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Brave New Workplace with Gen X, Y and Z

Brave New Workplace with Gen X, Y and Z

Brave New Workplace with Gen X, Y and Z

INSEAD Releases New Generations Series in Collaboration with Universum, The HEAD Foundation and MIT Leadership Centre

INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute today announced the release of Brave New Workplace, the first of three new Generations Series eBooks, in collaboration with Universum, The HEAD Foundation and MIT Leadership Centre.

As organisations seek to optimise the work environment and policies for multigenerational workforces, it's important to explore whether generational differences are actually relevant. Focusing on the behaviours and attitudes of Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z, Brave New Workplace explores how these three generations are reshaping the nature of work and workplace culture.

Growing up digital, say some, has so influenced younger generations that it somehow gives them a permanently different outlook than their older peers. Gen X calls Gen Y the Peter Pan Generation, saying they cling to childhood even as adults. While millennials characterise their Gen X peers as nihilistic and disdainful. Neither has fully formed their opinions about Gen Z, who are on the cusp of entering the workforce.

“Regardless of opinion about the members of this age group, the inclusion of Gen Z in to the labour market will initiate a new era in workplace culture, their presence will disrupt the nature of work as we know it today and therefore understanding the new multigenerational workforce must not be treated as an afterthought” said Universum CEO, Petter Nylander. He continued “Gen Z are set to account for around 20% of the adult workforce by 2020, knowing how to harmonise and steer a workplace that includes these three generations should be a top priority for any employer.”

The research questions these generalisations. Are younger generations truly so different? Or is it possible that as they age and gain experience at work, they begin to behave a lot like their older peers? Based on a survey of over 18,000 students and professionals from 19 countries – spanning Gen Xers who’ve been in the workplace for two decades to Gen Z students – we can now share data about preferred work styles, leadership qualities, and hopes and fears about future careers.

“Today’s workplace is an interesting assortment of multigenerational values, approaches to technology, leadership styles and workplace preferences. Through this global study spanning the three generations, we seek to understand how each group can best be motivated, managed, led and encouraged to lead, for optimal results” said Henrik Bresman, Associate Professor of Organisational Behavior; Academic Director, INSEAD Global Leadership Centre; Senior Advisor, The HEAD Foundation. He continued “This study shows that as far as the need to identify with a company’s culture and values, there is no perceptible difference between the three generations. On the other hand, in terms of whether they have an optimistic or pessimistic outlook towards their work, there is a clear generational divide”.

Vinika D. Rao, Executive Director of INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute, added “One dimension that demonstrates both a clear generational divide as well as a geographical one is the aspect of challenges that women face at work. Organisations therefore need to avoid over generalisations such as blanket initiatives targeting women. Managing a multigenerational, diverse workforce entails a careful study of how workplace measures are perceived by different employees”.

Workplace Culture, Technology and Leadership
As part of this year’s Generations series we are delighted that we can follow up Brave New Workplace and our collaboration to release two more eBooks. Focusing on the topics of technology and leadership, these eBooks will be released in the coming months and include research that not only offers insights about the preferences and values of individual generations, but also point to how employers can integrate and manage a multigenerational workforce. For more information please visit: .  

About INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute

The INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute (EMI) is a leading think tank on issues related to economic development and business management in emerging economies across the globe. It creates knowledge through research and disseminates it for practical application by the corporations, governments and organizations that seek to leverage the opportunities offered by these growth markets. EMI develops cutting edge pedagogical material, research publications and data sets related to emerging markets. Based at INSEAD’s Asia campus in Singapore, and set up in partnership with the Economic Development Board of Singapore in September 2014, the Emerging Markets Institute reflects the changing focus of global growth.

About Universum

Universum is the global leader in employer branding. Advising the leading employers in the world to better understand, attract and recruit talent. During our 25+ years we have established ourselves in 60 markets with 15 offices covering the world. Our solutions are actionable research, strategic advisory, data driven communication solutions – and being a pioneer in social media solutions in the world for talent branding, sourcing and analytics. A trusted partner to over 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports, with 2,000 partner universities worldwide conducting research on the career and employer preferences of top talent. Universum surveys on an annual basis over 1,500,000 students and professionals worldwide. For more information, please go to

About The HEAD Foundation

The HEAD Foundation is an international charitable organization set up in 2013 in Singapore to contribute to the development of Asia. We focus on issues around human capital, education, leadership and sustainability. With an in-house research and project management team, we support research initiatives and social projects related to the above issues. We also run workshops and training programs with scholars, researchers and experts from around the world. To share our knowledge with the community, we publish books, produce research reports and host public events on a regular basis. In the long run, we target to influence policies and create positive social impact which will contribute to the sustainable development of Asia.

About MIT Leadership Center

At MIT’s Leadership Center (MLC), we are dedicated to the study and practice of modern leadership where people who will change our world won’t be defined by titles. They’re the ones who discern big problems, spot opportunities, and rally others to collectively hack them in creative ways. They lead through their actions every day. Since 2005, the MIT Leadership Center has served as a platform to reframe the conventional definition of leadership. By offering access to cutting-edge research, education, and dynamic conversations, we strengthen the capacity of individuals, teams and organizations to develop innovative solutions to complex problems and develop the next generation of leaders worldwide.

About INSEAD, The Business School for the World

As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to develop responsible leaders who transform business and society. Our research, teaching and partnerships reflect this global perspective and cultural diversity.

With locations in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore), the Middle East (Abu Dhabi), and now North America (San Francisco), INSEAD's business education and research spans four regions. Our 162 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our Master in Management,  MBAGlobal Executive MBA, Specialised Master’s degrees (Executive Master in Finance and Executive Master in Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 10,000 executives participate in INSEAD Executive Education programmes each year.

INSEAD continues to conduct cutting-edge research and innovate across all our programmes. We provide business leaders with the knowledge and awareness to operate anywhere. Our core values drive academic excellence and serve the global community as The Business School for the World.

Contacts for press: 

Aileen Huang
Tel +65 9008 3812
Email: [email protected]
Cheryl Ng
Tel +65 8750 0788
Email: [email protected]
Gwenaelle Hennequin
Tel +33 6 15 12 10 86
Email: [email protected]