The aim of this study is to ascertain whether the factors motivating faculty members belonging to different generations diverge or not. In this regard, initially, the literature on generation, motivation concepts, motivation theories and factors that motivate workers were reviewed. The research part was carried out with the participation of faculty members from three distinct generations working at Azerbaijan State Economic University. The data were collected through the "Academic Motivation Scale" developed by "Jaroslawa Kubatova and Adela Kukelkova". The survey was conducted to determine the motivations of faculty members and the work values that are important to them in the work environment. In the analysis of the data obtained as a result of the survey; frequency, reliability, T-test and One Way Anova were used. The data obtained at the end of the research were analyzed with the SPSS 22 statistical package program. In the analysis of the data obtained as a result of the survey; frequency, reliability, T-test and One Way Anova were used. Research findings revealed that factors motivating the Baby Boom generation, generation X and generation Y individuals vary. It has been revealed that the factors that motivate the workers belonging to the three generations participating in the survey differ according to the factors of marital status, work area and gender. Recommendations have been developed based on the research findings.
It has become one of the first missions of businesses to enable individuals in business life to go to their workplaces of their own accord, to increase their commitment to the environment they work in, to ensure the satisfaction of employees, who are internal customers for the workplace, as well as customer satisfaction. In the period when the number of factories gradually decreased after the industrial revolution, when the demand for crops was high, the people working were not valued, individuals were forced to work for low wages, high productivity and harsh conditions. Many innovations have been made in the working conditions of workers as a result of the increase in competition over time, the inability to sell every product produced, the establishment of unions due to the lack of respect for workers' rights and the formation of the concept of social state. In order to retain their employees, businesses have often started to use the factors that stifle them. Today, the existence of workers from many different generations in the content of the sectors has made it very difficult to motivate all employees in the smallest arrangement to be made. International businesses also face the same problems, and they have difficulty in using innovative and various incentives to motivate employees. Nowadays, examining the concept of generation and conducting researches and studies for application has become more important compared to the past. The reason for this is that for the first time in history, four generations with four different characteristics have worked side by side and the year intervals between generations have started to shorten with the rapid change of the period. In the literature review of our study, information is presented that individuals from different generations have various working behaviors and are motivated by different factors. From this information, it is concluded that the idea that organizations can motivate individuals in business life with a single tool is no longer true. The aim of this study is to determine whether the factors that motivate faculty members from different generations differ and what they are. When the literature is reviewed, it has been observed that there is no research in the Azerbaijani literature regarding the determination of the factors that motivate academicians from different generations. In this respect, this research will make a great contribution to the Azerbaijani literature. At the same time, it is thought that the research will provide a basis for and help the studies to determine the factors that motivate the next generation faculty members, and provide various benefits for faculty members, universities and educational institutions.
There are several analogous definitions in various sources regarding the concept of generation, which is outlined as the group of people who were born in exactly the same years, shared the characteristics of the same age and similar problems and were responsible for the identical tasks. The concept of generation is defined as "the community of people who lived and ended a period together in demography" (Saruhani, 1996 as cited in Lotfi et al., 2013, p. 2). For Williams and Page (2011), the concept of generation is specified as a community of individuals who were born in the same period, lived in the social and economic conditions of the same period, and therefore undertook similar tasks and responsibilities. However, for Lagree, this definition is slightly dissimilar. Lagree used the concept of generation for a community of people who lived through the historical issues, problems and dangers of the same period, socialized under the identical conditions and belonged to the same collective identity (Lagree, 1991).
Currently, 4 generations are working side by side. These generations can be listed as: Silent Generation (1925-1944), Baby Boom Generation (1945-1964), Generation X (1965-1981), Generation Y (1982-2000) (Wong et al., 2008). While the members of the Silent Generation are leaving the business life, the members of the Generation Z join the years of employment. In order to know the generations better, we can briefly refer to the basic characteristics of each of them and their behavior in business life.
