California Management Review features Berkeley Haas research on Gen Z, affirmative action

The spring issue of California Management Review features two new articles by Berkeley Haas faculty.

Senior Lecturer Holly Schroth was motivated by her recent experiences in the classroom to research and write “Are you ready for Gen Z in the workplace?”. As a long-time lecturer at Berkeley Haas, Schroth admits that she wasn’t connecting quite as much with this generation as she had with previous students. “It made me wonder about this group and what they respond to,” she said.

Members of Generation Z, defined as those born between the years of 1997 and 2013, are just beginning to enter the labor market. Like millennials, they are very tech savvy and have spent most of their childhood surrounded by screens, limiting the time they spend in face-to-face interactions. Gen Z also lacks work experience–only 34% of teens had a job in 2015 compared to 60% in 1979. Employers have already observed that recent hires are having trouble adjusting to the social aspects of work in the corporate world.  “Social interaction in the workplace is a language,” Schroth noted. “Thankfully, it can be taught.”

Ultimately, Schroth advises managers to help Gen Z employees foster a sense of autonomy by providing training and then allowing them to take ownership of projects.

Also included in the issue is “Affirmative Action and its Persistent Effects: A New Perspective,” by Berkeley Haas Asst. Prof. Conrad Miller.

Miller, a labor economist in the Haas Economic Analysis & Policy Group, examines how companies responded to temporary federal affirmative action regulation. While under regulation, affirmative action increased a company’s black share of employees. But Miller discovered that the black share of employees continued to grow at a similar pace even after a firm is deregulated. This signals that companies made fundamental shifts in their hiring practices, driven in part by affirmative action rules that induced them to improve their methods for screening potential hires.

This piece builds upon Miller’s recent paper, “The Persistent Effect of Temporary Affirmative Action,” published in American Economics Journal: Applied Economics. Federal affirmative action policies, though controversial, have been demonstrated to substantially improve diversity and representation in schools and the workplace. This research provides further evidence. “If a firm is doing something without a regulation in place, presumably their behavior is consistent with their goals,” Miller said.

Published quarterly by Berkeley Haas, California Management Review is a top-ranked management journal that serves as a bridge of communication between those who study management and those who practice it.

Read the spring edition of California Management Review.