The New York Times recently reported
that college students are “Choosing Self-Esteem Over Sex or Pizza” and even an extra paycheck.
The research was conducted by Ohio State University
researchers and recently published in the Journal of Personality.
In the study the subjects were asked on a scale of 1 to 5 to identify if they would prefer to eat their favorite food, engage their favorite sexual activity, or experience their favorite self esteem builder, such as getting a good grade or receiving a compliment.
The questionnaire had two parts. The first part listed how much they liked each of the activities and the second part asked how much they wanted each activity. It wasn’t surprising that all of the activities were liked, but wanting to receive a compliment or good grade was the most wanted desire.
The researchers conclude that we may have created a generation of potential narcissists that may have strong inclinations towards addictions. From the comments on the New York Times article, many find the researcher’s conclusions to be unnecessarily alarming and inconclusive. It may be that I'm an optimist but I believe the study is encouraging because the students are less driven by money, gluttony or hedonistic pleasure.
The lasting impact positively or negatively on society is for others much more qualified to answer. What I am most interested in, is how this will impact the workforce. Some have suggested that by the year 2014, the Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce.
I believe the study suggests that you could build an organizational culture of “Thank You” and recognition that is not directly tied to prizes and money.
How will your organizations recruit, train, manage, develop and motivate workers that seek praise, recognition and visibility? Will your current benefits and compensation structures, performance appraisals and rewards and recognition programs need to be redesigned?
What are your thoughts?