Generational Perspectives in the Workplace

What are the broader discourses that constitute intergenerational conflict around work/life balance for professional women?

Linda Williams Favero of the University of Oregon and Renee Guarriello Heath of the University of Portland set out to answer this question and more in “Generational Perspectives in the Workplace: Interpreting the Discourses That Constitute Women’s Struggle to Balance Work and Life,” published in the October 2012 issue of the Journal of Business Communication. To see the Table of Contents, click here.

The abstract:

Employing the feminist interpretive focus group method, findings in this study demonstrate how different generational perspectives of professional women, socialized at different periods of time, intersect in the current workforce to explain conflict around work and life. In particular, the authors found conflict centers around two well-documented discourses thematic in their focus groups, which organize the way people think about work—paying one’s dues and face-time. Using interpretive focus groups to draw out the different interpretive frames of the generations, this study deconstructs the interpretations, providing a hopeful place to begin a theoretical and practical conversation that bridges the different perspectives of women across generations as they negotiate work and life. Findings have implications for organizational, work/life, and qualitative communication studies.

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