PEOPLE BORN AFTER 1980, often called “millennials”
by demographic researchers, behave differently
from older generations in significant ways. They
are the first “digital natives,” the “always on
generation” that expects to have information
instantly and always available at its fingertips. Their
attitudes have been described by previous research
in often unfavorable terms. And when they enter the
workplace, they pose a major challenge to managers
from older generations, who, it has been shown,
typically follow a different set of values.
Our research investigates the attitudes of
millennials who have not yet entered the workforce
toward the use of information technology (IT) in
terms of “IT consumerization.” Specifically, we want
to know how this significant part of the population
weighs benefits against risks when it
comes to intention to use technology
in a business environment.
In 2013, we conducted an international study involving 402 students in
their final year of undergraduate study
just before entering the workplace.
We received feedback from students
at Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Dongbei University
of Finance & Economics (China), Texas Woman’s University (U.S.), Carleton
University (Canada), Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil), and RMIT University (Australia). We found they share
a common set of values regardless of
nationality, including motivational
drivers that would alarm corporate IT
managers, if known. The individuals
in our sample value their own benefit
highly and dramatically neglect the
risks their actions might pose.
The way we work, think, and behave
is heavily influenced by the Internet,
email, smartphones, and other technological innovations that have proliferated over the past 20 to 30 years. The
generation of people born after 1980
is the first to grow up with information
everywhere, anytime24 and referred to
as digital natives, or, more commonly,
Many studies have sought to analyze them.
20 For example, in their 2010
literature review, Ng et al.
24 characterized them as “want it all” and “want
it now.” It seems generally accepted
in research and practice alike that
millennials are difficult to cope with
in the Workplace
Millennials entering the workforce ignore the
risks of using privately owned devices on the job.
BY HEIKO GEWALD, XUEQUN WANG, ANDY WEEGER,
MAHESH S. RAISINGHANI, GERALD GRANT,
OTAVIO SANCHEZ, AND SIDDHI PITTAYACHAWAN
˽ Members of Generation Y (so-called
millennials) see the use of their privately
owned devices for work as a necessity,
not an option.
˽ Millennials focus on their personal benefit,
generally ignoring the risks they may
introduce into corporate networks when
using their own devices and accounting for
risk only if it threatens them directly.
˽ When it comes to weighing risks
against benefits, such behavior is seen
across developed economies, with no
significant cultural influence across an