Generation Y videnarbejdere: Ledelsesudfordringer og muligheder

Anni Bech Sørensen & Jakob Lundvig Færch

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose – From a qualitative perspective, the purpose of this thesis is to explore the discursive construction of Generation Y and to examine which challenges and possibilities the leadership of Generation knowledge workers entails and, specifically, how self-leadership theory can meet Generation Y’s need and expectations for leadership. Design/methodology/approach – From a social constructivist perspective, using a hermeneutic analysis strategy, this thesis explores the phenomenon of Generation Y as it appears in academic literature and in the media. The thesis complements the quantitative research already done on the subject, with a qualitative study based on interviews with four Generation Y knowledge workers and their immediate managers. The thesis draws upon late modern sociology to examine the context in which Generation Y has been formed - as well as the late modern theory of selfleadership, which which seems to meet some needs and expectations of the Generation Y knowledge worker. Findings – The thesis presents the consequences of the late modern society in which Generation Y grew up. It also investigates how the phenomenon of Generation Y is constructed in the academic and popular literature, a discursive construction which suggests that the expectations and needs for leadership of this group are different from earlier generations. This thesis contribute to an in-depth understanding of the young knowledge workers’ underlying needs and provides managers with an insight and opportunity to understand the Generation Y knowledge worker and, thereby, enabling managers to act in a field of tension between the young employees’ ambiguous needs and expectations. Self-leadership can meet some of the Generation Y knowledge workers expectations but also reveals challenges in meeting other expectations of the same employees. Practical implications – Employers of Generation Y knowledge workers need to make more of an effort to understand what really drives this generation and how to lead them. Generation Y knowledge workers are aware of the benefits of being a numerically small generation and, therefore, employers need to act to make certain that they remain attractive to this new group entering the workplace. Originality/value – The main contribution of this thesis is to add qualitative data to supplement the extensive quantitative research already done on Generation Y. Furthermore, this paper offers managers a perspective on the challenges and possibilities of the Generation Y knowledge workers, currently engaging the Danish labour market.

EducationsMSocSc in Human Resource Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages124