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Why Is the Scholarly Style so Different

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Why Is the Scholarly Style So Different?
Raluca S. Buciuc
Glion Institute of Higher Education
September 14, 2014

Why Is the Scholarly Style So Different?
This work paper has the main purpose to analyze an academic article on a management topic and identify the way the author represents its ideas in a scholarly style. The chosen article is “Understanding and Managing the Generational Differences in the Workplace” written by Kapoor C. and Solomon N and published in Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes journal in 2011. In order to complete the analysis, the work paper resume the article and its findings, identify its value and main purpose and analyses its writing manner from the point of view of the scholarly style requirements, in comparison with other writing styles.
Summary and Findings
In “Understanding and Managing the Generational Differences in the Workplace” article Kapoor and Solomon (2011) treat one of the most sensitive issues of today managers: how to understand, treat and motivate their employees in order to maximize their productivity. In doing so, the authors of the paper advise the managers to pay attention to the individuality of their employees starting from the generational differences. They identify four different generations in most of the demographic structures of the companies today: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Simon (as cited by Kapoor & Simon, 2011) states that “every generation is influenced by the economic, political and social events of its time” (p. 313). Thus, “each generation is shaped by its experiences, which brings a variety of strengths to the workforce” (Kapoor & Solomon, 2011, p 315). The different characteristics of each generation make them have different perspective on work and this is a source of potential conflicts in the workplace, fact that must be effectively managed by the employers. The main areas where these differences might be observed in the work environment are identified by Haeberle, Herzberg, and Hobs: “communication, commitment and compensation” (as cited by Kapoor & Solomon, 2011, p. 314). Spiro believes that managing these generational differences implies to create “an environment that meets the needs and expectations of all employees, regardless of the generation to which they belong” (as cited by Kapoor & Solomon, 2011, p. 315).
Putting together the findings of more academic researchers, Kapoor & Solomon (2011) identify in the above mentioned article the main common personality features of each generation, their most evident motivators and the work approach of each of them.
The main challenge of the employers is to design and promote a new work culture that includes valid values for every generation. The proposed solution is to find out what influence the productivity of each generation, to communicate these differences in order to “create understanding among employees” (Kapoor & Solomon, 2011, p 308), adapt the work environment and ensure continuity through specific tools as mentor programs, training and new communications instruments easily accessible by the employees. In order to understand what influence the productivity, the employers have to understand the work motivators behind each generations and the complementarity of their skills. “Understanding and respecting each generation’s different work style and challenges are critical in retaining an engaged, successful workforce” (Kapoor & Solomon, 2011, p. 315).
Still, the authors highlight that “individuals are diverse and unique” and they can adopt characteristics from two generations, depending on the period that they were born (Kooper and Solomon, 2011).

