Managers versus Digital Natives Employees. A Study Regarding the Perceptions of the Romanian Managers Working with Youngsters


  • Florina PÎNZARU National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
  • Andreea MITAN National University of Political Studies and Public Administration


During the last few years, the concerns regarding the youth in the European Union have become a topic of high interest for the European Commission. The official data gathered by the European authorities show that the early school leaving and youth unemployment, coined under the umbrella term of NEETs phenomena, plague the young generation, thing which, along with the aging of the population, gives rise to many questions related to the future of the European construct in terms of economic evolution. Some authors have written since the 90s about the emergence of a new generation, comprising of people born roughly between the 1980s and the year 2000, who are digitally savvy and seem to embrace a different life outlook than the previous generations. In Romania academics and the media have become interested in this generation not because of their prolific activities and professional success, but because many of them seem to lack the desire to take a job or to invest in a solid career. Previous studies have shown that there are indeed digital natives who seem to be extremely proficient with technology, innovative, problem solvers who bring increased profit to the companies they work for, but also that there is another category of youngsters who expect much from their managers and from the companies they work for, in terms of salary and work conditions, but who are not well prepared professionally and who are not ready to respect the discipline required by their employers. The present study has the objective to reveal what Romanian managers think about the young employees (the so called digital natives) and about the prospective employees belonging to the same generation. Data has been collected using in depth interviews with Romanian managers who are currently working with digital natives and with managers who recruit youngsters. The results show that there is a remarkable gap between various groups in this generation. There seem to be two large categories of young employees: the ones who are professionally well equipped, willing to improve their lot and working to find the best ways to do their tasks, and others who seem to be always chasing for a dream in the professional realm but never manage to respect and follow the rules that would help them make it real.

Author Biography

Florina PÎNZARU, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration

Dean of the College of Management, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration


*** (2013b, October 22). STUDIU Cum absoarbe piaţa muncii „generaţia pierdută“: facultăţile care te ajută să-ţi găseşti un job după absolvire. [Study: how does the job market absorb the „lost generation”: the faculties that help you find a job after graduation]. Adevărul. Retrieved from l.

*** (2013a, June 1). Cauzele unei ”generații pierdute”. De ce ajung absolvenții șomeri. [The causes of a „lost generation”]. Adevărul. Retrieved from A-cauzele-generatii-pierdute-ajung-absolventii-someri-1_51a9971cc7b855ff5648134e/index. html

Barna, G. (1995). Generation Next: What you need to Know about today’s Youth. Ventura: Regal Books.

Cable, J. (2005). Generation Y Safety: The Challenges of Reaching the Under-30 Worker; they're Computer-Literate, Eager to Please and Products of the MTV-And OSHA-Generation. Now It's Up to You to Help Them Stay Safe on the Job. Are You Up to the Challenge?, Occupational Hazards, 67(11). Retrieved from 83398/generation-y-safety-the-challenges-of-reaching-the.

Calei, O. (2013, November 10). Cum gândeşte şi ce vrea generaţia „Digital Natives”. [How does the generation of the digital natives think and what does it want]. Retrieved from k-romania-11646910.

Crăciun, O. (2014, February 5). 5.000 de elevi care au picat Bac-ul, şcoliţi şi angajaţi prin două proiecte europene de aproape 40 de milioane de lei. [5000 pupils who have failed to pass the maturity exam will be scholed and hired through two European projects of about 40 million lei]. Adevărul. Retrieved from 82/index.html.

Dagnaud, M. (2011). Génération Y. Les jeunes et les réseaux sociaux, de la dérision à la subversion. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po. (2013). Europe 2020 Target: Early School Leavers from Education and Training. Retrieved from (n.d.a.). Policies on Early School Leaving in nine European countries: a comparative analysis. Retrieved from l_leaving.pdf. (n.d.b.). Youth Guarantee. Retrieved from &langId=en. (2012, October 22). Youth Infographic. Retrieved from

Gansky, L. (2011). În reţea [The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is sharing]. Bucharest: Publica.

Giang, V. (2013). Why Gen Y Workers Have No Idea What Their Managers Expect From Them. Retrieved from gers-and-their-workers-2013-9#ixzz3Yb1RuxID.

Hansen, J.C., and Leuty, M.E. (2012). Work Values across Generations. Journal of Career Assessment, 20(1), 34-52.

Helsper, E.J. (2010). Gendered Internet Use across Generations and Life Stages. Communication Research, 37(3), 352-374.

Huntley, R. (2006). The World According to Y: Inside the New Adult Generation. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Leonte, C. (2014, May 12). România, te iubesc!: Generația care a spus nu serviciului de 8 ore. De ce tinerii din România nu își găsesc un serviciu [Romania, I love you! The generation that said no to the 8 hours shift at the workplace. Why Romanian youngsters do not find jobs][Television broadcast]. Bucharest: Pro TV. Retrieved from http://romaniateiubesc.stiril -din-romania-nu-isi-gasesc-un-serviciu.html.

McBride, T. (2013). Mistakes Managers Make with Gen Y in the Workplace. Retrieved from

Mihalcea, A.D., Mitan A., and Vițelar, A. (2012). Generation Y: Views on Entrepreneurship. Economia. Seria Management, 15(2), 277-287.

Millennialbranding (2013). Millennial Branding and American Express Release New Study on Gen Y Workplace Expectations. Managers reveal criteria for advancement and impressions of their Gen Y workers. Retrieved from ons-study/.

Mitan, A. (2014). Digital Natives Coming of Age: Challenges for Managers. Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy, 2(2), 335-355.

Nayar, V. (2013). Handing the keys to Gen Y. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.o rg/2013/05/handing-the-keys-to-gen-y.

Nikravan, L. (2013). How Should You Manage Gen Y? Retrieved from gs/1-ask-a-gen-y/post/how-should-you-manage-gen-y.

Noble, S.M., Haytko, D.L., and Phillips, J. (2009). What drives college-age Generation Y consumers?. Journal of Business Research. 62(6), 617–628.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon. MCB University Press, 9 (5). Retrieved from es,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf.

Rainie, L. (2006, September 27). Digital ‘Natives’ Invade the Workplace. Retrieved from vade-the-workplace/.

Tapscott, D. (2010). Grown Up Digital. How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Twenge, J.M., Campbell, S.M., Hoffman, B.J., and Lance, C.E. (2010). Increasing, Social and Intrinsic Values Decreasing Generational Differences in Work Values: Leisure and Extrinsic Values. Journal of Management, 36(5), 1117-1142.

Weiler, A. (2004). Information-Seeking Behavior in Generation Y Students: Motivation, Critical Thinking, and Learning Theory. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 31(1), 46-53.

Zandt, D. (2010). Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Zur, O., and Zur, A. (2012). On Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives: How the Digital Divide Affects Families, Educational Institutions, and the Workplace. Retrieved from http://bb.plswe




How to Cite

PÎNZARU, F., & MITAN, A. (2016). Managers versus Digital Natives Employees. A Study Regarding the Perceptions of the Romanian Managers Working with Youngsters. Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy, 4(1), 153–166. Retrieved from