Managers in various businesses continue to grapple with generational difference among their workforce. Challenges and problems often arise in communication styles and the diverse mindset of employees in different generations. In organizations, the friction between the young and the old generation may be aggravated by the advancement of technology and working patterns that mix employees of different ages in dynamic teams (Ozcelik, 2015).
The aging generation of Baby boomers is considered to be more competitive and perceive an ideology that workers should pay their dues as soon as they arise. Generation X is considered to be skeptical and independent-minded. Generation Y or the millennial is more focused on teamwork, feedbacks and are friendlier to technology (Bristow, 2015). Organizations face a huge challenge when attempting to effectively address the diverse values, perceptions, and expectations of these diverse generations. Managers are required to be careful not to get involved in the blanket stereotypes and also ensure that the old workers are not disadvantaged or increase their risk retention problems and legal battles.
As the business opportunities and management styles in the Eurozone continue growing, the Greenfield investment data revealed that Italy has been one of the blocs where commerce and employment have reached a black spot (Bigoni et al., 2016). Although Italy’s attractiveness to foreign investment has been on the rise, in the past five decades, the businesses in the south still lag behind compared to most of its peers. The North-South problem in Italy has caused a huge difference. The northern region is relatively wealthy and attracts a third of all the Foreign Greenfield Investment since 2009.
Management styles and engagement policies between different generations
The politics of generations in management in modern-day Italy has been very complicated. According to Bull (2017), the company executives of Nestle Sisto in Perugia made an appalling proposal of that employees would be required to make 25% cut on their salary so that their children can be guaranteed a work opportunity in the organization. While this course of action was totally condemned, research shows that majority of the employees really supported that idea (Biggs, 2018). This incidence shows a sore relationship between the different generations that exist in Italy and the challenges they experience. The act of blaming the baby boomers as the course of management challenges and social problems for their selfishness has become common (Yi, Ribbens & Cheng, 2015). The crash between generations is also credited with being the cause of nepotism, corruption, and cementation of political hegemony that has continually benefitted only the older generations.
First generation (babyboomers)
Baby boomer is a descriptive term that is used to refer to a group of people who were born between the mid-1940s and mid-1960s. Also known as the silent generation, it comprises of a significant fraction of the global population especially the developed countries. In Italy, this is the generation that is blamed for all the problems that the country undergoes. Despite being born at a time when there were numerous opportunities in terms of employment, education, and business, this old-age consumes about 15% of the country’s GDP and 57% of social spending. This is the generation that is considered to have had the poorest management styles that have caused miseries to Italy. Most of them still hold onto offices and are adamant to allow the younger generation to exercise their leadership abilities. This disparity happens despite having a high unemployment rate of the younger generations (Wiedmer, 2015).
They comprise of a group of people who were born between the early 1970s and late 1980s. Generation X management style is aimed at removing the fossilized gerontocracy that has impoverished the country along political lines. This generation has blamed the baby boomers for much of the problems that the younger generations in Italy encounter. These engagement policies seek to create a harmonious working relationship between the south and the north and ensure equitable distribution of resources between the young and the old. The poor management styles of the baby boomers and massive integration failures have led to youth unemployment. The rebuttal of the situation by the generation X who felt stifled by the older generation of leaders who drove the public debt and unemployment rates to crippling levels to keep the jobs for themselves.
This group is also called the millennial and comprise of those people who were born in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They form the majority of the unemployed youth and most of them still live with their parents. Therefore, generation Y in Italy cannot be guaranteed the same quality of life like that of the baby boomers or their grandparents. This situation led to the creation of social groups whose expressions were made through the media.
Among the most noticeable features in the electronic technology, there are three key characteristics that make the media particularly intriguing. These characteristics include the way they have overcome the limits of physical space, allow people to remain anonymous and connect the youth with a particular culture. The media was able to unify the dispersed people across Italy and beyond thus creating a virtual gathering space despite being geographically fragmented (Wiedmer, 2015). According to Sedra and Smith (2016), there is a high correlation between the second generation of Italians with frequent and serious crimes. The findings suggest that the self –reported deviant behaviors among the Italian second generation is highly correlated with generational conflict, weak family bonds, the perception of stigma and relatively higher influence of the information age.
A decade ago, making 1,000 euros was a huge nightmare to many overqualified young people in Italy with the unemployment rate reaching as high as 47%. In December 2005, a group underemployed youths in their thirties joined together to form a club that was known as the thousand-euro generation’. This group later spawned novel and movie in regards to the predicament of the overqualified Italians living in poverty or earning under less than 1,000 per month. Since the advent of the thousand euro generation, unemployment among the youths has increased and the wage rates by approximate 40% before the thousand euro generation were formed. The current generation of the workforce between the ages of 25 and 34 years has an unemployment rate of comprised of 50%. However, the state-sponsored initiatives such as internships and apprenticeships bore fruits as it was able to provide the youths with the much-needed job experience to undertake the high paying jobs.
