As we look at generational differences, is there a broader framework that can be used by each one of us to reflect on our own unique locations and realities?
Applying the cultural dimensions work of Hofstede, Edward Hall and Trompenaars to the generational diversity context, I have attempted to create a model that looks at generational differences through cultural filters. A few points must be noted:
I have presented 7 dimensions in two polarities. The three generations – Our Parents, Us and our Kids (defined) are along this continuum. While directionally, they are in a sequence, individual realities across dimensions will vary widely.
Generational differences do not make anyone good or bad – they are merely a reflection of the times we live in.
The three generations are not equidistant in space. Us appear to be in the middle but not really so. So too our parents and kids in their locations. All of us are somewhere in the continuum. Who is closer to whom and who is further removed across dimensions is a matter for reflection.
Here are of course a few big questions to ask ourselves:
To what extent are we judging or understanding or accepting these differences?
Right now, who sees the greatest need to bridge the differences and hold the three worlds together?
Who has whose back right now and does it keep changing?
What are the blessings and stressors in each generation? Can any generation have it all? Who had / is having a better life, according to whom?
What skills and mind-sets help individuals in each generation remain happy?
Every generation is at a unique place at any given time not all by its own making. An empathetic view might lead to some good conversations.