220564 Generation Y, Transformational Leadership and Shifting Public Health Paradigms

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 9:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Maureen Bezold, PhD, MPH , Lubar School of Business, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Eric Gass, PhD , City of Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee, WI
Public health is facing a number of noteworthy challenges, not the least of which are severe budget cuts and considerable shifts in workforce demographics. These changes could lead to a significant wave of retirements among public health workers. However daunting these changes might be, they represent an opportunity for public health agencies to make changes as outlined by Fairchild, Rosner, Colgrove, Bayer and Fried (2010). The authors suggest public health needs to “align with constituencies” and work for “progressive social change” something public health has moved away from over the years. One “constituency” that public health agencies need to consider is Generation Y, the largest birth cohort in U.S. history, outnumbering Baby Boomers by 2,000,000 members. This generation includes those born 1980-2000 and their characteristics and values tend to be consistent with the call for “progressive social change”. However, public health agencies will have difficulty recruiting and retaining this constituency if it remains “business as usual” in the way public health agencies are managed. “Business as usual” includes limited publically supported funding streams and public service administrative structures at odds with the values of Generation Y. While declining revenues may be seen as a negative it also requires creative leadership and vision to pursue alternative funding and to make public health a desirable career option for the emerging workforce. A model of transformational leadership may be a useful model if PH agencies are to achieve both these aims. Generation Y prefers leaders who treat them as individuals. Generation Y also values opportunities to actively contribute and to assume leadership roles early in their careers. Transformational leaders create cultures that embrace these preferences. Transformational leadership has also been linked with a number positive workplace outcomes including increases in workers' willingness to take on extra tasks and improved organizational performance.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
Describe the characteristics and values of Generation Y. Discuss the basic components of a model of transformational leadership. Identify the usefulness of a model of transformational leadership in managing Generation Y employees. Discuss the implications of a reconceptualized public health paradigm for recruiting and retaining Generation Y employees and realizing progressive social change.

Keywords: Leadership, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D. in management and an M.P.H. and have worked in in a local health department
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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