Roundtable discussion: Can Old and Young See Eye to Eye?


Impressions from the 2017 SIETAR Europa Congress

Atousa Khajehpour on Robert Johnson’s roundtable discussion:


Generational change has been a prevalent topic of discussion for a long time period. Robert Johnson marvellously addressed this discussion by bringing in the element of technology, which has been identified as the main reason for the generational shift, or better yet; gap,that we are facing. Johnson portrayed the newest trends in technology that today’sgeneration is using and highlighted the sizeable difference in comparison to previous generations. The audience, which was perfectly suited for this discussion due to the range of age groups present in the room, then began discussing how experienced they are with technology and their presence in social media. Generational shift was then discussed in multiple contexts; for instance a corporate context, or interestingly enough even a dating context. Joseph Kearns used a very fascinating example: he mentioned that in previous generations, when a boy wanted to ask a girl out on a date, it was the norm to call their house number to speak to them or even go to their doorstep to ask them out. It was also tradition to ask their parents for permission. However, nowadays, all we have to do is send a single text and our date is already set up! This simple example already shows how much technology has effected even the most basic things in our lives.

Other than the amazing content and great discussion, what I also loved about this session was how much emphasis Johnson put on audience interaction. From my experience, I am usually most interactive when I feel like my opinion is valuable content for the discussion. I thought that Johnson did an absolutely fantastic job at this. He would make a few short points, ask for us to expand on these points and would then continue his presentation based on where the audience had steered the conversation.

Prior to attending this session, generational change was actually a topic of interest for me. I ended up doing my extended essay during my completion of the International Baccalaureate Diploma on the effect of generational change on corporate leadership styles in Iran. Therefore, I was very happy to have attended this session and to have looked at this topic from various angles.

More impressions from the 2017 SIETAR Europa congress can be found here.

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