The '60s Kids in the Corporation: More Than Just “Daydream Believers”

Joseph A. Raelin
  • Academy of Management Perspectives, February 1987, The Academy of Management
  • DOI: 10.5465/ame.1987.4275879

What is it about?

Did the '60s kids drop out? No. Are they different? Somewhat. Professor Raelin of Boston College has devoted a number of years to studying the '60s kids, defined as those who were between the ages of 12 and 20 in 1963, the year he believes best represents the beginning of an impactful decade. The fact is that '60s kids, compared with those a decade before and a decade after, more frequently chose professions as their career. They did not necessarily "hang out a shingle," but have opted for professional occupations (engineers, lawyers, scientists, doctors, social workers, etc.) within organizations. Moreover, they have tended to avoid taking a position in management. This "new class professional," Raelin believes, while obviously not radical, does maintain stronger values regarding professional behavior. Their loyalty is more to the standards of their profession than to the dictates of their employing organization. Raelin, a '60s kid himself, advises that to manage these '60s kids best, executives need to create an organizational climate that will encourage individual initiative, autonomy, some degree of participation in decision making, and a quality of life that fosters more of a human touch rather than a highly formalized, bureaucratic relationship.

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