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Exploring university employee career capital

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Title:
Exploring university employee career capital
Creator:
Roller, Jessie Czerwonka
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
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Degree:
Doctorate ( Doctor of Education)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Education and Human Development, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Leadership for education equity
Committee Chair:
Summers, Laura L.
Committee Members:
Blunck, Rodney
Severy, Lisa

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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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Copyright Jessie Czerwonka Roller. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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Full Text
EXPLORING UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEE CAREER CAPITAL
by
JESSIE CZERWONKA ROLLER B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2007 M.A., University of Colorado Denver, 2010
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education
Leadership for Educational Equity Program
2016


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This dissertation for the Doctor of Education degree by Jessie Czerwonka Roller has been approved for the Leadership for Educational Equity program by
Laura L. Summers, Chair Rodney Blunck Lisa Severy
December 17, 2016


Ill
Roller, Jessie (Czerwonka) Ed.D., Leadership for Educational Equity Exploring University Employee Career Capital Thesis directed by Lecturer Laura Summers
ABSTRACT
The changing economy, which has resulted in four generations employed in the workforce, has forced corporate companies to adapt practices that include employee onboarding, retention efforts, and work environments in this new world-of-work to address high employee turnover. Corporations experienced an increase in employee job satisfaction and engagement levels when intentional career development efforts are enacted. Unlike corporations, universities are constricted by state funding and are known to implement change slowly. Due to funding decreases in higher education, enrollment and graduation rates are the focus of conversation and change efforts. Universities are developing stronger student retention practices but lack the same focus for employee retention. This research study investigated how differing generations in the workforce experience career capital and professional/career growth at one university. Three Student Affairs professionals were interviewed who represented three of the four generations in the workforce, including Generation Y (1978-1989), Generation X (1965-1977), and the Baby Boomer generation (1946-1964). In comparing interviews to both the generational preferred characteristics and the career capital conceptual framework, findings indicated that when in alignment with both, the Student Affairs professionals felt engagement and empowerment at work. Similarities and differences were noted in the three interviews; however, themes of personality characteristics, importance of relationships, and the need for both growth and learning were noted in all responses. This research was especially important due to the diverse, generational working populations who have different viewpoints on what work means.


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Exploring the relationship between career capital and employee retention has implications for how institutions can change and adapt current employment practices to increase employee retention and career satisfaction levels.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Laura Summers


V
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I: INTRODUCTION...............................................................1
Conceptual Framework........................................................4
II: LITERATURE REVIEW.........................................................9
The New World-of-Work......................................................10
Higher Education Funding...................................................11
Differing Generational Workforce...........................................13
Higher Education Employee Career Development...............................16
Change and Development of Talent...........................................20
Employee Retention.........................................................23
III: STUDY DESIGN AM) METHODOLOGY............................................26
Research Design............................................................26
Data Collection............................................................27
Participants and Researcher Role...........................................28
Data Recording Procedures and Data Analysis................................29
Trustworthiness.........................................................29
IV: RESEARCH FINDINGS........................................................32
Generation Y (1978-1989) Interview: Jennifer*..............................34
Generation Y Characteristics............................................35
Conceptual Framework Comparison.........................................37
Generation X (1965-1977) Interview: Michael*...............................41
Generation X Characteristics............................................44
Conceptual Framework Comparison.........................................46
Baby Boomer (1946-1964) Interview: James*..................................48
Baby Boomer Characteristics.............................................50
Conceptual Framework Comparison.........................................52
Themes Across the Three Interviews.........................................53


VI
V: CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION...................................................56
Summary of Findings.........................................................56
Jennifer: Generation Y (1978-1989)....................................... 57
Michael: Generation X (1965-1977)........................................ 58
James: Baby Boomer (1946-1964)........................................... 60
Themes Across Generations...................................................61
Research Implications.......................................................62
Limitations.................................................................65
Recommendations for Future Studies..........................................66
Conclusion..................................................................67
Reflection..................................................................68
REFERENCES.....................................................................70
APPENDIX.......................................................................78
A. Conceptual Framework.....................................................78
B. Semi-Structure Interview Questions.......................................79
C. Initial Demographic Survey...............................................80
D. Postcard Consent Information Sheet.......................................81
E. Recruitment Letter/Invitation to Participate Email Template..............82


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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
For the first time in history, there are four generations working together in the same setting (Half, et al., 2015; Fry, 2015). Each generation grew up in varying eras, which presents unique challenges in workplace culture and employee retention efforts (Deloitte, 2016; Half, et al., 2015; Ouellette, 2012; Wagner, 2015). Individual employee needs are shaped through both economic shifts and life events, and their workplace needs are different depending on what generation they were born into (Half, et al., 2015; Fry, 2015; Zarim & Zaki, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Fillipczak, 2002). With the continual shift in what work looks like (Heerwagen, et al., 2010) and the eradication of the mentality of working your way up the company ladder (Hirschi, 2012; Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Savickas, et al., 2009), companies are beginning to see the need to change workplace culture, organizational structures, and functions to meet the needs of both employees and consumers (Cramm, 2015; Deloitte, 2016; Half, et al., 2015; Ouellette, 2012; Proinspire, 2015; Wagner, 2015). Higher education institutions have experienced a shift as well, and the student is progressively beginning to be viewed as the customer (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015). The student-as-customer shift is further complicated by rising education costs. Within the past decade, funding for Colorado institutions has shifted as a result of the decline of state funding, which has increased the burden on students and their families (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015). Specifically, Colorado public universities have the lowest state funding per individual student in the nation (Wenzel, 2013). Therefore, Colorado public universities rely heavily on student tuition and fees as a source of funding (Raisman, 2013). This dependence has resulted in many university leaders forming initiatives and creating programs to increase student


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enrollment and solidify student retention. While there is an increase in the importance of student retention, focus on university employee retention has been limited. Research shows, however, a connection between student attrition and academic customer service (Raisman, 2013). Yet, academic customer service levels are difficult to maintain given the high turnover of academic professionals. The burnout rate for Student Affairs professionals alone is estimated to be between 50-60% in the first five years of experience (Young, 2015). According to Young (2015), because new professionals make up 15%-20% of the workforce within student affairs and 50% will burn out within five years, we are looking at losing a 7.5%-10% of the student affairs workforce regularly (p. 1). The literature reveals the importance of updating university practices to satisfy the changing needs of the student and maintain positive attrition and funding rates.
A review of literature on workplace satisfaction (Fisher, 2009), engagement (Gallup-Purdue, 2016), empowerment (Ouellette, 2012), happiness (Boehm, & Lyubominsky, 2008; Henderson, 2000; Seligman, 2004), and career satisfaction shows a need for examining employee learning and development practices in higher education. Corporate organizations have already begun to create change in this new world-of-work (Deloitte University Press, 2015). New attention is being paid to onboarding, orientation, performance management, and company culture (Deloitte University Press, 2015; Farrell, 2009; IndustryWeek, 2005; Riasman, 2013). One company leading the way in these areas is DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc., which is a Fortune 500 company that provides a variety of health care services to patients across the United States and abroad (DaVita, 2016). In an interview with a staff member of DaVita University, a training entity housed within the company itself, Terry Hayden, Faculty and Coach within the School of Leadership and Management, emphasized


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how every organizational component has been carefully considered to align with the companys core values of service excellence, integrity, teamwork, continuous improvement, accountability, fulfillment, and fun (T., Hayden, personal communication, January 20, 2016; DaVita, 2016). The interviewee noted that the leaders of DaVita were very intentional with the organizational restructure to ensure both employee satisfaction and customer happiness. For example, DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. created DaVita University as a specific department, separate from the Department of Human Resources, to actively engage and promote employee learning and development. An example of this is their use of Career Roadmaps, which are documents that are used to help employees navigate the future career growth options and opportunities within DaVita. This exemplifies how DaVita promotes growth and opportunities for advancement in an easy, predictable package. Employees do not have to question what they have to do in order to move up within the company because it has been mapped out, which emphasizes how DaVita wants to foster employee growth internally.
While there are multiple examples of corporations adapting to the new world-of-work, most institutions of higher education are placing their change and retention efforts exclusively on students. The high burnout rates, specifically in the Student Affairs division, emphasize the need for examination of employee retention practices. This is especially important given the differing viewpoints diverse, generational working populations have on what work means to individuals (Zarim & Zaki, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Fillipczak, 2002). This multigenerational workforce has forced corporate companies to shift how they hire, train, and retain employees (Deloitte, 2016; Half, et al., 2015; Ouellette, 2012; Wagner, 2015). The goal of this research study was to investigate how differing generations have


experienced support in their professional and career growth and built career capital at one university.
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Career Capital Theory is defined as an individuals social support, capabilities, knowledge, and characteristics to assist in defining their career identity (Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Hirschi, 2012; Newport, 2012; Savickas, et al., 2009; Shin, 2013). Individuals build career capital through conscious and continual experiences, practice, and feedback (Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Hirschi, 2012; Newport, 2012; Savickas, et al., 2009; Shin, 2013). In terms of Career Capital Theory in higher education, the question becomes, //mi are Student Affairs professionals building career capital and being supported in their professional/career growth?
Exploring the relationship between career capital and employee retention will have implications for how institutions can change and adapt current employment practices to increase employee retention and career satisfaction levels.
Conceptual Framework
The conceptual framework for this study stems from the career counseling, strengths-based Theory of Career Capital. Combining resources on Career Capital Theory from Inkson & Arthur (2001), Hirschi (2012), Newport (2012), Savickas (2009), and Shin (2013), the conceptual framework was constructed from the following four overlapping concepts of career capital: identity resources, psychological resources, social resources, and human capital resources (Appendix A). Career Capital Theory views an individual as an eclectic combination of experiences (Inkson & Arthur, 2001). The authors state that, one framework for understanding how we develop our careers [and thereby our companies] in changing conditions is to consider the career assets that we bring to our successive employment


settings (Inkson & Arthur, 2001, p. 51). Therefore, the conceptual framework model for investigating career capital and career/professional development includes:
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Figure 1: Identity Resources. This figure illustrates components of identity resources.
Identity Resources: This concept is also known as knowing why (Inkson & Arthur, 2001, p. 52), is defined as an individuals self-awareness surrounding individual interests, abilities, goals, and values related to the world-of-work and career options. The core career identity resource of an individual is how one defines work as meaningful (Hirschi, 2012).
Figure 2: Psychological resources. This figure illustrates components that make up psychological resources.
Psychological Resources: An additional component of knowing why (Inkson &


Figure
Arthur, 2001, p. 52), this concept refers to an individuals positive mental traits and states such as inner motivation in relation to the specific working role. Examples include an individuals personal adaptability, resilience, perceived employability, and personal flexibility (Hirschi, 2012).
3: Social resources. This figure illustrates components that make up social resources. Social Resources: known as knowing whom (Inkson & Arthur, 2001, p. 52) or social capital (Hirschi, 2012, p. 6), this concept refers to an individuals social structure and relationships. This is an environmental factor compared to the other three components, meaning that social resources are often outside of an individuals control (Hirschi, 2012). The quality of the relationship as well as both the structure and diversity of the individuals network is a factor in this resource (Hirschi, 2012).


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Figure 4: Human capital resources. This illustrates components of human capital resources.
Human Capital Resources: also known as knowing how (Inkson & Arthur, 2001, p. 52), this component is defined as an individuals ability to meet occupational performance and skill requirements (Hirschi, 2012), which includes opportunities for learning and development to increase ones job specific knowledge and abilities (Hirschi, 2012). One example is an individuals knowledge of how to promote him or herself for career advancement.
The four dimensions of this conceptual framework all reinforce each other in the way that accumulation of one resource facilitates the accumulation of another resource (Hirschi, 2012, p. 8), resulting in each resource supporting the development of another resource. The four dimensions are all intertwined and are not viewed as completely separate entities. When reviewing past case studies in companies following the Career Capital Model, evidence highlighted the increase in employee productivity and employee transitions (Inkson &
Arthur, 2001). The researchers noted the small amount of evidence they acquired to support the above conclusion; however, they stated that even though employees still left the company, the employee transfer of knowledge increased and there was a smoother transition for new employees (Inkson & Arthur, 2001). Additionally, this research article highlighted


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that outdated career development programs do not work. Inkson and Arthur (2001) claimed that more traditional career employee programs often disregard an employees past industry expertise and knowledge (2001). However, companies implementing career capital models benefit both as an employer and for increased retention of new employees (2001). Therefore, the conceptual framework used in this research study addresses the need to examine current practices in place to both retain employees and continue to develop new talent in the workplace.


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CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW
The world-of-work is rapidly changing due to endless fluctuations in the economy. Jobs are constantly shifting along with the demands of new industries, technological advances, and changing work environments (Heerwagen, Kelly, & Kampschroer, 2010; Hirschi, 2012). For the first time in history, companies employ four different generations working in the same team (Half, et al., 2015; Fry, 2015). This complex shift in employee dynamics has forced many companies to reexamine the value placed on culture and organizational structure due to the differing needs and employee retention rates of each generation (Half, et al., 2015; Proinspire, 2015). As Robert Half Internationals CEO, Max Messmer, stated in IndustryWeek (2005), For a growing number of workers, corporate culture is the key determinant in their choice to stay with an organization long term. Additionally, in this new world-of-work, the mentality of working your way up the company ladder no longer exists. Career trajectories are not linear but rather cultivated and developed through experiences (Hirschi, 2012; Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Savickas, et al., 2009). The aim of this literature review is to provide a clearer understanding of the importance in examining university employees satisfaction and the impact career development opportunities has on employee engagement and retention levels. Specifically, higher education employee practices are compared to corporations new career development models. Cost of employee turnover and need for changes in employee retention rates are reviewed along with proposed ways of addressing generational needs in the workplace.


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The New World-of-Work
Organizational theorists have identified two key factors behind the changing work environment, the lean enterprise (Heerwagen, Kelly, & Kampschroer, 2010, p. 1) and technological advances. Lean enterprise, also known as lean thinking, means redefining value from a consumers worldview, increasing the company value chain for employee and customer, eliminating non-value organizational work activities, and reducing inefficient support functions (Heerwagen, et al., 2010). Lean thinking is a way for companies to respond quickly to the changing marketplace by becoming more efficient (Heerwagen, et al., 2010). For example, lean thinking has been instrumental in organizational restructures in order to improve internal processes. Heerwagen et al. (2010) explain that Hierarchies are cumbersome and cannot respond quickly to changing market demands.. .hierarchies are being replaced by cross unit organizational groupings with fewer layers and more decentralized decision making (p. 1). According to Heerwagen, et al. (2010), when companies are more laterally structured, an increase in collaboration amongst departments develops. The second factor, technological breakthroughs, refers to the increase of information and ease of communication across sectors due to technology (Heerwagen, et al., 2010). Technology has transformed the way information is shared and communicated, providing constant changes in the workplace. The use of video conferencing, computer-based resources, and instant messaging are just a few ways technology has changed the way people work (Heerwagen, et al., 2010).
As a result of the constantly changing work environment, companies are beginning to recognize the need for change initiatives to retain employees (Cramm, 2015; Deloitte, 2016; Ouellette, 2012; Wagner, 2015). Employee retention and engagement programs are shifting


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focus towards career development models in order to foster employees within a company and build an environment that meets the varying demands of an eclectic generational workforce (Deloitte University, 2015; Grovo, 2015; Proinspire, 2015). Research clearly indicates advantages to retention over high turn-over through employee incentives, workplace motivation, and employee transfer or knowledge (Brymer, Molloy, & Gilbert, 2014; Busteed & Stutzman, 2015; Coleman, 2013; Half, 2014b, Half, R., 2014c, Chalofsky, & Krishna, 2009; Lockwood, 2007; and Sorenson, 2013).
Higher Education Funding
The ebbs and flows of the economy impact all industries. In looking at the higher education industry, these variances impact two important groups, students and employees.
As state budgets decrease and allocations to other demands such as K-12 education, infrastructure, and prisons increase, allocations to state colleges and universities continue to drop. Major public university state funding has dropped and Colorado is number 50 for funding per student (Wenzel, 2013). A decline of state funding to higher education directly affects tuition costs for students but also increases the need for colleges to retain staff that promote student success (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015). Staff directly impact students experiences and retention rates in college (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015). Both students and universities are suffering from this decrease in state funding, and one directly impacts the other. Therefore, colleges and universities have been forced to respond with, .. .both steeply increased tuition and pared back spending, often in ways that may compromise the quality of education and jeopardize student outcomes (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015, p. 18). A study analyzing 1,669 United States four-year colleges and universities for attrition rates found a correlation between staff and student retention (Riasman, 2013). The key reasons for the


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84% attrition rate of students were all linked to poor levels of university customer service (Raisman, 2013). Ultimately, happy employees ensure happier students.
Due to the nature of funding public institutions in Colorado, attrition rates play a significant role in funding. Average attrition rates in Colorado show the majority of universities graduate between 20% and 59% of their students in six years.
The Cost of College Attrition at Four-Year Colleges & Universities
Table 1. Projected Attrition Loss of Institutions, Sorted Alphabetically
The following table lists all 1669 universities and colleges in alphabetical order. The color coding indicates the percentage of graduation band the institution falls within. A dark green band indicates that in six years the college graduated 90 plus percent of its entering cohort. The fighter green indicates that the school graduated 80 to 8996 of the students in six years. The blue band indicates that a college graduated 70 to 7996 of its students within six years. A yellow band will indicate that a college graduated between 60 to 69% of its students within six years. The pink banding color indicates that the school has graduated between 59% and 20% of its students in six years. Colleges that have graduated less than 20% of its students within six years are highlighted in red..
As o point of comparison for an individual school it should be noted that the average of the 1669 schools is 50% graduation rate in six years thereby creating an attrition rate equal to 50%. This further calculates to an average loss of over $9.8 million per school based upon fortiori of $18,297.
Name 200B 6-Year Grad Rate 2008 6-Yr Attrition Rate Tuition Under gra d FTE Adjusted FTE Projected Loss Irom Attrition Sector State
University of Charleston 41% 59% S 23,700 1,117 1,039 $ 7,543,630.46 private WV
University of Chicago 92* 8* $<11,091 4.S6D 1.558 $7,645,983.17 private 8
University of Gncinnati-Main 55% 45% $ 10,065 18,133 16,864 538,274,800.49 Public OH

1 university or Colorado at Boulder 67% 34% 5 7,099 24,755 23,U22 Public CO I
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs 46% 54% $ 7,417 5,455 5,073 $ 10,215,880.79 Public CO
University of Colorado Denver 37% 63% $ 7,099 8,222 7,646 $ 17,180,3 22.4S Public CO
_
University of Connecticut-Avery Point 44% 56% $ 7,336 613 570 $ 1,173,101.56 Public CT
University of Conneciicut-Stamford 49% 51% $ 7,346 937 871 $1,622,749.29 Public CT
University of Conneciicut-Tfl- 50% 50% $ 7,336 2,026 1,BB4 $3,455,586.12 Public CT
1 IrsiuArSitv nf n All AS 57% 4T% < 77*15 i ?in 1 175 $ fi 77R 497 57 nrivaiA TY
Figure 5: The Cost of Attrition at Colleges and Universities. This figure illustrates the cost of college attrition at four-year colleges & universities: An analysis of 1669 US intuitions.
This loss represents an average loss of over $9.8 million per school based upon tuition of
$18,297 (Raisman, 2013, p. 12). High attrition can be expensive for institutions, and quality
of staff directly impact attrition rates. Therefore, retaining talented staff is imperative to an
institutions overall success. According to the University of Colorado (CU) Systems
Department of Planning, Budget, and Analysis, the largest unrestricted revenue category is
student tuition and fees (2015). Currently, CU reports that 4.4% of their total budget is state


13
funding. Compared to other public universities outside of Colorado, this number drastically reveals the importance of student enrollment. For example, at Georgia Tech where student tuition is about $34,000 per year, the state contributes roughly $22,500. When reviewing CU-Boulders tuition of $15,000 per year, the state only contributes about $3,000 (2015). Colorados higher education public institutions are primarily funded by student enrollment numbers, and if student enrollment decreases, this directly impacts university employment opportunities and funding sources. The realities and pressures of funding have always pushed university leaders to emphasize student recruiting. Such initiatives primarily focus on new age teaching approaches and technology (Marcus, 2016). For example, a popular initiative in the last decade is the availability of hybrid classes and online degree opportunities (Sheehy, 2013). This option provides an opportunity to individuals who are interested in pursuing a post-secondary degree but lack the time and flexibility to attend classes in a traditional, face-to-face environment. With all the focus and energy in tweaking incoming and current student experiences, but universities need to re-examine their priorities for higher education employees as well.
Differing Generational Workforce
Generations are shaped by significant events and cultural patterns specific to their formative years. As of 2016, there are four generations within the workforce that all have different approaches and views about the meaning, importance, and practice of working.


