Quantitative, Descriptive Study of Intergenerational Cohorts and Influence on Employee Engagement in Six Independent Restaurants

Quantitative, Descriptive Study of Intergenerational Cohorts and Influence on Employee Engagement in Six Independent Restaurants

Author: 
Peter Wilms
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
This dissertation is a quantitative, descriptive study examining whether intergenerational differences exist among employee engagement factors such as teamwork, retention, goal alignment, and trust of coworkers, trust of leadership, individual contribution, manager effectiveness, job satisfaction, benefits, and feeling valued. The study explores the relationship of whether having employees from two generations affects employee engagement in six Colorado independent restaurants. This study uses meaningful quantitative statistical analyses to determine the power of the relationships between generational cohorts and 10 work place dimensions representing employee engagement. The analysis includes the Bonferroni test, means, t-tests, p-values, degree of freedom, and equality of variance when analyzing data. The data from the research provides enough support to reject 8 out of 10 null hypotheses, demonstrating a need for practitioners to focus leadership behavior on the generational cohort when increasing job satisfaction and organizational benefits, two of the 10 work place dimensions making up employee engagement.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to my two parents Herbert and Patricia Wilms. Patricia Wilms was a first and second grade school teacher, who taught for 40 years in the Minneapolis School system. Patricia was also a Demonstration teacher for the University of Minnesota. Herbert Wilms, who taught speech therapy for 35 years in the Minneapolis School system, worked part time for the Graduate School at the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota while working summers teaching school. Both of my parents received their Master’s in Education. My parents were very passionate and dedicated when it came to teaching others professionally and learning on a personal level. They taught my sister Jane and me the importance of continuing education. They made sure we understood education comes in all different forms, types, and situations. For instance, I learned from both of my parents at a very young age the importance of turning a negative situation into a positive situation by learning from it. It is a life goal to build on the values, beliefs, spirituality, and lessons my parents have taught me throughout the years. My mother is no longer on Earth, but has been with me every step of the way on this journey. I would like to thank my father for his patience with me during the past five years and his continued support by reminding me to enjoy the journey. I am very proud to be your son and love both of you.
Acknowledgements: 
If it was not for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, this journey could have not even started yet alone finish. I would like to recognize and thank Peter, Sara, and Jonathan Wilms who are my three children. I could not be more proud of each one of you and want you to know how much I love you. To Jane, my sister, who I am very proud to be called her brother, thank you for your support and patience with me during the past five years. I know that I might not have been emotionally available like I should have been. I would also like to acknowledge and thank John Lombardi who is not only a close friend but also my mentor in business and in life. Thank you Keith Miller, Chris DeWitt, Jim Silbaugh, Ken O’Donnell, Dave Coder, and my many peers and cohorts within the Sysco Corporation. To my five very special friends Ruthie, Olivia, Oliver, Jack, and Henry who have stood by me while being patient during this process. I love each one of you and am very appreciative to have you in my life. Dr. Karen Bibbins, thank you for being my mentor and the positive willingness you shared with me when completing this part of my doctoral journey. Dr. Brandon Vaughn, committee member, thank you for sticking with me from the beginning. Dr. Elizabeth Johnston, committee member, thank you for being a big part of my doctoral journey. Dr. Anne Weiher, Dr. Diane Dusick, and Mary Strine: thank you for putting up with my impatience and getting frustrated when learning different aspects of writing and compiling a dissertation. To all of my classmates thank you very much for your insight, help, support, and opportunities for collaboration. Dr. Fred Aikens and Dr. Doris Blanton, who were not only classmates, but encouraged me to finish this part of my journey. It is important to recognize Kary See and Quantum Workforce, the authors of this 37-question survey, for giving me permission to use the survey, provide me with supporting documentation on the validity of the survey, and their commitment to study employee engagement. I am in debt to Steve Taylor, Scott McCarthy, Alan Jantzen, Mark Culloton, and TJ Charles for being open, trusting, and supportive of this dissertation, not to mention, the willingness to allow me to conduct this survey on their employees. These men are very successful in the restaurant industry and it is my hope that this information will be of value to each one of you and your organizations. Dr. Carla Kuhlman, Dr. Doug Gilbert, Dr. Bill Weeks, Dr. James Wood, Dr. Johnnie Bejarano, Dr. Jamie Primiano, Michael Hebert, Jean Miller, and Alacey Berumen all encouraged me throughout time to complete this successful undertaking because of the passion they demonstrated for education and learning. I would also like to thank all of my students within Sysco and the University of Phoenix for what I have learned from them and that learning is ongoing. I would like to thank the members of Alcoholics Anonymous for their support and in showing me how to have a spiritual life while giving me a design to live my life. I would then like to thank PSI Seminars and the founders Thomas and Jane Willhite for providing me the tools to overcome many obstacles in my life.