Strategies for Achieving Engagement Policies
The government has been encouraging the managers of different organizations to undertake training on social issues in order to adapt to the changing work environments and also actively engage the different generations rather than trying to change the staff (Cascio, 2018). Organizations often facilitate mentorship programs to all employees as a way of encouraging cross-generational interaction. The younger employees are encouraged to learn experience and wisdom from the older generation.
The offering of different working options presented by advancement in telecommunication and the privilege of working offsite aims at focusing on the product other than the process of doing the job (Harvey & Allard, 2015). This change can give the employees some degree of flexibility on how they want to work and stay in the organization regardless of where one likes to spend time working. People management skills are essential when dealing with different generations in business. However, lack of human resource institutions that can manage people puts the organization at a severe disadvantage especially in a market where top talents may be required. Therefore, managing generations in Italy is likely to improve effectiveness, performance, and profitability in the organization. Modern workforce mirrors a global marketplace and organizations must focus on creating a diverse workforce do minimize disparity in organizational growth.
The North-South Divide and Generational Gap in Italy
This divide between the north and south is not new; it has existed since 1861 when the unification process led by the northern kingdom of Piedmont was initiated. In agriculture, industrialization and transport development, the policy makers in the north have been making sound decisions in regards to investment and business growth. The North had very fertile plains that offered ample cultivable land using the modern methods such as fertilizers, mechanized tools, and irrigation schemes. The baby boomer generation facilitated the developments and improvements made the firms more productive and efficient. In addition, the north had diverse and profitable agricultural activities such as cultivation of grapes, dates, cone alongside dairy farming. The farms were also run by capitalist tenant farmers who employed the landless farm laborers on contracts, a tradition that later became a norm.
The decision and adoption of policies that allowed mechanization of farming practices led to the acceleration of the commerce and industrialization in total contrast with southern Italy. The south comprised of the mountainous poor farmlands that were characterized by hot dry climate making it unsuitable for any form of agriculture. The coastal plains were also infested with malaria reducing the amount of land that was suitable for agriculture. In addition, the poor landholding policies compounded the underdevelopment problem in the south because the system of latifundia encouraged noble owning of estates. This left the population with very little interest in land as they also rejected the new farming methods resulting in more than 70% of the population living in poverty. Unification of the two regions did not yield any investment or industrialization opportunity to the south and until now it has remained behind most of the European markets (González, 2011).
However, there are many other factors that have impacted on the stability of the country such as the weakening of the Italian Parliamentary government, opposing groups and the advent of the nationalist politics. The baby boomers and the generation X have been very active in maintaining cultural and political differences between the North and the South leading to development diversity. Cultural and political differences contributed to the existence of the divide and disparities in development policies between the two parts. Dialectic variation created political, religious and cultural barriers which turned to be development obstacles, especially for the south. The northern lingua bore a close resemblance to that of Italians while the southern dialects borrow a lot from Sicily. This great disparity in the Italian Peninsula completely undermined the fundamental goals of the Liberals to unite Italy. Although Italy has constitutionally been considered as a unified state, in reality, it exists as two divided nations which hence diminish the political efficiency of a united country. The regional disparity in Italy has hampered the growth and development of the country on many fronts. This divide is a widely known management problem but despite this awareness, the issues do not appear to become easier to solve.
When conducting this research, the researcher will team will collect all the necessary information from print and digital sources for methodological analysis of peer-reviewed and publications from January 2000 to the most recent up to March 2018. The main search strategy will be based on the headings of Italy’s business growth, management styles and generational policy as the key subject and other words relating to the subject. The ultimate search citation will include the north-south divide, unification of Italy, disparity between the north and south as well as other topics of interest.
Figure 1: An Analytical framework for analyzing for management styles of different generations in Italy
The search journals and articles were only restricted to those written in English and those that involved discussion of the national subject. Through the use of the available peer-reviewed studies and articles, the researcher will conduct a supplementary search on the online catalogue to establish whether the systematic review will effectively address the information gap (McGowan, et al., 2016). The search will then be extended to national archives of Italian government institutions such as the parliament to identify the social, political, generational and management issues raised about the divide. The websites included those relating to proceedings of the Italian parliament, different government ministries and departments, and statistics from the European Union. The search was then completed with a digital databank with a manual search on the citations from different authors of peer-reviewed articles on matters of principle.
