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Generalisations are (sometimes) necessary


„Young people today love luxury. They have bad manners, despise authority, have no respect for older people and gossip whereas they should be working. Young people no longer stand up when older people enter the room. They contradict their parents, swagger in society, devour desserts at the table, cross their legs and bully their teachers“


It is not entirely clear where this quote really comes from.
Socrates, ca. 470 - 399 BC and Kenneth John Freeman 1907 come into question.

Perhaps you now feel confirmed in your observations, or perhaps you belong to the young and now feel misunderstood: Young and old have been at loggerheads since time immemorial. So it's no wonder that the concept of generations was invented to separate these two groups.

Since Karl Mannheim defined the concept of generations in 1928, a huge scientific field of generational research has developed. It is full of contradictions and differences of opinion: some claim that there is no such thing as generations, while others cheerfully create new classifications of generations. So which of the two extremes is right?

A question that sparked my thirst for research, especially as the topic of generations seemed to be becoming increasingly urgent in the public eye:

„More and more entrepreneurs, HR decision-makers from business and the public sector, politicians, journalists, school headmasters and concerned parents have been asking me if I can explain to them why young professionals and members of Generation Z (Gen Z or GenZ) are behaving the way they are. They themselves no longer understand the young people of Generation Z.“

Dipl.-Psych. Rüdiger Maas, Feb. 2017

To get to the bottom of this question, I put together a team of psychologists, sociologists and economists. Together, we launched the "generation thinking" study. We focussed on the opinions, attitudes and wishes of 2,500 GenZ young people from all over Germany.

This required a completely new approach in order to avoid being biased towards one of the two sides of the argument. We therefore avoided incorporating our own generational categorisations into our work and instead looked for differences between different groups of people in the data. And were actually able to identify some specific characteristics for Generation Z.

This success was also the starting signal for the Institute for Generational Research. Since then, "Generation thinking" has been our programme, which we use to guide and continuously improve our research. Because "thinking in generations" means considering different perspectives and reflecting on their positions in order to contribute to the understanding of different groups of people.

Generation thinking means: Thinking in generations!

Latest book publication: The latest generational research from an economic perspective by Rüdiger Maas:

Neueste Generationenforschung in ökonomischer Perspektive,
Rüdiger Maas bei Dienst am Buch Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH


Maas | Neueste Generationenforschung in ökonomischer Perspektive |
1. Auflage | 2021 |


Neueste Generationenforschung in ökonomischer Perspektive:
Reichen Generation X, Y, Z zur Beschreibung der Wirklichkeit aus?
- Maas, Rüdiger - Bücher

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