Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access


Political Science Department


Dr. Diane Oyler

Department Home page

First Reader

Dr. Diane Oyler

Second Reader

Mr. Frank Ciaccia


This study examines the impact of generational differences in the workplace, with a focus on public employees in the Erie County Department of Social Services. The differing values and learning styles in the multi-generational workforce present challenges for public service managers as to how to effectively address these differences in the workplace. Previous studies indicate there are differences between the generations as to how they navigate in the workplace. The findings suggest that there are certain instances where the generational divide is clearer such as in the use of technology and communication styles such as texting and social media. A survey which was modified from the Survey Report on Generational Differences from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2004 was distributed by email to 110 employees with 35 responses received. The research found that the differences in learning and motivation between the generations exist in some areas, while in other areas the responses did not present a substantial difference in motivations and learning. One of the most notable differences was the response to the question: do you consider yourself technologically savvy? 51.43% of the respondents answered yes while 48.57% of the respondents answered no. The cross tabulation result showed 76.92% of Baby Boomers did not consider themselves technologically savvy, while 100% of Millennials did consider themselves technologically savvy. Generation X’s cross tabulation result showed less disparity with 56.25% replying yes, they consider themselves tech savvy while 43.75% replied no. This is important for learning in the workplace as the advancement of technology changes the how the worker effectively accomplishes their work assignments in the contemporary office setting.