Historically, generation members born before 1946 lived during the First and Second World Wars. Generation members valued law and ethics, and quietly respected authority (Zhang & Bonk, 2010). Silent Generation members are the oldest group in work life. They are recognized for their contentious, business-oriented and delay of gratification structure in business life. Compared to other generations in business life, the members of the generation known as the most loyal employees are unfamiliar with the concept of job change (Kyles, 2005). Generation members whose youth has passed under difficult conditions consider providing lifelong employment in the institution where they started to work as the best option (Weingarten, 2009). According to the members of the generation, the basis of promotion to upper levels depends on having more seniority. In addition, they have been employees in business life who are loyal and affiliated with their company.
The Baby Boom Generation has been named the BabyBoomers because of the 1 billion babies born in the population explosion years just after World War II (Ayhün Erden, 2013). This generation focuses solely on themselves and their futures, unlike their mothers and fathers (Silent Generation), who attach importance to the state, love to share and put the existence and security of the government ahead of them (Lancaster & Stillman, 2010). The members of the baby boomers generation are hardworking, idealistic, notably loyal and they believe that working long hours in tough jobs is important. Generation members who live to work, while motivating themselves, assume that hard work and sacrifice is a price paid to achieve success. Generation members, who put great emphasis on salary, have valued their jobs above their families when necessary. Generation members who give weight to teamwork believe that they should be loyal to employers (Lester et al., 2012).
Although different classifications are made in various sources, it is generally accepted that the X generation includes individuals born between 1961-1980 (Arsenault, 2004). The working to live principle of this generation differ from the living to work principle of their parents who are from Baby Boomers generation. The members of this generation, who witnessed their families being unemployed from time to time, have a hard-working and tight-knit structure. They have high self-esteem and enjoy autonomy because they have stood alone in childhood and took over early responsibilities. Therefore, they prefer to work individually rather than teamwork. It occurs that the members of this generation, who see the necessity of sacrificing and working hard for a successful career from their families, are always in search of a career that will be better for them. And from this point of view, it doesn’t appear so much possible to say that they are loyal to the places they work. The important thing for the employees of Generation X is that their careers always rise, the Generation X member who cannot find this condition in a company will tend to leave this workplace (Berkup, 2015).
Generation Y can easily complete their daily work by using their technological skills creatively and can make use of technology in environments such as work and school (Albayrak & Özkül, 2013). This generation, who feels more independentwhile surfing on the Internet and therefore is engaged in their smartphones even in their beds, is in the position of being the predecessor of the technology addicted generations to come (Berkup, 2015).
Members of the Y generation are peoplewho value taking responsibility with the influence of the environment and conditions in which they were raised and want to contribute to decisions (McCrindle & Hooper, 2006). The characteristic of this generation which attaches importance to education is that it is demanding (Martin, 2005). Generation Y is the most demanding generation in business life. Generation members see the business life and the workplace as social spaces and going to work as socializing and getting together with people (Yüksekbilgili, 2013).
Generation Z includes individuals born in 2000 and later. Generation Z is a mysterious generation for humanity, as the feature evaluations of this generation do not go beyond estimation due to their young age and immature characters (Berkup, 2015). When the formation process of generations is examined and evaluated with today's conditions, anticipations are made for attaining certain predictions about the characteristics of the generation members. For Generation Z; It can be predicted that they will earn higher income, they will not be subject to geographical restrictions, they will undergo change in their social roles, and the desire to live alone will be awakened. At the same time, it is thought that Generation Z can be a generation that enjoys creativity and innovation, yet seeks reliance. It is also among the predictions that they will not see technology as a tool, but as a part of life. Compared to other generations, it is expected that this generation, who started education much earlier, whose educational processes last much longer and received planned trainings owing to developing conditions, will benefit from the long-term and effective education they receive in business life (Berkup, 2015). Generation Z members, who are expected to rise to top positions in global businesses, are anticipated to be the most impatient generation members ever.
