RT Vol XVII Ch4: Ensuring Prosperous Knowledge Flow from the Silent Generation through Generation Z
From the Book: The Refractive Thinker® Vol XVII: Managing a Cultural Workforce: The Impact of Global Employees


As Generation Z continues to enter the workforce, the generational differences seen now through the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers and Generations X, Y, and Z will continue to increase (Jones, Murray, & Tapp, 2018). Generation Z is the generation born into a culture of digital centric communication (Singh & Dangmei 2016) whereas the other end of the workforce spectrum, the Silent Generation is a culture based on face-to-face communication (Venter, 2016). Organizations will need to continue to incorporate the cultures of each generation into a cohesive culture that supports the business. Incorporating knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer into a daily practice or culture will become a requirement to support a prosperous knowledge flow within the organization.
Throughout this author’s time in the workforce beginning as a grocery store clerk through a military career to transitioning to a government contractor position, my coworkers continue to come from multiple generations. Knowledge flow, or lack thereof, had the potential of ensuring the respective successes or failures or each job and in retrospect, of each business. The challenges of ensuring an organizational culture that can function well with the multigenerational workforce in the reality of global organizational challenges and knowledge management needs are the focus of this chapter.
Using the lens of refractive thinking, the challenges are not just how the different generations function as an integrated team or how they communicate in a global environment through multiple locations. The challenges include the generational differences to build on a culture making it capable of supporting the team as well as the work in support of the customer requirements and the organization. Knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer are methodologies that can support the refractive thinking organization in this challenge.
Chapter Authors: