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Generational contrast & comparison - Essay Example

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Two consecutive generations, known as the Baby Boomers and Generation X, clearly fit this model. They are well defined by society, culture, economics, and history. Society retains the qualities of one generation to the next as traditions and social norms are passed from parent to child, but there are also new and striking differences. In the case of the Baby Boomers and generation X, the differences are fueled by history, socialization, and the exposure to a rapidly changing world.
This research will be conducted to determine where the differences are between the Baby Boomer generation and the age group known as generation X. More importantly, it will critically assess why there is a difference and evaluate the forces that created their different values and social interactions. The research is an important method to gain a deeper insight into our society and its mechanisms of enculturation. In addition, it has a commercial value to marketing departments, product developers, managers, or political campaigns who wish to exploit the underlying differences between generations. Understanding how different age groups interact with each other is critical to developing modern management strategies. It is interesting to note that this research is being conducted during a national political campaign where the three major candidates are from different generations. John McCain was born during the depression and Hillary Clinton is a Baby Boomer. Though Barak Obama technically fits into the Baby Boomer demographic, he was born in 1961 and as such exhibits many of the traits and characteristics associated with Generation X. They are an ideal group that can be used for comparisons and contrasting viewpoints on public policy.
There is no one firm definition for either a Baby Boomer or a member of Generation X and birth dates and ages vary by as much as seven years (Wallace, 2006, p.150). Almost all the previous research agrees that the first Baby Boomer was born in 1946. However, generations do not fit neat and tidy boundaries and there is some variance as to when one ends and the other begins. For the purposes of this study, a Baby Boomer is anyone born between January 1, 1946 and December 31, 1964 (Smith, 2005, p.440). A member of Generation X has a birth date of January 1, 1965 and December 31, 1980 (Smith, 2005, p.440). This places the age of a Baby Boomer at approximately 44 to 62 years old, while a member of Generation X is approximately 28 to 43 years of age. In addition, the age of the generation at the time that the previous research was conducted becomes important. Age and maturity also influences people as well as their identification with a generation.
The research will be conducted through the analysis of previous research and studies on this topic. It will be organized as follows:
1.0 Introduction
2.0 Scope and Purpose
3.0 Literature Review
4.0 Discussion
5.0 Recommendations and Conclusion

3.0 Literature Review
Both the Baby Boom generation and Generation X have been extensively described and characterized in the popular media. For the sake of marketing and sales, advertisers have sought to drawn clear distinctions between the groups. Schaie (2007) states that, "Baby boomers are hedonistic; they are self-centered; they are spendthrifts; they are altruistic; they strive to self-actualize" (p.131). These characterizations are ...Show more
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Summary

Generations are defined by their attitudes, values, and world view that has been uniquely formed by their individual exposure to events and the changing times. The next generation has always been met with some fear and anticipation of progressive attitudes towards society and cultural tradition…
Generational contrast & comparison
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