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Generations at a Glance
Baby Boomers 1946-1964 Gen Xers 1965-1977 Gen Yers 1978-1989 Gen Zers 1990-1999
Behavior Challenge the rules Change the rules Create the rules Customize the rules
Training Preferred in moderation Required to keep me Continuous and expected Ongoing and essential
Learning style Facilitated Independent Collaborative and networked Technology-based
Communication style Guarded Hub and spoke Collaborative Face-to-foce
Problem-solving Horizontal Independent Collaborative Entrepreneurial
Decision-making Team informed Team included Team decided Team persuaded
Leadership style Unilateral Cooch Partner Teaching
Feedback Once per year, during the annual review Weekly,'daily On demand Consistent and frequent
Change management Change = caution Change = opportunity Change = improvement Change = expected
Figure 6: Generations at a Glance. This figure illustrates four generations preference in the workplace.
Employee retention practices for this blended group need to be assessed and addressed (Zarim & Zaki, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Fillipczak, 2002). The four generations include Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation Xers (1965-1977), Generation Y (1978-1989), and Generation Zers (1990-1999) (Half, Tulgan, Baumann, Graham, & McDonald, 2015). When examining what different generations want in a job, there are various opinions on what is important in engaging employees. One survey showed a need for organizations to focus on work-life balance for staff under the age of 44 (Half, et al., 2015). This same survey explained that employees between the ages of 55-64 are more concerned about the nature of their work. This survey also identified the difference in employee needs at a large company versus at a small firm. Employees at large companies viewed advancement as vital, while within small firms, work-life balance, perks and company culture were more important (Half, et al., 2015). This research shows that it is important to factor in that all employees are


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different, especially across generations, and companies need to change how they approach employee development. Furthermore, companies need to factor in training and recognition preferences to address generational retention (Half, et al., 2015). By 2020, 80% of the workforce will be post Baby Boomer and over 20% will be Gen Z (Half, et al., 2015). Therefore, employee orientation, training, and leadership need to be updated to meet the needs of these generations.
The workforce is ever-changing and research has shown that generational differences are a great factor when examining work values. For example, one article stated that generational differences often represent the distinctive social or historical life events that are shared by a group of individuals born around the same time (Hirschi, 2012; Hunter, 2013). Therefore, it is important to update policies, procedures, incentives, and training programs to reflect the ever-changing workforce. Another noticeable difference in generations is employees work attitudes (Twenge, 2010). Investigating career expectations and work priorities will be important in looking at the differences among generations (Ng, Schweitzer, & Lyons, 2010).
Research has begun to identify the importance of retaining and transferring the knowledge of senior employees because of the overwhelming shift in the generational workforce (Stevens, 2010). One research study addressed the importance of personal career development and the retirement journeys of employees and how this affects organizational success (Coleman, 2013). Success planning involved the need for leadership training and development programs as well as mentoring opportunities within organizations. Another research study addressed this need, stating that 42% of organizational knowledge actually resides in the brains of the current workforce (Stevens, 2010). If a company is committed to


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capturing and transferring this critical knowledge while factoring in the ever-changing workforce demographics, a company needs to be strategic with their knowledge transfer and retention practices.
Higher Education Employee Career Development
A review of literature on workplace satisfaction (Fisher, 2009), engagement (Gallup-Purdue, 2016), empowerment (Ouellete, 2012), happiness (Boehm, & Lyubominsky, 2008; Henderson, 2000; Seligman, 2004), and career satisfaction yielded limited research in learning and development practices aimed at retaining higher education employees. This dearth of research is noted by Farrel in her article, Investing in Staff for Student Retention (2009). In her study, Farrel acknowledged how research on how the academic workforce affects student retention is sparse (p. 1). This prompted her to further study how staff development correlated with student retention. Farrell compared her personal experience working at Intel Corporation to her university experience. At Intel, employees were required to attend new-hire orientations both as new employees and whenever a branch relocation occurred. Intels orientation focused on strengthening interpersonal skills, including how to effectively conduct a meeting and have constructive conversations (Farrell, 2009). Farrell stated that, as a participant, she felt well versed in Intels culture and organizational processes (2009). After transferring to higher education though, she found that there was little preparation for new employees on how to interact with students or follow university procedures (Farrell, 2009). A half-day orientation was offered to obtain a data dump about the institution (Farrell, 2009, p. 86), but value was not placed on staff members who directly interacted with students on a daily basis. Yet, Staff members, the study found, significantly influenced students decisions to stay or leave (Farrell, 2009, p. 1). Therefore, there is a


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direct link to university staff members and student retention.
Farrells study supports the importance of investigating changes needed in retaining higher education employees and how to improve student-staff connections. Recommendations included analyzing varying elements of a campus culture and unit subcultures before providing employee training and development (Farrell, 2009). A college culture is reflected in what is done, how it is done, and who is involved in doing it (Farrell, 2009, p. 89). If staff do not feel prepared to help students, this could lead to high employee burnout rates. One article reported that high burnout rates could be due to overwhelming student to staff ratios (Reisz, 2011). Staff that understand the university culture, feel valued, and are offered consistent, personalized professional development opportunities will create longer standing student relationships that improve student retention (Farrell, 2009; Riasman, 2013).
Compared to corporate settings, institutions of higher education are notoriously slow to change. In the 2015 Global Human Capital Trends: Leading in the New World of Work research study, 3,300 business and human resource leaders from over 100 countries were surveyed and interviewed (Deloitte University Press). The results demonstrated trends and themes for change. Suggestions included the need for leaders to adapt, and particular focus of change efforts focused on opportunities to develop company culture and engagement, learning and development, reinvention of human resources, performance management, and people analytics (Deloitte University Press, 2015). When investigating universities, Deloitte University Press (2015) researchers identified outdated models of recruitment, learning and development, and retention as problem areas. The HR professionals indicated that the learning and development programs that were in place were reactive in nature. For instance,


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the Crucial Conversations programs primary learning objective was for employees to receive training on how to have challenging conversations productively. However, the interviewee indicated that there had to be some level of conflict or tension for an employee to participate. More specifically, the recruitment process for employees to sign-up was completed by referral. Therefore, a supervisor had to be knowledgeable of the program and see a justification before registration could commence. Additionally, this particular universitys annual performance evaluation process had not been updated in nearly a decade. There were two forms to fill out, one with a scale of 1 to 5 and another that asked blanket competency questions. These documents were used for all exempt employees. Additionally, the interviewee noted that it was up to the supervisor to empower, engage, and grow employees in a direction they saw fit. However, many times supervisors did not understand how to empower individuals to help them to develop and grow in a way that suited each individual (Brungardt, 1996). Differences are evident in the following comparison of this outdated university model to a large health services company that has created an updated learning and development model.
An interview with the Manager and Faculty of Wisdom at DaVita University demonstrated a complete difference from the traditional university model. The DaVita model was created specifically for the development of leaders. They offer and mandate supervisors to go through multiple trainings during their career journey at DaVita. DaVita has roughly 65,000 teammates and provides both weekly and monthly leadership and clinical courses to current employees. DaVita University is also responsible for the career development process for leaders. Individuals holding leadership roles can select to follow a Teammate Career Roadmap or they can create their own path for growth through the


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empowering culture and resources DaVita provides (DaVita University, 2016).
Some institutions in Colorado are beginning to address this need for change in higher education. One Colorado university hired a consulting company to investigate employee empowerment levels (Ouellette, 2012). During in-person interviews with one of the hired consultants, the consulting firm found an abundance of low feelings of empowerment and began to identify barriers. Using a needs-hierarchy model similar to Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, consultants focused on job fulfillment models geared toward needs from basic to complex (S., Ouellette, personal communication, January 26, 2016). As a result, consultants assisted supervisors in identifying where their supervisees were in terms of what they needed, and they developed performance improvement plans specifically based on those needs to maximize employee empowerment.
There is a pattern in broad retention practices and changes in company culture, but there is a lack of programs specifically outlining employee career development within companies (Brymer, Molloy, & Gilbert, 2014; Busteed & Stutzman, 2015; Cramm, 2015; Deloitte University Press, 2016; Gallup-Purdue, 2016; Half, 2014b; Ouellette, 2012; Proinspire, 2015; Wagner, 2015;). This type of research and new approach to company retention seems to be rare in higher education. Research studies are focused on large corporations or niche areas such as finance or information technology (Half, 2014b). Understanding the growing needs of employee career capital should be the focus of expanded research. Specifically, research needs to investigate internal organizational practices that focus on employee growth and career trajectories within various workplace settings. Reviewing best practices of existing programs like Deloitte & Touche LLC Career Connections, Accentures Human Capital Development Framework, and DaVitas employee


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career culture is a good starting point. (Grogan, 2013). All programs will need to address three key themes, including generational differences in the workplace, the skills gap, and employee retention.
Change and Development of Talent
Companies are facing an increase in on-boarding costs as well as increased turnover rates due to the shortage of quality candidates and an increase in the number of retirements (Tyszko, Sheets, & Fuller, 2015). Governments, schools, and other employers need to take more of a leadership role in beginning to change this disconnect that yields more effective transitions into employment for students and improved career advancement for current employees (Tyszko, et al., 2015).
The literature also indicates that the United States is falling behind on developing talented workers. Lumina Foundation (2015) advocates that higher education should be redesigned to better meet the needs of employees. Additionally, Busteed and Stutzman (2015) found that there is an obvious need for the U.S. to develop its workplace talent more effectively. One department within higher education that is tackling this is career services through career counseling for students (Dey, 2014). Change is not new to career services departments as research indicates that the evolution of career services in higher education has been through numerous transformations since its beginning in the early 1900s (Dey, 2014). Pivotal changes have been due to both societal norms and economic conditions (Dey, 2014). Dey and Cruzvergara (2014) report that to be successful, leaders within career development need to be intentional with updating and molding their departments to the future trends in employment. This change model may be the key to understanding the importance in a shift


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in company culture and the growing need to tailor programs to changes in generational needs.
Career counseling was first implemented and recognized as vocational guidance in the early 1900s. Frank Parsons created the first vocational guidance center, which primarily focused on transitioning new immigrants into American life (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014).
Due to the post World War I baby boom and industrialization, a tremendous increase in the college student population created a need for educational and vocational guidance. At this time, faculty members were responsible for both mentoring and preparing students for the workforce (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014). Vocational guidance began to transform into skill identification and teaching rather than counseling in the post-World-War II era (1940s and 1950s). At that time, career services departments primary purpose was to find jobs rather than focus on student development. This era of career counseling was called job placement and emerged primarily to serve the needs of veterans returning to college using the GI Bill (Dey, 2014).
Career counseling and planning models began to take over in the 1970s and 1980s when the economy experienced a downward turn, and responsibility for job placement shifted more towards the student than the institution (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014). During this time, the economy slowed and the job market became more competitive (Dey, 2014).
College campuses shifted their focus to preparing students for more meaningful work. More specifically, individuals sought out opportunities to develop a career identity through pursuing college and making themselves more competitive rather than just settling for any job available after obtaining a GED. As a result of this shift, the concept of a career became focused on opportunities for growth and continued stimulation throughout the lifetime. On


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the other hand, a job became viewed as an opportunity that allows an individual to pay the bills where they simply tolerate daily work functions. Therefore, the need to counsel and support students through this identity development process created a need for career counseling programs.
In the 1990s, the increased popularity of computers and the rise of the Internet began to shape and mold how current career centers help students in career development. Technological advancements began to increase the need to network and build connections while simultaneously gaining a degree. Career centers began to take on the role of connecting students to employers and teaching the art of professionally networking (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014).
Today, an integrated model of customized connections and communities (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014, p. 2) is recommended for career centers. Research is beginning to identify a shift from generalized career counseling toward tailored programs to address specific student needs. For example, career centers often orchestrate on-campus recruiting events called internship and job fairs. These large, all-encompassing fairs draw all types of industry employers ranging from healthcare to accounting to nonprofit. Today, career centers are beginning to place more of their efforts in supporting industry specific fairs such as an Engineering Fair or a Summer Break Job Fair. These specific fairs are meant to provide opportunities for students to create meaningful connections and relationships with employers that could last a lifetime (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014). Therefore, specific fairs are in line with the new model of connections and communities that is predicted to trend from 2010 until the year 2030 (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014).
The history of career services in higher education provides a model for adapting to


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changing needs applicable to the retention efforts of higher education institutions. Career services history shows that education is evolving and needs to grow to meet the demanding needs of clients, which in this case, are students. Corporations are also seeing this need, and many are changing policies and procedures to accommodate the growing needs of new graduates as well as long time employees (Deloitte University Press, 2015). Yet, education is not providing the same service to their employees. Research indicates that an absence of both developing career aspirations and opportunities for advancement decrease job satisfaction for college and university staff (Rosser, 2000). Higher education staff members work in a culture that is focused on retaining students not staff, which often results in high rates of turnover and employee dissatisfaction.
Employee Retention
Employee retention for the new type of employee requires a new approach (Zarim & Zaki, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Fillipczak, 2002). Employers must focus on developing employee career paths (Half, 2014a). Career discussions increase both staff morale and staff motivation (Cramm, 2015; Grove, 2015; Meister, 2012). Weiss (2014) found that the main reason high performers left an organization was salary and benefit levels. The second reason for employee departure was limited opportunities for advancement (Weiss, 2014).
Promoting from within has advantages, including building team morale and simplifying the hiring procedure for organizations (Edmunds & Boyer, 2015). Similarly, creating a positive work environment and providing effective management and supervision are all aspects to actively work on and address if there is a challenge in employee retention (Half, 2014c).
Within retention research, higher education environments were addressed in a survey identifying great colleges to work for in 2015 and how they distinguish themselves


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(Edmunds, & Boyer, 2015). Findings indicate that investing in employee professional development is one of the ways great colleges create a culture of engagement (Edmunds, & Boyer, 2015). For example, great colleges position people to contribute at their highest level. They have the right people in the right jobs and provide them with the training, tools, and resources to succeed (Edmunds & Boyer, 2015, p. 8). Therefore, if colleges promote current employees careers and intentionally increase their career capitol, staff will be more engaged and in alignment with university culture.
Managing employees and addressing motivational needs greatly increases organizational performance and employees emotional stability (Iqbal, Qureshi, Khan, & Hijazi, 2011). One of the crucial factors surrounding talent management seems to be mindset rather than a technology or practice. Research as early as 2001 stated that private sector organizations were beginning to create career development programs to increase retention (Mitchell, Holtom, & Lee, 2001).
This study brings together the overarching themes of generational differences in the workplace, the skills gap, and employee retention. Burnout rates for Student Affairs professionals in their first five years of working in higher education are estimated to be 50-60% (Young, 2015). This high number of burnouts indicates the rapidly decreasing retention rates of Student Affairs employees and the need to address this steadily increasing number. Higher education institutions have continually updated practices to entice the changing needs of retaining students; however, investigation of how the current generations feel about their career capital needs and career satisfaction should be researched.
This research study investigated how generations have experienced career capital and professional/career development support at one university location. Since each of the four


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generations have varying needs and definitions of what work means, this study looked at how one university has approached this eclectic workforce. Through personal interviews, the researcher inquired about learning and development offerings throughout the interviewees career journey.


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CHAPTER III
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
In order to address the research question and to examine generational differences, the researcher performed a qualitative case study. This project involved a case study of one university, derived from interviews with Student Affairs professionals within the system.
The researcher chose a case study because the focus of this project was to analyze subjects in a bounded system within a real-life context (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). The researcher defined the specific case as the small group being interviewed because the researcher was trying to understand the small groups real-life, work experiences (Creswell, 2013).
Research Design
The literature on the case study approach recommended using this design when the focus of a study was to answer both why and how questions (Baxter & Jack, 2008). Additionally, a case study approach was considered if a researcher could not manipulate the subjects behavior, wanted to identify contextual conditions believed to be relevant to the phenomenon being studied, or the context and phenomenon boundaries were unclear (Baxter & Jack, 2008). Therefore, a case study approach was selected due to the studys intention of understanding participants experiences as well as how and why subjects felt this way about the topic being studied. The qualitative case study methodology, when researchers applied the approach correctly, was a valuable method to craft interventions, analyze programs, and form theory due to its thoroughness and flexibility (Baxter & Jack, 2008). Specifically, a descriptive case study design was used in this research as a strategy. A descriptive case study was used to describe a real-life context in which a phenomenon or intervention occurred (Yin, 2002).


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The role of researcher and the researched was complex as the specific university being studied is one the researcher worked at and the possible relationships that have been previously formed between the researcher and participants. However, being knowledgeable on the specific universitys working environment was helpful according to some studies (Maxwell, 2013). For example, Maxwell noted that researchers such as Tolman and Brydon-Miller argued that relationships between researchers and participants was additive to a study as the researchers can work collaboratively with subjects to dig deeper into meaning of what was said (2013). However, the researchers contended that this dual relationship can contribute to both social and personal transformation of the research data (Maxwell, 2013). Maxwell also noted additional researchers supported the importance of relationships in qualitative research. As cited by Maxwell, Lawrence-Lightfoot and Hoffman Davis argued that relationships that are complex, fluid, symmetric, and reciprocalthat are shaped by both researchers and actorsreflect a more responsible ethical stance and are likely to yield deeper data and better social science (2013, p. 92). Therefore, the complex relationship between the lead researcher and the researched was positive and beneficial in creating deeper meaning of the results.
Data Collection
An interview is defined as a historical account using ones subjective memory to orally explain the past (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011). Interviews are complex in that interviewees focus on selective recollection, disclose only select accounts, and create meaning of experiences that can be subjective (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011). Therefore, when using interviews as the primary source of data collection, one needs to account for interviewee interpretation and be intentional in identifying both themes and patterns while


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coding the transcriptions. To ensure reliability, the researcher did member checks. Member checks are where the researcher clarifies meaning during the interview and asks interviewees to read the transcription of the interview for accuracy of data collection (Shenton, 2004). Member checks are one way to address trustworthiness.
This qualitative study involved a semi-structured interview in which the researcher conducted in-person, 60 minute individual interviews with three student affairs professionals at one university. A semi-structured interview allowed for flexibility in the use of questions with each interviewee. This semi-structured interview was a mix of more and less structured interview questions (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016, p. 110) where a list of questions was used as a guide [Appendix B], Interviewees were asked open-ended questions inquiring about individual career capital and professional and career growth.
Participants and Researcher Role
This study was defined as a purposive, convenience sample. The Student Affairs professionals interviewed represented the following three generations in the workforce, Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Gen Xers (1965-1977), and Gen Yers (1978-1989) (Half, et al, 2015). No Gen Zers (1990-1999) have been identified for the study at this university who met the experience criteria. An experienced professional for the research study was defined as having one year of professional experience working in a professional capacity at the selected university. The researcher examined current organizational charts and reached out to potential participants via email to explain the research being done and to ask for their participation [Appendix E], To identify and narrow down the sample size, an initial demographic survey was used after potential participants were contacted [Appendix C],
After pre-interview demographic survey results were analyzed, three Student Affairs


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professionals were selected and scheduled for a convenient location and time to participate in the 60 minute, in-person interview. The Postcard Consent Information Sheet [Appendix D] was given prior to audio recording the interview. This Postcard Consent Information Sheet outlined the use of a pseudonym to protect participants identity as well as their commitment to a 60 minute, in-person interview.
The Student Affairs Division at the selected university included the following departments as possible participants: Academic Success & Advising Center, Admissions, Career Center, Community Standards & Wellness/Housing, Disability Resources & Services, International Student & Scholar Services, Pre-Collegiate & Outreach, Registrar,
Scholarships, Student & Community Counseling, Student Health Services, Student Life/Activities, TRiO Student Support Services, and Veteran Student Services.
Data Recording Procedures and Data Analysis
Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed using a professional transcription service. When analyzing the transcribed interviews, the researcher used emergent coding to identify themes and organize results. For the purposes of this study, Data analysis is the process of making sense out of the data... [which] involves consolidating, reducing, and interpreting what people have said and what the researcher has seen and readit is the process of making meaning (Yazan, 2015, p. 148). The researcher adhered and followed this process for data analysis through intentionally addressing validity.
Trustworthiness
Qualitative research has many assumptions. One assumption is that qualitative research is always changing, has multiple dimensions, and is not a fixed phenomenon easily discovered or measured (Merriam, 1998). Because of the subjective nature of qualitative


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inquiry, validity criteria was applied. The first validity criteria in qualitative research that was addressed is credibility. Credibility is defined as the researchers intendonality to confidently and accurately interpret the underlying meaning of the data presented (Whittemore, Chase, & Mandle, 2001). To ensure credibility in validity, the researcher had a private, outside organization with no context surrounding the interviewee transcribe the interviews. The next step in ensuring validity was authenticity. Authenticity refers to the accurate representation of subjects experiences and meanings as they have been both lived and perceived (Whittemore, Chase, & Mandle, 2001). Therefore, to be authentic, the research attended to subtle differences in the voices of others (Whittemore, Chase, & Mandle, 2001, p. 531) when interviewing subjects and analyzing notes from interviews. These measures accounted for both credibility and authenticity, thus protecting both descriptive and interpretative validity (Whittemore, Chase, & Mandle, 2001).
To address trustworthiness in this qualitative study, the researcher performed member checking for creditability purposes. This on-the-spot as well as double checking accuracy of transcriptions reinforced the case studys credibility (Shenton, 2004).
As past researchers have noted, there is absolutely no research study that is designed perfectly or is absent from limitations (Marshal & Rossman, 1999), and this study is no exception. One limitation of this study was the transferability of the findings. In this study, the researcher interviewed three subjects in varying generations. Three interviews are not enough to be representative of the Student Affairs population. A second barrier in this research study was including only subjects at one university. This study was bounded and situated in a specific context (Marshal & Rossman, 1999, p. 43); therefore, the results are


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not broadly applicable to all higher education settings and are specific to one university location.
Studying how Student Affairs professionals in differing generations have experienced growth in career capital and support in career and professional development at one university was significant because findings presented areas of success and recommendations for improvement in current learning and development within a higher education system of practice. Findings contributed to an examination of current Student Affairs Division learning and developmental programs. This examination contributed to opportunities to increase Student Affairs engagement levels and demonstrates how to tailor current strategies to the diverse generational employee needs. As the higher education industry is continually evolving and rapidly changing (Deloitte University Press, 2015; Farrell, 2009; IndustryWeek, 2005; Heerwagen, et al., 2010; Riasman, 2013), it is time to adapt traditional employee programs to retain and increase engagement levels of current Student Affairs professionals.


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CHAPTER IV RESEARCH FINDINGS
To investigate how Student Affairs professionals are building career capital and being supported in their professional/career growth, I conducted three in-person 60 minute interviews at the university being studied. I selected the three interviewees based on answers from the initial demographic survey. The diversity of life and work experiences ranged from just one year to twelve years of work experience at the campus, and one interviewee had held six permanent roles in varying departments while another only had temporary professional work experience. The vast difference between the three interviewees was a wide breath of stories and career paths. Interviewees represented the following three generations:
Generation Y (bom in 1982), Generation X (bom in 1972), and the Baby Boomer Generation (bom in 1956). The interviewees were sent the demographic survey because of the varying departments and the differing roles in Student Affairs that they represented. The three individuals represented advising, club sports, and student conduct.
The three interviews were transcribed, and the researcher used CreswelTs Data Analysis Spiral (2012) as well as Wolcotts analytic strategies (1994) for analysis, data interpretation, and representation. Due to the ambiguity of analyzing qualitative data, researchers noted that often investigators learn by doing (Creswell, 2012, p. 182) data analysis, which is largely based off of the three Is of insight, intuition, and impression (Dey, 1995, p. 78). Therefore, a combination of the three Is, Wolcotts analytic strategies, and CreswelTs Data Analysis Spiral were used to create meaning out of the data.
Specifically, when the lead researcher highlighted certain information in the transcription, this strategy was in alignment with Wolcotts analytic strategy of sketching out ideas (Creswell, 2012). Additionally, when reducing the codes into themes, the researcher was


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following Wolcotts strategy to identify patterned regularities (Creswell, 2012, p. 181). While implementing Wolcotts strategies to create a set of manageable themes, the lead researcher also incorporated Creswells Spiral.
Creswells Data Analysis Spiral listed procedures to follow after data collection was complete in order to identify themes and patterns within the data. The procedures were as follows:
1. The data was managed through organizing the interviews by examining the data collected through writing notes, reflecting upon what was said, and creating questions.
2. The next step in Creswells Data Analysis Spiral was describing, classifying, and interpreting (2012, p. 151) the data by comparing and creating categories.
3. Next, the data was visualized and represented by the development of propositions, trees, and matrixes (Creswell, 2012).
A small dataset allowed for hand coding. The researcher identified differences and similarities among the three interviews. The interviews revealed three themes, including personality characteristics, the importance of relationships, and the need for growth and learning. The researcher provided an in-depth description of each case and context, combining a body of relatively uncontested dataa description the reader might make if he or she had been there (Creswell, 2012, p. 237), which was included followed by a comparison of how the interviewees aligned with generational characteristics and the career capital conceptual framework model.


