additional factors such as the age of an employee also had a moderating effect on leadership style and employee engagement. According to Poli and Rizvi (2016), their study found that the level of employee engagement was significant and varied across multiple age ranges. Additionally, their study concluded that transactional leadership effects employee engagement amongst younger employees who are beginning their careers. This indicated that transactional leadership may be more positively related to work engagement for younger generations than older generations.
Wolfram and Gratton (2014) provided detailed information on the relationship between women in management and their employees based on leadership style. This document provided statistical data indicating that female leaders were more likely to use a transformational
leadership style when working with employees and delegating tasks. According to the text, some
employees of older generations, along with male employees, believed that women displayed a much more transformational way of leading in the workplace, where men displayed a more transactional way of leading. It was found that employees of older generations and male
employees preferred a transactional leader, which resulted in their ability to maintain workplace engagement and workplace satisfaction.
In summary, studies have shown that a transactional leadership style was more task-oriented and matter of fact. Older generations tended to prefer a leadership style that had a specified expected outcome with consequences in place if requirements were not met. Male employees also tended to prefer this type of leadership style. While Popli and Rizvi (2016) found that younger individuals who were in the early stages of their career were more influenced by transactional leadership, there is not enough research to indicate that is the case. Therefore, this study hypothesizes that transactional leadership will be more positively related to work
engagement of older generations and male employees than female employees.
Hypothesis 1b: Generations will moderate the effect of transactional
leadership on employees’ engagement in the workplace, such that transactional leadership is more positively related to work engagement of older generations.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Engagement
Corporate social responsibility is becoming one of the more important factors for companies to consider. Its presence, or lack thereof, can influence the decision to accept
employment from prospective candidates and can lead to turnover from the existing workforce.
Bokhari (2019) provided detailed information on corporate social responsibility and how it affected employee engagement in relation to employee gender. This study focused on statistical data from several large banking corporations. After taking data from a group of 350 employees, it was determined that younger male employees (under forty years of age) were more engaged at work when they were provided with corporate social responsibility, where female employees (under forty years of age) did not necessarily feel that corporate social responsibility was directly correlated to their work engagement. There was not a significant amount of data collected from employees that were 40 years of age and older.
Brammer et al. (2007) examined the commitment of implementing corporate social responsibility in the workplace to understand how it impacts employees. Brammer et al. (2007) found that both men and women displayed a positive relationship between company commitment and corporate social responsibility with women preferring a commitment to external CSR
initiatives and procedural justice while men only preferring training initiatives. This may indicate that a company’s corporate social responsibility is more important to female employees
compared to male employees and could influence employment decisions and engagement in the workplace.
Globescan (2003) conducted a study in which 70% of the North American students in the study mentioned that they would not go after a position at an organization they believed was socially unreliable. The survey also found 68% employees disagreed that salary was more significant than social obligations. Another study done by MonsterTRAK.com found that 80%
of young adults were inclined to work for an organization that had a positive impact on the environment. Millennials are more affected by CSR practices. Employees tended to be more engaged with a positive attitude when they view their organization to be socially responsible.
Overall, Americans of all ages were inclined to pursue a job at an organization they perceive to be more socially responsible.
In summary, studies have shown that there is a correlation between corporate social responsibility and gender as well as age generation (Bokhari, 2019; Globescan, 2003). Women were more socially responsible than men and tend to prefer a strong company corporate social responsibility culture (Brammer et al., 2007; Chaudhary, 2017). Younger generations also value a strong corporate culture that is centered around corporate social responsibility (Bokhari, 2019;
Globescan, 2003). Therefore, this study hypothesizes that corporate social responsibility will be more positively related to work engagement of younger generations and female employees than male employees.
Hypothesis 2: Generations moderate the effect of corporate social responsibility on employees’ engagement in the workplace, such that corporate social responsibility is more positively related to work engagement of younger generations.
Work-Life Balance and Employee Engagement
Work-life balance is a more valuable concept that both employers and employees are considering when making career-related decisions. Capnary et al. (2018) found that millennials job satisfaction was impacted when work was not balanced with family. The results from their study showed that work-life balance influenced employee loyalty to an organization, specifically with the millennial generation. Additionally, Giley et al. (2015) found that millennial managers were perceived as implementing work-life balance measures by their subordinates. Their findings also indicated that managers supporting these initiatives varied across the generations.
These two studies may indicate work-life balance may be more positively related to work engagement in younger generations than that of older generations.
Riyanto (2019) included detailed information on Generation Y, currently known as the millennial generation, and their work engagement. This study collected statistical data from employees that worked at Indian Courier Service Industries. According to the text, employees that were from the Y generation had a high turnover rate because they struggled to balance work and home life. It was found that providing generation Y employees with a more flexible schedule resulted in a decrease in employee turnover. Therefore, this may indicate that work-life balance is valued more by younger generations and may be more positively related to work engagement in this age group compared to older generations.
Parkes and Langford (2008) collected and analyzed data from over 16,000 Australian workers between 2002 and 2006 to understand how satisfied they were with their work-life balance and how that contributed to employee engagement. Age, gender, family structure, occupation, type of work & hours worked were measured. The data showed that work-life balance is generally more important to women since most of the domestic responsibility is upon them. Parkes and Langford (2008) found that women were more satisfied than men with their work-life balance perhaps because more women worked part-time. Individuals in the age range 30 -49 rated a lower satisfaction with work-life balance than other age groups. The highest level of satisfaction was reported in the 60-year-old age group. The study showed that “work-life balance was not a significant positive predictor of engagement.” However, it did find that work-life balance was not important for engagement in the under 30 age group. Parkes and Langford (2008) concluded that highly engaged employees will sacrifice their work-life balance to achieve
organizational goals and it is not work-life balance that drives the employee, but a supportive work environment.
