Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Administrative Leadership

First Advisor

Barbara J. Daley

Committee Members

Cindy Walker, Mesut Akdere, Larry Martin, Belle R. Ragins


Employee Work Engagement, Generational Differences, Millennials, Narcissism, Work Centrality


In the workplace of today, an unprecedented four generations of workers work side by side. While this blend of generations adds valuable diversity to the workforce, it also adds complexity.

Despite popular interest in the subject of generations in the workplace, systematic research of the specific generational differences of work centrality, narcissism, and their relation to employee engagement is limited. It is vital to examine the possibility of significant generational differences in order for HRD practitioners and scholars to understand the focus and direction of strategies intended to improve individual and organizational performance. Using a quantitative research methodology, an online survey was conducted with of Baby Boomer, Generation X and Millennial generation employees ages 18 - 69 in small to mid-size organizations from fourteen different industry sectors in Midwestern United States (N=405) .

The study did not find statistically significant generational differences regarding work centrality and narcissism among the Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Millennial generations, yet did determine significant generational differences regarding employee engagement among the Baby Boomer and Millennial cohorts.

Two noteworthy findings of the study have the most significant implications for HRD: decreasing employee engagement for the Millennial generation and, that work centrality can predict employee engagement. These findings extend the current knowledge regarding work centrality and employee engagement and suggest HRD practitioners and scholars can best manage the different generations by developing and implementing strategies that increase and sustain high levels of work centrality and foster employee engagement to ensure optimum workforce performance.


If you wish to contact the author, please email jlfenzel (at) gmail (dot) com