What motivates professional early millennials in the workplace and what is the best way to manage them to reach their potential?

Posted by in eMBA, Leadership, Organizational Behaviour

“A generation change is happening in the work force. In 2025, 3 out of 4 workers in the world will be millennials (Schawbel, 2012). But one doesn’t have to wait 10 years to see this coming, the millennials are already in the work force and their values, their attitude to work and motivation has and will forever change the working environment. Companies have started to understand that in order to be more competitive, they should adopt Theory Y theories, which means to involve and engage their employees vertically, have less task specialisation and use collaborative teams. Entering a work place today is very different from how it was 20 years back.

Motivation at the work place has been thoroughly researched for the last 100 years, somewhat starting with Freud in 1939. With industrialization making it necessary to understand the motivation of the workers better, this question has interested researchers. The contemporary research is not missing either, Latham, G. and Pinder, C. (2005) made a literature review of 205 sources of work motivation theory, and this is just between 1993-2003. However, the review doesn’t contain anything about the specifics to millennials.

Consultancy companies like PwC and Deloitte are very interested in millennials, as it’s their business to recruit talent, and they have done their own surveys to understand the group better. Being a group, many of the research focus on telling the audience about the specifics around this group, but usually fail to mention that this group also are very different within. It can’t be that all people born between 1980-2000 thinks, acts and gets motivated in the same way. There are a lot of major differences just within the group.
What motivates millennials seems to be very different from Generation X. Despite this wide understanding, there are still companies that acts like nothing has happened, and they are losing talent and their competitive advantage.”

This is the background section of the Master Thesis I’m working on. This is a very interesting topic that has been written a lot about online. But a missing piece is the difference between millennials. I aim to look more into this.

If you want to help me, I will very soon post a survey online and on this blog. Please fill it out – if you feel you want to contribute.


Latham, G. and Pinder, C. (2005) Work Motivation Theory and Research at the Dawn of the 21st Century. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 485–516.
Schawbel, D (March 29, 2012) “Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: Who Would You Rather Hire?” Time, URL: http://business.time.com/2012/03/29/millennials-vs-baby-boomers-who-would-you-rather-hire/ Accessed on [January 11th 2016).