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Training as an Intervention to Improve Managers’ Ability to Successfully Supervise a Generationally Diverse Workforce in Higher Education

Wright, Lauren O. (2021) Training as an Intervention to Improve Managers’ Ability to Successfully Supervise a Generationally Diverse Workforce in Higher Education. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study explored training as an intervention capable of assisting managers in higher education in successfully supervising a multigenerational workforce. The goal of this Dissertation in Practice was to determine if a multigenerational management training could effectively address the identified problem of practice: many managers in the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid were not yet prepared to successfully address the challenges associated with an increasingly complex, multigenerational workforce.

The field of higher education possesses a set of characteristics likely to lead to associated management challenges including, but not limited to: high entry-level turnover or turnover intent (Dougherty & Andrews, 2007; Manfredi, 2008; Phair, 2014), notable generational diversity (Hannay & Fretwell, 2011; Kleinhans et al., 2015; Manfredi, 2008), limited management training (Johnson, 2002; Rumbley et al., 2018), and a lack of diversity in senior admissions leadership (Espinosa et al., 2019; Frye & Fulton, 2020; Phair, 2014). This foundation allows this study to be relevant to a broad audience and worthy of future improvement science-based interventions.

Improvement science relies on “rapid tests of change to guide the development, revision and continued fine-tuning of new tools, processes, work roles and relationships” (Bryk et al., 2015, p.1). Knowledge of the place of practice, the problem area, and the problem of practice was combined with literature on training, multigenerational management, and the multigenerational workforce to develop and deploy a training tool and corresponding assessment.

The training was based on a theory that the development of managers could produce positive long-term, impact toward the increased staff satisfaction and engagement critical for future success. Thirty managers participated in a two-part, three module training, and a quantitative, pre-and post-assessment of knowledge and self-perceived management competence. Sixteen participants also evaluated the intervention content with a mixed-methods post- survey. The results of this study, and the significant improvement from pre- to post-assessment, both confirmed that there is room for improvement for managers of multigenerational workforces and that training does have the capacity to positively influence this progress.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wright, Lauren O.Lauren.wright@pitt.edulow70000-0003-1692-1536
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDeAngelo,
Committee MemberGunzenhauser,
Committee MemberHumphrey,
Committee MemberJones,
Date: 23 July 2021
Defense Date: 7 June 2021
Approval Date: 31 August 2021
Submission Date: 23 July 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 206
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: "multigenerational", "management", "training", "higher education", "admissions"
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 17:32
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2021 17:32


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