Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Integrity....such a quaint concept

As many know, I love to include thinking quizzes in my seminars/workshops.  One format I often use is providing participants with a list of options on a particular subject (i.e.: Most Valuable Brand Names) and have participants try to pick the top three.

One frequently used is 'Personal Qualities Employers Want From Employees'  which includes a selection such as 'Teachability', 'Curiosity', 'Dependability', etc.  Also on this list of choices is 'Integrity', and here is where I'm seeing a large generational divide.

Most research puts Integrity as #1 or #2 among the personal qualities employers want from staff.  When I play this game with Baby Boomers and Generation X, the vast majority put this quality in their top 3.  However, among Millennials 'Integrity' hardly gets a second look.   It happened again yesterday with a group of college students/recent grads.    They split up into teams of 2 and amongst the eight pairings, only two even mentioned Integrity anywhere among their top three.

The explanations went something along this line:  "Employers want to see results and don't particularly care how you get them".  I don't know if this is true of employers or not, but note that this is the way the next generation views the world.  Their deep cynicism about the workplace contains serious implications for the US economy in the coming decades.


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Cheryl said...

Yes, Michael I've observed this also. My theory is that the young of today have grown up in an environment where they see so many adults cheating with no consequences. Hence their morality depends upon the end results.

They see teachers gaming test scores and no one gets fired. They see bankers wantonly break the law and no one goes to jail. They see politicians direct large sums of money to friends and yet get reelected time after time.

Then we wonder why they don't value integrity.

RICHYbowl said...

Might it have something to do with the fact you live around Penn State? With what those kids witnessed over the past two years I'd be totally jaded as well.