In the literature review of our study, information is presented that individuals from different generations have various working behaviors and are motivated by different factors. From this information, it is concluded that the idea that organizations can motivate individuals in business life with a single tool is no longer true. The basis of motivation is to encourage employees in the workplace and to ensure that employees do their jobs more eagerly. Motivation, which can be defined as individuals' willingness to achieve a certain goal is the process of stimulating people along a determined path (Hodgetts, 1999). Today, definitions of motivation are generally similar to each other. According to Daft and Marcic (2004), the concept of motivation is the power that increases the determination inside or outside the individuals so that they can maintain a certain desire (cited in Shah et al., 2016). Motivation cannot be observed by people and has an indefinite structure. The only way to measure motivation is to monitor the behavior of individuals (Mubeen & Reid, 2014. A mountaineer setting up a camp, a young person preparing for visas, a successful manager, are people who are open to learning and motivated to realize a specific goal. As can be seen, motivation encourages and encourages individuals to achieve their goals and explains the reason for their actions to prove themselves. Therefore, motivation is a very important psychological concept for individuals. The 1950s and 1960s were a rich period for the emergence of concepts related to motivation. Even if they are criticized or questioned, the four theories, which are given the most known explanations about worker motivation, emerged in this process. These theories are Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory, McGregor's X and Y Theory, Herzberg's Double Factor and McClelland's Theories of the Need for Achievement. Different explanations about motivation have been developed over time (Robbins et al., 2013). The point that is emphasized in all motivation theories is that there are different ways and means to mobilize individuals in order to get the desired results. Each theory emphasizes its own reason and means that drive the individual into action. In business life, managers benefit from these incentive tools to motivate employees. The point that should not be forgotten while using these encouraging toolsis that each individual is unique and therefore can be influenced by different incentives. The tool that is stimulating for one person may not make a sense to the other. We can list the motivation tools that managers use to actuate employees as follows:
- Promotion Opportunities
- Attractive Job
- Task Significance
- Personal Authority, Delegation of Authority and Gaining Strength
- Respecting Private life
- Providing Opportunities to Participate in Decisions
- Fair and Continuous Disciplinary System
Purpose and Importance of the Research
The aim of the research is to determine the factors that motivate academicians representing three different generations. In addition, it was investigated whether the factors motivating faculty members show a statistically significant difference according to gender, title and years of employment.
In the study, it was tried to determine the factors that motivate the academicians who represent different generations. For this purpose, the following hypothesis has been developed:
H1: The factors that motivate academics differ significantly from generation to generation.
At the same time, answers to the following questions were sought within the scope of the research:
1. What factors motivate X, Y, Z generation?
2. Do the motivating factors of academics representing different generations show a statistically significant difference according to their gender, working time and title?
Scope of the Research
The population of the research consists of academicians of Azerbaijan State Economic University. Sample selection method was used due to some limitations. Random selection method was used as the sample selection method. The survey was delivered to 101 academicians within the scope of the research. The questionnaires were sent to the participants via email and social media. It is assumed that the terms in the questionnaire are understood correctly by the participants, the answers given are realistic, the questions are answered conscientiously and not completed under any pressure.
Data collection tool
A questionnaire was used to collect data in the study. The questionnaire form was sent to the faculty members and data were received at the next stage. It has been reported that the answers to the questionnaire will only be used in the research process. The questionnaire applied in the research consists of two parts. In the first part, questions were asked about the year the faculty members were born and the gender, marital status, educational status, and tenure of the individuals. In the second part of the questionnaire, "Motivation Factors Scale" developed by Jaroslawa Kubatova and Adela Kukelkova (2014) and adapted to Turkish in Azizhan Esiroglu's (2017) thesis was used to measure the factors that motivate individuals. The scale consists of 24 statements, and in measuring the expressions, a 10-type scale was used as "0, does not affect my motivation at all" and "10, affects my motivation positively".
