1. Research does not fully support the assumptions of generational theory, and advocates admit its shortcomings. The assumption that individuals are more impressionable earlier in life is supported, but the assumptions that the core personality does not change and that all generation members experience the same early events in the same way are not fully supported.
2. Sociologists have noted the concept’s limited applicability to minorities, recent immigrants, and women.
3. Research by generational proponents is not published in academic journals, an indication to experts that the concept is a fad, lacking long-term value.
4. The number of generations in the workplace is overstated for some employers, because the Silent Generation accounts for only 5 percent of the workforce and the Generation Y had its first members graduating from college in 2004.
5. Agreement is lacking on the number of and birth periods for the generations. Some experts assert there are five generations based on an anomalous group that does not match the Silent and Baby Boomer profiles; and some claim that the first year of the Baby Boomer period should be determined by the number of annual births, rather than historical events.
6. Baby Boomer personality profiles are oversimplified. One reason is the last members of this generation were born as the earliest reached adulthood, resulting in vastly different exposures to the historical events that define this generation.
7. Intergenerational conflict in the workplace lacks independent verification and appears to be exaggerated. Recent research shows that older workers do not resent their younger supervisors and that the generations are working in harmony to capitalize on their diversity.
8. Factors that motivate the generations are surprisingly similar. For example, employees in all age groups have similar levels of, and key drivers for, engagement.
9. Recent trends in our society, such as the rapidly increasing numbers of Hispanic workers and nontraditional career choices for men and women, have created a workforce with such diversity that global concepts, such as generation, which tend to oversimplify the workforce, contribute little to understanding its complexity.
There are more complex factors affecting the social dynamics: generation gaps do exist but it is only one factor among others.