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Publication Date

Summer 2014

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Howard Tokunaga


Employees, Generation Y, Management, Motivation, Organizations, Work values

Subject Areas

Management; Organizational behavior; Occupational psychology


Although there has been abundant speculation regarding how to manage and motivate the large number of Generation Y (Gen Y) employees who have entered the workforce over the last decade, much of the information regarding specific motivational drivers of Gen Yers is based on anecdotes and unfounded stereotypes. Therefore, the current study measured the importance of different motivational drivers to Generation Y employees and assessed differences between these employees and their managers regarding the importance of these motivational drivers. An online survey was developed and administered to 145 Gen Yers and 76 managers to measure the perceived and actual importance of 40 motivational drivers to Gen Yers. The drivers found to be most important to Gen Yers were primarily in the categories of extrinsic, intrinsic, and altruistic motivators - these were also the three categories that managers rated significantly lower in importance to Gen Yers than did Gen Yers. These findings suggest that organizations should encourage managers to adjust their approach and focus on key motivators within the categories of extrinsic, intrinsic, and altruistic in order to maximize motivation of Generation Y employees.