Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Mary Bruce


Generational Differences among Social Security Employees and Their Perception of Value


Joyce Moses Jones

MPA, California State University, Hayward, 1987

BS, California State University, Hayward, 1981

Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

Public Policy and Public Administration

Walden University

November 2016

Social Security Administration (SSA) managers and leaders are facing an unprecedented challenge to understand 3 to 5 generations of employees, and value the diversity of each group (Glass, 2007). Perceived lack of recognition has resulted in low morale and job satisfaction, leaving employees not feeling valued. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological research study was to explore, identify, and examine the lived experiences and perceptions of SSA employees to determine how managers and leaders can contribute to employee valuation. The central question and subquestions were designed to determine whether generational theory accurately described the lived experiences and perceptions of the subjectsâ?? value to the organization. Data collection included in-depth interviews with 15 employees of SSA, 5 from each of the most represented generational groups: Baby Boomers, Generation Xs, and Generation Ys. Key findings of a thematic analysis were that employees of differing generations feel valued in different ways. It was found that appreciation for each generation should be shown in a way that is meaningful to that generation, and does not reflect discrimination of another group. The results of this study contribute to positive social change by clarifying the relationship between generational differences and perception of value and provides specific recommendations to SSA managers and leaders. This guidance is an important contribution to the existing literature and will enhance social change initiatives through valuing all employees for the skills and talents they bring to the organization irrespective of age.