Administrative Theory & Praxis
This paper build on previous research into the "X Generation, " in particular their apparent cynicism about all theories of organization as being mere strategies of manipulation. Their voices were described in that study as "the voice of a new cohort of students that we will increasingly find in our classrooms" (Marshall, 1997). Current MPA students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha participated in focus group discussions designed to elicit information about their motivations for enrolling in our graduate program. Initial findings confirmed the organizational commitment of older age cohorts, as well as their identification with large governmental institutions. The younger cohort expressed significant public service idealism despite cynicism about large public bureaucracies. Neither the organizational commitment of the older students nor the idealism of the younger cohort were apparently related to whether they were currently working in the public service. Instead the differences seemed to be related to age and to their various formative social experiences. The "X'ers" had a coherent view of public service, although not the traditional one we know. Their skepticism about large-scale organizations was balanced by a commitment to participatory governance and to the idea of community.
Marshall, Gary S. and Reed, Christine M., "Echoes of the “Misfounding” of Public Administration: The Voices of Generation X" (1999). Public Administration Faculty Publications. 66.