Senior managers value innovation, flexibility, mobility and mastery of ICT in young people
Senior managers value innovation, flexibility, mobility and mastery of ICT in young people

By Anna Torres

The study also highlights the main differences between managers over 50 and those under 35. In conclusion, young managers value senior managers' contact networks, experience and market knowledge, whereas more senior managers value the use of ICT, innovation and acceptance of change, flexibility and mobility of younger managers.

A model known as Age HIM (high-involvement management)

The nascent model of collaboration between managers of different ages was christened by lecturer Joan Torrent, director of the UOC Business School, as Age HIM (high-involvement management). This model is characterized by having five highly distinct variables: skills, competitiveness, employability, leadership and change.

The main new feature is the incorporation of the "change" element, thanks to the appearance of ICT and concepts such as flexibility and mobility, entrepreneurship and innovation. In terms of "skills", we value experience, market knowledge and contacts networks. In terms of "competitiveness", factors such as a complementary nature should be taken into account and in the "employability" section, continuous learning is considered necessary for employable people. The fifth element, "leadership", is expressed through values, such as delegation, commitment and problem-solving.

Different perceptions in different generations

The study also analysed the perceptions that senior managers have of young managers and vice versa. Consequently, managers over 50 observed that young managers:

  • work better with more horizontal structures,
  • count time based on immediacy,
  • have a different view of the value chain, hierarchy and authority,
  • have a faster contacts flow (despite it being more reduced) thanks to good management of new technologies.

Examples where these differences are observed:

  1. Young managers work no longer than 2-3 years for the same company, as they need to change. Previously, managers would spend most of their professional career with the same organization.
  2. Young managers have a desire to know everything.
  3. The new generations try not to spend all day working and take as little time for lunch as possible.
  4. Senior managers do not spend all their time thinking about what the company gives them. However, young people leave an organization the moment it has nothing to give them.

Despite their differences, both generational groups are interested in opening communication channels between each other for mutual benefit. Senior managers accept that they would improve professionally if they were more flexible, adaptable to change, trained and brave like young managers are, while the latter should listen more to the experience and contacts acquired by more senior managers during their professional careers.

The study

The research was carried out from 10 December 2013 to 16 January 2014 on a sample of 91 people, including AED managers and project supervisors from the UOC Business School. Some 68% of those surveyed were men and 32% were women.

In terms of posts held in the company, 37% of those surveyed were middle management (37.4%) and 30% directors. Around 19.8% consider themselves entrepreneurs and the remaining 12.1% see themselves as employees.

With regard to the size of their company, 26.4% work in companies with 1 to 9 employees; 24.2% with 10 to 50 employees; 15.4% with 51 to 250 employees; 14.3% with 251 to 1,000 employees and 19.8% with more than 1,000 employees.