Selection of the study
Using the outlined inclusion and exclusion criteria, the reviewer assessed the abstract and titles of the sources for relevance based on the summarized table below. The identified articles and journals were saved for further reviews and future references. Each article was then analyzed for eligibility criteria. Any disagreement arising from the inclusion and exclusion parameters was forwarded to a neutral reviewer for further assessment of its credibility. Some search and selection criteria were further modified for additional evaluation of the adverse effects so as to take care of the non-comparative studies such as case reports and case studies.
Adult at least the age of 18
Involving the historical development of north-south disparity in Italy
Any unrelated topic
– Business growth
No relevant outcome
Italy or the European Union
Random selection of data samples
Secondary data analysis
Observed studies, including non-comparative and non-randomized comparative studies
Published from 2000 to up to date
Strictly published in English
Published 2000 or later
Table 1: Summarized inclusion and rejection criteria
Quality assessment of the research materials
By introducing the quality criteria for each material obtained, the researcher was able to abstract the article summary to evaluate the quality score for each source. The most appropriate data was eventually selected based on their effectiveness in providing information about Italy. The main quality criteria included; adequacy in concealment of personal identities, comprehensive follow-ups, group comparability, acknowledgment of other’s contribution and legitimacy of the results.
What are the merits of the management styles adopted by businesses in Italy in uniting the different generations?
What are the most appropriate methods for creating an engagement policy between various generations in Italy?
The significance of the study
According to McGowan (2016), in order to understand the history Italy, this research study will undertake a systematic review of the different generations in the creation of engagement policy in Italy that seeks to create a level playing ground between the north and the south. Detailed analysis of this topic will provide the researcher with merits and demerits of the policies that have been put in place historically to ensure that the two regions grow simultaneously.
The researcher will conduct a systematic review of the available literature based on a random assessment using the data obtained from secondary sources such as books, newspapers, journals, business reports, and online sources.
Criteria for selection of materials
The researcher will include a random collection of materials relating to the historical and social development of Italy. The studies will be restricted to those that talk about Italy since 1896 with the assumption that this period was when the north and south problems began. Most recent materials that provide information of recent development in the region will also be considered to provide a different view of current development in terms of policy to the country.
Data collection and analysis
After completing the assessment of the materials obtained, the viability of completeness and quantitative synthesis will be determined by exploring the volume of the literature, theoretical uniformity and extensiveness of the data reported. Once the analysis is found to complete, the researcher will employ content analysis to develop quantitative output from the data.
There are no merits of the management styles adopted by businesses in Italy in uniting the different generations.
There are no appropriate methods for creating an engagement policy between various generations in Italy.
The scope of this research will deal with data collected about the country Italy between the years 2001 to present. The subject matter in which the researcher limited himself/herself was on managing generational differences in business between the two regions of Italy.
Formulation of proposal’s statement of the problem.
Development of Research Objectives and research questions.
Compilation of the literature on research topic and conceptual framework.
Determination of research methodology and formulation of the questionnaire.
Conduction of Pilot study.
Collection of data and Data analysis.
Summary, drawing of conclusion and drawing and submission of the project to the department.
Biggs, S. (2018). Adapting to an aging society: The need for cultural change. Policy Quarterly, 10(3).
Bigoni, M., Bortolotti, S., Casari, M., Gambetta, D., & Pancotto, F. (2016). Amoral familism, social capital, or trust? The behavioral foundations of the Italian North-South divide. The Economic Journal, 126(594), 1318-1341.
Bristow, J. (2015). Baby boomers and generational conflict. Springer.
Bull, A. (2017). Speaking out and Silencing: Culture, society and politics in Italy in the 1970s. Routledge.
Cascio, W. (2018). Managing human resources. McGraw-Hill Education.
González, S. (2011). The North/South divide in Italy and England: Discursive construction of regional inequality. European Urban and Regional Studies, 18(1), 62-76.
Harvey, C. P., & Allard, M. (2015). Understanding and managing diversity: Readings, cases, and exercises. Pearson.
McGowan, J., Sampson, M., Salzwedel, D. M., Cogo, E., Foerster, V., & Lefebvre, C. (2016). PRESS peer review of electronic search strategies: 2015 guideline statement. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 75, 40-46.
Ozcelik, G. (2015). Engagement and retention of the millennial generation in the workplace through internal branding. International Journal of Business and Management, 10(3), 99.
Sedra, A.S. and Smith, K.C., (2016). A second-generation current conveyor and its applications. IEEE Transactions on circuit theory, 17(1), pp.132-134.
Wiedmer, T. (2015). Generations do differ: Best practices in leading traditionalists, boomers, and generations X, Y, and Z. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 82(1), 51.
Yi, X., Ribbens, B., Fu, L., & Cheng, W. (2015). Variation in career and workplace attitudes by generation, gender, and culture differences in career perceptions in the United States and China. Employee Relations, 37(1), 66-82.
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