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How Can We Better Understand Current and Future Workforce Values in the Global Business Environment?



Our study tested the predictive power of socioeconomic development theory and age differences theory to explain work values across cultures and across age groups. We compared the values orientations of future managers, business students under the age of 25, with those of current managers and professionals, who we split into three decade groups (30 to 39, 40 to 49, and 50 to 59). Our respondents (n = 1,518) come from six diverse societies: Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Russia, the United States, and Vietnam. Our findings indicate that both theories contribute to our understanding of work values and behaviors. One implication is that while socioeconomic development theory makes an important contribution, it is clearly not sufficient by itself to explain work values/behavior differences in the global context. The study findings and the discussion of them will hopefully provide multinational managers with a clearer assessment of current and future workforce values/behavior. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.