In summary, studies have shown that there was a correlation between work-life balance and gender, specifically impacting women (Parkes and Langford, 2008). Studies have also shown that there was a relationship between work-life balance and age generation, however, there is not strong enough evidence to conclusively determine if work-life balance impacted a specific age group (Capnary et al., 2018; Giley et al., 2015; Riyanto, 2019; Behson, 2002;
Dex and Bond, 2005; Parkes and Langford, 2008). While Parkes and Langford (2008) found that the older generation displayed a relationship with work-life balance compared to younger
generations, there were multiple studies that indicated the opposite (Capnary et al., 2018; Giley et al., 2015; Riyanto, 2019; Behson, 2002; Dex and Bond, 2005). As a result, this study
hypothesizes that work-life balance will be more positively related to work engagement of younger generations and female employees than male employees.
Hypothesis 3: Generations will moderate the effect of work-life balance on employees’ engagement in the workplace, such that work-life balance is more positively related to work engagement of younger generations.
Autonomy and Employee Engagement
Autonomy has been a proven measure that has a positive impact on both work
engagement and overall job satisfaction. Sadler-Smith (2003) reported that work autonomy had a positive impact on employee motivation, job satisfaction and work life balance. The research also showed that males with a higher seniority level reported more autonomy than females.
However, another part of the research showed that there was no statistical substantial discrepancy in the autonomy ratios between males and females.
Sheemun et al. (2013) found that a positive relationship exists between autonomy and employee engagement. Employee autonomy in the decision-making process for an organization increased the overall job satisfaction. The study also discovered that male employees were more involved in the office environment when compared to their female counterparts, albeit with a higher level of variance. Sheemun et al. (2013) additionally found that the more seniority that an employee held the greater their engagement in the company. Therefore, these results may
indicate that autonomy may be more positively related to work engagement in older generations compared to younger generations and it is worth exploring if autonomy is more positively related to female employees than male employees.
Taipale et al. (2011) examined the influences of job autonomy and social support on work engagement. Taipale et al. (2011) found that work engagement differed across economic sectors as well as between countries. 7,869 employees, representing the service sector industry from eight different countries and 32 different organizations, were surveyed via an electronic questionnaire. The majority of respondents were women which is very representative of the service sector industry in Europe. The study found that work autonomy increased work engagement. The study showed that in all the countries, autonomy was the “most significant factor influencing work engagement” and showed that the strongest predictor of work engagement was autonomy.
In summary, research has shown that employees with a level of seniority reported more autonomy and work engagement (Sadler-Smith, 2003; Sheemun et al., 2013). This suggests that
autonomy is a factor with older, more experienced employees. Additionally, Taipale et al. (2011) found that work autonomy was a strong predictor of work engagement and there are multiple studies that suggest that women were more influenced by autonomy in relation to work
engagement than males (Johnson and Spector, 2007; Taipale et al., 2011). As a result, this study hypothesizes that autonomy will be more positively related to work engagement of older
generations and female employees than male employees.
Hypothesis 4: Generations will moderate the effect of autonomy on employees’
engagement in the workplace, such that autonomy is more positively related to work engagement of older generations.
Technology and Employee Engagement
Implementing the latest technology in the workplace is one of the most important
advantages that companies utilize in a data-driven world. Birkman (2013) noted that millennials were very comfortable and dependent on technology compared to baby boomers. Smart phones, laptops, computers, etc. were not a foreign concept for millennials. Both millennials and baby boomers shared the same principles, standards, and behaviors. However, millennials
incorporated the mobility of technology for their betterment. Whereas baby boomers were not so keen on accepting certain technological changes and often struggled with things like technology replacing human collaborations. The study also noted that millennials were more technologically informed than Baby boomers.
Morris and Venkatesh (2000) studied how age differences affected attitudes towards technology and the willingness to adopt it in the workplace. While the study was published in 2000, it’s ideas still applied to the present-day workforce. The study found that age impacted whether newer technology would be adopted and utilized in the workplace. They found that this was consistent for both the short term as well as the long term, even when controlling additional variables such as education and occupation. According to the research study, younger employees were more willing to utilize newer technologies compared to older employees. As a result, this study suggested that technology is more positively related to work engagement of younger generations compared to that of older generations.
Lapoint and Liprie-Spence (2017) studied how generational difference effected employee engagement. Specifically, how Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials engaged.
Millennials were represented by 18 – 32-year-old. This generation, having been exposed to technology advancements in cable TV, laptop computers and cell/smart phones is very comfortable engaging with technology particularly social media. The study showed that Millennials were adept at multi-tasking and being technologically savvy. Whereas Baby Boomers preferred more human interaction than using technology to engage. The article found that length of tenure was more a factor in engagement then age or technology.
In summary, research was inconclusive in whether age or gender was a significant factor in determining the impact of technology and work engagement. Three studies identified that younger generations were more comfortable with technology than older generations (Birkman, 2013; Lapoint and Liprie-Spence, 2017) while Morris and Venktesh (2000) found that younger generations were more likely to adopt technology in their job functions compared to older generations. One study found that women experienced lower job satisfaction in constraint workplace environments due to family obligations which suggested that they may be more positively affected by a technologically driven workplace flexibility than males (Sanders et al.
2015). Therefore, this study hypothesizes that technology will be more positively related to work engagement of younger generations and female employees than male employees.
Hypothesis 5: Generations will moderate the effect of technology on employees’
Hypothesis 5: Generations will moderate the effect of technology on employees’