Leading through Generations: Understanding Leadership Preferences across Generations. A Nordea Case Study

Federica Giuseppini

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines the relationship between leadership styles and different generations and thereby aims to explore what is the relation between different generations and leadership styles in an organizational context. The study focuses especially on individuals’ perception of leadership across different generations. This focus should thereby help to understand what people from different generations perceive as good or as bad leadership. In order to understand these perceptions, the thesis first analyzes existing leadership theories and summarizes them as specific leadership styles. The theoretical basis is in a next step used to make sense of the collected interview data from 18 interviews, which are part of my case study “Nordea”. Especially related to the topic of generations, only little data exists. Therefore, the combination of existing leadership theory with interview data across different age groups should shed some light on the relationship between leadership styles and generations. This paper concludes that across different generations, some very specific personal needs are related to the perception of good leadership. By being aware of these needs and integrating them for example in leadership training, companies can make sure to provide different generations with good leaders. Further research should focus on explaining leadership preferences not only with generational theories but considering other factors such as personal experience, culture or gender. Also, the relationship between generations and leadership has not been researched in a quantitative way yet. Looking at this subject from a quantitative angle could thereby showcase interesting correlations.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages277
SupervisorsAlice Neusiedler