Title

Millennials: What Do We Really Know About Them?

Publication Date

2013

Journal

Advances in Accounting Education

Volume

14

First Page

45

Last Page

72

Abstract

While there are many articles in the popular press and practitioner journals concerning the Millennials (i.e., who they are and what we need to do about them), the academic literature on the subject is more limited. This chapter (1) extensively reviews this literature as published in practitioner, popular press, and academic journals across disciplines including psychology, sociology, management, human resources, and accounting education, and (2) surveys the generational study literature to determine what, if any, rigorous empirical studies exist to support (or refute) the existence of a distinct Millennial generational cohort. While the popular press is voluminous when it comes to avowed generational differences between Millennials and their predecessors, there is a paucity of peer-reviewed, academic, empirical work in the area and most of the latter suffers in some way from the overarching problem with generational research: the linear relationship between age, period, and generation that results in these variables being inherently entwined. However, even absent strong empirical evidence of a unique generational cohort, the literature offers extensive suggestions about what to do about the Millennials in our classrooms and work places. This paper better informs accounting faculty about the traits of the current generation of accounting students that are supported by empirical research versus claims made in the popular press. It argues for a more reasoned ‘‘continuous improvement’’ approach to Millennials while offering some classroom suggestions for accounting faculty members.

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