Public Management

Let the wind of change of the Generation Y blow

March 6, 2014

In 2004, the Council for Public Administration (ROB) argued in favor of a change in the organizational culture of the government. René Grotens, director of Operational management and deputy town clerk of Zeist, asked himself the question whether, and if so, how the youngest generation in his organization – the Y-generation – can contribute to the cultural change as advocated by the ROB.

Image: © Nationale Beeldbank

Grotens' first step involved deriving a profile sketch of 'the civil servant of the future' from the recommendations of the ROB. He/she is flexible and oriented towards his/her surroundings, achieving results and co-operating with others (FORS).

He then examined whether these features apply to the Y-generation and whether the generation itself, other generations (the pragmatic, the lost and the baby boom generation), the management and the administration recognize and acknowledge these features. The Y-generation proved to be enterprising, creative, innovating and willing to make an effort for ‘the good cause’ (flexibility), globally-oriented and socially involved (oriented towards one's surroundings) and socially skilled and oriented towards relationships (oriented towards co-operation).

The Y-generation in the municipality of Zeist can identify with this description. The other generations within the municipality can identify with/acknowledge these features to a larger or lesser degree and are willing to give the Y-generation the room it needs to do justice to these. They experience the Y-generation as a ‘wind of change’ that is blowing through the organization. This does not apply to the baby boom generation, which is strongly represented in the management and the administration.

Grotens comes to the conclusion that it can be expected of the Y-generation that it will contribute to the desired cultural change. Although the generation is less result-oriented compared to previous generations. The Y-generation will have to be given the opportunity to develop itself.

In the next part, Patrick van der Wens is in search of the most suitable method for change management in the drinking water sector.

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