Ian C. Woodward
Professor of Management Practice
Generational differences; organisational communication; communication technology; communication formats; leadership communication;
Journal Article | Communication Research and Practice | 3 | September 2017
More that Unites than Divides: Intergenerational Communication Preferences in the Workplace
The authors investigate potential generational differences in business communication practices amongst global leaders and managers. This study analyses survey responses collected from 191 executives, which covers the frequency of use, and their perceptions of effectiveness, in workplace communication formats.Contrary to popular press speculation, they show a high degree of preference convergence across three generations (Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Generation Y) for specific communication purposes. The results indicate that some generational divergences are more nuanced than previous research suggests. Their research shows some form of daily reading activity takes the largest proportion of managers’ communication time and a widespread view that while quantity of workplace communication activity is substantially increased, this is not matched by an increase in quality.Many new technology workplace applications appear as complements rather than substitutes to traditional communication practices. These results speak to the importance of developing understanding by leaders and organisations about workplace communication intergenerational preferences and behaviours and to future research priorities.