A phenomenological study of the leadership perceptions of the G.I. and Millennial generations
The study of generations has been well established over the centuries, yet the generational perceptions of leadership have been overlooked in the research and literature of leadership studies. According to the research by William Strauss and Neil Howe in Generations, there are four different generational types that are repeated based on historical events. The concept being that since history repeats, generations will repeat. Until recently, people were not living long enough to have five living adult generations present at one time in order to conduct face-to-face interviews with the oldest and youngest generational members.
The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the Millennial and G.I. Generations' perceptions of leadership. Data was collected through semi-structured, individual interviews with six participants within each generation in Midwestern towns. For the purpose of this study, the Millennial Generation was defined as those individuals born between 1982 and the present, and the G.I. Generation was defined as those individuals born between 1901–1924, as outlined by William Strauss and Neil Howe in Generations.
Through in-depth interviews and phenomenological analysis three themes of generational attributes, event impacts, and leadership perceptions emerged. Both the G.I. and Millennial Generations provided insight, stories, and examples in order to outline sub-themes. The generational attributes that both generations spoke of in detail of were that of work ethic, resourcefulness and generosity. The sub-themes of economy, attacks and war, and family life emerged within the theme of event impacts. Yet it was the three sub-themes of belief systems, interaction and leadership insights that solidified the leadership perceptions of the two generations. Their invaluable perspectives allowed the leadership theories of followership and servant leadership to be applied to the findings allowing the G.I. and Millennial Generations a voice in leadership research and application.
0344: Social research
0517: Agricultural education