Date of Award


Degree Type



Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

First Advisor

Stivers, Camilla

Subject Headings

Youth -- Employment -- United States -- Case studies, Administrative agencies -- United States -- Management -- Case studies, United States -- Officials and employees, Generation Y, Leadership, Federal Workforce


As a result of the unprecedented retirement wave within the federal government, federal agencies are aggressively recruiting young professionals that have been categorized as Generation Y. However, there is currently a lack of systematic research that has been conducted on this new cohort of employees particularly, within the federal government. A lot of the available information that pertains to Generation Y can be classified as pop journalism, as opposed to scholarly research. Furthermore, many federal leaders are utilizing this information along with outdated traditional management assumptions about employee motivation to design and develop their public organizations. This tenuous approach can prove to be very costly and detrimental to the success of public institutions. Therefore, many scholars have purported that a lot of young civil servants leave the federal government due to poor management.In an attempt to alleviate the aforementioned concerns, this dissertation offers information to public leaders about how federal Generation Y employees view their work, so leaders can better understand this cohort of employees. By using an interpretative framework with phenomenological research methods, five Generation Y subjects explained their workplace views, attitudes, and experiences as they pertain to motivation. In addition, five federal supervisors explained their viewpoints and experience with Generation Y within the work setting. There were a total of 10 research participants that worked for eight different federal agencies that are located in the Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan region. Key themes emerged and were discussed based on data gathered from an in-depth analysis of 10 semi-structured interviews. Since this was an exploratory qualitative based dissertation, research questions instead of hypotheses were used to gain a deeper understanding of Generation Y employees. It was concluded that the federal supervisors are aware of Generation Y's needs however, they have been obstinate in effectively respondin