Employee benefits as context for intergenerational conflict

John C. Dencker, Aparna Joshi, Joseph J. Martocchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Researchers have illuminated our understanding of how employee benefits systems are designed to motivate employees to perform jobs in a variety of settings. Benefits systems in U.S. companies generally rest on the assumption that employees have similar attitudes toward and will be motivated similarly by these systems. Several demographic trends in the U.S. work force call into question this assumption. The purpose of this article is to encourage researchers to consider how employee benefits practices may detract from the primary goal of motivating workers to perform their jobs well in the context of the changing demographics of the U.S. workforce. We do so by demonstrating implications of age heterogeneity for the effectiveness of benefits practices. In order to do so, we draw on research from multiple disciplines to show how age related norms are institutionalized, how generational identities and values are created, how intergenerational conflict may manifest in the workplace, and how benefits systems that do not take into account the social dynamics pertinent to age may trigger/sustain intergenerational conflict in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-220
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Resource Management Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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