David Kirkpatrick

March 5, 2009

What makes Gen Y tick?

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:29 pm

Here’s one take, at least from the business perspective.

From the link:

The other day an invitation landed on my desk from a local recruiting firm. It was for a panel discussion on how to recruit and retain the diverse and ambitious Generation Y.

I own a software firm where most of my employees fall into Gen Y (born between 1977 and 1994). They are indeed a dynamic bunch: creative, loyal, intelligent and highly motivated.

For Gen Y, studies indicate their top wish list includes:

  • Work/life balance
  • To be heard and valued
  • Regular recognition
  • Work in a fun atmosphere
  • Motivated by challenge and a collaborative environment

During the audience participation of the panel discussion, it occurred to me that Gen Y was getting a bad rap based on an inflated expectation of salaries and career advancement. In hard economic times, Gen Y might be about to get a wakeup call. Salaries are not what they were a year ago, and advancement to the executive team in less than two years just isn’t going to happen. But there are ways to leverage this talent and get a lot of ROI.

My company lives by the KISS principle, as does our intranet software. I like simplicity and use it in just about every aspect of my business. The same holds true for motivating the young generation. As it turns out, it can be pretty simple.

March 3, 2009

Growing up online

Interesting social science research on getting through the adolescent years in the web.

The release:

Coming of Age on the Internet

<!–

Author Kyle Reed demonstrates his apparatus for investigating haptic communication

Author Kyle Reed demonstrates his apparatus for investigating haptic communication when two people try to complete a simple physical task together.

–>In the mid-90s, the Internet seemed like a dark place. Indeed, scientific studies from that time were documenting some real risks for teenagers, including fewer close friendships and more tenuous connections with family. It appeared that teens were sacrificing real relationships for superficial cyber-relationships with total strangers.

Is this still true? Social scientists are revisiting those early concerns, and some are coming to believe that the psychological benefits may now outweigh the detrimental effects. In a new report in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, psychologists Patti Valkenburg and Jochen Peter of the University of Amsterdam took a look at a decade of research on these questions, and they believe two important historical changes have altered the psychological landscape.

First, the sheer number of teenagers now using the Internet has transformed the technology into a true social networking tool. Even in the late 90s, only about one in ten adolescents were online, which meant that kids actually had to choose between online relationships and real relationships. There was very little overlap, so it was very difficult to maintain flesh-and-blood relations while exploring cyberspace. Today, Valkenburg and Peter say, the vast majority of teenagers in Western countries have access to the Internet, and most appear to use the technology to nurture their existing relationships rather than to forge new ones.

Second, the newer communication tools also encourage building on existing relationships rather than isolating. In the 90s, the few teens who did spend time on the Internet tended to hang out with strangers in public chat rooms and so-called MUDS, multi-user dungeons. The appearance of instant messaging and social networks like Facebook has changed all that, according to the psychologists. Today, more than eight in ten teenagers use IM to connect with the same friends they see at school and work.

Recent studies document the positive effects of these technological changes. But what exactly is going on in the minds of the teenagers to produce this greater sense of well-being? Valkenburg and Peter believe that the 21st century Internet encourages honest talking about very personal issues – feelings, worries, vulnerabilities – that are difficult for many self-conscious teens to talk about. When they communicate through the Internet, they have fewer sounds and sights and social cues to distract them, so they become less concerned with how others perceive them. This in turn reduces inhibition, leading to unusually intimate talk.

The psychologists have also shown that “hyperpersonal” Internet talk leads to higher quality friendships, and that these quality friendships buffer teenagers against stress and lead to greater happiness. However, solitary “surfing” of the Internet has no positive effects on connectedness or well-being, and hanging around public chat rooms – though much rarer – still appears psychologically risky.

 

 

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Wray Herbert discusses this study in his blog, “We’re Only Human…” (http://www.psychologicalscience.org/onlyhuman/)

Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, publishes concise reviews spanning all of scientific psychology and its applications.

February 15, 2009

The internet and social research

I’ve blogged on this topic in the past, and I find the idea and practice of using the World Wide Web for research purposes very interesting. It seems there would be some significant hurdles in terms of scientific rigorousness, but it’s still pretty cool and very possibly a very powerful tool in the social research toolbox.

A release from yesterday:

Internet emerges as social research tool

Panel discusses use of the Web in social science study

IMAGE: This is Thomas Dietz, Director, Environmental Science and Policy Program and Assistant Vice President for Environmental Research, Michigan State University.
Click here for more information. 

CHICAGO — For the past two decades, the Internet has been used by many as an easy-to-use tool that enables the spread of information globally. Increasingly, the Web is moving beyond its use as an electronic “Yellow Pages” and online messaging platform to a virtual world where social interaction and communities can inform social science and its applications in the real world.

“Although social scientists, engineers and physical scientists have studied the World Wide Web as an entity in and of itself for some time, there is now a growing group of social scientists who are learning how to use the World Wide Web as a tool for research rather than as a subject of research,” said Thomas Dietz, Michigan State University researcher and director of the university’s Environmental Science and Policy Program.

Today, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Chicago, a panel of scientists organized by Dietz planned to examine various aspects of using the World Wide Web as a tool for research.

University of Michigan political science professor Arthur Lupia was to kick off the session by discussing how new virtual communities are improving surveys and transforming social science.

“Lupia is one of the world’s leaders related to survey research on the Web,” Dietz said. “His focus is on learning to use the Web as a way of soliciting people’s opinions and getting factual information from them via online surveys.”

Adam Henry, a doctoral fellow in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University’s Center for International Development, was scheduled next to discuss measuring social networks using the World Wide Web.

“Henry is developing very innovative ways to identify networks that are actual face-to-face relationships by tracking evidence streams on the Web,” Dietz said. “In other words, it’s not simply about who’s connected to whom on Facebook or Twitter, but who’s doing research with whom in the real world. It’s using the virtual world to identify things that are going on in the real world rather than using the virtual world simply to look at the virtual world.”

William Bainbridge, program director for the National Science Foundation’s Human-Centered Computing Cluster, was to rounded out the presentation with a discussion on the role of social science in creating virtual worlds.

“Bainbridge is studying group formation and social change over time in virtual worlds such as ‘World of Warcraft’ and ‘Second Life’ to inform and build on what sociologists have studied for 150 years,”

Dietz said. “He contends that virtual worlds are excellent laboratories for observing and prototyping new social forms that can later be applied to the outside world.”

Following the presentations, National Science Foundation sociology director Patricia White was to discuss implications of this research related to the future of social science.

 

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— by Val Osowski

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