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Business Research Assignment: Engaging Different Generations in IBM


Task: Choose an organization of your choice and prepare a business research assignment illustrating the engagement of different generations in the workplace.


1. Research Background
The primary goal of the management is to provide an organisational culture where the employees get to collaborate with all the generations so that disengagement effects can be reduced. Through generation engagement, there will be the maximisation of the strengths and talents. According to Shuler et al., (2016), there is an understanding of generational characteristics needed for governing the diversity at the workplace. There are certain tactics which are required for effective communication and also employee engagement. However, there are certain barriers in case of engaging people from different generations in the workplace. It is the duty of the managers to know the multigenerational working behaviour so that conflicts can be handled and inclusive and efficient workplace can be created (Chandra, 2018). Usually, there are five main generations like traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X, millennials and Generation Z.

In this research, it will be essential to know how engagement can be done between the different generations in the workplace. The focus of the study will be on IBM Australia. It will be necessary to identify all the challenges and solutions for handling generation issues at the workplace. There is a shift in the values as the people are ageing. It can be said that productivity and efficient services are the main requirements of companies (Lapoint&Liprie-Spence, 2017). Hence it will be crucial to solving this problem. The companies can be in a competitive position only when the staffs have the ability to manage and recognizing the differences which embrace the behaviours and beliefs of each generation.

2. Objective of the research

  • To understand the concept of engaging with different generations at the workplace
  • To identify the issues of engagement among the different generation in IBM Australia
  • To find solutions and strategies for employee engagement in various generations at IBM Australia

3. Research Questions
RQ1. What is meant by engaging with various generations in the workplace?
RQ2. What are the challenges in case of engaging with different generation in IBM Australia?
RQ3. What strategies and solutions should be implemented for employee engagement in different generations at IBM Australia?

4. Key points in the literature
4.1 Concepts and theory of engagement

Employee engagement is a dynamic experience which involves some independent activities that enhance the career efficacy of the employees. It also means to invest mental efforts and positive emotions so that success can be achieved by the organisations. According to Kang & Sung, (2017), engagement is centred on the work engagement and how well the employees are performing their duties. Being engaged means to have a state of mind, where there is engrossment in the role as an individual or a team member. It is found that one of the success indicators in the organisation is internal communication. Employee engagement is affecting organisational competitiveness and effectiveness.

Generational Cohort Theory
It is found that generation is known as a social construction in which the individuals are born in a similar period but their experiences are the same. However, there is a difference between one generation cohorts to the other. In most of the organisations, there are four main generations (Jones, Murray &Tapp, 2018). They are having varying expectations from the workplace. This standpoint is based on intrinsic and extrinsic ways. It is found that there is a war of talents and hence it is necessary for the knowledge transfer among the generations is important (Meng, Reber& Rogers, 2017). It is the duty of the organisations to have a clear understanding of various dynamics which is attributed to each of the generations.

4.2 Challenges in engaging with generations at the workplace
There is a certain challenge in the modern workforce and it is difficult for the managers to deal with the situation. The first challenge is age. In the organisations, there is age diversity which is making difficult for the managers to learn about the traits. Due to the age difference, there are issues with flexibility in the workplace (Suomäki, Kianto&Vanhala, 2019). The next challenge values. It is found that the employees vary in terms of influential events like economic recessions, technological development and many more. It is vital to manage the diverse attitude in the organisation. There is some gap found in communication due to the differences in style between the older and the younger employees (Kicheva, 2017). There are serious battles in the organisation due to the communicational differences.

4.3 Strategies for engaging with different generations
It is important for the business managers to adjust according to the style of management so that effectiveness can be improved among the generations. The managers need to educate themselves so that the needs of all the ages can be managed (Bindu, 2017). Firstly there should be some flexibility because everyone is having a different way of working. Multiple communication channels should be used when the employees are addressed (, 2020). Each of the generations is having a different set of expectations and hence it is important for the managers to look after it.

5. Research Methodology
5.1 Research Philosophy

The philosophy of the research mainly handles the source, nature and knowledge development (Žukauskas, Vveinhardt&Andriukaitien?, 2018). It is mainly the belief that data can be collected by a phenomenon which needs to be collected, analysed and used properly. Further, it is necessary to formulate the beliefs according to philosophy. The four main types are positivism, pragmatism, interpretivism and realism. The researcher will be following positivism philosophy. This method relates to the viewpoint that the researcher mainly needs to concentrate on the facts. The method is quite structured and large samples can be taken. Hence the researcher will be getting an opportunity to analyse all the different generations for understanding the engagement in the workplace.

5.2 Research Approach
The approach of the research usually comprises of procedure and plan that is having the steps of assumption which helps in the method of data collection, analysis and interpretation (Snyder, 2019). There are two types one is deductive and the other one is inductive. The researcher will be making use of the deductive approach. It will be helpful in deducing certain conclusions. The researcher will be having an abundance of sources available, however, the time period will be short. The study can easily be completed by avoiding risks. This approach will allow the researcher to get information on different generation engagement in IBM Australia.

5.3 Research Choice
There is an overall strategy which can be chosen by the researcher for integrating the components of the study in a logical and coherent way and this is known as research choice. Research choice ensures that research problem can be solved in an effective way. It also contributes to the process of collection and analysis of the data. The three types are descriptive, exploratory and explanatory. The researcher will be moving ahead with the descriptive method. This design technique will be providing the researcher with accuracy for describing the population. It will be helpful in answering the research questions. It also helps in investigating more than one variable.

