Intergenerational Relationship in the Organizations

In a previous post, we have mentioned the fact that the organizations life cycle [...]

"One day, my son, all of this will be yours"

In a previous post, we have mentioned the fact that an organization’s life cycle and consequent formation of leaders is intrinsically connected to the generational aspect and life cycles. In Social Sciences, the area called Sociology of Generations is dedicated to the study of generations and life cycles. We also mentioned that more than grouping a set of individuals born within a single determined time interval, a generation is defined by the common experience that contributes to the expression of a certain way of facing life and its problems.

In a short definition between different generations, the various forms of technology, which follow the same year brackets, represent a clarifying factor that contributes significantly to the understanding of the difference between former generations:


To a large extent,however, due to its dissemination in the area of marketing - the term“generation” has often been reduced to stereotypes constructed around typical behaviors which, on the one hand, assist in understanding a complex phenomenon,whilst on the other, make difficult the approach of intergenerational relationships currently presented in the organizations. Everything moves along as if the generations succeed each other, without taking into account both the relationship between them and the aspects of mutual learning. For the first time, however, at least four generations coexist in the organizational environment:

The constant increase in life expectancy and the drop in the fertility rate, the constant increase of the number of older people and the reduction in the number of young people and children, lead to situations that must be faced. The study “Social Indexes Synthesis (SIS): an analysis of the living conditions of the Brazilian population in 2016”, carried out by IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), highlights that the profile of the working population suffered changes: the proportion of the elderly who are occupied and who received retirement has reduced (from 62.7 % to 53.8%) and the participation of those aged between 60 and 64 who are in the job market increased  (from 47.6% to 52.3%). Among these, 67.7 % started working at the age of 14. Thus, the relationship between different generations will become relevant, due to the aging of the population, an unavoidable phenomenon, that, in Brazil, is moving faster: today 12.6% of the population (24.85 million people) are aged over 60. In 2025, there will be 35 million, and in 2050, one in three people will fall into this bracket.

In the business world, employees with greater longevity, autonomy, quality of life and financial independence, aged over 50, represent an enormous wealth of experience that should not be neglected. The sociological approach sheds light on the relation between generations that includes the acknowledgement of the power relationship - both in family companies and in the scenario of macrosocial solidarity. In the complex world of organizations, the intergenerational approach is much more suitable to the maintenance of organizational programs and succession planning.


Cristina Panella, PhD, MSc

Senior associated at BMI Blue Management Institute.

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