The Generation Gap and Its Impact on Public Sector

The generational differences bring challenges to management in many aspects, including leadership styles and employee retention, a top priority for public organizations. This absence of generation gap study is especially notable in the local government agencies where a lack of strategic planning in managing the issues associated with the generation gap can lead to problems with leadership and employee retention. This study aims to examine the generational differences in the Health Facilities Inspection Division (HFID) of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, exploring the dynamic relationship of the generational effect on leadership styles and its impact on employee turnover, especially for Millennials in the Division. A mixed-method is adopted in this research project as a case study with four focus group interviews in the qualitative phase and one survey in the quantitative phase. Projected findings include: (1) At least three different generations working together in the Division; (2) The turnover rate differs from generation to generation with the millennial generation having the highest rate of turnover; (3) All generations in the Division reveal that the leadership styles affect their commitment to the organization, but the X-generation and millennial express stronger feelings about the correlation between management leadership styles and employee turnover. This study not only offers a framework for the management in the HFID to utilize a strategic plan to promote the commitment of employees. It also provides a method for other government agencies to address similar issues in the generation gap context.

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