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Generation Y (1978-1989) Interview: Jennifer*
Born in 1982, Jennifers interview revolved around the need and desire for employee wellness. While at the university being studied, her career path had been in two different Student Affairs departments, and she had been employed for a total of four and a half years at the university. She reported having past Student Affairs experience that totaled nearly nine years overall. Focusing primarily on her most recent work experience, Jennifers interview had a very different tone than the other two cases due to her recent and abrupt departure. While Jennifer was a month removed from her university experience, she was still visibly upset when talking about her most recent departmental experience. The emotion behind her eyes, non-verbal cues, and hesitation when using names reinforced her challenging decision to leave the workplace she implied had felt like home, which is emphasized by her description of the campus as I had a family there. While she had a great sense of community at the university, her direct supervisor and unsafe department environment began to weigh on both her career identity and self-perception.
Jennifers career journey began at the university in the Fall of 2011, and she noted that she networked with a colleague to land her job as a Career Counselor. While at the Career Center, she experienced a great sense of community and developed her support system; however, she felt a hole in both her role and responsibilities. Therefore, after life changes, she networked and was offered a position as an Academic Advisor in one of the seven academic offices on the campus. She transitioned roles to take on the new challenge and the opportunity to be inventive. She stated, I went over for a better fit, I thought.
The on-boarding process was the first indicator of negativity and stepping into a toxic environment. It took Jennifer a year to realize that she had entered a team that was already


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upset and bruised. What she meant by both descriptors was that the leader continually disempowered her team by sending contradicting messages. This leader also did not practice open communication, and employees did not feel supported as a whole person. Jennifer described her supervisor as a dictator with a very authoritative and very ruled style. For example, Jennifer described staff meetings as led by a supervisor who would talk about her agenda and would perceive it as combative if you offered ideas. The lack of support and notion of disempowerment was also illustrated by the nonexistent supervisor-employee individual meetings. Jennifer stated that individual meetings between employee and supervisor did not exist, and the only one-on-one meeting was a 30-minute meeting during the annual evaluation period.
Generation Y Characteristics
When looking at Generation Y characteristics in the workplace, Jennifers needs for feedback, behavior, communication style, decision-making, and leadership style were not met. Robert Half s article Get Ready for Generation Z (2015) lists Generation Ys characteristics as compared to the interviewees needs (see in the chart below).
GEN Yers (1978-1989) Interviewees Reality
Feedback On Demand Yelled at, attacked
Behavior Create the rules Questioned structure of the day, focus of role and amount of students, began questioning herself
Communication Style Collaborative Lack of support, unattainable expectations-level of student interactions, didnt see team for a week, gossip
Decision-Making Team Decided Lack of voice, feeling safe to share ideas, feeling accepted
Leadership Style Partner Dictatorship, lack of support, contradicting messages
Figure 7: Generation Y workplace preference.


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The research showed that members of Generation Y prefer on-demand feedback and views the leader as a partner (Half, et al., 2015). Jennifer described her university work experience as not aligning to these preferences resulting from receiving feedback only once per calendar year and a supervisor she described as a dictator. For instance, during one staff meeting, Jennifer explained that her supervisor verbally attacked and yelled at her. She was cut off... shut down completely to the point where I guess you could say I felt attacked enough to withdraw. She proceeded to use words and phrases such as no longer safe, being chipped and chipped, and chipped away, frozen out, never an opportunity to brainstorm, and exhausting. Additionally, Jennifers preferred Generation Y behavior is to create the rules (Half, et al., 2015, p. 4). When she moved over into academic advising, Jennifer described her day as faster-paced. She was expected to see up to 12 students per day for 30-minute meetings, with administrative time here and there. The messaging of the role and priority was very much about meeting with students back to back.
A theme of meaningful relationships continually emerged, both with students or staff. Jennifers Generation Y learning style, communication style, problem-solving, and decisionmaking characteristics all surround collaboration and teamwork (Half, et al., 2015). At times, Jennifer noted that she would not see her coworkers for weeks at a time. She described that for an entire week, I wouldnt see people [co-workers]. It sounded like the role of an academic advisor was to focus on meeting with students, and it was overtaking employee wellbeing. This conception was supported in how this unsafe working environment prompted Jennifer to question both her career identity and self-perception.


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Conceptual Framework Comparison
When building career capital and career/professional development, the four pillars that make up the conceptual framework are Identity, Psychological, Human Capital, and Social Resources (Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Hirschi, 2012; Newport, 2012; Savickas, 2009; Shin, 2013). When comparing Jennifers career journey toward the four resources, it stood out that her Identity, Psychological, and Social resources were negatively impacted while working as an Academic Advisor at the university being studied.
In the Identity resources of knowing why, Jennifer voiced barriers and struggles with her self-concept, career goal clarity/congruence, and identity components of employability. She stated .. .being disempowered constantly is a barrier. It a barrier to growth, and a barrier to engagement. Her struggles were shown in the slow decline of her engagement, empowerment, and happiness levels overall. For example, Jennifer noted that she originally transitioned to the Academic Advising role in order to be both inventive and creative as well as to make something happen. According to Jennifer, this job promise never came to fruition due to the direct supervisors need for control and her leadership actions toward employee disempowerment. More significantly, Jennifers career goal clarity was shattered as a result of her declining confidence level. For example, when talking about where she saw herself in five years, Jennifer struggled to answer the career goal interview question. She stated, .. .my confidence has really been shaken.. .its been shaken, but never broken, but the foundation of what I believe that I was going to be doing with my career was totally shaken. Jennifers confidence was described as being slowly disrupted due to her work environment, and she further described her last two years working at the university as a wound. She clarified this by saying, I just needed a different environment.... Im coming fresh off of a


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wound, I think, a long wound, a two year, over [a] two year wound, thats been made bigger over two years and now Im healing. She described her two years in the advising office in terms such as we were never heard, .everyone just shut down, .. .didnt feel safe to approach anyone, and .. .there was a lot of negativity that was going on.... The descriptors used support the toxic work environment Jennifer endured the last two years. Additionally, her declining confidence and clarity in career goals was also shown in Jennifers current job search where it led her to explore and interview in non-higher education industries. As Jennifer stated, when asked how she would rate her previous job satisfaction and happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, she answered 8 for career counseling and 3 for advising. In the interview, Jennifer pointed out that her barrier to professional growth was feeling constantly disempowered, which, in turn, directly prompted questions about her self-concept and career confidence.
Jennifers Psychological resources of optimism, hope, self-efficacy, and psychological mobility were being chipped away at from within her advising position. Leadership in her office pushed the priority that Jennifers sole role was to meet with students. As a result of working in such a student-driven environment, Jennifer began to feel disconnected from her peers and experienced neglect of her feelings as a whole person. This was noted in her expansion of what would have made her score of 3 higher. She stated, A supportive supervisor... somebody who is curious about their staff. Jennifer went on to expand on this disconnection. She voiced that University leadership viewed the department as a success, and assumed that if the department did well, then the employees were doing well too. However, this was not the case. There was so much focus on the student, that there was a lack of well-being for the employee. Jennifer stated that there was always talk about


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the student as the whole person and all this stuff, but my qualm was always, what about the staff? Were whole people, too. You cant disregard staff as being these awesome whole people that you constantly talk about students as being, and leave us out of the equation. These feelings directly affected Jennifers job satisfaction and happiness levels.
Additionally, this work mentality affected Jennifers social resources as well.
Social resources that were directly affected in Jennifers case were her mentors, developmental networks, and social support systems. In Jennifers career journey, she noted that she made her strongest relationships in her first position at the university. Her sense of community was what made her get through the worst professional experience of my life for two years.. .1 dont know that I would have hung out that long had I not had the community that I did. Jennifer intentionally worked hard to maintain her community outside of the advising office because it was not encouraged to continue or build relationships as an advisor. Again, she was there to serve students. Jennifer talked about her exhaustion, and the sacrifices she felt the advising team made when they had an expectation to see up to 12 students per day. She stated that Theyre sacrificing the development of relationships, professional development opportunities... On a daily basis, Jennifers advising team had to be available for six of the eight hours of the work day for 30-minute student appointments. The other two hours of the day were dedicated to following up with students, returning emails, and tracking personalized appointment notes. With a schedule like this, there was limited time for external projects or collaboration with other departments. In describing this lack of support for external collaboration, Jennifer noted that weeks would pass where she would not see or interact with her team due to the high number of students she was expected to meet with on a daily basis. Therefore, in Jennifers case, her social resources were


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cultivated in previous years. She reflects this in her claim that .the strongest friendships that I had were all rooted in those first two years... While in the Career Center, Jennifer loved her team and the continued support she felt after transitioning into advising. She added, my best relationship still exists there, I have mentorships still out of that office, and personal friendships. Even the person who took my role I have a relationship with, like when we see each other, always really supportive. She leaned on them for support due to the unsafe and toxic work environment that she entered. For example, Jennifer stated during her advising challenges that she .didnt feel safe to approach anyone about it, especially the director. However, the established support and sense of community she felt at the university and specifically within the Career Center helped her through the challenges. Jennifers social resources aided her to stay in an unhealthy, professional environment where she did not feel supported as a whole person.
Jennifers career journey at the university had originally been healthy when she talked about feelings of respect and autonomy. She felt valued as a whole person, yet the career counseling role did not feel like a good fit professionally. Jennifers vision and drive to do more made her transition to an office and role she was originally excited about. However, it was not what she expected. The role was strict and heavily focused on student appointment numbers with little time to collaborate with other departments or create programs in her immediate advising team. She noted, I wouldnt have transitioned into a role that ultimately ended up with me resigning from the university. Jennifer aligned with the Generation Y characteristics of collaboration, creation of the rules, and teamwork. This was shown in her descriptions of prior career experiences as well as her experience working in the Career Center. Yet, her advising work environment did not support Generational Y needs or support


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career capital growth in the conceptual framework model of Identity, Psychological, or Social resources. Jennifers self-concept, career goal clarity, and attitudes of identity were shaken. Additionally, Jennifer struggled with her self-efficacy and social support the last two years working at the university. This misalignment ultimately led to Jennifers resignation from the university being studied. While Jennifers interview was laden with challenges and obstacles for building career capital, it shows the importance of relationships and employee wellness in order to retain talented employees (Deloitte, 2016; Half, et al., 2015; Inkson & Arhur, 2001; Kezar, 2004; Koys, 2001; Mitchelle, Holtom, & Lee, 2001; Ouellette, 2012; Weiss, 2014; Young, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Filipczak, 2000). This need was supported by the conceptual framework of building career capital and career/professional development.
Generation X (1965-1977) Interview: Michael*
Michael was bom in 1972 and had 12 years of professional higher education experience, and seven of these years were in the Student Affairs Division. With a plethora of professional positions in his career history, Michael said he originally did not know what or where he wanted to go in his career. He even questioned if his future was in higher education. Within Michaels interview, themes of taking action and listening to his intuition repeatedly came about, especially when discussing his career moves within the university as well as in his day-to-day roles and responsibilities.
Michaels career journey began at the university in the Fall of 2004. Similar to Jennifer who had two different professional career experiences, Michael moved around quite a bit within the university. His career journey originated within one of the seven advising offices at the university. He moved to different advising offices throughout the years, working with students who were undeclared, in arts and media, in sciences, and finally in


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business. When asked about all the departmental moves, he said that he faltered and did not know where his career trajectory was going to take him. Michael admitted that when he graduated from college, he lacked direction in what he was going to do. This was made clear though statements that supported his unknown career path throughout his interview, such as I didnt really have a plan and ... you dont know what may happen. It just worked out... Michael had an action prone attitude and intuition regarding when to seek a new experience. He did not ignore change, but rather he thrived in it. Michael showed initiative in knowing when he needed to look for another opportunity, which was exemplified through statements such as there were situations.. .where I felt not empowered at all. It led to me moving on... and .. .1 just knew it had run its course and I wanted to try something new and to feel more empowered in what I was doing. Originally, he decided to move advising departments due to a desire for a more student focused advising experience, a higher salary, and not envisioning himself in a supervisory role.
Even though money was noted as a strong decision making component, when reflecting upon his past career opportunities, Michael realized that he was lacking career motivation. He attributed this to not wanting the next level advising opportunity. Michael said that, as an advisor, there was not a clear career move unless you wanted to become a supervisor. He stated, I didnt really have any desire to be a director, necessarily. It didnt really enter my mind. In advising, unless youre the director, youre an advisor. If you want to remain an advisor, you can move around. When asked what might have been helpful to him during his periods of feeling lost in his career and what advice he would have given himself, he said, I would want to tell me that there are other things out there. Its not just academic advisor.. .if youre not one hundred percent invested in it for thirty years, start


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looking around and develop other skills. He went on to talk about not settling and being intentional in developing other skillsets or interest areas. Michael admitted that he should have been more reflective and focused on more than just financial compensation. When talking about his five-year plan, Michael stated that Its so easy to put off. Building upon his vast experience with both students and differing leaders, there was a shift in his career attitude due to his life and work experiences. His priorities shifted from salary to focusing on getting back to enjoying what he did. It seemed that a lot of his work conflicts and intuition was leading him towards seeking out a new supervisor. This was shown through statements such as I really missed the old days... I had a good boss. A great boss. Michael voiced taking a new position outside of advising due to his previous relationship with his new boss. He clarified, I knew MY SUPERVISOR was going to be great, so I just wanted to [move]...money wasnt important anymore... I knew I was taking a cut. I did not care, at all. I just wanted to get back to enjoying what I did. This example showcased the correlation between a positive supervisory relationship and employee retention.
Michaels career move at the university was overall positive. He had the opportunity to combine two of his motivators of directly working with students and sports into his new role working in club sports. He learned from his struggles and successes with past supervisors what not to do. Michael was very intentional about how he leads and shows by example. He added, ... Ive learned as much what not to do or how not to lead, equally as much as what I like in a leader. I lead students now, and I know Im not doing A, B, and C because thats what those people did. When describing his past experience with varying leaders, Michael was very cautious. He masked some feelings of discomfort with sarcasm.


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However, feelings of discomfort were still present in the way he kept shifting his posture and the tapping of his foot.
Generation X Characteristics
In reviewing Robert Half s generational comparison of preferred work characteristics, Generation Xs preferred work behavior, training, learning style, and problem-solving characteristics were shown in Michaels interview (2015).
GEN Xers (1965-1977) Interview/Reality
Behavior Change the Rules Need for change, autonomy in creating the change
Training Required to Keep Me Voiced wanting support, individual growth and development; employee development focused on weaknesses
Learning Style Independent Is pushed to grow, is disgruntled at first but has a positive relationship with supervisor and sees the value in being pushed for growth
Problem-Solving Independent Very independent, supervisor trusts him; boss creates trusting environment without words
Change Management Change = Opportunity Currently in a transiting period, voiced viewing it as an opportunity
Figure 8: Generation X workplace preferences.
Michaels work behavior of changing the rules (Half, et al., 2015) was seen in his constant need for change. Every few years, Michael would listen to his intuition to move on to the next advising challenge to feed his need for change. However, this need was not being met since the advising role functionalities were the same; it was only the students and leadership that were changing. Michael expressed in his interview that his role was so saturated with student appointments that he would not and could not have participated in this study if he were still an advisor. He clarified that ... right now I couldnt speak to you. In liberal arts I had.... Ill give you a little insight, I think my caseload was between 900 and 1100. In comparison, Michael pointed out that the national average advising caseload was about 270. He went on to talk about how as an advisor every second was accounted for. The Generation X behavior characteristic of change the rules (Half, et al., 2015, p. 4) was


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not in alignment with the advisor role. In Michaels career story, change was abundant and sought out. He fed this need by moving advising offices and seeking control over his work environment.
Throughout his experiences, Michael learned much from the various managers he was under. Michael displayed characteristics in alignment with Generation Xs learning and problem-solving style of being independent (Half, et al., 2015, p. 4). In his story, he said that he was grateful for his past experiences. He acquired expertise in conflict resolution and built a sense of community as an advisor due to his internal drive to take action as well as his involvement in New Student Orientation. He explained that in his first advising job, part of his responsibility was to plan and execute New Student Orientation. This led to a natural progression of building strong relationships with other staff members on campus. Additionally, a Generation X characteristic of change equals opportunity (Half, et al.,
2015, p. 4) was shown in Michaels moving from job to job. He viewed each career change as an opportunity and voiced excitement when he began a career transition into the unknown. As he stated, not all of these changes worked out as he had planned; however, he continually challenged himself to independently learn from each workplace experience.
After Michaels past experiences were applied to Generation Xs characteristics, it was evident that Michaels current position was better in-alignment with his generational preferences, especially within decision-making and leadership style. When Michael described his current work environment, it was very team and coach oriented. Generation Xs decision-making preference is defined as team included (Half, et al., 2015, p. 4). Statements that supported this observation include To me, were a very close team, when a teammate has an event and asked for help the answer was Yes. Done.. .it goes with we all


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have an agreement within our offices that if someone needs help with anything, we have so many evens that I cant volunteer for A, B, C, and D and .1 think were a pretty close-knit group.
Conceptual Framework Comparison
When coding Michaels interview, it was clear that his Identity and Human Capital Resources were not being built in his previous advising roles. Interview statements such as everything is figuring it out on my own, .. .you dont know what may happen, .. .it just worked out.I didnt know I was going to do this., I lucked out... and ... I didnt have crazy aspirations... demonstrated this disconnect.
Specifically, Michaels Identity resources of his self-concept, career goal clarity, and career goal congruence were in misalignment. For example, Michael lamented having previous supervisors that did not focus on his professional development. It sounded like he was in work environments and roles that were already established and very focused on student numbers. It ultimately led to him job hoping within the university. However, when Michael spoke about his current role as a Club Sports Coordinator, his Identity Resources climbed in clarity. In club sports, he worked in an environment where his direct supervisor had created a trusting and empowering environment. When Michael explained this working environment, he described having the autonomy to make decisions, problem solve on his own, and create programs using his vast expertise. He was never questioned, which aided in building his Identity resources around making work meaningful.
Michaels supervisor instilled confidence in his abilities and pushed him to grow, which was in-alignment with both his Identity and Human Capital Resources of building ones self-concept as well as self-awareness surrounding his core career identity and field


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expertise. Specifically, Michael voiced being intentionally pushed by his supervisor to build his learning and development opportunities. For example, Michael said that his supervisor really emphasizes developing weaknesses.. .which is a solid trait for a supervisor. His supervisor gave him the push and encouraged him to get involved in opportunities to develop his weaknesses. In Michaels eyes, this was a great quality to have in a leader because he realized he needed the push.
This quality directly related to Michael building his Human Capital resources of transferable skills and cognitive ability. In advising roles, his Human Capital was voiced as low with statements such as I didnt really have a plan. Additionally, as stated previously, when asked a follow-up question of: knowing what you know now, knowing things that youve learned along the way, what do you think would have been helpful, as an academic advisor, that may have helped you in a different direction, versus, Im hearing, jumping around due to salary and different office experiences. His answer was intriguing, though it took a while to formulate. He talked about telling himself that there were other opportunities out there, and he should try to develop other areas of interest instead of just being so focused on the next advising job. He said that he thought, I had two skills, athletics and working with students, I guess and so it worked. Again, this directly supported the low levels of both Identity and Human Capital Resources when he was an Academic Advisor. However, in his current role, he was supported in the growth and development into his next career move. His current supervisor fostered an environment where professional development was a priority. When Michael spoke about being proactive about building his weaknesses, he said,
Growing weaknesses, yeah... His boss would respond with figure it out. So that youre more employable, someday, down the road.


