Followers and Commitment in the Workplace 2011-01-0080
In established organizations, leadership involves followers and leaders. Leader roles are primarily assumed and assigned by and to older organizational members, i.e., baby boomers. Follower roles are populated with members of all generations. As baby boomers attrite and retire, Gen-Xers move into organizational leadership roles. Demographers tell us the Gen-Xers will be replaced by the Gen-Y. Each generation is thought to possess unique characteristics that impact performance in the workplace, positively and negatively. Proactive management is required to meld the inter-generational workforce into a cohesive, performing unit. This paper reports on research studying differences in commitment across the follower component of leadership in the transportation industry. The paper concludes with organizational strategies for managing the inter-generational workforce within the organization as each generation transitions into leadership roles. These strategies, or coping mechanisms, address how each generation can accept and aid the leadership transition process.