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A Qualitative study into the intrinsic and extrinsic factors impacting the motivation and retention of the millennial generation

Fernance, Kathryn (2018) A Qualitative study into the intrinsic and extrinsic factors impacting the motivation and retention of the millennial generation. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Purpose – The purpose of this study is to explore the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators present in the Millennial generation active in the Australian workforce; to better understand key motivators and subsequently, identify responsive managerial practices.

Background – Organisations have faced difficulties in managing generational differences, particularly in motivating and retaining Millennial employees recently. The Millennial generation, also known as ‘Gen Y’ represents those born between 1980 and 1994. This generation hold unique values, beliefs and attitudes and desire motivators and career pathways different to previous generations. These differences have created difficulties for organisations in providing resources and managerial practices that attract, motivate and retain this generation.

Design/method/approach – this research adopts a qualitative approach to investigate the intrinsic and extrinsic factors impacting the professional motivation of Millennials. First hand data was collected through exploratory interviews with participants with varied educational backgrounds and employed in various industries in Australia. An added benefit is that it allowed motivators found commonly across both groups and industries to be identified in addition to demographic specific motivators.

Findings – This study confirmed commonly recognised motivators, such as interpersonal management, frequent feedback, and positive work relationships found in literature and identified further motivators dependent on the education and industry of the participant. Australian Millennial motivators include positive relationships with clients, equitable distribution of work, being a positive influence in the workplace, and pay reflective of employee skill and knowledge. Australian Millennials were also found to value external lifestyle factors, which have a direct impact on career decisions. The study also identified key differences and similarities between tertiary and non-tertiary educated Millennials, allowing managers to include common factors in motivational systems, and apply additional motivators relevant to the industry.

Practical implications – this research emphasises the importance of managing Millennials with practices that not only motivate and retain this generation but alters the unrealistic expectations they are known for, to create a successful middle ground between managers and employees.

Originality/value – this study is both unique and significant in terms of its contribution to managerial and academic knowledge by addressing key gaps in the literature and providing an alternative and explanatory approach to understand the motivators of the Millennial workforce of Australia.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School Of Business and Governance
Supervisor(s): Zhang, David
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