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Michaels career journey has taken many turns from five different departments in two differing roles working with students. His generational characteristics and career capital was not in alignment as an advisor. However, it was evident that he was currently building career capital in his club sports role. This was primarily due to the empowering work environment and his supervisors leadership style. This supported the idea that to build career capital and to feel in alignment with generational characteristics were very dependent on what type of leader was supervising you and establishing a work environment where cultivating weaknesses was encouraged.
Baby Boomer (1946-1964) Interview: James*
Born in 1956, James had a natural inkling towards education, which was due in part to always being surrounded by it. In the interview, James disclosed that he was born into a family of teachers. His father began his career as a teacher and eventually became a junior high principal, and his mother was an elementary school teacher. Jamess journey to higher education was delayed due to his fathers career advice. He revealed, My dad looked at me and said, dont go into education.. .you work your fingers to the bone. Youll have your heart broken every day, and you wont get paid for it. His father insisted that James explore other career fields and emphasized that if James was meant to be in education, it would eventually happen.
James took his fathers advice and began his career journey by pursuing geology. After completing his bachelors degree, he worked as an Oil Field Geologist and loved it. Coincidentally, James also emphasized that he had loved every job hed ever had. He voiced that Every job Ive had in this wavy routine to get to student affairs, Ive loved. I havent worked at a job that I have not liked. Through the years, James values began to shift and


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his priority needed to be his family. This lead to James change in careers. He went from traveling all over the state of Wyoming and sitting on oil wells, to management positions in North Dakota, to insurance jobs, to varying roles within the K-12 system.
James journey in K-12 began in teaching and coaching, which ultimately led him to administration. As he spoke, frustration bubbled in his tone and demeanor. He said, I did 30 years in education, K12, teaching frustrated me at times. Really frustrated with the discipline aspect of that.. .in K12 [it] is very punitive. After 30 years working in K-12, James retired. Interestingly though, James despised retirement. He voiced missing his work with students. This was what led him to pursue his PhD in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership. James thought he was going to end up working in a career center when he began his studies. However, due to his network, he was offered a Graduate Assistantship in a student conduct office. He ended up falling in love with it; this role was the missing link he felt in K-12. Working at a previous university while obtaining his PhD, he was approached by colleagues to move into a temporary position at the university being studied in 2015. He jumped on the opportunity to create a new program and really building from the ground up of a growing, expanding office. That offered some enticement to come.
While the decision to transition was easy, his experience was described as a whirlwind. James went from a four-person staff to just himself and a graduate assistant.
He stated that his work was much faster-pace and the planning phases had been put on the back burner. With nearly a year as an interim Director in the conduct office, James had only positive comments about the university culture, his supervisor, and his team. He had been given many opportunities for professional development, training, and support to create a new disciplinary system. James felt trusted, cared for, and valued. He hoped that his interim


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role became a permanent position so he could continue to work with students and collaborate amongst other departments.
Baby Boomer Characteristics.
James story and feelings between universities supported Baby Boomer characteristics in behavior and learning style when compared to Robert Half s preferred generational characteristics (2015). However, it was noted that there was misalignment in both training and leadership preferences.
BABY BOOMERS (1946-1964) Interview/Reality
Behavior Challenge the Rules Ability to mold the rules and programs, freedom to do so
Training Preferred in Moderation God, I should get my list out, has a lot of opportunities for professional development
Learning Style Facilitated Voiced enjoying the discussions that were prompted out of webinar experiences; wants continual learning opportunities
Leadership Style Unilateral Wants continued support but trust to move forward on projects
Change Management Change = Caution Looking for the opportunity to create, wants to be able to mold the system/department he works in with direction, consistency in messaging, support, direction
Figure 9: Baby Boomer workplace preferences.
The Baby Boomer generations work behavior is to challenge the rules (Half, et al., 2015), which James was not able to do at his previous institution and in his past K-12 roles. Expectations in prior jobs already had a strict, established protocol in place. Where in his current role, James voiced being able to mold it to what you like it to look like, which is inalignment with his generational need to challenge the current structure already in place.
When James spoke about his professional development opportunities, he seemed a little overwhelmed. In response to the question about what he had been doing to build career capital, he said, God, I should get my list out. This implied that he was fully supported in opportunities for learning; however, it was in misalignment with his Baby Boomer


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preference of training in moderation (Half, et al., 2015). James took initiative and transformed this overwhelming abundance of training to morph into his preferred learning style of facilitated (Half, et al., 2015, p. 4). An example that supported this facilitated learning style is that he initiated discussions and fostered team collaboration after watching a leadership webinar series. More specifically, James stated, Sometimes we watch the webinars together. Sometimes we watch them separately and were able to discuss some of those things. He voiced that he enjoyed the aspect of creating after watching the webinars: It was good just to be able to create... I mean, even if it was just that, create discussions within the office around leadership and leadership styles... Although he sounded engrossed and overwhelmed by the learning and development opportunities, he took initiative to spin them into his preferred Baby Boomer characteristics.
When it came to feedback in James career story, his Baby Boomer preference of once per year, during the annual review (Half, et al., 2015, p. 4) was not addressed. However, a theme that was more specifically addressed and was in misalignment was his generational leadership-style. James voiced a need for strong leadership, consistent messaging, and continual support. Baby Boomers preferred leadership-style was unilateral (Half, et al., 2015, p. 4). Unilateral leadership is defined as a leader having one side or a self-agenda that lacks collaboration (Schwarz, 2006). This need was not supported in James situation when he talked about his current role in student conduct. He used comments such as sense of community across the office at the office, .. .collaboration that we do with each other keeps us knowing, (when James had a negative interaction with a student) .. .usually before I ask, they can read whats on my face and theyre asking, JAMES are you okay? Do you need to sit and process a little bit? It would feel like


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youre on an island, and youre the lone ranger, and if you cant deal with it, theres no one else. Here, it doesnt feel that way when describing his leader and the work environment. The team-oriented culture he entered into was already established and was continually developed, which does not exemplify a unilateral leadership environment.
Conceptual Framework Comparison
Upon reviewing the four pillars that aid in the development of career capital and career/professional development, Human Capital and Social Resources were continually being constructed in Jamess higher education role in the student conduct office.
When examining Jamess Human Capital Resources, it stood out that transferable skills, cognitive ability, occupational knowledge, and learning and development opportunities were growing. More specifically, when James spoke about his current role, he disclosed that he constantly brought his K-12 background to his team in creative ways. For example, James shared details about a team development project that he initiated. This project idea came directly from his expertise and experiences from teaching and K-12 administration. The project was taking a childrens picture book, Q is for Duck, and tailoring each letter of the alphabet towards how the office worked and functioned as a team. He explained that the purpose of the project was to get folks together, creatively producing some things that told our story of the office. Everyone participated in contributing to the content of the project, and he said that it was now posted on their website for students to explore. This example supported how James Human Capital Resources were growing. He actively used his previous experience and transferred his skills into increasing collaboration amongst the offi ce/dep artments.
When reviewing James story for Social Resources, his personality played a large part


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in the growth of his developmental networks and social support. For example, when James discussed his career development and his high sense of community at the university, he claimed it was due to his professional responsibilities both within and outside of his office. He stated, I serve on about 15 committees across campus.. .which gets me out and talking to and interacting with people across campus, academics side and non-academic side. Within his job functions, he was expected to collaborate with other offices. The responsibility expanded his network and helped him build relationships with others professionals. Additionally, James social support was also noted in the way he obtained his interim role at the university. In Jamess story, he said his previous colleagues called him one day, asking Hey, JAMES. Would you like to come down and work with us in CITY NAME? Here I am. The trust he had in his colleagues made the decision pretty easy for him.
The Social Resources James built at his previous institution aided him to land the interim position, but these skills also supported him to move into an environment and role that was more in alignment with his Baby Boomer preferred behavior and learning characteristics. While James story in higher education did not begin until 2010, he brought a wealth of knowledge from the K-12 industry into his job functions. The frustrations he felt in the K-12 system were different than in higher education. James was a continual learner, felt fulfilled, and showed a need for both meaningful relationships and continual support in the workplace.
Themes Across the Three Interviews
While each interviewees experience was unique, there were two core themes that emerged across the generations:
1. Need for empowering supervisors


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2. Importance of workplace community and relationships
First, each interviewee discussed needing or being satisfied with a leader who empowers them. Jennifer talked about ... empowerment has to exist from supervision, and it it has to exist from your team members, if youre on a team. Similarly, Michael described his current supervisor as the greatest boss in the history of bosses and contributed this to his boss empowering supervision style. For example, Michaels boss made comments such as Use your best judgment, I trust you... and Just figure it out, make the decision. Itll be fine. Finally, James defined empowerment at work with accountability, clear expectations, leadership support, and trust. Specifically, James stated, I feel absolutely empowered in the work that I do. Additionally, having a supervisor that encourages employee growth and development supports the overarching theme of needing empowering supervisors. In Michaels interview, he discussed how his current supervisor supported his growth and pushed him in growing weaknesses. Michaels supervisor empowered him to learn and do more so that youre more employable, someday, down the road.
The second core theme that arose across the three participants interviews was the importance of having a sense of community and relationships at the university. Interviewee comments used to describe an engaged and satisfied work environments were allows me to engage, have autonomy, value trust, personal development, and positive energy. Quotes progressed to focus on relationship themes through comments such as .. .1 had a family there, dynamic, were a pretty close-knit group, provide opportunity for people to flourish, and ...both colleagues and supervision...coming together. When each interviewee was asked if he/she felt that they had a sense of community at the university, they all said yes. Each interviewee did not define community specifically; however, in this


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research study, community referred to an employee having a sense of belonging and a support system within the university. Community was vital in the participants views of the established university work environment. For instance, Jennifer was not satisfied in her current role, but she said she totally felt a sense of community. She voiced how That [sense of community] got me through the worst professional experience of my life for two years... Other interviewee answers were Oh, for sure and I do, particularly in this office, but I think extending outside the office. Therefore, workplace community and relationships were a core theme across the three interviews from each generational group represented.


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CHAPTER V
CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
While corporations are adapting on-boarding, orientation, performance management, professional development, and workplace environments to this new world-of-work (Deloitte University Press, 2015; Farrell, 2009; IndustryWeek, 2005; Riasman, 2013), universities are focusing more energy and resources on retaining students more than employees (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015). Due to the decrease in funding for higher education, enrollment and graduation rates are the focal point of conversations and change efforts of university leaders (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015). Yet, retention efforts for employees are few and far between. The limited amount of research and high burnout numbers in Student Affairs emphasize the need for examination of employee retention practices. This research is especially important due to the diverse, generational working populations who have different viewpoints on what work means (Zarim & Zaki, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Fillipczak, 2002). The goal of this research study has been to investigate how differing generations have experienced support in their professional and career growth and built career capital at one university.
This research investigation was conducted due to the:
Ever changing economy (Heerwagen, et al., 2010)
Four generations in the workforce (Half, et al., 2015; Fry, 2015)
Crumbling traditional hierarchical organizational model (Cramm, 2015;
Deloitte, 2016; Half, et al., 2015; Ouellette, 2012; Proinspire, 2015;
Wagner, 2015)
Non-existent linear career paths (Hirschi, 2012; Inkson & Arthur, 2001;
Savickas, et al., 2009)
Low retention rates in Student Affairs positions (Young, 2015)
Summary of Findings
Three Student Affairs professionals were interviewed who represented three of the four generations in the workforce, including Generation Y (1978-1989), Generation X (1965-


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1977), and the Baby Boomer generation (1946-1964) (Half, et al., 2015). In comparing interviews to both the generational preferred characteristics (Half, et al., 2015) and the career capital conceptual framework (Inkson & Arthur, 2001), findings indicated that when in alignment with both, the Student Affairs professionals felt engagement and empowerment at work. Similarities and differences were noted in the three interviews; however, themes of personality characteristics, importance of relationships, and need for both growth and learning were noted in all responses.
Jennifer: Generation Y (1978-1989)
In the interview with Jennifer, Generation Y characteristics were identified to be in misalignment within feedback, behavior, communication style, decision-making, and leadership style.
GEN Yers (1978-1989) Interviewees Reality
Feedback On Demand Yelled at, attacked
Behavior Create the rules Questioned structure of the day, focus of role & amount of students, began questioning herself
Communication Style Collaborative Lack of support, unattainable expectations-level of student interactions, didnt see team for a week, gossip
Decision-Making Team Decided Lack of voice, feeling safe to share ideas, feeling accepted
Leadership Style Partner Dictatorship, lack of support, contradicting messages
Figure 7: Generation Y workplace preference.
In comparison with building career capital and career/professional development, Jennifers career journey at the University lacked development and growth in Identity, Psychological, and Social resources.


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Identity Resources Knowing Why Self-Concept, Career Goal Clarity, Career Goal Congruence Personality is an achiever, has vision, drive, intuition to get out- listened to herself. Began to question herself
Attitudes of Career Adaptability Learning experience, voiced wishing she would have focused less on having people like her and more about doing the job. Vision of self-began to be skewed due to toxic work environment
Identity Components of Employability Had a need to work with students, initiated transition at the University to gain more meaningful and concrete tangible relationship with students
Psychological Resources Knowing Why Optimism, Hope, Self-Efficacy Low due to not feeling valued, heard.
Psychological Mobility, Psychological Components of Employability Did not feel she had work-life balance, discussed employee wellness (structure of day, messaging, focus of role, unattainable expectations, level of student interactions, self-care, lack of support)
Personal Characteristics of Career Adaptability Felt frozen out, lacked confidence
Career Resilience Had a vision for herself, did not feel safe to be herself at work
Social Resources Knowing Whom Mentors Had allies at the University, developed this through previous job
Developmental Networks Role did not encourage collaboration with other offices, no time because of focus of role and job
Social Support Voiced the only reason she probably stayed so long in a toxic work environment was due to her sense of community at the University
Figure 10: Generation Y comparison of career capital and career/professional development.
Michael: Generation X (1965-1977)
Michaels interview exemplified more alignment in both generational characteristics and career capital. Specifically, his interview represented generation Xs preferred work behavior, training, learning style, and problem-solving characteristics (Half, et al., 2015).


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Figure 8:
GEN Xers (1965-1977) Interview/Reality
Behavior Change the Rules Need for change, autonomy in creating the change
Training Required to Keep Me Voiced wanting support, individual growth and development; employee development focused on weaknesses
Learning Style Independent Is pushed to grow, is disgruntled at first but has a positive relationship with supervisor and sees the value in being pushed for growth
Problem-Solving Independent Very independent, has Supervisors trust; boss creates busting environment without words
Change Management Change = Opportunity Currently in a transidng period, voiced viewing it as an opportunity
Generation X workp
ace preferences.
In comparing Michaels interview to the conceptual framework career capital model,
Identity and Human Capital resources were not being met in his prior Student Affairs roles.
Identity Resources Knowing Why Self-Concept, Career Goal Clarity, Career Goal Congruence Voiced not having a direction or a vision: I didnt really have a plan; career hoping due to higher salary; values changed into wanting a job and environment he enjoyed: didnt have crazy aspirations to become a vice-chancellor or any of that kind of thing Lack of career guidance model in higher education, where else could he go if he didnt want to go into leadership? How could he grow at the University?
Attitudes of Career Adaptability Low, due to planned happenstance: I lucked out
Identity Components of Employability Unknown, lack of direction and guidance, voiced if doing it over would want to have skill development outside of typical role
Human Capital Resources Knowing How Transferable Skills, Cognitive Ability Low, voiced having only two skills How did the transitions influence his identity and confidence?
Occupational Knowledge Voiced that he did not have a backup in terms of career options, wished he would have been more proactive
Learning & Development Opportunities Due to current supervisor, has many learning and development opportunities, hoping that next supervisor pushes him as much as current supervisor
Figure 11: Generation X comparison of career capital and career/professional development.


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James: Baby Boomer (1946-1964)
In comparing James story to Robert Half s preferred generational characteristics (2015), his interview supported the Baby Boomer characteristics in behavior and learning style while showing misalignment in training and leadership preferences.
BABY BOOMERS (1946-1964) Interview/Reality
Behavior Challenge the Rules Ability to mold the rules and programs, freedom to do so
Training Preferred in Moderation God, I should get my list out, has a lot of opportunities for professional development
Learning Style Facilitated Voiced enjoying the discussions that were prompted out of webinar experiences; wants continual learning opportunities
Leadership Style Unilateral Wants continued support but trust to move forward on projects
Change Management Change = Caution Looking for the opportunity to create, wants to be able to mold the system/department he works in with direction; consistency in messaging, support, direction
Figure 9: Baby Boomer workplace preferences.
Findings indicated that Human Capital and Social Resources from the career capital conceptual framework were continually being constructed in James higher education role.


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Human Capital Resources Knowing How Transferable Skills, Cognitive Ability Has brought his K-12 background knowledge to apply to the intentionality of departmental team development; extremely excited to show me the work hes applied from a childrens book to an activity with the whole department that theyve now put on the website, he gave me a copy
Occupational Knowledge Very well versed in K-12 and higher ed, has life experience that he brings to the table
Learning & Development Opportunities CAREER DEVELOPMENT: too many to count system wide, constant flow (excitement vs flow) application, in team focus on what can we do to promote student success vs. employee focused?
Social Resources Knowing Whom Mentors Seems to have a lot of support in his current role within the department as well as the leadership team
Developmental Networks Is on 15 committees across campus; its a blessing and a curse; it gets him out of the office, chatting and interacting with others across campus on both the academic and non-academic side
Social Support Very strong relationships; supportive team that can assess non-verbal cues and offer help
Social Components of Employability received a call one day from previous colleagues about current job, trusted relationships and people, so it was pretty easy transition
Figure 12: Baby Boomer comparison of career capital and career/professional development. Themes Across Generations
Two themes were identified across the three interviews:


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Theme Supporting Interviewee Quotes
Need for empowering ... empowerment has to exist from supervision, and it has to exist
supervisors from your team members, if youre on a team the greatest boss in the history of bosses Boss would say comments such as Use your best judgment, I bust you... and Just figure it out, make the decision. Itll be fine. accountability clear expectations I feel absolutely empowered in the work that I do growing weaknesses so youre more employable, someday, down the road
Importance of workplace allows me to engage
community and have autonomy
relationships value trust personal development positive energy ... I had a family there dynamic were a pretty close-knit group provide opportunity for people to flourish .. .both colleagues and supervision...coming together Sense of community: totally That [sense of community] got me through the worst professional experience of my life for two years... Other interviewee answers were Oh, for sure and I do, particularly in this office, but I think extending outside the office
Figure 13: Themes across the three generations studied.
Research Implications
The research focused on Student Affairs staff working within the larger context of the university system as a whole. Both leaders and systems were powerful in response to interviewees perception of professional career growth as well as work satisfaction. The generational characteristics of the supervisors were not investigated. However, in review of generational characteristics of Student Affairs professionals and career capital in interviewees responses, supervisors were noted as an influence. The interviews showed that if leadership encouraged and cultivated the employee to perform within generational characteristics, there were opportunities to build career capital. For example, Jennifers prior role at the university was autonomous, creative, and innovative. She went on to describe it in terms and phrases such as supportive, ... share a valued work culture, and


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clarified that she did not leave the team, she left for .the project that laid ahead, as well as the advising piece...advising is tangible, career counseling is very intangible. Jennifers prior work environment was in-alignment with generational characteristics of collaboration and team-orientation (Half, et al., 2015). On the other hand, the job that led Jennifer to abruptly quit was described as uncomfortable, no longer safe, and .. .1 dont have the support of my supervisor or team, theres tension. To be empowered, Jennifer needed trust. When asked, Im hearing trust is a huge component of this [feeling empowered], but also, it is, correct me if Im wrong, a supervisors role to provide an environment that is conducive to ideas, trust, and even sometimes silence, Jennifers response was yeah. This research study supports the literature concluding that supervisors are influential for an employee to feel empowered at work. As stated previously in Chapter II, in an interview with the Director of Human Resources, the current professional training and development programs were reactive in nature. Opportunities for Student Affairs staff development were heavily reliant on the direct supervisor. Therefore, if the director or supervisor established an uncomfortable, unsupportive environment, this could decrease engagement and increase feelings of burnout. Michaels interview also addressed the importance of a leader.
In prior advising roles, Michael was cautious to admit that every manager had a very different management style. He has had great and fantastic bosses. On the other hand, he has experienced supervisors that led him to question working at the University. For example, when addressing his prior managers, he noted that .. .there were conflicts in the next two jobs that just made me question what Im doing here. The department leaders led him to question his future at the University. In addressing what could have been improved by past leaders, Michael replied they could have empowered a lot more.. .there was no


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communication, everything was wondering. His prior leaders lacked clear communication, expectations, and providing feedback. Michael also explained that managers who led poorly did so because they were set in their ways and change was unwelcoming. Further study should focus on the development of encouraging, adaptable, and empowering leaders.
University systems were influential in Student Affairs professionals building career capital and being in-alignment with generational characteristics. In two of the three interviews, on-boarding was noted as an area of growth for the university. While all three interviewees were on-boarded differently, the dissatisfaction was evident in responses to the lack of community. James noted, this is going to sound horrible because I dont think UNIVERSITY NAME does a very good onboarding. I had the day-long orientation. A suggestion for improvement from James was about building community through a mentoring program. Research finds that 20% of turnover happens in the first 45 days (Hirsch, 2016), and this number is even higher with emerging adults. They define success differently than other generations. If a job isnt meaningful to them, they arent afraid to leave (Hirsch, 2016, p. 1). This quote is significant because it highlights the need for change in employee retention efforts. If an employee is not satisfied or feels the position is not meaningful, that employee will look for fulfillment in other jobs within other companies. Employees will take initiative if their needs are not being met and with the high cost of onboarding, this is a significant area that universities need to examine to increase staff retention levels.
A third noteworthy finding was the continuing pressure to do more with less, which in turn increases employee stress and anxiety in the workplace (Dill, 2014). As previously mentioned in other chapters, funding for higher education and support from states has been dwindling. Colorados major public universitys have dropped to number 50 in terms of


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funding per student (Wenzel, 2013). Therefore, it was not surprising that all three interviewees referenced lack of resources and feelings of being overworked. Interview evidence includes statements such as Its a one-person office with a GA, so its really a person and a half. Where the office I came from for a similar size school, was four people.
It has been a real whirlwind of once things are done, you really dont have that much time to sit and plan. Michael further noted that his caseload was above the national average. He acknowledged, thats when I knew I needed to move on there... [I] never have time. Every second was accounted for. Jennifer also addressed a similar expectation around being required to see an overwhelming amount of students and having every second accounted for. This led her to describe the job as exhausting. Also, she used the analogy of her work days looking like a popular restaurant on a Friday night: .. .it was quick. Its like if youve ever worked in a restaurant, and its super busy Friday night. Its like that. Thats what this department was like in advising. Increasing awareness of the stress and pressure Student Affairs professionals feel leads them to career transitions either within the university or to another entity or industry.
Limitations
Limitations of this study were the sample size and generational group differences. While more initial demographic surveys were sent to potential interviewee candidates, only three interviews were conducted and transcribed from three generations. This was a limitation due to the application to the higher education environment and also the age differences of each generation. Three interviews are not representative of an entire population or the generations researched. Therefore, acknowledgement of the differences between generations being attributed to developmental stages is a limitation. Also, the three


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interviewees do not represent the entire Student Affairs Division at the university being studied since there are over ten other departments not represented.
Another limitation was the dual relationship and the noted cautiousness of each interviewee in the gathering of data. This was supported by interviewee comments such as So were coming back to this again? I have to decide how much I want to divulge, Ill leave it at that, and when this job opened up abruptly by... and Im purposely not going to use names. Another example is demonstrated in how an interviewee admitted she/he was being cautious in a response: It was very ambiguous, on purpose. An observation of another interviewee being cautious was when the interviewee began to state someones name and abruptly stopped himself. Being a part of this universitys community, the researcher may have influenced what and how much the interviewees chose to share. Recommendations for Future Studies
Although these interviews led to very interesting findings related to generational differences, the interviews uncovered more research questions as a result. For example, are supervisors aware of generational differences? If so, did the interviewees direct supervisors feel they adapted to each individuals preferred, generational work style? Do supervisors realize how influential they are in the engagement level of their team? Do the supervisors have similar feelings towards staff members?
In addition, an expansion of this study may lead to a deeper understanding of the findings. First, a larger interview pool would increase the effect size and be more representative of the Student Affairs population and generations studied. Secondly, interviews could include other members of a team as well as the department supervisor to investigate accuracy of case study stories. A third recommendation is to branch out to other


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offices in and directly affecting the Student Affairs Division to gain a clearer vision of how the university could improve career and professional development opportunities and intentional growth in career capital. A specific department that directly influenced this Division was the Department of Human Resources. Human Resources was in charge of onboarding and continued training for current staff members. It must be determined how Human Resources and Student Affairs might collaborate more effectively on both developing supervisory skills as well as improving the welcoming process for new employees. A fourth recommendation would be for the university being studied to begin to collect employee retention data and for Human Resources to do formalized exit interviews. Neutral party exit interviews could aid in a better understanding of professionals leaving the Student Affairs Division as well.
Conclusion
This qualitative case study examined how one university was addressing the ever changing demands of a multigenerational workforce. Three Student Affairs professionals were interviewed representing three generations, including Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Gen Xers (1965-1977), and Gen Yers (1978-1989) (Half, et al, 2015). No Gen Zers (1990-1999) were identified for the study who met the experience criteria. The interview content themes and core ideas were applied to the conceptual framework of the Career Capital Theory (Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Hirschi, 2012; Newport, 2012; Savickas, 2009; & Shin, 2013) and generational work preferences. Major findings indicated that building career capital and support in professional development/career opportunities were reliant on direct leadership and the work culture established. Across the generations represented, there were two core themes of the need for empowering supervisors and the importance of workplace community


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and relationships. The implications for this study show the need for improvement in current learning and development within the higher education system of practice. This research study contributed to opportunities to increase Student Affairs engagement levels and demonstrates how to tailor current strategies to diverse generational employee needs. As the higher education industry is continually evolving and rapidly changing (Deloitte University Press, 2015; Farrell, 2009; IndustryWeek, 2005; Heerwagen, et al., 2010; Riasman, 2013), it is time to adapt traditional employee programs to promote employee retention and increase engagement levels of current Student Affairs professionals.
Reflection
My research journey and discoveries are encapsulated by the following quote: Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is painful as staying stuck somewhere you dont belong (author unknown). This quote personally represented the last two plus years of my Doctoral journey along with the painful discoveries within my research study.
Beginning this Doctorate of Education program, I was frequently asked what my dissertation focus or topic area would be. While I could not answer this question immediately, I was advised to choose something that would keep my interest and curiosity for a minimum of three years. While the majority of my cohort focused on students, my interest centered on employees. My personal journey and professional expertise has led me to the exploration of career capital and professional/career opportunities for employees. I have worked with students for over a decade, but I feel that I am just discovering the complexities of supervising employees.
I decided to merge my two interests of career counseling and employee training together for this study. I refer to this research journey as painful because I have grown as a


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professional and individual. The overwhelming amount of reading, time consuming details of coding, meaning-creation from stories, and the never-ending edits was challenging. However, with pain comes growth. One particular aspect that was painful for me was the realization that the University I studied can do and be better. In interviews, there were awkward moments where I was described as a journalist because I wanted to know the truth. In using my counseling skills, I was able to get interviewees to open up, and I discovered that they would get lost in their stories. Interviewees liked to talk about their career journeys ups and downs. In coding and creating meaning out of their stories, I noticed an underlying issue of good talent being lost. It was painful to hear Jennifers story, especially because she felt a sense of community and it seemed like she didnt want to leave the University. Michael was similar in that his past experiences could have made him feel jaded. The University could have lost a great employee; however, Michael overcame these challenges to explore other opportunities within the Division of Student Affairs. It was painful to hear the real struggles of each interviewee and know that the majority of the challenges voiced could be fixed if leadership was aware of them. As said by the Dalai Lama, just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects. I hope that my research makes a ripple in the water of the Universitys Student Affairs system and promotes positive changes.


