Date of Award

Winter 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Patrick T. Hester

Committee Member

Charles B. Keating

Committee Member

Edward Markowski

Committee Member

Pilar Pazos


With many individuals in the Baby Boomer generation eligible to retire, many open positions will need to be filled by other Baby Boomers, or those from Generation X or Generation Y. Private industry has taken note of this and has been exploring workplace differences between Generation Y, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. Unfortunately for the federal government, data shows Generation Y is also separating; specifically quitting for unknown reasons. Understanding this apparent dichotomy between Generation Y and Generation X and Baby Boomer federal government employees is a current knowledge gap within the federal government's strategic human capital management focus.

From 2002 – 2013, OPM surveyed the federal workforce eight times using the following six indices: Leadership and Knowledge Management, Results-Oriented Performance Culture, Talent Management, Job Satisfaction, Global Satisfaction, and Employee Engagement. These indices provide a single, consistent definition of human capital management for the federal government. Generational data from these studies exist but has yet to be stratified and reported. This dissertation quantitatively analyzed these workplace indices from 2006 through 2013 using OPM's studies and showed there are generational differences within the federal government domain in an effort to improve human capital management within the federal government.

The results show a continued decline in federal government employee attitudes. Generation Y's workplace attitudes for all indices (except for Job Satisfaction where the effect sizes were very small) were the highest among generations within the individual years and over time. Generation Y ranked Job Satisfaction consistently the lowest within each year and decreased over time. Generation Y's steep separation and the only positive quitting trend lines, coupled with this study's steep inter-organizational movement and the only positive quitting trend lines, affirms that Generation Y is separating from their organizations and quitting the federal government at a higher rate compared to Generation X and Baby Boomers. There is some empirical evidence that associates Generation Y's low Job Satisfaction scores to separating and quitting. If this downward trend continues, the effect sizes will inevitably increase and the link between the Job Satisfaction index and Generation Y leaving will become very apparent.