The Travelin' Librarian Management As work gets more ambiguous, younger generations may be less equipped for it

As work gets more ambiguous, younger generations may be less equipped for it

To explore the consequences of people’s attitudes towards ambiguity, we surveyed 800 workers from a range of industries. Participants responded to a set of 45 statements such as “I get anxious taking on problems that don’t have a definite solution” and “I like engaging with complex work problems”. We asked all participants about their age, experience, income and professional competencies. A subset also rated their colleagues on leadership, creativity and teamwork.

The results showed substantial generational differences in attitudes: 70% of Generation Y respondents (those aged 24 to 37) scored below the average (mean) score on the questionnaire; Generations Z and Y (those aged 18 to 37) were twice as likely as older workers to score in the bottom 10% (those with the most negative attitudes), and about half as likely to score in the top 10% (the most positive attitudes).

Our research indicates three traits common to workers who cope well with ambiguity:

they report remaining calm and composed in the face of ambiguity

they have a strong desire for challenging work, reporting a strong preference for novelty and risk over routine

they have skills that enable them to manage uncertainty, reporting being very good at planning, utilising resources and problem-solving.

Among younger workers, our findings point to a paradox. Generations Y and Z express just as much desire for novel, challenging work as older workers. But they lack the skills and confidence required to manage uncertainty when it occurs, and are more likely to become anxious.

These results challenge a common stereotype about younger people: that being “digital natives” means they are equipped with the skills required to adapt and innovate. Our study found strong evidence to the contrary.

Read the full article @ The Conversation
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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