Saturday, August 23, 2008

Challenging generational stereotypes

I hate the use of stereotypes. It is a lazy way defining large groups of people. The trouble is stereotypes have a horrible habit of becoming embedded into the way marketers think, with disastrous results.

It is always refreshing to read research that forces us to rethink how we perceive the mindset of the young and older generations.

Here are a couple of examples.

All over the EU, it's the young who are sceptics
This suggests that the young are far less enamoured with the EU than the old.
In every recent referendum - France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, even Luxembourg - "Yes" votes (in favour of the EU) came disproportionately from the over-50s. To people brought up with broadband and cheap flights, the idea that political structures should be dictated by geographical proximity seems bizarre.
Generation Y aren't as adaptable or efficient as older workers
Employees in their 20s - often known as ‘Generation Y' - have been found to be less adaptable to variety and change, less likely to be good decision-makers and less likely to cope with a fast pace of work.

They were also found to be less organised, less keen on planning their workload and less efficient than other generations.
I am not for an instant saying that there is much validity in either of these research conclusions.

Their value is in making us reappraise the “well known fact” assumptions that determine so many of our decisions. Dick Stroud

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