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APPENDIX A
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK


APPENDIX B
SEMI-STRUCTURED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Tell me about your career journey and experience at *** University.
How would you define empowerment at work?
o How do you know if you are empowered?
Define engagement.
o What does engagement look like at work for you? o What would increase your engagement at work?
What are you getting in your current role in terms of career development? What supports you to grow in your current role?
What do you need to feel valued at *** University?
What barriers do you face in your professional growth at *** University? How would you rate your job satisfaction and happiness on a scale of 1-10? o Why?
o What would make it higher?
Do you feel empowered at work?
o Yes? How did this come about? o If not, what would be helpful for you?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
How could *** University help you with your 5 year plan?
Do you have a sense of community at *** University? o Why or why not?


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APPENDIX C
INITIAL DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY
Name: Job Title:
Years of Experience Generational Information
How many years have you work at **** University? How many years total have you worked in Student Affairs? What year were you bom? What generation do you identify with? Generations Defined: Baby Boomers (1946-1964) Gen Xers (1965-1977) Gen Yers (1978-1989) Gen Zers (1990-1999)


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APPENDIX D
POSTCARD CONSENT INFORMATION SHEET
Study Title: Exploring University Employee Career Capital Principal Investigator: Jessie Czerwonka COMIRB No: 16-0690 Version Date: April 4, 2016
You are being asked to be in this research study because you have been employed at a University within the Student Affairs Division for 1+ year.
If you join the study, you will be asked to complete a pre-interview Demographic Survey (5 minutes) and participate in an in-person, video recorded interview (60 minutes).
This study is designed to learn more about: How are Student Affairs professionals building career capital and being supported in their professional/career growth?
Possible discomforts or risks include being uncomfortable answering questions. You can choose to answer all, some, or none of the interview questions. There may be risks the researchers have not thought of.
Every effort will be made to protect your privacy and confidentiality through the use of pseudonyms and secure storage devices. The records of this study will be kept private and a pseudonym will be used when documenting results to protect your identity. Data collected will be stored on a password protected online storage drives that only the Lead Researcher has access to. Any report of this research that is made available to the public will not include your name or any other individual information by which you could be identified.
You have a choice about being in this study. You do not have to be in this study if you do not want to be. Taking part in this research study is completely voluntary. If you choose to be in the study you may withdraw at any time. You may skip any questions during the interview process for any reason. Participating in this study does not mean that you are giving up any of your legal rights.
If you have questions, you can call Jessie Czerwonka Roller, at 303-556-5924 or email at Jessie.Czerwonka@ucdenver.edu. You can call/email and ask questions at any time.
If you have any questions about whether you have been treated in an illegal or unethical way, contact the University of Colorado Denver Institutional Research Board 303-727-1055 COMIRB@ucdenver.edu


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APPENDIX E
RECRUITMENT LETTER/INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE EM ATT,
TEMPLATE
Study Title: Exploring University Employee Career Capital Principal Investigator: Jessie Czerwonka COMIRB No: 16-0690 Version Date: April 4, 2016
Date
Dear SUBJECT NAME,
My name is Jessie Czerwonka and I am a Doctoral Student at the University of Colorado Denver. I am conducting a research study as part of the requirements of my degree in Leadership for Educational Equity, and I would like to invite you to participate.
I am studying employee career capital and career/professional development experiences specifically within Higher Education, Student Affairs Division. If you decide to participate, please read the following:
STEP 1: Please fill out the initial demographic survey (currently attached) which will take approximately 2 minutes to complete and send it back to me.
STEP 2: If the survey indicates that you are a good fit for the study, you will be asked to participate in a 60 minute informal interview with me where you will be asked questions about your career journey. The meeting will take place at a mutually agreed upon time and place that you choose.
The interview will be video recorded so that I can accurately reflect on what is discussed. The file will be reviewed by a professional organization that will transcribe the interview. I will send you a copy of the transcription to give you an opportunity to confirm the accuracy of our conversation and to add/clarify any points that you wish. The minimal risk identified in participation of the interview process is your comfort level in answering some of the interview questions. You do not have to answer any questions that you do not wish to. Participation is voluntary and confidential. Your name will not appear in any dissertation or report resulting from this study, however a pseudonym will be used.
If you have questions regarding this study, or would like additional information to assist you in reaching a decision about participation, please contact me at 303-556-5924 or by email at Jessie.Czerwonak@ucdenveredu You can also contact my dissertation chair, Dr. Laura Summers, at 303-956-9918 or Laura.Summers@ucdenver.edu
I would like to assure you that this study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through the Colorado Multiple Institution Review Board at the University of Colorado


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Denver. If you have any comments or concerns resulting from your participation in this study, please contact the University of Colorado Denver Institutional Research Board 303-727-1055 COMIRB@ucdenver.edu


Full Text

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EXPLORING UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEE CAREER CAPITAL by JESS IE CZER WONKA ROLLER B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2007 M.A., University of Colorado Denver, 2010 A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education Leadership for Educational Equity Program 2016

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ii This dissertation for the Doctor of Education degree by Jessie Czerwonka Roller has been approved for the Leade rship for Educational Equity program by Laura L. Summers, Chair Rodney Blunck Lisa Severy December 17, 2016

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iii Roller Jessie (Czerwonka) Ed.D., Leadership for Educational Equity Exploring University Employee Career Capital Thesis directed by Lectu rer Laura Summers ABSTRACT T he changing economy which has resulted in four generations employed in the workforce, has forced corporate companies to adapt practices that include employee onboarding, retention efforts, and work environments in this new wor ld of work to address high employee turnover. Corporations experienced an increase in employee job satisfaction and engagement levels when intentional career development efforts are enacted Unlike corporations, universities are constricted by state fund ing and are known to implement change slowly. Due to funding decrease s in higher ed ucation, enrollment and graduation rates are the focus of conversation and change efforts. Universities are developing stronger student retention practices but lack the sa me focus for employee retention. This resear ch study investigated how differing generations in the workforce experienc e career capital and professional/career growth at one university. Three Student Affairs professionals were interviewed who represented th ree of the four generations in the workforce, including Generation Y (1978 1989), Generation X (1965 1977), and the Baby Boomer generation (1946 1964) In comparing interviews to both the generational preferred chara cteristics and the career capital conce ptual f ramework findings indicated that when in alignment with both, the Student Affairs professionals felt engagement and empowerment at work. Similarities and differences were noted in the three interviews; however, themes of personality characteristic s, importance of relationships, and the need for both growth and learning were noted in all responses. This research was especially important due to the diverse, generational working populations who have different viewpoints on what work means.

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iv Exploring the relationship between career capital and employee retention has implications for how institutions can change and adapt current employment practices to increase employee retention and career satisfaction levels. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Laura Summers

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 1 Conceptual Framework ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 4 II: LIT ERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 9 The New World of Work ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 10 Higher Education Funding ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 11 Differing Generational Workforce ................................ ................................ ...................... 13 Higher Education Employee Care er Development ................................ ............................. 16 Change and Development of Talent ................................ ................................ ................... 20 Employee Retention ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 23 III: STUDY DESIGN AND MET HODOLOGY ................................ ................................ .... 26 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 26 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 27 Participants and Researcher Role ................................ ................................ ........................ 28 Data Recording Procedures and Data Analysis ................................ ................................ .. 29 Trustworthiness ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 29 IV: RESEARCH FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 32 Generation Y (1978 1989) Interview: Jennifer* ................................ ................................ 34 Generation Y Characteristics ................................ ................................ .......................... 35 Conceptual Framework Comparison ................................ ................................ .............. 37 Generation X (1965 1977) Interview: Michael* ................................ ................................ 41 Generation X Characteristics ................................ ................................ .......................... 44 Conceptual Framework Comparison ................................ ................................ .............. 46 Baby Boomer (1946 1964) Interview: James* ................................ ................................ ... 48 Baby Boomer Characteristics. ................................ ................................ ........................ 50 Conceptual Framework Comparison ................................ ................................ .............. 52 Themes Across the Three Interviews ................................ ................................ .................. 53

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vi V : CONCLUSION AND DISCU SSION ................................ ................................ ................ 56 Summary of Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 56 Jennifer: Generation Y (1978 1989) ................................ ................................ ............... 57 Michael: Generation X (1965 1977) ................................ ................................ ............... 58 James: Baby Boomer (1946 1964) ................................ ................................ ................. 60 Themes Across Generations ................................ ................................ ............................... 61 Research Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 62 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 65 Recommendations for Future Studies ................................ ................................ ................. 66 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 67 Reflection ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 68 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 70 APPENDIX ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 78 A C o n c e p t u a l F r a m e w o r k ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 78 B S e m i S t r u c t u r e I n t e r v i e w Q u e s t i o n s ................................ ................................ .............. 79 C I n i t i a l D e m o g r a p h i c S u r v e y ................................ ................................ ........................... 80 D P o s t c a r d C o n s e n t I n f o r m a t i o n S h e e t ................................ ................................ .............. 81 E R e c r u i t m e n t L e t t e r / I n v i t a t i o n t o P a r t i c i p a t e E m a i l T e m p l a t e ................................ ........ 82

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION F or the first time in history, there are four generations working together in the same setting ( Half, et al., 2015; Fry 2015) Each generation g rew up in varying eras, which presents unique challenges in workplace culture and employee retention efforts (Deloitte, 2016; Half, et al., 2015; Ouellette, 2012; Wagner, 2015). Individual employee needs are shaped through both economic shifts and life events and their workplace needs are different depending on what generation they were born into ( Half, et al., 2015; Fry 2015 ; Z arim & Zaki, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Fillipczak, 2002). With the continual shift in what work looks like (Hee rwagen, et al., 2010) and the eradication of the mentality of working your way up the company ladder (Hirschi, 2012; Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Savickas, et al., 2009 ) companies are beginning to see the need to chang e workplace culture, organizational structu re s and functions to meet the needs of both employee s and consumer s (Cramm, 2015; Deloitte, 2016; Half, et al., 2015; Ouellette, 2012; ProInspire, 2015; Wagner, 2015). Higher education institutions have experienced a shift as well and the student is pro gressively beginning to be viewed as the customer (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015) The student as customer shift is further complicated by rising education costs. Within the past dec ade, funding for Colorado institutions has shifted as a result of the decline of state fundin g, which has increase d the burden on students and their families ( Mitchell & Leachman, 2 015). Specifically, Colorado public universities have the lowest state funding per individual student in the nation (Wenzel, 2013). Therefore, Colorad o public universities rely heavily on student tuition and fees as a source of funding (Raisman, 2013) This dependence has resulted in many university leaders forming initiatives and creating programs to increase student

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2 enrollment and solidify student re tention. While there is an increase in the importance of student retention, focus on university employee retention has been limited R esearch shows however, a connection between student attrition and academic customer service (Raisman, 2013). Yet, a cad emic customer service levels are difficult to maintain given the high turnover of academic professionals T he burnout rate for Student Affairs professionals alone is estimated to be between 50 60% in the first five years of experience (Young, 2015). Acco rding to Young (2015), because new professionals make up 15% 20% of the workforce within student affairs and 50% will burn out within five years we are looking at losing a 7.5% ( p. 1 ). The literature revea ls the importance of updating university practices to satisfy the changing needs of the student and maintain positive attrition and funding rates A review of literature on workplace satisfaction (Fisher, 2009), engagement (Gallup Purdue, 2016), empowerme nt (Ouellet t e, 2012), happiness (Boehm, & Lyubominsky, 2008; Henderson, 2000; Seligman, 2004), and career satisfaction shows a need for examining employee learning and development practices in higher education. Corporate organizations have already begun t o create c hange in this new world of work (Deloitte University Press, 2015). New attention is being paid to o nboarding, orientation, performance management, and company culture (Deloitte University Press, 2015; Farrell, 2009; IndustryWeek, 2005; Riasman, 2013). One company leading the way in these areas is DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. which is a Fortune 500 company that provides a variety of health care services to patients across the United States and abroad (DaVita, 2016). In an interview with a st aff member of DaVita University a training entity housed within the company itself, T erry Hayden, Faculty and Coach within the School of Leadership and Managemen t emphasized

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3 how every organizational component has been carefully considered to align with t he core values of service excellence, integrity, teamwork continuous improvement, accountability, fulfillment, and fun (T., Hayden, personal communication, January 20, 2016; DaVita, 2016). The interviewee noted that the leaders of DaVita were v ery intentional with the organizational restructure to ensure both employee satisfaction and customer happ iness For example, DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. created DaVita University as a specific department, separate from the Department of Human Resourc es, to actively engage and promote employee learning and development. An example of this is their use of Career Roadmaps which are documents that are used to help employees navigate the future career growth options and opportunities within DaVita. This e xemplifies how DaVita promotes growth and opportunities for advancement in an easy, predictable package. Employees do not have to question what they have to do in order to move up within the company because it has been mapped out, which emphasizes how DaV ita wants to foster employee growth internally While there are multiple examples of corporations adapting to the new world of work, most institutions of higher education are placing their change and retention efforts exclusively on students. The high bu rnout rates specifically in the S tudent A ffairs division emphasize the need for examination of employee retention practices This is especially important given the differing viewpoints diverse generational working population s hav e on what work means to individuals (Zarim & Zaki, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Fillipczak, 2002) This multigenerational workforce has forced corporate companies to shift how they hire, train, and retain employees ( Deloitte, 2016; Half, et al., 2015; Ouellette, 2012; Wagner, 2015). T he goal of this research study wa s to investigate how differing generations have

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4 experienced support in their professional and career growth and built career cap ital at one university C areer C apital T heory is defined as capabilities, knowledge, and characteristics to assist in defining their career identity (Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Hirschi, 2012; Newport, 2012; Savickas, et al., 2009; Shin, 2013). Individuals build career capital through conscious and continual experience s, practice, and feedback (Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Hirschi, 2012; Newport, 2012; Savickas, et al., 2009; Shin, 2013). In terms of Career Capital Theory in higher education, the question becomes How are Student Affairs professionals building career capita l and being supported in their professional/career growth? Exploring the relationship between career capital and employee retention will have implications for how institutions can change and adapt current employment practices to increase employee retentio n and career satisfaction levels. Conceptual Framework The conceptual framework for this study stems from the career counseling, strengths based T heory of Career Capital Combining resources on Career Capital Theory from Inkson & Arthur (2001) Hirschi (2012) Newport (2012) Savickas (2009) and Shin (2013) the conceptual framework was constructed from the following four overlapping concepts of career capital : identity resources, psychological resources, social resources, and human capital resources (A ppendix A ) Career Capital Theory views an individual as an eclectic combination of experiences (Inkson & Arthur, 2001) The authors state that, o ne framework for understanding how we develop our careers [and thereby our companies] in changing conditio ns is to consider the career assets that we bring to our successive employment

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5 ). Therefore, the conceptual framework model for investigating career capital and career/professional development includes: Figure 1: Id entity Resources. This figure illustrates components of identity resources. Identity Resources: This concept is also known as knowing why (Inkson & Arthur, 2001 p. 52 ) is d efined as self awareness surrounding individual interests, a bilities, goals, and values related to the world of work and career options The core career identity resource of an individual is how one defines work as meaningful (Hirschi, 2012). Figure 2: Psychological resources. This figure illustrates components t hat make up psychological resources. Psychological Resources: An additional component of knowing why (Inkson &

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6 Arthur, 2001 p. 52 ) this concept r efers states such as inner motivation in relation to the sp ecific working role. Examples resilience, perceived employability, and personal flexibility (Hirschi, 2012). Figure 3: Social resources. This figure illustrates components that make up social resources. Soci al Resources: known knowing whom (Inkson & Arthur, 2001 p. 52 ) or social capital (Hirschi, 2012 p. 6 ) this concept r efers structure and relationships. This is an environmental factor compared to the other three c omp one nts, meaning that social resources are often control (Hirschi, 2012). The quality of the relationship as well as both the structure in this resource (Hirschi, 2012).

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7 Fi gure 4: Human capital resources. This illustrates components of human capital resources. Human Capital Resources: also known as knowing how (Inkson & Arthur, 2001 p. 52 ) this component is d occupational perfo rmance and skill requirements (Hirschi, 2012 ) which includes opportunities for (Hirschi, 2012) One example is w to promote him or herself for career advancement. The four dimensions of this (Hirschi, 2012, p. 8) resulting in each resourc e support ing the d e velopment of another resource. T he four dimensions are all intertwined and are not viewed as completely separate entities. When reviewing past case studies in companies following the C a reer Capital M odel, evidence highlighted the increase in employee pr oductivity and employee transitions (Inkson & Arthur, 2001). The researchers note d the small amount of evidence they acquired to support the above conclusion ; however they stated that even though employees still left the company, the employee transfer of knowledge increased and there was a smoother transition for new employees ( Inkson & Arthur, 2001 ). Additionally, this research article highlighted

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8 that outdated career development programs do not work. Inkson and Arthur (2001) claimed that more tradition al career employee programs often disregard an employee past industry expertise and knowledge (2001). However, companies implementing career capital models benefit both as an employer and for increased retention of new employees (2001) Therefore, the c onceptual framework used in this research study addresses the need to examine current practices in place to both retain employees and continue to develop new talent in the workplace.

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9 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW The world of work is rapidly changing due to endless fluctuation s in the economy. Jobs are constantly shifting along with the demands of new industries, technological advances, and changing work environments (Heerwagen, Kelly, & Kampschroer, 2010; Hirschi, 2012). For the first time in history, companies employ four different generations working i n the same team (Half, et al., 2015; Fry 2015). Th is complex shift in employee dynamics ha s forced many companies to reexamine the value placed on culture and organizational structure due to the differ ing needs and employee retention rates of each generation (Half, et al., 2015; ProInspire, 2015). For a growing number of workers, corporate culture is the key determinant in their choice to stay with an organization long term Additionally, in this new world of work, the mentality of working your way up the company ladder no longer exists. Career trajectories are not linear but rather cultivated and developed through experi ences (Hirschi, 2012; Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Savickas, et al., 2009). The aim of this literature review is to provide a clearer understanding of the importance in examining university employee satisfaction and the impact career development opportunities has on employee engagement and retention levels. Specifically, higher education employee turnover and need for changes in employee retention rates are reviewed along with proposed ways of addressing generational needs in the workplace

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10 The New World of Work Organizational theorists have identified two key factors behind the changing work 1) and technological advances. Lean enterprise, also known as lean thinking, means redefining customer, eliminat ing non value organizational work activities, and redu c ing inefficient support functions (Heerwagen, et al., 2010). Lean thinking is a way for companies to respond quickly to the changing marketplace by becoming more efficient (Heerwagen, et al., 2010). For example, lean thinking has been instrumental in or ganizational restructures in order to improve internal processes. Heerwagen et al. (2010) explain that replaced by cross unit organizational groupings w ith fewer layers and more decentralized According to Heerwagen, et al. (2010), when companies are more laterally structured, an increase in collaboration amongst departments develops. The second factor, technological breakthroughs, refers to the increase of information and ease of communication across sectors due to technology (Heerwagen, et al., 2010). Technology has transformed the way information is shared and communicated, providing constant changes in the workplace. The use of video conferencing, computer based resources, and instant messaging are just a few ways technology has changed the way people work (Heerwagen, et al., 2010). As a result of the constantly changing work environment, companies are beginning to recognize the need for change initiatives to retain employees (Cramm, 2015; Deloitte, 2016; Ouellette, 2012; Wagner, 2015). Employee retention and engagement programs are shifting

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11 focus towards career development models in order to foster employees within a compan y and build an environment that meets the varying demands of an eclectic generational workforce (Deloitte University, 2015; Grovo, 2015; ProInspire, 2015). Research clearly indicates advantages to retention over high turn over through employee incentives, workplace motivation, and employee transfer or knowledge (Brymer, Molloy, & Gilbert, 2014; Busteed & Stutzman, 2015; Coleman, 2013; Half, 2014b, Half, R., 2014c, Chalofsky, & Krishna, 2009; Lockwood, 2007; and Sorenson, 2013). Higher Education Funding Th e ebbs and flows of the economy impact all industries. In looking at the higher education industry, these variances impact two important groups, students and employees. As state budgets decrease and allocations to other demands such as K 12 education, inf rastructure, and prisons increase allocations to state colleges and universities continue to drop. Major public university state funding has dropped and Colorado is number 50 for funding per student (Wenzel, 2013). A decline of state funding to higher ed ucation directly affects tuition costs for students but also increase s the need for colleges to retain staff that promote student success (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015). Staff directly impact student experience s and retention rate s in college (Mitchell & Le achman, 2015). Both student s and universities are suffering from this decrease in state funding, and one directly impacts the other Therefore, c increased tuition and pared back sp ending, often in ways that may compromise the quality of analyzing 1,669 United States four year colleges and universities for attrition rates found a correlation betwee n staff and student retention (Riasman, 2013). The key reasons for the