Value and Purpose of the Paper
The article is meant to bring extra values for companies which want to understand how to increase productivity in the modern workplace, when, for the first time in history, four different generations meet and work together (Kapoor & Somon, 2011, p 308). The main purpose of the paper is to address the issue of how the managers should adjust the workplace in order to reduce the conflicts between generations and increase the productivity. The article is doing that by presenting the source of the problem (the different characteristics and work approaches between generations), the problem itself (conflicts in the workplace) and the possible solutions (managing generational differences).
The value of the article is to summarize a large amount of academic literature on the analyzed subject and name in a clear manner the issues and the solutions regarding the generational differences in the workplace. It brings even more value for someone who wants to understand at a quick view what the main differences in characteristics and work approache are between the four generations. Kapoor and Solomon (2011) made a concise resume of these aspects, but limit the article to their presentation, not going deeper in personal interpretations or analysis. It is more a literature review, rather than a research paper, with its own analysis and findings. Such a research paper is “Generational Differences in Personality and Motivation” (Wong, Gardiner, Lang, and Coulon, 2008), which analyzes the main characteristics and motivators of each generation from six different motivational drivers: power (exercising authority), immersion (extended commitment), ease and security (pleasant working conditions and job security), progression (good promotion prospects), personal growth (development and acquisition of new skills), affiliation (opportunities for interaction with other people). According to their findings, “employees from different generations were found to be motivated to a different degree by the following factors: affiliation, power and progression” (Wong et al., 2008) It seems that the rest of the drivers and approached is a similar manner by all the four generations.
Thus, in order to follow the advice given by Kapoor and Solomon (2011) and switch the potential conflicts into mutual support and understanding, a manager should go deeper and understand what specific motivators must be approached and in what extend do they affect the work environment.
Nevertheless, the article written by Kapoor and Solomon (2011) clearly articulates some generic solutions that should be considered and analyzed by the employers in managing generational conflicts in the workplace: 1. Mentorship programs – where each generation might understand and learn from the complementary skills of other generations; 2. Change their recruitment and retention strategies – by adapting their rewards, benefits and promotion policies to the specific mix of generations in the office; 3. Address “generational competence” – effective communication tools, progressive HR, work-life strategies and practices to increase productivity and personal/professional development; 4. Transform the workplace in a fun environment for employees; 5. Focus on commonalities – common company policies, common expectations, feed-back policy to everyone, employee manuals, etc 6. Communication – “the better each generation understands the other, the better they’ll all work together” (Jimenez, as cited by Kapoor & Solomon, 2011, p. 315)
Such solutions contribute to practice and help managers to identify the general strategies that should be applied, looking for personalized ways to implement them, depending on their specific issues encountered in their organizations.
Why the Article May be Considered Scholarly?
In order to analyze the scholarly style of the article, I came back to the media sources provided by the Glion e-learning platform: “Introduction to Scholarly Writing: Creating a Scholarly Style” video. It emphasizes that there are three major components of scholarly writing: audience, evidence and style.
Also, in order to highlight the differences between an article written in a scholarly style and a magazine article I have compared the analyzed paper written by Kapoor and Solomon (2011) with an article treating the same subject published by Time magazine in May, 2013: “The New Greatest Generation – Why Millennials Will Save us all” by Joel Stein.
Kapoor ans Solomon (2011) start from the idea that their audience has a higher amount of knowledge and experience in the managerial issues and they will read the article in purpose to find specific solutions to their specific problems. Their audience will look for the article in specific academic / professional environments and will compare it with other specialized literature in the domain in order to complete a full image of the possible solutions.
On the other hand, Stein (2013) has to adapt his article style in order to please a much wider audience, which includes people with a sufficient education level in order to read Time magazine, but who are not necessary specialists in management or human resources issues. The article should be appealing even for reader who just encountered the article by chance and they have no knowledge about the article subject.
The scholarly writing should include compelling and accurate evidence that support the author viewpoint. The article written by Kapoor and Solomon (2011) brings 35 different references and recommends 20 other further readings. Each idea is sustained by a direct quote or specific considerations from other authors who proved to study the issue in depth, sufficient enough to come with valuable opinions on the subject. In his article, Stein (2013) also mentions certain sources when it comes to specific figures or statistics regarding the Generation Y and also quotes certain authors of valuable materials on the same subject. Still, the number of references is much lower (around 10) and includes non-academic sources as YouTube, for example.
In order to analyze the style of the two articles I looked to their structure and to their writing manner. “Understanding and Managing Generational Differences in the Workplace” article has a classic structure of an academic work, respecting all the requirements made by the American Psychological Association (APA), the most commonly used academic writing style. On the first page it provides the title, the name of the authors, the institution they represent and a short abstract of the work paper, including purpose, methodology approach, findings, originality and type of article. Also, the first page includes data regarding the journal which published the article, the number of volume, number of journal in the volume, pages, publishing house, year, code, etc. The writing manner is impartial, but still confident, precise and clear: “This article highlights the characteristics of each of the four generations currently in the workforce, their perspective on work, potential areas of conflict between the generations and ways to effectively manage these differences” (Kapoor & Solomon, 2011, p. 315).
It respects the academic conventions as layout (fonts, space between lines, paragraphs, tables style, etc) and referencing style (specific quotations, order of elements into reference, identifications of the source of judgments, etc). The authors make their points, but keep a high level of impartiality, never including personal judgments and avoiding expressions including words as “We” or “I”. It never repeat ideas without a certain, specific purpose.
The style of the Time magazine article is quite different. In order to be a friendly material it brings as support many pictures, colored tables and colored fonts. It includes several types of fonts and repeats phrases in large, colored letters in order to emphasize an idea. The author use strong words in order to make his points and makes very personal judgments about the subject of the article: “I am about to do what old people have done throughout history: call those younger than me lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow. But I have studies! I have statistics!” (Stein, 2013, p.30)
My conclusion is that the article written by Kapoor and Solomon (2011) respects all the main requirements of an academic paper and scholarly style and it is obviously different from the journalist style.
Contrast with a Report in a Business Context The presentation of the findings of an academic article has its own particularities in comparison with a business report. Even if the audience could be similar, the writing style and evidence support are quite different. In order to prove the differences between the two types of writing, I have examined a Colliers International report completed by the Romanian office, which was the first to implement the Generation Y office style in Colliers network and also the first to do this on the Romanian business market. After a detailed research and analysis over Generation Y features and work motivations, Colliers issued a complete report on its findings: “Vision or Reality – Impact of Technology on Office Space Planning”. A wider White Paper was resumed in a power point format report in order to be presented to the employees ”(see Attachment 1 for the entire report).
Comparing the two materials I noticed significant differences in terms of style, evidence support and final purpose (value). Although the foundation of a business report might be represented by academic research, its findings are more oriented towards specific solutions within specific environments. Business reports usually translate the abstract notions of an academic material into practical aspects for a certain business niche. In case of the materials about Generation Y, the adaptation of the work environment mentioned by Kapoor and Solomon (2011) is translated by the real estate agency into a proposal for a new work place fit out, adapted to the specific requirements of Generation Y (but including also elements specific for other generations who are looking for new challenges and work motivators). Please, find bellow Table 1 including the main differences in writing manner between the academic article and the business report.

