{Study} Generation Y international with relevance for global companies: There are big cultural differences


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The leadership qualities of Generation Y were recently discussed vigorously thanks to a study by the Manager Magazine: Demanding but without leadership aspirations, that was their conclusion. What was forgotten: not only in the West, there is a Generation Y, but also in China, India and the Middle East. And that is for global acting Company Interesting. A study provides information about this.


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How has the generation Y been assessed so far?

Together with the manager magazin the personnel consultation Odgers Berndtson had 500 Company In their opinion about the newcomers to the job interviewed today and found: The Generation Y is considered to be agile and self-confident, but at the same time she has little desire for career and leadership responsibility.

By contrast, Sophia von Rundstedt, managing partner at von Rundstedt HR Partners, suggests in her blog post “The CEO of the future” that companies prepare the young professionals for their future leadership role with accompanying coaching measures.

For global companies relevant: Generation Y international

An aspect that is neglected in both cases, but which is increasingly interesting for global companies: Generation Y is not the same as Generation Y, as the study “Generation Y and their managers around the world” by the Ashridge Business School shows. There are big cultural differences.

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The authors of the study Sue Honoré and Carina Paine Schofield, both scientists at Ashridge Business School, interviewed young people around the world from October 2011 to August 2012 2.895. With 96 participants, they also conducted personal and telephone interviews.

similarities and differences

Although the Generation Y is generally well educated, self-confident and grown up with X-Factor, Facebook and Smartphone. Rapid and far-reaching technological, political and cultural changes have strongly influenced their development.

However, young professionals, especially in the Western world, have very different priorities from the generations before them and a very different understanding of leadership than their superiors. And professional experience gets more attention.

Respect for seniors and hierarchies in the East

On the other hand, respect for elderly persons and hierachies, especially in eastern cultures, is strongly marked. Decisions are often made by small teams and are less transparent in lower hierarchical levels. This often leads to frustration, particularly among young internationally experienced employees or those who live abroad.

Another result: While the “work-life balance” and personal development opportunities play a major role in England, Europe and the United States, it is of little importance in the Eastern world.

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Local Results

  • In the Middle East, family ties are of great importance. As a result, the representatives of Generation Y are sometimes less likely to go abroad to gain additional experience.
  • Graduates in India and the UK are particularly reluctant to move, while graduates in Malaysia are more local.
  • And representatives of Generation Y in China are more likely to be characterized by a theoretical and technical training and are not sufficiently prepared in practice.

Cultural conditions influence the personality more strongly than generational affiliation

Such results show that the cultural context of a country plays a major role in personal development and significantly influences the behavior of managers and graduates - an additional challenge for global companies.

In three other core topics, the study deals with the topics of work expectation, work experience and attitudes / behavior of managers and young employees.

Managers and graduates have different visions

She explains the methods and gives new insights in the areas of personnel procurement, attitude, leadership and employee retention of Gen Y employees and contains case studies showing how innovative employers work with young talents.

It turns out that there are obviously also great differences in the perception of graduates and their managers: Generation Y also applies here as intelligent and self-conscious, but obviously leaves the lack of emotional intelligence.

On the other hand, managers often believe that Generation Y is a coach and mentor, but graduates do not see this role being filled. Internationally operating companies should therefore take into account the cultural influences of the respective country when planning their company strategy.

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  1. Debbie Reutlinger

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