Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
Small business managers are experiencing a 30% turnover of employees, costing U.S. businesses $41.3 million per year. The purpose of this case study was to explore the strategies that experienced business managers use in small accounting firms to respond effectively to generational differences in workplace engagement. Using a purposeful sampling technique, 5 managers possessing successful experience in issues related to generational differences in the workplace were recruited from small accounting firms located in Midwestern United States to participate in semi-structured interviews about engaging a multi-generational workforce. Methodological triangulation was used to analyze the data collected through semi-structured interviews and observations, which were grouped into common nodes and themes. Three themes emerged, including providing resources and incentives, giving opportunities, and forming relationships between managers and subordinates. These themes aligned with leader-member exchange theory, indicating the need for managers and subordinates to establish high-quality relationships which result in more engaged employees. The results from this study might contribute to social change by providing transferable knowledge about how management behaviors affect the engagement of employees, which could assist more business owners to take generational differences into account, and in turn produce more engaged and satisfied employees. Responding effectively to generational differences in workplace engagement may lead to less employee turnover, which may increase revenue and translate into social responsibility and sustainability programs in the community.