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12 84% attrition rate of students were all linked to poor levels of university customer service (Raisman, 2013 ). Ultimately, happy employees ensure happier students Due to the nature of funding public institutions in Colorado, attrition rates play a significant role in funding. Average attrition rates in Colorado show t he majority of universities graduate between 20% and 59% of their students i n six years Figure 5 : The Cost o f A ttrition at Colleges and Universities This figure illustrates t he cost of college attrition at four year colleges & universities: An analysis of 1669 US intuitions. This loss represents ition of H igh attrition can be expensive for institutions and quality of staff directly impact attrition rates T herefore, retaining talented staff is imperative to an institution overall success According to the Univ ersity of Colorado (CU) System Department of Planning, Budget, and Analysis, the largest unrestricted revenue category is student tuition and fees (2015). Currently, CU reports t hat 4.4% of their total budget is state

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13 funding. Compared to other public universities outside of Colorado, this number drastically reveal s the importance of student enrollment. For example, at Georgia Tech where student tuition is about $34,000 per year the state contributes roughly $22,500. When reviewing CU on of $15,000 per year, the state only contributes about $3,000 (2015). Colorado higher education public institutions are primarily funded by student enrollment numbers and i f student enrollment decreases, this directly impacts university employment op portunities and funding sources. The realities and pressure s of funding have always pushed university leaders to emphasize student recruiting. Such initiatives primarily focus on new age teaching approaches and technology (Marcus, 2016). For example, a popular initiative in the last decade is the availability of hybrid classes and online degree opportunities (Sheehy, 2013). This option provides a n opportunity to individuals who are interested in pursuing a post secondary degree but lack the time and fle xibility to attend classes in a traditional face to face environment. With all the focus and energy in tweaking incoming and current student experiences, but universities need to re examine their priorities for higher education employees as well Differ ing Generational Workforce Generations are shaped by significant events and cultural patterns specific to their formative years. As of 2016 t here are four generations within the workforce that all have different approaches and views about the meaning, i mportance, and practice of working

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14 Figure 6: Generations at a Glance This figure illustrates four generations preference in the workplace. Employee retention practices for this blended group need to be assessed and addressed (Zarim & Zaki, 2015; Zem ke, Raines, & Fillipczak, 2002). The four generations include Baby Boomers (1946 1964), Generation Xers (1965 1977), Generation Y (1978 1989), and Generation Zers (1990 1999) (Half, Tulgan, Baumann, Graham, & McDonald, 2015). When examining what differe nt generations want in a job, there are va rious opinions on what is important in engaging employees One survey show ed a need for organizations to focus on work life balance for staff under the age of 44 (Half, et al., 2015). This same survey explain ed t hat employees between the ages of 55 64 are more concerned about the nature of their work. This survey also identi fie d the difference in employee needs at a large company versus a t a small firm. Employees at large compan ies view ed advancement as vital, w hile within small firms work life balance perks and company culture were more important (Half, et al., 2015). T his research shows that it is important to factor in that all employees are

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15 different, especially across generations, and companies need to ch ange how they approach employee development Furthermore, c ompanies need to factor in training and recognition preference s to address generational retention (Half, et al., 2015). By 2020, 80% of the workforce w ill be post Baby Boomer and over 20% w ill be Gen Z (Half, et al., 2015). Therefore, employee orientation, training, and leadership need to be updated to meet the needs of these generations. The workforce is ever changing and research has shown that generational differences are a great factor when e xamining work values. For example, one article stated that generational differences often represent the distinctive social or historical life events that are shared by a group of individuals born around the same time (Hirschi, 2012; Hunter, 2013). Theref ore, it is important to update policies, procedures, incentives, and training programs to reflect the ever changing workforce. Another noticeable difference in generations is employees work attitudes (Twenge, 2010). Investigating career expectations and work priorities will be important in looking at the differences among generations (Ng, Schweitzer, & Lyons, 2010). Research has begun to identify the importance of retaining and transferring the knowledge of senior employees because of the overwhelming shift in the generational workforce (Stevens, 2010). One research study addressed the importance of personal career development and the retirement journeys of employees and how this affects organizational success (Coleman, 2013). Success planning involve d the need for leadership training and development programs as well as mentoring opportunities within organizations. Another research study addressed this need, stating that 42% of organizational knowledge actually resides in the brains of the current wor kforce (Stevens, 2010). If a company is committed to

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16 capturing and transferring this critical knowledge w hile factoring in the ever changing workforce demographics, a company needs to be strategic with their knowledge transfer and retention practices. H igher Education Employee Career Development A review of literature on workplace satisfaction (Fisher, 2009), engagement (Gallup Purdue, 2016), empowerment (Ouellete, 2012), happiness (Boehm, & Lyubominsky, 2008; Henderson, 2000; Seligman, 2004), and caree r satisfaction yielded limited research in learning and development practices aimed at retaining higher education employees. This dearth of research is noted by Farrel in her article, Investing in Staff for Student Retention (2009) In her study, Farrel ac development correlated with student retention. Farrell compared her personal experience working at Intel Corp oration to her university experience. At Intel, employees were required to attend new hire orientations both as new employees and whenever a branch relocation including how to effectively conduct a meeting and have constructive conversations (Farrell, 2009). Farrell (2009). After transferring to higher education though she foun d that t here was little preparation for new employees on how to interact with students or follow university procedures (Farrell, 2009). A half but v alue was not placed on staff members who directly interacted with students on a daily basis. Yet, Therefore, there is a

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17 direct link to university staff members and student retention. higher education employees and how to improve student staff connections. Recommendations included analyzing varying elements of a cam pus culture and unit 2009, p. 89). If staff do not feel prepared t o help students, this could lead to high employee burnout rates. One article reported that high burnout rates could be due to overwhelming student to staff ratios (Reisz, 2011). Staff that understand the university culture, feel valued, and are offered c onsistent, personalized professional development opportunities will create longer standing student relationships that improve student retention (Farrell, 2009; Riasman, 2013). Compared to corporate settings, institutions of higher education are notoriously slow to change. In the 2015 Glo bal Human Capital T rends: Leading in the New World of Work research study 3,300 business and human resource leaders from over 100 countries were surveyed and interviewed (Deloitte University Press). The results demonstrat ed trends and themes for change. Suggestions included the need for leaders to adapt, and particular focus of change efforts focused on opportunities to develop company culture and engagement, learning and development, reinvention of human resources, perfo rmance management, and people analytics (Deloitte University Press, 2015). When investigating universities, Deloitte University Press (2015) researchers identified outdated models of recruitment, learning and development, and retention as problem areas. The HR professionals indicated that the learning and development programs that were in place wer e reactive in nature. For instance,

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18 receive training on how to have challen ging conversations productively. However, the interviewee indicated that there had to be some level of conflict or tension for an employee to participate. More specifically, the recruitment process for employees to sign up was completed by referral. The refore, a supervisor ha d to be knowledgeable of the program and see a justification before registration c ould commence. Additionally, this particular d not been updated in nearly a decade. There wer e t wo forms to fill out, one with a scale of 1 to 5 and an other that ask ed blanket competency questions These documents were used for all exempt employees. Additionally, the interviewee noted that it was up to the supervisor to empower, engage, and grow emp loyees in a direction they s aw fit. However, many times supervisors d id not understand how to empower individuals to help them to develop and grow in a way that suit ed each individual (Brungardt, 1996). Differences are evident in the following comparison of this outdated university model to a large health services company that has created an updated learning and development model. An interview with the Manager and Faculty of Wisdom at DaVita University demonstrated a complete difference from the traditi onal university model. The DaVita model was created specifically for the development of leaders. They offer and mandate supervisors to go through multiple trainings during their career journey at DaVita. DaVita has roughly 65,000 teammates and provides both weekly and monthly leadership and clinical courses to current employees. DaVita University is also responsible for the career development process for leaders. Individuals holding l eadership roles can select to follow a Teammate Career Roadmap or the y can create their own path for growth through the

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19 empowering culture and resources DaVita provides (DaVita University, 2016). Some institutions in Colorado are beginning to address this need for change in higher education. One Colorado university hired a consulting company to investigate employee empowerment levels (Ouellette, 2012). During in person interview s with one of the hired consultants, the consulting firm found an abundance of low feelings of empowerment and began to identify barriers. Using a needs hierarchy model Needs consultants focus ed on job fulfillment models geared toward needs from basic to complex (S., Ouellette, personal communication, January 26, 2016). As a result, c onsultants assist ed supervisor s in identifying where their supervisees were in terms of what they need ed, and they developed performance improvement plans specifically based on those needs to maximize employee empowerment. There is a pattern in broad retention practices and change s in company culture, but there is a lack of programs specifically outlining employee career development within companies (Brymer, Molloy, & Gilbert, 2014; Busteed & Stutzman, 2015; Cramm, 2015; Deloitte University Press, 2016; Gallup Purdue, 2016; Half, 2014b; Ouellette, 2012; ProInspire, 2015; Wagner, 2015;). This type of research and new approach to company retention seems to be rare in higher education. Research studies are focused on large corporations or niche areas such as finance or information technol ogy (Half, 2014b). Understanding the growing needs of employee career capital should be the focus of expanded research. Specifically, research needs to investigate internal organizational practices that focus on employee growth and career trajectories wi thin various workplace settings. Reviewing best practices of existing programs like Deloitte & Touch LLC Career

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20 career culture is a good starting point. (Grogan, 2013). All programs will need to address three key themes including generational differences in the workplace, the skills gap, and employee retention. Change and Development of Talent Companies are facing an increase in on boarding costs a s well as increased tu rnover rates due to the shortage of quality candidates and an increase in the number of retirements (Tyszko, Sheets, & Fuller, 2015). Government s schools, and other employers need to take more of a leadership role in beginning to change this disconnect t hat yields more effective transitions into employment for students and improved career advancement for current employees (Tyszko, et al., 2015). The literature also indicates that the United States is falling behind on developing talented workers. Lumin a Foundation (2015) advocates that higher education should be redesigned to better meet the needs of employe e s. Additionally, Busteed and Stutzman (2015) found that there is an obvious need for the U.S. to develop its workplace talent more effectively On e department within higher education that is tackling this is career services through career counseling for students (Dey, 2014). Change is not new to career services departments as research indicates that the evolution of career services in higher educat ion has been through numerous transformations since its beginning in the early 1900s (Dey, 2014). P ivotal changes have been due to both societal norms and economic conditions (Dey, 2014). Dey and Cruzvergara (2014) report that to be successful, leaders within career development need to be intentional with updating and molding their departments to the future trends in employment This change model may be the key to understanding the importance in a shift

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21 in company culture and the growing need to tailor programs to change s in generational needs. Career counseling was first implemented and recognized as vocational guidance in the early 1900s. Frank Parson s created the first vocational guidance center which primarily focused on transitioning new immigr ants into American life (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014). Due to the post World War I baby boom and industrialization, a tremendous increase in the college student population created a need for educational and vocational guidance. At this time, faculty members were responsible for both mentoring and preparing students for the workforce (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014). Vocational guidance began to transform into skill identification and teaching rather than counseling in the post World War II era (1940s and 1950s). A t th at time, c areer service s department primary purpose was to find jobs rather than focus on student development This era of career counseling was called job placement and emerged primarily to serve the need s of veterans returning to college using the GI Bill (Dey, 2014). Career counseling and planning models began to take over in the 1970s and 1980s when the economy experienced a downward turn and responsibility for job placement shifted more towards the student than the institution (Dey & Cruzverg ara, 2014). During this time, the economy slowed and the job market became more competitive (Dey, 2014). College campuses shifted their focus to preparing students for more meaningful work. More specifically, individuals sought out opportunities to deve lop a career identity through pursuing college and making themselves more competitive rather than just settling for any job available after obtaining a GED. As a result of this shift the concept of a career became focused on opportunities for growth and continued stimulation throughout the lifetime. On

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22 the other hand, a job became viewed as an opportunity t hat allows an individual to pay the bills where they simply tolerate daily work functions. Therefore, the need to counsel and support students throug h this identity development process created a need for career counseling programs. In the 1990s, the increased popularity of computers and the rise of the I nternet began to shape and mold how current career centers help students in career development. Te chnolog ical advancement s began to increase the need to network and build connections while simultaneously gaining a degree. Career centers began to take on the role of connecting students to employers and teaching the art of professionally networking (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014). Cruzvergara, 2014, p. 2) is recommended for career centers. Research is beginning to identify a shift from generalized career counseling toward tailored programs to address specific student needs. For example, career centers often orchestrate on campus recruiting events called internship and job fairs. These large, all encompassing fairs draw all types of industry employers ranging from healthcare to ac counting to nonprofit. Today, career centers are beginning to place more of their efforts in supporting industry specific fairs such as an Engineering Fair or a Summer Break Job Fair. These specific fairs are meant to provide opportunities for students t o create meaningful connections and relationships with employers that could last a lifetime (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014). Therefore, specific fairs are in line with the new model of connections and communities that is predicted to trend from 2010 until the y ear 2030 (Dey & Cruzvergara, 2014). The history of career services in higher education provides a model for adapting to

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23 changing needs applicable to the retention efforts of higher education institutions Career services history shows that education is evolving and needs to grow to meet the demanding needs of clients, which in this case are students. Corporations are also seeing this need and many are changing policies and procedures to accommodate the growing needs of new graduates as well as long ti me employees (Deloitte University Press, 2015). Yet, education is not providing the same service to their employees. R esearch indicates that an absence of both developing career aspirations and opportunities for advancement decrease job satisfaction for college and university staff (Rosser, 2000 ) Higher education staff members work in a culture that is focused on retaining students not staff which often results in high rates of turnover and employee dissatisfaction. Employee Retention Employee retent ion for the new type of employee requires a new approach (Zarim & Zaki, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Fillipczak, 2002). Employers must focus on developing employee career paths (Half, 2014a). Career discussions increase both staff morale and staff motivation ( Cramm, 2015; Grove, 2015; Meister, 2012) Weiss (2014) found that the main reason high performers le ft an organization was salary and benefit level s. The second reason for employee departure was limited opportunities for advancement (Weiss, 2014). P romo ting from within has advantages including building team morale and simplifying the hiring procedure for organizations (Edmunds & Boyer, 2015) Similarly, creating a positive work environment and providing effective management and supervision are all aspe cts to actively work on and address if there is a challenge in employee retention (Half, 2014c). Within retention research, higher education environments were addressed in a survey identifying great colleges to work for in 2015 and how they distinguish t hemselves

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24 (Edmunds, & Boyer, 2015). Findings indicate that investing in employee development is one of the ways great colleges create a culture of engagement (Edmunds, & Boyer, 2015) te at their highest level. They have the right people in the right jobs and provide them with the training, tools, Therefore, if colleges promote current employees careers and intentionally increase their career capitol, staff will be more en gaged and in alignment with university culture. Managing employees and addressing motivational needs greatly increases Hija zi, 2011). One of the crucial factors surrounding talent management seems to be mindset rather than a technology or practice. Research as early as 2001 stated that private sector organizations were beginning to create career development programs to incre ase retention (Mitchell, Holtom, & Lee, 2001). This study brings together the overarching themes of generational differences in the workplace, the skills gap, and employee retention. Burnout rates for Student Affairs professionals in the ir first five ye ars of working in higher education are estimated to be 50 60% (Young, 2015). This high number of burnouts indicate s the rapidly decreasing retention rates of Student Affairs employees and the need to address this steadily increasing number. Higher educat ion institutions have continually updated practices to entice the changing needs of retaining students ; however investigation of how the current generations feel about their career capital needs and career satisfaction should be researched. This research study investigate d how generations have experienced career capital and professional/career development support at one university location. Since each of the four

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25 generations have varying needs and definitions of what work means, this study loo ked at how o ne university has approached this eclectic workforce. Through personal in terviews, the researcher inqui r ed about learning and development offerings throughout the career journey.

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26 CHAPTER III STUDY DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY In order to addre ss the research question and to examine generational diff erences, the researcher performed a qualitativ e case study. This project involve d a case stu dy of one university derived from interviews with Student Affairs professionals within the system. The r esearcher chose a case study bec ause the focus of this project wa s to analyze subjects in a bounded system within a real life context (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016) The researcher defined the specific case as the small group being interviewed bec ause the rese archer was life, work experiences (Creswell, 2013). Research Design The literature on th e case study approach recommended using this des ign when the focus of a study was to answer both why and how questions (Ba xter & Jack, 2008). Additi onally, a case study approach was considered if a researcher c ould not mani pulate the to identify contextual conditions believed to be relevant to the phenomenon being studied, or the context and phenom enon boundaries were unclear (Baxter & Jack, 2008). Therefore, a case study approach was s understanding participants experiences as we ll as how and why subjects felt this way about the topic being studied. The qua litative case study methodology, when researchers appl ied the approach correctly, wa s a valuable method to craft interventions, analyze programs, and form theory due to its thoroughness and flexibility (Baxter & Jack, 2008). Specifically, a descriptive ca se study design was u sed in this research as a strategy. A descriptive case study wa s used to describe a real life context in which a phenomenon or intervention occurred (Yin, 2002)

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27 The role of researcher and the researched wa s compl ex as the specific u niversity being studied is one the researcher worked at and the possible relationships that have been p reviously formed between the researcher and participants However, being knowledgeable on the specific university working environment wa s helpful acco rding to some studies (Maxwell, 2013). For example, Maxwell noted that researchers such as Tolman and Brydon Miller argue d that relationships betwee n researchers and participants wa s additive to a study as the researchers can work collaboratively with sub jects to dig de eper into meaning of what was s aid (2013). However, t he researchers contend ed that this dual relationship can contribute to both social and personal transformation of the research data (Maxwell, 2013). Maxwell also note d additional researc hers support ed the importance of relationships in qualitative research. As cited by Maxwell, Lawrence Lightfoot and Hoffman Davis argue d that are shaped by both researchers and actors -reflect a more responsible ethical stance and are likely to yield deeper data and b 2013, p. 92). Therefore, the complex relationship between the lead researcher and the researched was positive and beneficial in creating deeper mea ning of the results. Data Collection orally explain the past (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011). Interviews are complex in that interviewees focus on selective recollection, disclos e o nly select accounts, and create meaning of experiences that can be subjective (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011). Therefore, when using interviews as the primary source of data collection, one needs to account for interviewee interpretation and be intentional in identifying both themes and patterns wh ile

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28 coding the transcriptions. T o ensure rel iability, the researcher did member checks. Member checks are where the researcher clarifies meaning during the interview and asks interviewees to read the transcription o f the interview for accuracy of data collection (Shenton, 2004) Member checks are one way to address trustworthiness. This qualitative study involve d a semi structured interview in which the researcher condu ct ed in person, 60 minute individual interviews with three s tudent a ffairs professionals at one u niversity. A semi structured interview allowed for flexibility in the use of questions with each interviewee. This semi structured interview wa s rriam & Tisdell, 2016, p. 110) where a list of questions was u sed as a guide [Appendix B ]. Interviewees were a sked open ended questions inquiring about individual career capital and professional and career growth. Participants and Researcher Role Thi s study wa s defined as a purposive convenience sample. The Student Affairs professionals interviewed represent ed the following three generations in the workforce, Baby Boomers (1946 1964), Gen Xers (1965 1977), and Gen Yers (1978 1989) (Half, et al, 2015 ). No Gen Zers (1990 1999) have been identified for the study at this university who met the experience criteria. An experienced professional for the research study w as d efined as having one year of professional experience working in a professional ca pac ity at the selected university The researcher examine d current organizational charts and reach ed out to potential participants via email to explain the research being done and to ask for their participation [Appendix E] To identify and narrow down the sample size, an initial demographic survey was used after potential participants were c ontacted [ Appendix C ]. After pre interview demographic survey results were a nalyzed, three Student Affairs

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29 professionals were s elected and scheduled for a convenient lo cation and time to participate in the 60 minute, in person interview. The Postcard Consent Information Sheet [ Appendix D ] was given prior to audio recording the interview This Postcard Consent Information Sheet outline d the use of a pseudonym to protect to a 60 minute, in person interview. The Student Affairs Di vision at the selected university include d t he following departments as possible participants: Academic Success & Advising Center, Admissions, Ca reer Center, Community Standards & Wellness/Housing, Disability Resources & Services, International Student & Scholar Services, Pre Collegiate & Outreach, Registrar, Scholarships, Student & Community Counseling, Student Health Services, Student Life/Activi ties, TRiO Student Support Services, and Veteran Student Services. Data Recording Procedures and Data Analysis Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed using a professional transcription service. When analyzing the transcribed interviews, the resea rcher use d e mergent coding to identify themes and organize results. For the purposes of this study, interpreting what people have said and what the researcher has seen and read it is the The researcher adhered and followed this process for data analysis through intentionally addressi ng validity Trustworthiness Qualitative research has many assumpti ons. One assumption is that qualitative research is always changing, has multiple dimensions, and is not a fixed phenomenon easily discovered or measured (Merriam, 1998). Because of the subjective nature of qualitative

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30 in quiry, validity criteria was appl ied. The first validity criteria i n qualitative research that was addressed is credibility. Credibility is defined as the intentionality to confidently and accurately interpret the underlying meaning of the data presented (Whittemore, Chase, & Mandle, 2001). To ensure credibility in validity, the researcher had a private, outside organization with no context surrounding the interviewee transcribe the interviews. The next step in ensuring validity wa s authenticity. Authenticity refers to th e and perceived (Whittemore, Chase, & Mandle, 2001). Therefore, to be authentic, the research attend ed to Chase, & Mandle, 2001, p. 531) when interviewing subjects and analyzing notes from interviews. These measure s account ed for both credibility and authenticity, th us protecting both descriptive and interpretative validity (Whittemore, Chase, & Mandle, 2001) To address trustworthiness in this qualitative study, the researcher perform ed member checking for creditability purposes This on the spot as well as double checking accur acy of transcriptions reinforce d the c redibility (Shenton, 2004). A s past researchers have noted there is absolutely no research study that is designed perfectly or is absent from limitations (Marshal & Rossman, 1999) and this study is no exception O ne limitation of this study wa s the transferability of the findings. In this study, the researcher interview ed three subjects in varying generations. Three interviews are n ot enough to be representative of the Student Affairs population. A second barrier in this research study wa s including only subjects at one universit y. This study wa 43) ; therefore the results are

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31 not broadly applicable to all higher education settings and are specific to one university location. Studying how Student Affairs professionals in differing generations have experienced growth in career capital and support in career and professio nal development at one university was sign ificant because findings present ed areas of success and recommendations for improvement in current learning and development within a higher education system of practice. Findings contribute d to an examination of current Student Affairs Division learning and developmental programs. This examination contributed to opportunities to increase Student Affa irs engagement levels and demonstrates how to tailor current strategies to the diverse generational employee needs. As the higher education industry is continually evolving and rapidly changing (Deloitte University Press, 2015; Farrell, 2009; IndustryWeek 2005; Heerwagen, et al., 2010; Riasman, 2013), it is time to adapt traditional employee programs to retain and increase engagement levels of current Student Affairs professionals.

