Baby boomer” refers to individuals born in the United States from around 1946 to 1964; we have a lot of common beliefs about this generation, from being the children of "the greatest generation," to the idea that they have a greater work ethic than those born a decade or two later. According to a new study, the work ethic myth is simply untrue.

Researchers from Radford University in Virginia found no differences in the work ethic of different generations — even notoriously “lazy millennials (or Generation Y), who are born before 2000. Generation X, or people born before 1980, were also considered in the study, according to The Daily Mail. The “Protestant work ethic” of baby boomers is typically attributed to the economic success of the United States and Europe around the turn of the 20th to the 21st centuries, the authors noted.

Researchers analyzed the findings from a large number of studies carried out on work ethic. Overall, 77 studies and 105 different measures of work ethic were examined. These findings support other studies that found no difference in the work ethic of different generations, the authors note, and could be valuable in future human-resources related decisions.

"The finding that generational differences in the Protestant work ethic do not exist suggests that organizational initiatives aimed at changing talent management strategies and targeting them for the 'very different' millennial generation may be unwarranted and not a value added activity," lead researcher Keith Zabel said, reported Science Daily. "Human resource-related organizational interventions aimed at building 21st century skills should therefore not be concerned with generational differences in Protestant work ethic as part of the intervention,"

Source: Zabel KL, Biermeier-Hanson BJ, Baltes BB, Early BJ, Shepard A. Generational Differences in Work Ethic: Fact or Fiction? Springer’s Journal of Business and Psychology. 2016.

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