Motivation and Management of the Danish Generation Relation

Natacha Constance Dalgas Schmiegelow

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to challenge the existing theoretical framework of Generation Y (GY) and its applicability to the Danish working GY, born between 1980 and 2000. The results of this thesis are based on a cross-national study with 23 qualitative interviews with respondents from GY and five managers. Backed up by quantitative data from 116 respondents, the data revealed several discrepancies between the framework, which is mainly based on American research, and the motivational factors amongst the Danish GY. These divergences can be explained using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and thus highlight the importance of national culture in shaping motivational factors. Instead of using the term GY, a more suitable term for the Danish GY, which applies across Denmark and industries, is presented: Generation Relation (GR). This term only contains the motivational factors, which apply across geography and industries: close interpersonal relations, professional development, autonomy, flexibility and frequent feedback. The term is based on a more holistic approach to motivation, where the situational needs of the individual GR-employee constitutes the core. This approach acknowledges that GR want to be perceived as individuals and do not distinguish between who they are at work or privately. Hence the term work-life blending, rather than work-life balance is introduced, which also entails that the contract between employer and employee has moved from a loyalty contract to a well-being contract, where investment in the GRemployee and their personal well-being and growth are key. This thesis rejects the negative narrative surrounding GY as demanding and narcissistic, which are unjustified and have a stigmatizing effect. Instead, a more positive narrative, in line with McGregor’s Theory Y, should be applied in order to reap the benefits and large potential of GR. The war for talent requires adaption from managers in order to attract and retain GR. In practice, managers should use a more coaching approach to GR, thus acknowledging their individual needs and set short-term negotiable goals, give daily, informal feedback as well as autonomy within a clear framework. Finally, in line with the well-being contract, managers should take time building trust and show genuine concern for GR and their well-being, as well as create space for socializing at the workplace.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages86