21 May 2008

ICT and the Generations

I found a very interesting article "Ten Reasons Gen Xers are Unhappy at Work" (It comes from the author's larger group of online discussions on Gen X and Y management issues. The site is a new find for me, and as I find it quite interesting I am sharing.)

By the way, I guess I should divulge that I am part of Gen X.

We will get to ICT, but first let me say it is very interesting to read analysis about managing different generations. If one generalizes about my workplace, my superiors are mostly Boomers, my peers are Gen X, and the newer staff are Gen Y. Quite a conundrum!

Recently I was told that Gen Y has proclaimed itself renamed the "Millennium Generation." Hmm ... I mean they were hardly even old enough to worry about their Windows files exploding on the "doom" date of 01/01/00!

Getting back to the issue at hand, there are some very useful tidbits - points 5, 6 & 8 - in this article about how the different generations relate to new technologies and also how they communicate. Both of these issues are critical to successful application of ICT for development (or in any context really). It may be possible to argue this is written from a the perspective of a western manger, and while I agree adamantly that awareness and understanding of cultural context is critical, I still find the considerations and sensitivities made apparent by this author's writings applicable here in Asia.

We must be aware of how different groups of people relate to each other and to technology. Generalizations are useful tools in developing models to handle such situations (and as such I disagree with some of the detractors of this article). We have to start somewhere, and an informed generalization combined with experience and skill (wisdom?!) can lead to the successful adaption of good ICT4D models in our day-to-day, real world projects and programs.

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