Data Analysis Techniques
The information obtained through the questionnaire was analyzed with the "SPSS for Windows 22.0" package program. In order to determine the robustness of the research results, the data were subjected to reliability examination. The Cronbach Alpha value was applied for the reliability analysis. Frequency analysis was used to determine the distribution of demographic characteristics of the participants, arithmetic mean to measure perception levels of motivation factors, T-test and one-way Anova tests to measure whether motivation factors show a difference according to demographic variables.
Limitations of the study
Most of the research in the social sciences has limitations for different reasons. But COVID-19 has made the situation even more difficult. There have been significant changes in the working patterns of organizations. Mostly, remote working practice is carried out in organizations. This situation makes our work necessary to obtain the necessary permissions, deliver the surveys to the employees, provide feedback, correctly perceive the survey questions, etc. matters will be difficult. Due to both COVID-19 and the lack of time, the sample size may not be sufficient to represent the population, so generalization will not be made.
Findings and Comments
For Demographic characteristics of faculty members, see Table 1.
For scale reliability, Croanbach's Alpha coefficient between 0.60-0.79 means that the scale is quite reliable, while this coefficient between 0.80-1.00 means that the scale has high reliability.
As can be inferred from the above table 2, the Cronbach Alpha coefficient was determined as 0.973. The Croanbach Alpha coefficient of the motivation factor scale being 0.973> 0.80 indicates that the scale has high reliability.
Answer of Research Question 1
The arithmetic mean of the motivating factors were found and presented in the tables below in order to answer the first research question of the study, "Which factors motivate the X, Y, Z generations?".
As can be seen in Table 3, among the factors that motivate the X generation, the 3 factors that get the highest value, “the interesting scope of the work”, “opportunities for innovation” and “opportunities to use new technologies at work” are the most motivating factors for the X generation members throughout their working processes.
As can be inferred from Table 4, among the factors that motivate the generation Y, the 3 factors that get the greatest value, “the interesting scope of the job”, “Workplace atmosphere” and “wage system” are the most motivating factors for the Y generation members throughout their working processes.
As can be seen in Table 5, among the factors that motivate the generation Z, the 3 factorsthat get the highest value, "The interesting scope of the work", "Autonomous decision making" and "Task autonomy (autonomy)"are the most motivating factors for the Z generation members throughout their working processes.
Answer of Research Question 2
T test was used in paired groups and one-way ANOVA was used in more than two groups to answer another research question of the study, "Do the factors that motivate academicians representing different generations show a statistically significant difference according to their gender, years of employment, and title?" For ANOVA results according to the varibales of years of employment and title of the factors that motivate Generation X academicians, see Table 6.
For the factors that motivate the academicians of the generation X, no T test was performed in paired groups. Because the members of generation X who took part in the survey consisted ofonly male participants. However, a one-way analysis of variance (one way ANOVA) was conducted to determine whether motivation factors differ statistically according to the title and years of employment, based on the answers given by the X generation academics involved in the survey. As a result of the test, it was found that the factors stimulating the X-generation academicians did not show a statistically significant difference according to the title and years of employment, since the p value was 0.632> 0.05 and 0.807> 0.05.
For the T-test results of the factors that motivate the generation Y academicians by gender, see the Table 7.
A T test was used to find out whether the factors motivating the generation Y academicians differ significantly according to gender.
As a result of the T test performed to compare the influence of motivating factors on female and male members of the Y generation, it was revealed that there was no statistically significant difference according to gender, since the p value was 0.094> 0.05.
For ANOVA results of the factors that motivate Y generation academicians according to the variables of years of employment and title, see the Table 8.
A one-way analysis of variance (one-way anova) was conducted to determine whether motivation factors differ according to the years of employment and title, based on the answers presented by the generation Y academicians participating in the survey. As a result of the test, it was found that the factors motivating the Y-generation academicians did not show a statistically significant difference according to the title and years of employment, since the p value was 0.184> 0.05 and 1.146> 0.05.