5.4 Time Horizon of the research

Gantt chart in business research assignment

Figure 1: Gantt chart
(Source: Self-Developed)

5.5 Research Strategy
There is overall planning needed for conducting the research study. The strategy of the research helps in planning, executing and monitoring the study (Basias&Pollalis, 2018). There is a high-level of guidance given through the research strategy. There are various types of research strategies. The researcher will be opting for a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews. It is because the researcher wants to understand the views of the managers and the employees through interviews and survey respectively. This will be providing a better view of the researcher about the various generations in the workplace and their issues.

5.6 Sampling
The technique of sampling means to select members from a population that can be included in the study (Gabriel et al. 2019). There are two main types of sampling: probability and non-probability. The researcher will be using both the methods because through survey, numerical data will be collected and through interview non-numerical data will be collected. Given below are the details of sampling for each of the method.

For Survey:
The researcher will be analysing the views of IBM Australia's employees in case of engagement with different generations. There will be 100 employees considered for the survey and they will be between the ages 20 to 50. In this way, the researcher will be able to cover the views of all the generations present in IBM. The close-ended questionnaire will be sent to the employees through email. There will be 15 questions which will be of demographic and subjective nature.

The population of the sample

Size of Sampling

Technique of Sampling

Frame of Sampling

Employees of IBM Australia between the ages of 20 and 50


Simple Random Probability sampling

The questionnaire will be sent through the email

For the interview:
The researcher will be conducting a semi-structured interview where 8 questions will be asked to 3 managers of IBM Australia on generation engagement. The interview will be a face-to-face one. All the information will be non-numerical and hence non-probability sampling will be followed.

The population of the sample

Size of Sampling

Technique of Sampling

Frame of Sampling

Managers of IBM Australia


Non-Probability Sampling

A face-to-face interview will be conducted

5.7 Data Analysis
Data analysis is a process which makes use of the logical techniques for evaluating the data. This is also an important component of data integrity which provides accuracy (Orngreen&Levinsen, 2017). The two types are qualitative and quantitative. The researcher will be using both methods. Through the qualitative data analysis, all the interview answers will be managed. Then the information will be divided into themes and hence the thematic analysis will be done. Further quantitative analysis will be done for the survey results. Information will be displayed in Microsoft Excel by the use of bar graphs and pie charts. Hence in these ways, the solution to the problems can be found.

Reference List
Basias, N., &Pollalis, Y. (2018). Quantitative and qualitative research in business & technology: Justifying a suitable research methodology. Review of Integrative Business and Economics Research, 7, 91-105. [Retrieved from:]

Bindu, P. H. (2017). Engaging the diverse workforce–An Empirical study of Generation X and Y. International Journal of Research in Economics and Social Sciences (IJRESS), 7(4). [Retrieved from:] Chandra, M. (2018). Engaging Different Generations at a Workplace. NOLEGEIN-Journal of Performance Management & Retention Strategies, 12-16. [Retrieved from:]

Gabriel, A. S., Podsakoff, N. P., Beal, D. J., Scott, B. A., Sonnentag, S., Trougakos, J. P., & Butts, M. M. (2019). Experience sampling methods: A discussion of critical trends and considerations for scholarly advancement. Organizational Research Methods, 22(4), 969-1006. [Retrieved from:] (2020). Generational differences at the workplace. Retrieved from:

Jones, J. S., Murray, S. R., &Tapp, S. R. (2018). Generational differences in the workplace. Journal of Business Diversity, 18(2). [Retrieved from:]

Kang, M., & Sung, M. (2017). How symmetrical employee communication leads to employee engagement and positive employee communication behaviors. Journal of Communication Management, 21(1), 2-16. [Retrieved from:]

Kicheva, T. (2017). Management of employees from different generations-Challenge for Bulgarian managers and HR professionals. Economic Alternatives, 1, 103-121. [Retrieved from:] Lapoint, P. A., &Liprie-Spence, A. (2017). Employee engagement: Generational differences in the workforce. Journal of Organizational Psychology, 17(5). [Retrieved from:]

Meng, J., Reber, B. H., & Rogers, H. (2017). Managing millennial communication professionals: Connecting generation attributes, leadership development, and employee engagement. ActaProsperitatis, 8(83,119). [Retrieved from:]

Ørngreen, R., &Levinsen, K. (2017). Workshops as a Research Methodology. Electronic Journal of E-learning, 15(1), 70-81. [Retrieved from:] Rahi, S. (2017). Research design and methods: A systematic review of research paradigms, sampling issues and instruments development. International Journal of Economics & Management Sciences, 6(2), 1-5. [Retrieved from:]

Shuler, H. D., Faulk, K., Hidleburg-Johnson, B., & Williams, D. (2016). Engaging Diverse Generations in the 21 st Century Workplace. International Journal of Business Research and Management, 7(3), 31-39. [Retrieved from:]

Snyder, H. (2019). Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines. Journal of Business Research, 104, 333-339. [Retrieved from:]

Suomäki, A., Kianto, A., &Vanhala, M. (2019). Work engagement across different generations in Finland: a qualitative study of Boomers, Yers and Xers. Knowledge and Process Management, 26(2), 140-151. [Retrieved from:]

Žukauskas, P., Vveinhardt, J., &Andriukaitien?, R. (2018). Philosophy and paradigm of scientific research. Management Culture and Corporate Social Responsibility, 121. [Retrieved from:]

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