To download dissertations and theses, please click on the appropriate "Download" button for your campus to log in and be e-verified. When you reach the "Sign into your JWU email" page, enter your JWU username and password.

Non-JWU users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Work Value Preferences of Generation Z in the United States

Charles V Bierbrier, Johnson & Wales University


This study examined the work value preferences of Generation Z (Gen Z) in the United States. The literature indicated that each generational cohort demonstrated a unique set of values, beliefs, and attitudes, which has implications in the workplace. As the most recent generational cohort to enter the workplace, Gen Z’s work values needed to be better understood to develop effective management strategies. Work values can influence motivation, employee performance, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. This study’s main research question was which work values Gen Z rated as most important. This was achieved through a cross-sectional, quantitative, descriptive research design using an online survey questionnaire. Participants rated the importance of 25 individual work value items on the revised Lyons Work Values Survey (Lyons, 2003; Lyons et al., 2010). These were used to identify the importance Gen Z placed on four dimensions of work values (cognitive, instrumental, social/altruistic, and prestige). Participants consisted of adult Gen Z members aged 18–26 residing in the United States. The results from the study demonstrated that Gen Z (n= 440) rated instrumental work values the highest, followed by cognitive, social/altruistic, and prestige. The results from the independent t test and one-way analysis of variance indicated no significant differences in work values between men and women or based on ethnic background. Differences based on employment status were found between employed and unemployed participants on cognitive, social/altruistic, and prestige work values. This may be worth exploring for future research, along with longitudinal studies on Gen Z. A confirmatory factor analysis supported the four-factor work values model. Recommendations from this study included offering Gen Z competitive compensation, good work–life balance, and flexibility in the workplace. It is also important to provide them with opportunities for growth, advancement, and stimulating work. The study results will aid in creating effective strategies to better recruit, retain, and motivate Gen Z and assist leaders, managers, and human resource practitioners in understanding their work values.

Subject Area

Business administration|Developmental psychology|Social research|Occupational psychology

Recommended Citation

Bierbrier, Charles V, "Work Value Preferences of Generation Z in the United States" (2022). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI29394935.