For the t test results of the factors that motivate Generation Z academicians according to gender, see Table 9.
T test was conducted to find out whether the factors motivating the academicians of the generation Z differ notably according to gender. It was determined that the factors stimulating the female and male faculty members representing the generation Z show a statistically significant difference according to gender.
For ANOVA results of the factors that motivate Generation Z academicians according to the variables of years of employment and title, see Table 10.
One-way analysis of variance (one-way anova) was conducted to determine whether the motivation factors differ according to the years of employment and according to the title, based on the answers presented by the generation Z academicians participating in the survey. As a result of the test, it was found that the factors that stimulate Generation Z academics did not show a statistically significant difference according to the title and years of employment, since the p value was 0.184> 0.05 and 1.146> 0.05.
Conclusion and Discussion
Organizations are now aware that achieving competitive advantage and retaining the workforce is possible by increasing the motivation of employees and ensuring their continuous development. The business life, which was complex from the beginning, has become even more complicated with several generations working together at the same time.
As it can be inferred from what we have cited in the literature section of the study, the concept of generation refers to the human community that emerged in a certain age, experienced multiple different events, faced the same problems, and was affected by the same events. It is concluded that a new generation is formed in an average of 15-20 years. In the future, it is thought that these years will decrease due to the increase in changes and innovations in our lives. This research has been commenced considering that various factors will motivate individuals from different generations due to the unique characteristics of generations.
When the results of the research are examined, it has been observed that members of X generation are mostly motivated with the interesting scope of the work, the innovation opportunitiesand the use of new technologies at work, the members of the Y generation are stimulated by the interesting scope of the work, the atmosphere at workplace and wage system, while Generation Z are encouraged by the interesting scope of the work, the autonomous decision-making and task autonomy (autonomy).
As a result of the field research on the factors that motivate the academicians, it has been revealed that the factors that stimulate the X, Y, and Z generations do not differ significantly according to the variables of years of employment and title.
It was determined that the factors motivating the academicians who are Y generation members do not show a statistically noteworthy difference according to gender, but the factors stimulating the academicians representing the Z generation show a statistically significant variance according to gender.
As a result of the study, it has been revealed that the factors that motivate individuals change from generation to generation, and that companies that want to enrich their intellectual wealth and maintain their competitive advantage need to benefit from different and new motivational elements in order to make people more desirous of their duties. The possibilities of evolution and progress, which Alderfer put at the top of the ERG theory, should be offered to people at all times. It is an important duty of the administrators to motivate the members of the Y generation who will be the managers of the future, by providing professional and expertise development opportunities, creating a flexible work area, a trust environment in the sector and exemplary managerial practices. For this reason, in the same direction as Herzberg's Two Factor Theory, workers should be provided with opportunities to develop in their areas of expertise to motivate them, and they should think that they are valued through valuation and feedback.
As a result of the study, it was concluded that the factors that motivate individuals vary from generation to generation, and for this reason, public and private institutions that want to increase their income, continuously develop, and to ensure that individuals perform their duties more eagerly should pay regard to the generation their employees belong to, the basic characteristics of their workers, factors motivating them and act in this direction.
As a result of the field research, the following suggestions can be made:
- Conducting such field studies not only in academic institutions but also in other public and private institutions,
- Comparison of the results of the research done,
- Establishing motivation systems suitable for the research results obtained and thus confirming the reliability of the results.
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31 December 2021
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Strategic management, Leadership, Technology, Sustainability, Society 5.0, New strategic challenges
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Sultanli, L., & Bagirzade, A. (2021). Determining The Factors That Motivate Academicians: A Research On Different Generations. In M. Ozsahin (Ed.), New Strategic, Social and Economic Challenges in the Age of Society 5.0 Implications for Sustainability, vol 121. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 99-112). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.12.04.11