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32 CHAPTER IV R ESEARCH FINDINGS To investigate how Student Affairs prof essionals are building career capital and being supported in their professional/career growth, I conducted three in person 60 minute interviews at the university being studied. I selected t he three interviewees b ased on answers from the initial demographi c survey. The diversity of life and work experiences ranged from just one year to twelve years of work experience at the campus and one interviewee h ad held six permanent roles in varying departments while another only had temporary professional work exp erience The vast difference between the three interviewees was a wide breath of stories and career paths. Interviewees represented the following three generations: Generation Y ( born in 1982 ) Generation X ( born in 1972 ) and the Baby Boomer Generation ( born in 1956 ) The interviewees were sent the demographic survey because of the varying departments and the differing roles in Student Affairs that they represented The three individuals represented advising, club sports, and student conduct. The three interviews were transcribed is data interpretation, and representation. Due to the ambiguity of analyzing qualitative data, researc analysis (Dey, 1995, p. 78). Therefore tic strategies, Specifically, when the lead researcher highlighted certain information in the transcription, f sketching out ideas (Creswell, 2012). Additionally, when reducing the codes into themes, the researcher was

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33 to create a set of manageable themes the lead complete in order to identify themes and patterns within the data. The procedures we re as follows : 1. The data was managed through organizing the interviews by examining the data collected through writing notes, reflecting upon what was said, and creating questions. 2. The next ing, and 3. Next, the data was visualized and represented by the development of propositions, trees, and matrixes ( Creswell, 2012). A small da taset allowed for hand coding. The r esearcher identified d ifferences a nd similarities among the three interviews. The interviews revealed three themes, including personality characteristics, the importance of relationships, and the need for growth and learning. The researcher provided an i n depth description of each case and context combining a a description the reader might make if he or she had been t which was included followed by a comparison of how the interviewees al igned with generational characteristics and the career capital conceptual framework model.

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34 Generation Y (1978 1989) Interview: Jennifer* wellness. While at the univer sity being studied, her career path had been in two different Student Affairs departments and she had been employed for a total of four and a half years at the university She reported having past Student Affairs experience that totaled nearly nine years overall had a very different tone than the other two cases due to her recent and abrupt departure. While Jennifer was a month removed from her university experience, she was sti ll visibly upset when talking about her most recent departmental experience. The emotion behind her eyes, non verbal cues, and hesitation when using names reinforced her challenging decision to leave the workplace she implied had felt like home which is emphasized by her descr iption of the campus as I had a family there While she had a great sense of community at the university, her direct supervisor and department environment began to weigh on both her career identity and self perception. J began at the university in the Fall of 2011, and she noted that she networked with a colleague to land her job as a Career Counselor. While at the Career Center, she experienced a great sense of community and developed her support system ; however she felt a hole in both her role and responsibilities. Therefore, after life changes, she networked and was offered a position as an Academic Advisor in one of the seven academic offices on the campus. She transitioned roles to take on th e new challenge and the She stated, The on boarding process was the first indicator of negativity and stepping into a toxic environment. It took Jennifer a year to realize that she had entered a team that was already

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35 and What she meant by both descriptors was that the leader continually disempowered her team by sending contradicting messages. This leader also did not practice open communication and employees di d not feel supported as a Jennifer described her supervisor style. For example, Jennifer described staff meetings as led by a supervisor who would talk about her agenda and w ould perceive it a s if you offered ideas. The lack of support and notion of disempowerment was also illustrated by the nonexistent supervisor employee individual meetings. Jennifer stated that individual meetings between employee and supervisor di d not exist, and the only one on one meeting was a 30 minute meeting during the annual evaluation period. Generation Y Characteristics feedback, behavior, communication s tyle, decision making, and leadership style were not GEN Yers (1978 1989) eality Feedback On Demand Yelled at, attacked Behavior Create the rules role and amount of students, began questioning herself Communication Style Collaborative Lack of support, unattainable expectations leve for a week, gossip Decision Making Team Decided Lack of voice, feeling safe to share ideas, feeling accepted Leadership Style Partner Dictatorship, lack of support, contradicting messages Figure 7 : Generation Y workplace preference.

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36 The research showed that members of Generation Y prefer on demand feedback and views the leader as a partner (Half, et al., 2015). Jennifer described her university work experience as not aligning to these preferences resulting from receiving feedback only once per calendar year and a supervisor she described as a For instance, during one staff meeting Jennifer explained that her supervisor verbally attacked and yelled at her She was he point where I guess you could say I felt attacked She proceeded to use words and phrases such as and she moved over into academic advising, Jennifer described her day as faster paced. She was expected to see up to 12 students per day for 30 minute meetings with administrative time here and there. T he messaging of the role and priority was A theme of meaningful relationships continually emerged, both with students or staff. Jennife solving, and decision making characteristics all surround collaboration and teamwork (Half, et al., 2015). At times, Jennifer noted that she would not see her coworkers for weeks at a time. Sh e described that [co workers]. It sounded like the role of an academic advisor was to focus on meeting with students and it was overtaking employee wellbeing. This conception was supported in how this unsafe w orking environment prompted Jennifer to question both her career identity and self perception.

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37 Conceptual Framework Comparison When building career capital and career/professional development, the four pillars that make up the conceptual framework are Identity, Psychological, Human Capital, and Social Resources (Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Hirschi, 2012; Newport, 2012; Savickas, 2009; out that her Identity, Psychologic al, and Social resources were negatively impacted while working as an Academic Advisor at the university being studied. In the Identity resources of knowing why, Jennifer voiced barriers and struggles with her self concept, career goal clarity/congruenc e, and identity components of employability. She stated Her struggles were shown in the slow decline of her engagement, empowerment, and happiness level s overall. For example, Jennifer noted that she originally transitioned to the Academic Advising role in order to be both and as well as to According to Jennifer, this job promise never came to fruition due to the direct supervisor s need for control and her leadership actions toward employee disempowerment. More significantly, as a result of her declining confidence level. For example, when talking about where she s aw herself in five years, Jennifer struggled to answer the career goal interview question. She stated, foundation of what I believe that I was going to be doing with m being slowly disrupted due to her work environment and she further described her last two years working at the university as a She clarified this by saying,

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38 She described her two years in the advising office in terms such as and The descriptors used support the toxic work environment Jennifer endured the last two years. Additionally, her declin search where it led her to explore and interview in non higher education industries. As Jennifer stated when asked how she would rate her previous job satisfaction and ha ppiness on a scale of 1 to 10, she answered 8 for career counseling and 3 for advising. In the interview, Jennifer pointed out that her barrier to professional growth was feeling constantly disempowered which, in turn, directly prompted questions about h er self concept and career confidence. efficacy, and psychological mobility were being chipped away at from within her advising position. Leadership in her office pushed the priority that Jenni students. As a result of working in such a student driven environment Jennifer began to feel disconnected from her peers and experienced neglect of her feelings as a whole person. This was noted in her expansion of what would have ma de her score of 3 higher. She stated, Jennifer went on to expand on this disconnection. She voiced that University leadership view ed the department as a success and assum ed that if the department d id well, then the employees were doing well too However, t his was not the case. There was so much focus on the student, that there was a lack of well being for the employee. Jennifer stated that

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39 t people that you constantly talk about students as being, and leave us out Th ese feelings sfaction and happiness levels. s as well mentors, developmental networks, and social support systems that she made her strongest relationships in her first position at the university. Her sense of community was what made her get through the ssional experience of my life for Jennifer intentionally worked hard to maintain her community outside of the advising office because it was not encourage d to continue or build relationships as an advisor. Again, she was there to serve students. Jennifer talked about her exhaustion and the sacrific es she felt the advising team made when they had an expectation to see up to 12 students per day. She state d that be available for six of the eight hours of the work day for 30 minute student appointments. The other two hours of the day were dedicated to following up with students, returning emails, and tracking personalized appointment notes. With a schedule like this, there was limited time for external projects or collaboration with other departments. In describ ing this lack of support for external collaboration, Jennifer noted that weeks would pass where she would not see or interact with her team due to the high number of students she was expected to meet with on a daily basis. er social resources were

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40 cultivated in previous years She reflec ts this in her claim that While in the Career Center, Jennifer loved her team and the continued support she f elt after transitioning into advising. She added, personal friendships. Even the person who took my role I have a relationship with, like when we see each other, a She leaned on them for support due to the unsafe and toxic work environment that she entered. For example, Jennifer stated during her advising challenges that she di However, the established support and sense of community she felt at the university resources aided her to stay in an unhealthy, professional environmen t where she did not feel supported as a whole person. about feelings of respect and autonomy. She felt valued as a whole person, yet the career counseling role did not feel like a good fit professionally more made her transition to an office and role she was originally excited about. However, it was not what she expected. The role was strict and heavily focused on student appointmen t numbers with little time to collaborate with other departments or create programs in her immediate advising team. She noted ed into a role that ultimately ended up with me resigning from the university. Jennifer aligned wit h the Generation Y characteristics of collaboration, creation of the rules, and teamwork. This was shown in her descriptions of prior career experiences a s well as her experience working in the Career Center. Yet, her advising work environment did not su pport Generational Y needs or support

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41 career capital growth in the conceptual framework model of Identity, Psychological, or concept, career goal clarity, and attitudes of identity were shaken. Additionally, Jennifer str uggled with her self efficacy and social support the last two obstacle s for building career capital, it shows the importance of relationships and employee wellness in order to retain talented employees (Deloitte, 2016; Half, et al., 2015; Inkson & Arhur, 2001; Kezar, 2004; Koys, 2001; Mitchelle, Holtom, & Lee, 2001; Ouellett e, 2012; Weiss, 2014; Young, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Filipczak, 2000). This need was supported by the conceptual framework of building career capital and career/professional development. Generation X (1965 1977) Interview: Michael* Michael was born in 1972 and had 12 years of professional higher education experience, and seven of th ese years were in the Student Affairs Division. With a plethora of professional positions in his career history Michael said he originally did not know what or where he wanted to go in his career. He even questioned if his future was in higher repeatedly came about especially when discussing his career moves within the univers ity as well as in his day to day roles and responsibilities. Jennifer who had two different professional career experiences, Michael moved around quite a bit within the unive rsity. His career journey originated within one of the seven advising offices at the university He moved to different advising offices throughout the years, working with students who were undeclared in arts and media in sciences and finally in

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42 busine ss. When asked about all the departmental moves, he said that he faltered and did not know where his career trajectory was going to take him. Michael admitted that when he graduated from college he lacked direction in what he was going to do. This was m ade clear though s tatements that supported his unknown career path throughout his interview such as and Michael had an action prone attitude and intuition regarding whe n to seek a new experience. He did not ignore change, but rather he thrived in it. Michael showed initiative in knowing when he needed to look for another opportunity which was exemplified through statements such as and Originally, he decided to move advising departments due to a desire for a more studen t focused advising experience, a higher salary, and not envisioning himself in a supervisory role. Even though money was noted as a strong decision making component, when reflecting upon his past career opportunities Michael realized that he was lacking career motivation. He attributed this to not wanting the next level advising opportunity. Michael said that, as an advisor, there was not a clear career move unless you wanted to become a supervisor. He stated, When asked what might have been helpful to him during his periods of feeling lost in his career and what advice he would have given himself, he said,

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43 looking around and He went on to talk about not settling and being intentional in developing other skillsets or interest areas. Michael admitted that he should have been more reflective and focused on more than just financial compensation. When tal king about his five year plan, Michael stated that Building upon his vast experience with both students and differing leaders, there was a shift in his career attitude due to his life and work experiences. His priorities shifte d from salary to focusing on getting back to enjoying what he did. It seemed that a lot of his work conflicts and intuition was leading him towards seeking out a new supervisor. This was shown through statements such as Michael voiced taking a new position outside of advising due to his previous relationship with his new boss. [move ] I just wanted to g e t back to enjoying what I did. This example showcased the correlation between a positive supervisory relationship and employee retention. y was overall positive. He had the opportunity to combine two of his motivators of directly working with students and sports into his new role working in club sports. He learned from his struggles and successes with past supervisors what not to do. Mich ael was very intentional about how he leads and shows by example. He added t those people did When describing his past experience with varying leaders, Michael was very cautious. He masked some feelings of discomfort with sarcasm.

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44 However, feelings of discomfort were still present in the way he kept shifting his posture and the tapping of his foot. Generation X Characteristics In Generation X preferred work behavior, training, learning style, and problem solving characteristics were show GEN Xers (1965 1977) Interview/Reality Behavior Change the Rules Need for change, autonomy in creating the change Training Required to Keep Me Voiced wanting support, individual growth and development; employee develop ment focused on weaknesses Learning Style Independent Is pushed to grow, is disgruntled at first but has a positive relationship with supervisor and sees the value in being pushed for growth Problem Solving Independent Very independent, supervisor trust s him ; boss creates trusting environment without words Change Management Change = Opportunity Currently in a transiting period, voiced viewing it as an opportunity Figure 8 : Generation X workplace preferences. es (Half, et al., 2015) was seen in his constant need for change. Every few years, Michael would listen to his intuition to move on to the next advising challenge to feed his need for change. However, this need was not being met since the advising role f unctionalities were the same ; it was only the students and leadership that were changing. Michael expressed in his interview that his role was so saturated with student appointments that he would not and could not have participate d in this study if he wer e still an advisor. He clarified that liberal arts I had give you a little insight, I think my caseload was between 900 and In comparison, Michael pointed out that the national average advising caseloa d was about 270. He went on to talk about how as an advisor

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45 not in alignment with change was abundant and sought out. He fed th is need by moving advising offices and seeking control over his work environment. Throughout his experiences, Michael learned much from the various managers he was under. Michael displayed characteristics in alignment with Generation X learning and problem that he was grateful for his past experiences. He acquired expertise in conflict resolution and built a sense of community as an advisor due to his internal drive to take action as well as his involvement in New Student Orientation. He explained that in his first advising job, part of his responsibility was to plan and execute New Student Orientation. This led to a natural progression of building strong relationships with other staff members on campus. Additionally, a Generation X characterist ic of ing from job to job. He viewed each career change as an opportunity and voiced excitement when he began a career transition into the unknown. As he stated, not all of the se changes worked out as he had planned ; however he continually challenged himself to independently learn from each work place experience. characteristics, it better in alignment with his generational preferences especially within decision making and leadership st yle. When Michael described his current work environment, it was very team and coach oriented Generation X decision Statements that supported this observation include when a teammate has an event and asked for help the answer was

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46 have an agreement within our offices that if someone needs help with anything, we have so and Conceptual Framework Comparison Wh Resources were not being built in his previous advising roles. Interview state ments such as , and demonstrated this disconnect. Specifica concept, career goal clarity, and career goal congruence were in misalignment. For example, Michael lamented having previous supervisors that did not focus on his professional development. It sounded like he was in work environments and roles that were already established and very focused on student numbers. It ultimately led to him job hoping within the university. However, when Michael spoke about his current role as a Club Sports Coordinator, his Identity Resources climbed in clarity. In club sports, he worked in an environment where his direct supervisor ha d created a trusting and empowering environment. When Michael explained this working environment, he described having the autonomy to make decisions, problem solve on his own, and create programs using his vast expertise. He was never questioned which aid ed in building his Identity resource s around making work meaningful. ow which was in alignment with both his Identity and Human Capital Resources of building concept as well as self awareness surrounding his core career identity and field

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47 expertise. Specifically, Michael voiced being intentionally pushed by his supervisor to build his learning and development opportunities. For example, Michael said that his supervisor His supervisor gave him the push and encouraged him to get i nvolved in opportunities to develop realized he need ed the push. Th is quality directly related to Michael building his Human Capital resources of transferable sk ills and cognitive ability. In advising roles, his Human Capital was voiced as low with statements such as Additionally, as stated previously, when asked a follow up question of : hat His answer was int riguing though it took a while to formulate He talked about telling himself that there were other opportunities out there and he should try to develop other areas of interest instead of just being so focused on the next advising job. He said that he th ought, Again, this directly supported the low levels of both Identity and Human Capital Resources when he was an Academic Advisor. However, in his current role, he was sup ported in the growth and development into his next career move. His current supervisor fostered an environment where professional development was a priority. When Michael spoke about being proactive about building his weaknesses, he said, H is boss would respond with more employable, someday

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48 differing roles working with students. His generatio nal characteristics and career capital was not in alignment as an advisor. However, it was evident that he was currently building career capital in his club sports role. This was primarily due to the empowering work environment rship style. This supported the idea that to build career capital and to feel in alignment with generational characteristics were very dependent on what type of leader was supervising you and establishing a work environment where cultivating weaknesses wa s encouraged Baby Boomer (1946 1964) Interview: James* Born in 1956, James had a natural inkling towards education, which was due in part to always being surrounded by it. In the interview, James disclosed that he was family of teachers. His father began his career as a teacher and eventually became a junior high principal, and He revealed, e His father insisted that James explore other career fields and emphasized that if James was meant to be in e ducation, it would eventually happen. by pursuing geology. Coincidentally, James also emphasized that he had d ever had. He voiced that

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49 his priority neede traveling all over the state of Wyoming and sitting on oil wells, to management positions in North Dakota, to insurance jobs to varying roles within the K 12 system. y in K 12 began in teaching and coaching which ultimately led him to administration. As he spoke, frustration bubbled in his tone and demeanor. He said, 30 years in education, K12, teaching frustrated me at times. Really frustrated with the disc After 30 years working in K 12, James retired. Interestingly though James despised retirement. He voiced missing his work with students. This was what led him to pursue his PhD in Higher Education a nd Student Affairs Leadership. James thought he was going to end up working in a career center when he began his studies. However, due to his network, he was offered a Graduate Assistantship in a student conduct office. He ended up falling in love with it; this role was the missing link he felt in K 12. Working at a previous university while obtaining his PhD, he was approached by colleagues to move into a temporary position at the university being studied in 2015. He jumped on the opportunity to creat e a new program and really building from the ground up of a growing, expanding office. That offered some enticement to come While the decision to transition was easy, his experience was described as a James went from a four person staff to just himself and a graduate assistant. He stated that his work was much faster pace and the planning phases ha d been With nearly a year as an interim Director in the conduct office, James had only positive comments about the university culture, his supervisor, and his team He ha d been given many opportunities for professional development, training, and support to create a new disciplinary system. James felt trusted, cared for, and valued. He hoped that his interim

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50 role bec ame a permanent position so he c ould continue to work with students and collaborate amongst other departments. Baby Boomer Characteristics story and feelings between universities supported Baby Boomer characteristics in behavior and learning style when compar ed to generational characteristics (2015). However, it was noted that there was misalignment in both training and leadership preferences. BABY BOOMERS (1946 1964) Interview/Reality Behavior Challenge the Rules Abili ty to mold the rules and programs, freedom to do so Training Preferred in Moderation opportunities for professional development Learning Style Facilitated Voiced enjoying the discussions that were prompted ou t of webinar experiences; wants continual learning opportunities Leadership Style Unilateral Wants continued support but trust to move forward on projects Change Management Change = Caution Looking for the opportunity to create, wants to be able to mold the system/department he works in with direction consistency in messaging, support, direction Figure 9 : Baby Boomer workplace preferences. to challeng e the rules (Half, et al., 2015), which James was not abl e to do at his previous institution and in his past K 12 roles. Expectations in prior jobs already had a strict, established protocol in place. Where in his current role, James voiced being able to which is in alignment with his generational need to challeng e the current structure already in place. When James spoke about his professional development opportunities, he seemed a little overwhelmed. In response to the question about what he had been doing to bui ld career capital, he said, This implied that he was fully supported in opportunities for learning; however, it was in misalignment with his Baby Boomer

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5 1 preference of training in moderation (Half, et al., 2015). James to ok initiative and transformed this overwhelming abundance of training to morph into his preferred learning learning style is that he initiated discussions and fo stered team collaboration after watching a leadership webinar series. More specifically, James stated, He voiced that he enjoy ed the aspect of creating after watching the webinars : Although he sounded engrossed and overwhelmed by the learning and development opportunities, he took initiative to spin them into his preferred Baby Boomer characteristics. t al., 2015, p. 4) was not addressed. However, a theme that was more specifically addressed and was in misalignment was his generational leadership style. James voiced a need for strong leadership, consistent messaging, and continual support. Baby Boome rs preferred leadership style was side or a self agenda that lacks collaboration (Schwarz, 2006). This need was not supported lked about his current role in student conduct. He used comments such as (when James had a negative interaction with a student)

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52 else. when describing his leader and the work environment. The team oriented culture he entered into was already established and was contin ually developed, which does not exemplify a unilateral leadership environment. Conceptual Framework Comparison Upon reviewing the four pillars that aid in the development of career capital and career/professional development, Human Capital and Social Resources were continually conduct office. it stood out that transferable skills, cognitive ability, occupational knowledge, and learning and development opportunities were growing. More specifically, when James spoke about his curr ent role, he disclosed that he constantly brought his K 12 background to his team in creative ways. For example, James shared details about a team development project that he initiated. This project idea came directly from his expertise and experiences f rom teaching and K 12 administration. The Q is for Duck, and tailoring each letter of the alphabet towards how the office worked and functioned as a team. He explained that the purpose of the project was to get folks together, creatively producing some things that told Everyone participated in contributing to the content of the project and he said that it was now posted on their website for students to explore. This example suppor ted how previous experience and transferred his skills into increasing collaboration amongst the office/departments. playe d a large part

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53 in the growth of his developmental networks and social support. For example, when James discussed his career development and his high sense of community at the university, he claimed it was due to his professional responsibilities both wit hin and outside of his office. He stated, ing to and interacting with people across campus, academics side and non Within his job functions, he was expected to collabo rate with other offices. The responsibility expanded his network and helped him build relationships with others professionals. he said his previous colleagues called him one day asking am. The trust he had in his colleagues made the decision for him The Social Resources James bu ilt at his previous institution aided him to land the interim position, but these skills also supported him to move into an environment and role that was more in alignment with his Baby Boomer preferred behavior and learning story in higher education did not begin until 2010, he brought a wealth of knowledge from the K 12 industry into his job functions. The frustrations he felt in the K 12 system were different than in higher education. James was a continual learner, felt f ulfilled, and showed a need for both meaningful relationships and continual support in the workplace. Themes Across the Three Interviews While each interviewee experience was unique, there were two core themes that emerged across the generation s: 1. Nee d for empowering supervisors

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54 2. Importance of workplace community and relationships First, each interviewee discussed needing or being satisfied with a leader who empowers them. Jennifer talked about as to Similarly, Michael described his current supervisor as and contributed this to his comments such as and Finally, James defined empowerment at work with leadership support, and trust. Specifically, Jam es stated Additionally, having a supervisor that encourages employee growth and development supports the overarching theme of needing empowering is current supervisor support ed his growth and pushe d him in ed him to learn and do more so that someday The second core theme that arose across the three par ticipants was the importance of having a sense of community and relationships at the university. Interviewee comments used to describe an engaged and satisfied work environments were and Quotes progressed to focus on relationship themes through comments such as and When each interviewee was asked if he/she felt that they had a sense of community at the university, they all said yes. E ach interview ee did not define community specificall y; h owever, in this

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55 research study community referred to an employee having a sense of belonging and a established university work environment. For instance, Jennifer was not satisfied in her current role b ut she said she felt a sense of community. She voiced how [sense of community] got me through the worst professional experience of my life for two Other interviewee answers were and e, Therefore, workplace community and relationships were a core theme across the three interviews from each generational group represented.