Table 1The Main Differences Between the Scholarly Style and a Report in the Business Context | | | Evidence | Style | Value | Academic writing | Business report | Academic writing | Business report | Academic writing | Business report | compelling and accurate evidence | strong evidence | articulate, precise manner | summary, bullet points style | authentic findings | factual findings, not necessary authentic | concrete and factual reference | reference to official, credible sources, if the case | meaningful and efficient | extreme efficiency | might requires further research for application in a specific domain | immediate applicable solutions | specifically reference, with specific reference rules | less reference required, not so drastic reference rules | academic / APA style | business conventions/ specific style of the company | more general applicability | specific to a certain business domain | academic reference appreciation | business real life reference appreciation | impartial | generally impartial, but individual judgment is allowed | originality/value in the research domain | cost/revenue oriented | | | clear | clear, but adapted to the business itself | | | | | limited visual support | substantial visual support | | | | | persuasive style | informative style, might be combined with humoristic or regulative language | | | Note. This table details the differences between the academic writing and the one specific for a report in the business context from the point of view of their proof evidence, writing style and final values, as interpreted by the author of paper by comparing the article written by Kapoor and Solomon (2011) with the Time article written by Stein (2013) |

The scholarly style could be perceived as inflexible, but is the style which allows the audience to recognize a high level academic work and permits the authors to issue new theories based on a detailed research, without being accused by plagiarism. The authors of an academic paper should first be aware of their audience in order to be able to adapt properly the technical level of their work. Secondly, they have to use the scholarly style in writing, remaining impartial, clear, persuasive and efficient. In the end, they must provide compelling and accurate evidence that support their view, citing in a precise manner their sources. The scholarly style is one of the most regulated writing styles, meant to help and protect the academic publishing and it should be respected by all the generations, being those Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X or Millennials.

Colliers Internaitonal. (2014). Vision or Reality – Impact of Technology on Office Space Planning, Bucharest: Daniela Penescu.
Introduction to Scholarly Writing: Creating a Scholarly Style, (n.d), [video file]. Available from Glion Institute of Higher Education online e-learning platform.
Kapoor, C. & Solomon, N. (2011). Understanding and managing generational differences in the workplace. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, 3(4), 308-318.
Stein, J., (2013, May 20), The New Greatest Generation, Time, 181 (19), p. 28-35.
Wong, M., Gardiner, E., Land, W., & Coulon L. (2008). Generationa. Differences in personality and motivation. Do they exist and what are the implications for the workplace? Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23(8), 878-890.

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