Generations & evolution of behavior

Dr. Aart Bontekoning is a Dutch social psychologist and generation expert. In 2007 he completed his Ph.D. thesis on successive generations and social evolution in organizations. In his groundbreaking approach of generation-diversity in organizations Aart builds forward on works of important historians and social scientists such as Karl Mannheim, Julián Marías,José Ortega Y Gasset, Strauss & Howe, Henk Becker and others, who had deep thoughts about the natural function of generations. Aart is studying the impact of generation-diversity in many different organizations for more than twenty years. His recent field studies focus on the younger generations, namely Millenials (1985 – 2000) and Generation Z (2000 – 2015), and their interaction with the older generations. According to Aart, the future of aging organizations depends on the youthfulness of all working generations, from the youngest to the oldest.

Aart: “Social processes, such as cooperation, leadership, change management, and communication, have an expiry date, just like food has. In many companies outdated routines are repeated by older generations, not because they want to, but on autopilot. This repetition is destructive for a company and a waste of energy for their employees. Such behavior often causes system crises. To keep an organization not only social, but also economical and ecologically healthy, obsolete routines need to be updated. New generations play a crucial role in these updating processes, however in many (aging) organizations the youngest generation adapts to the older generations’ obsolete routines, which leads literally into a dead-end street”.

As a process consultant in change management, Aart supports organizations to find their way in leaving behind energy-wasting obsolete social processes and moving towards an energizing contemporary workforce. One salient factor in the process is organizations’ willingness to look for solutions across their cultural boundaries.

As a keynote speaker Aart shares his knowledge and experience in interactive and lively masterclasses – online and offline –, books, articles, and performances with the generation theatre.