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56 CHAPTER V CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION While corporations are adapti ng on boarding, orientation, performance management, professional development, and workplace environments to this new world of work (Deloitte University Press, 2015; Farrell, 2009; IndustryWeek, 2005; Riasman, 2013), universities are focusing more energy a nd resources on retaining students more than employees (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015). Due to the decrease in funding for higher education, enrollment and graduation rates are t he focal point of conversation s and change efforts of university leaders (Mitchel l & Leachman, 2015). Yet, r etention efforts for employees are few and far between The limited amount of research and high burnout numbers in Student Affairs emphasize the need for examination of employee retention practices. This research is especially important due to the diverse, generational working population s who have different viewpoints on what work means (Zarim & Zaki, 2015; Zemke, Raines, & Fillipczak, 2002). The goal of this research study has been to investigate how differing generations hav e experienced support in their professional and career growth and built career capital at one university. This research investigation was conducted due to the: Ever changing economy (Heerwagen, et al., 2010) Four generations in the workforce (H alf, et al. 2015; Fry 2015) Crumbling traditional hierarchical organizational model (Cramm, 2015; Deloitte, 2016; Half, et al., 2015; Ouellette, 2012; ProInspire, 2015; Wagner, 2015) N on existent linear career paths (Hirschi, 2012; Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Savickas, et al., 2009) Low retention rates in Student Affairs positions (Young, 2015) Summary of Findings Three Student Affairs professionals were interviewed who represent ed three of the four generations in the workforce includ ing Generation Y (1978 1989), Gen eration X (1965

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57 1977), and the Baby Boomer generation (1946 1964) (Half, et al., 2015). In comparing interviews to both the generational preferred characteristics (Half, et al., 2015) and the career capital conceptual framework (Inkson & Arthur, 2001), fi ndings indicated that when in alignment with both, the Student Affairs professionals felt engagement and empowerment at work. Similarities and differences were noted in the three interviews ; however themes of personality characteristics, importance of re lationships, and need for both growth and learning were noted in all responses. Jennifer: Generation Y (1978 1989) In the interview with Jennifer, Generation Y characteristics were identified to be in misalignment within feedback, behavior, communicati on style, decision making, and leadership style. GEN Yers (1978 1989) Feedback On Demand Yelled at, attacked Behavior Create the rules role & amount of students, began questioning herse lf Communication Style Collaborative Lack of support, unattainable expectations for a week, gossip Decision Making Team Decided Lack of voice, feeling safe to share ideas, feeling accepted Leadership Style Partner Dictatorship, lack of support, contradicting messages Figure 7 : Generation Y workplace preference. In comparison with building career capital and career/professional development, growth in Identity, Psychological, and Social resources.

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58 Identity Resources Self Concept, Career Goal Clarity, Career Goal Congruence Personality is an achiever, has vision, drive, intuition to get out listened to herself. Began to que stion herself Attitudes of Career Adaptability Learning experience, voiced wishing she would have focused less on having people like her and more about doing the job. Vision of self began to be skewed due to toxic work environment Identity Components o f Employability Had a need to work with students, initiated transition at the University to gain more meaningful and concrete tangible relationship with students Psychological Resources Optimism, Hope, Self Efficacy Low due to not feeling va lued, heard. Psychological Mobility, Psychological Components of Employability Did not feel she had work life balance, discussed employee wellness (structure of day, messaging, focus of role, unattainable expectations, level of student interactions, se lf care, lack of support) Personal Characteristics of Career Adaptability Felt frozen out, lacked confidence Career Resilience Had a vision for herself, did not feel safe to be herself at work Social Resources Mentors Had allies at the University, developed this through previous job Developmental Networks Role did not encourage collaboration with other offices, no time because of focus of role and job Social Support Voiced the only reason she probably stayed so long in a toxic work environment was due to her sense of community at the University Figure 10 : Generation Y c omparison of career capital and career/professional development. Michael: Generation X (1965 1977) al characteristics and career capital. Specifically, his interview represented generation preferred work behavior, training, learning style, and problem solving characteristics (Half, et al., 2015).

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59 GEN Xers (1965 1977) Interview/Reality Behavi or Change the Rules Need for change, autonomy in creating the change Training Required to Keep Me Voiced wanting support, individual growth and development; employee development focused on weaknesses Learning Style Independent Is pushed to grow, is disg runtled at first but has a positive relationship with supervisor and sees the value in being pushed for growth Problem Solving Independent Very independent, has S upervisor trust; boss creates trusting environment without words Change Management Change = Opportunity Currently in a transiting period, voiced viewing it as an opportunity Figure 8 : Generation X workplace preferences. Identity and Human Capital resources wer e not being met in his prior Student Affairs roles. Identity Resources Self Concept, Career Goal Clarity, Career Goal Congruence Voiced not having a direction or a vision : ; due to higher salary ; va lues changed into wanting a job and environment he enjoyed : vice Lack of career guidance model in higher education, where else could he go if he dership? How could he grow at the University? Attitudes of Career Adaptability Low due to planned happenstance : Identity Components of Employability Unknown, lack of direction and guidance, voiced if doing it over would want to have ski ll development outside of typical role Human Capital Resources Transferable Skills, Cognitive Ability Low voiced having only two skills How did the transitions influence his identity and confidence? Occupational Knowledge Voiced that he did not have a backup in terms of career options, wished he would have been more proactive Learning & Development Opportunities Due to current supervisor, has many learning and development opportunities, hoping that next supervisor pushes him as much as current supervisor Figure 11 : Generation X comparison of career capital and career/professional development.

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60 James: Baby Boomer (1946 1964) (2015), his interview supporte d the Baby Boomer characteristics in behavior and learning style while showing misalignment in training and leadership preferences. BABY BOOMERS (1946 1964) Interview/Reality Behavior Challenge the Rules Ability to mold the rules and programs, freedom to do so Training Preferred in Moderation opportunities for professional development Learning Style Facilitated Voiced enjoying the discussions that were prompted out of webinar experiences; wants continual lea rning opportunities Leadership Style Unilateral Wants continued support but trust to move forward on projects Change Management Change = Caution Looking for the opportunity to create, wants to be able to mold the system/department he works in with direct ion ; consistency in messaging, support, direction Figure 9 : Baby Boomer workplace preferences. Findings indicated that Human Capital and Social Resources from the career capital ucation role.

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61 Human Capital Resources Transferable Skills, Cognitive Ability Has brought his K 12 background knowledge to apply to the intentionality of departmental team development; extremely lied on the website, he gave me a copy Occupational Knowledge Very well versed in K 12 and higher ed, has life experience that he brings to the table Learning & Develo pment Opportunities CAREER DEVELOPMENT: system wide, constant flow (excitement vs flow) application, in team focus on what can we do to promote student success vs. employee focused? Social Resources Mentors Seem s to ha ve a lot of support in his current role within the department as well as the leadership team Developmental Networks blessing and a curse ; office, chatting and interacting with others acro ss campus on both the academic and non academic side Social Support Very strong relationships ; supportive team that can assess non verbal cue s and offer help Social Components of Employability received a call one day from previous colleagues about curr ent job trusted Figure 1 2 : Baby Boomer comparison of career capital and career/professional development. Themes Across Generations Two themes were identified across the three interviews:

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62 Theme Supporting Interviewee Quotes Need for empowering supervisors Boss would say comments s som eday down the road Importance of workplace community and relationships through the worst professional experience of my life for two Figure 1 3 : Themes across the three generations studied. Research Implications The research focused on Student Affairs staff working within the larger contex t of the university system as a whole B oth leaders and systems were powerful in response to generational characteristics of the supervisors were not investigated H o wever in review of generational characteristics of Student Affairs professionals and career capital in if leadership encouraged and cultivated the employee to perf orm within generational role at the university was autonomous and She went on to describe it in terms and phrases such as and

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63 clarified that she did not leave the team, she left for prior work environment was in alignment with generational characteristics of collaboration and team orientation ( Half, et al., 2015). On the other hand, the job that led Jennifer to abruptly quit was described as and suppor To be empowered, Jennifer needed trust. When asked, that is conducive This research study supports the literature concluding that supervisors are influential for an employee to feel empowered at work. As stated previously in Cha pter II, in an interview with the Director of Human Resources, the current professional traini ng and development programs were reactive in nature. Opportunities for Student Affair s staff development were heavily reliant on the direct supervisor. Therefor e, if the director or supervisor established an unsupportive environment, this could decrease engagement and increase In prior advising roles, Michael w as cautious to admit that every manager had a He has had and bosses On the other hand, he has experienced supervisors that led him to question working at the University. For example, when addressin g his prior managers, he noted that The department leaders led him to question his future at the University. In addressing what could have been improved by past leaders, Michael replied

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64 His prior leaders lacked clear communication, expectations, and providing feedback. Michael also explained that managers who led poorly did so because they were Further study should focus on the development of encouraging, adaptable, and empowering leaders. eer capital and being in alignment with generational characteristics. In two of the three interviews, on boarding was noted as an area of growth for the university. While all three interviewees were on boarded differently, the dissatisfaction was evident in responses to the lack of community. James noted UNIVERSITY NAME does a very good onboarding. I had the day A suggestion for improvement from James was about building communit y through a mentoring program. Research finds that 20% of turnover happens in the first 45 days (Hirsch, 2016) 2016, p. 1). This quote is significant because it highlights the need for change in employee retention efforts. If an employee is not satisfied or feels the position is not meaningful, that employee will look fo r fulfillment in other jobs within other companies. Employees will take initiative if their needs are not being met and with the high cost of onboarding, this is a significant area that universities need to examine to increase staff retention levels. A third noteworthy finding was the continuing pressure to do more with less, which in turn increases employee stress and anxiety in the workplace (Dill, 2014). As previously mentioned in other chapters, funding for higher education and support from states h as been dwindling.

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65 funding per student (Wenzel, 2013 ). Therefore, it was not surprising that all three interviewees referenced lack of resources and feelings of being overworked. Interview evidence includes statements such as person and a half. Where the office I came from for a similar size school, was four people. It has been a real whirlwind of once things are done, you re Michael further not ed that his caseload was above the national average. He acknowledged Jennifer also a ddressed a similar expectation around being required to see an overwhelming amount of students and having every second accounted for. This led her to describ e the job as Also, she used the analogy of her work days looking like a popular res taurant on a Friday night: Increasing awareness of the stress and pressure Student Affa irs professionals feel leads them to career transition s either within the university or to another entity or industry Limitations Limitations of this study were the sample size and generational group differences. While more initial demographic surve ys were sent to potential interviewee candidates, only three interviews were conducted and transcribed from three generations. This was a limitation due to the application to the higher education environment and also the age differences of each generation Three interviews are not representative of an entire population or the generations researched. Therefore, acknowledgement of the differences between generations being attributed to developmental stages is a limitation. Also, the three

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66 interviewees do not represent the entire Student Affairs Division at the university being studied since there are over ten other departments not represented Another limitation was the dual relationship and the noted cautiousness of each interviewee in the gathering of d ata. This was supported by interviewee comments such as and Anoth er example is demonstrated in how an interviewee admitted she/he was An observation of another interviewee being cautious was when the and abruptl y stopped himself Being a part of this university community, the researcher may have influenced what and how much the interviewees chose to share. Recommendations for Future Studies Although these interviews led to very interesting findings related to generational differences, the interviews uncovered more research questions as a result For example, are supervisors aware of generational differences? If so, did the interviewees direct supervisors generational work style? Do supervisors realize how influential they are in the engagement level of their team? Do the supervisors have similar feelings towards staff members? In addition, an expansion of this study may lead to a deeper understanding o f the findings. First, a larger interview pool would increase the effect size and be more representative of the Student Affairs population and generations studied. Secondly, interviews could include other members of a team as well as the department super visor to investigate accuracy of case study stories. A third recommendation is to branch out to other

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67 offices in and directly affecting the Student Affairs Division to gain a clearer vision of how the university could improve career and professional devel opment opportunities and intentional growth in career capital. A specific department that directly influenced this Division was the Department of Human Resources. Human Resources was in charge of onboarding and continued training for current staff member s. It must be determined how Human Resources and Student Affairs might collaborate more effectively on both developing supervisory skills as well as improving the welcoming process for new employees A fourth recommendation would be for the university bei ng studied to begin to collect employee retention data and for Human Resources to do formalized exit interviews. Neutral party exit interviews could aid in a better understanding of professionals leaving the Student Affairs Division as well. Conclusion T his qualitative case study examined how one university was addressing the ever changing demands of a multigenerational workforce. Three Student Affairs professionals were interviewed representing three generations including Baby Boomers (1946 1964), Gen Xers (1965 1977), and Gen Yers (1978 1989) (Half, et al, 2015). No Gen Zers (1990 1999) were identified for the study who met the experience criteria. The interview content themes and core ideas were applied to the conceptual framework of the Career Cap ital Theory (Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Hirschi, 2012; Newport, 2012; Savickas, 2009; & Shin, 2013) and generational work preferences. Major findings indicated that building career capital and support in professional development/career opportunities were reli ant on direct leadership and the work culture established. Across the generations represented, there were two core themes of the need for empowering supervisors and the importance of workplace community

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68 and relationships. The implications for this study show the need for improvement in current learning and development within the higher education system of practice. This research study contributed to opportunities to increase Student Affairs engagement levels and demonstrates how to tailor current strateg ies to diverse generational employee needs. As the higher education industry is continually evolving and rapidly changing (Deloitte University Press, 2015; Farrell, 2009; IndustryWeek, 2005; Heerwagen, et al., 2010; Riasman, 2013), it is time to adapt tra ditional employee programs to promote employee retention and increase engagement levels of current Student Affairs professionals. Reflection My research journey and discoveries are encapsulated by the following quote: nful. But nothing is painful as staying stuck somewhere plus years of my Doctoral journey along with the painful discoveries within my research study. Beginning this Doc torate of Education program, I w as frequently asked what my dissertation focus or topic area would be While I could not answer this question immediately, I was advised to choose something that would keep my interest and curiosity for a minimum of three y ears. While the majority of my cohort focused on students, my interest centered on employees. My personal journey and professional expertise has led me to the exploration of career capital and professional/career opportunities for employees. I have worke d with students for over a decade but I feel that I am just discovering the complexities of supervising employees. I decided to merge my two interests of career counseling and employee training together for this study. I refer to this research journey a s painful because I have grown as a

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69 professional and individual. The overwhelming amount of reading, time consuming details of coding, meaning creation from stories, and the never ending edits was challenging. However, with pain comes growth. One partic ular aspect that was painful for me was the realization that the University I studied can do and be better. In interviews, there were awkward moments where I was described as a because I wanted to know the truth. In using my counseling skill s, I was able to get interviewees to open up, and I discovered that they would get lost in their stories. Interviewees liked to talk about their career journe ups and downs. In coding and creating meaning out of their stories, I noticed an underlying especially because she felt a sense of community and it the University. Michael was similar in that his past experiences could have made him fe el jaded. The University could have lost a great employee; however, Michael overcame these challenges to explore other opportunities within the Division of Student Affairs. It was painful to hear the real struggles of each interviewee and know that the m ajority of the challenges voiced could be fixed if leadership was aware of them. As said by the Dalai individuals can have far research makes a ripple in the water of th e University Student Affairs system and promotes positive change s.

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76 Sharf, R. S. (2002). Applying career development theory to c ounseling (3 rd ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Thomson Learning, Inc. Sheehy, K. (2013). Online course enrollment climbs for 10 th straight year. U.S News: Education. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/education/online education/articles/2013/01/08/online course enrollment climbs for 10th straight year Shuck, M. B., (2010). Employee engagement: An examination of antecedent and outcome v ariables FI U Electronic Theses and Dissertat ions. Paper 235. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/etd/235 Sorenson, S. (2013). How employee engagement drives growth Gallup business journal Retrieved from http://dyckerhoff partner.de/images/Downloads/Dycker hoff_Gallup_ Studie_How%20_Employee_Engagement_Drives_Growth.pdf Stevens, R. H. (2010). Managing human capital: How to use knowledge management to generational workforce. International Business Research 3 (3), p77. Tews else? Employee Relations 37 (2), 248 267. Twenge, J. M. (2010). A review of the empirical evidence on generational differences in work attitudes. Journal of Business and Psychology 25, 201 210. doi : 10.1007/s10869 010 9165 6 Tyszko, J. A., Sheets, R. G., & Fuller, J. B. (2015). Managing the talent pipeline: a new approach to closing the skills gap. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation: Center for Education and Workforce 1 36. Retrieved from https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/sites/default/files/Managing%20the%20Talent %20Pipeline.pdf Wagner, R. (2016) The 12 ingredients of working happier (and better). Forbes. Retrieved from http://onforb.es/1NDE2rD Wagner, R. (2015) Retrieved from http://onforb.es/1zWDvBA Whittemore, R., Chase, S. K., & Mandle, C. L. (2001). Validity in qualitative research. Qualitative Health Research, 11 (4), 522 537. Weiss, M. (2014). Why good employees quit R etrieved from http://rh us.mediaroom.com/ 2014 10 22 Why Good Employees Quit?_ga=1.10714813.827975291.1443027967 Wenzel, M. (2013). Colorado ranks last for higher education funding per student. The Rocky Mountain Collegian. Retrieved f rom http://www .collegian.com/2013/03/colorado ranks last for higher education funding per student/26607/

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78 APPENDIX A C ONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

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79 APPENDIX B SEMI STRUCTURED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Tell me about your career journey and experience at *** University. How would you define empowerment at work? o How do you know if you are empowered? Define engagement. o What does engagement look like at work for you? o What wo uld increase your engagement at work? What are you getting in your current role in terms of career development? What supports you to grow in your current role? What do you need to feel valued at *** University? What barriers do you face in your professiona l growth at *** University? How would you rate your job satisfaction and happiness on a scale of 1 10? o Why? o What would make it higher? Do you feel empowered at work? o Yes? How did this come about? o If not, what would be helpful for you? Where do you s ee yourself in 5 years? How could *** University help you with your 5 year plan? Do you have a sense of community at *** University? o Why or why not?

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80 APPENDIX C INITIAL DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY Name: Job Title: Years of Experience Generational Information How many years have you work at **** University? How many years total have you worked in Student Affairs? What year were you born? What generation do you identify with? Generations Defined: Baby Boomers (1946 1964) Gen Xers (1965 1977) Gen Yers (1978 1989 ) Gen Zers (1990 1999)

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81 APPENDIX D POSTCARD CONSENT INFORMATION SHEET Study Title : Exploring University Employee Career Capital Principal Investigator : Jessie Czerwonka COMIRB No : 16 0690 Version Date : April 4, 2016 You are being asked to be in th is research study because you have been employed at a University within the Student Affairs Division for 1 + year If you join the study, you will be asked to complete a pre interview Demographic Survey (5 minutes) and participate in an in person, video re corded interview (60 minutes). This study is designed to learn more about: How are Student Affairs professionals building career capital and being supported in their professional/career growth? Possible discomforts or risks include being uncomfortable answering questions. You can choose to answer all, some, or none of the interview questions. There may be risks the researchers have not thought of. Every effort will be made to protect your privacy and confidentiality through the use of pseudonyms and secure storage devices. The records of this study will be kept private and a pseudonym will be used when documenting results to protect your identity. Data collected will be stored on a password protected online storage drives that only the Lead Researche r has access to. Any report of this research that is made available to the public will not include your name or any other individual information by which you could be identified. You have a choice about being in this study. You do not have to be in this study if you do not want to be. Taking part in this research study is completely voluntary. If you choose to be in the study you may withdraw at any time. You may skip any questions during the interview process for any reason. Participating in this stu dy does not mean that you are giving up any of your legal rights. If you have questions, you can call Jessie Czerwonka Roller at 303 556 5924 or email at Jessie.Czerwonka@ucdenver.edu You can call/em ail and ask questions at any time. If you have any questions about whether you have been treated in an illegal or unethical way, contact the University of Colorado Denver Institutional Research Board 303 727 1055 COMIRB@ucdenver.edu

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82 APPENDIX E RECRUITMENT LETTER/INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE EMAIL TEMPLATE Study Title : Exploring University Employee Career Capital Principal Investigator : Jessie Czerwonka COMIRB No : 16 0690 Version Date : April 4, 2016 Date De ar SUBJECT NAME, My name is Jessie Czerwonka and I am a Doctoral Student at the University of Colorado Denver. I am conducting a research study as part of the requirements of my degree in Leadership for Educational Equity, and I would like to invite you to participate. I am studying employee career capital and career/professional development experiences specifically within Higher Education, Student Affairs Division. If you decide to participate, please read the following: STEP 1: Please fill out the in itial demographic survey (currently attached) which will take approximately 2 minutes to complete and send it back to me STEP 2: If the survey indicates that you are a good fit for the study, you will be asked to participate in a 60 minute informal inte rview with me where you will be asked questions about your career journey. The meeting will take place at a mutually agreed upon time and place that you choose. The interview will be video recorded so that I can accurately reflect on what is discussed. The file will be reviewed by a professional organization that will transcribe the interview. I will send you a copy of the transcription to give you an opportunity to confirm the accuracy of our conversation and to add/clarify any points that you wish. The minimal risk identified in participation of the interview process is your comfort level in answering some of the interview questions. You do not have to answer any questions that you do not wish to. Participation is voluntary and confidential. Your name will not appear in any dissertation or report resulting from this study, however a pseudonym will be used. If you have questions regarding this study, or would like additional information to assist you in reaching a decision about participation, ple ase contact me at 303 556 5924 or by email at Jessie.Czerwonak@ucdenveredu You can also contact my dissertation chair, Dr. Laura Summers, at 303 956 9918 or Laura.Summers@ucdenver.edu I would like to assure you that this study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through the Colorado Multiple Institution Review Board at the University of Colorado

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83 Denver. If you have any comments or concerns r esulting from your participation in this study, please contact the University of Colorado Denver Institutional Research Board 303 727 1055 COMIRB@ucdenver.edu