Age of entitlement: Why is it so difficult to manage Millennials?

Office of Alumni and External Relations    2021-09-26

Subject: Age of entitlement: Why is it so difficult to manage Millennials?

Guest: Xu Huang, Chair Professor, Hong Kong Baptist University

Host: Prof. Jing Runtian, Antai

Time: Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021,  9:30-11:00

Speech place: A409, Antai


Millennials are often seen by managers as having a higher level of psychological entitlement than employees of older generations. In China, a buzzword for the younger cohort of Millennials is “post-90s,” which refers to people born between 1990 and 1999. Like their Millennial counterparts in the West, Chinese post-90s Millennials are labelled as an entitled generation by popular and business sources. In both the Western and Chinese popular press, Millennials are portrayed as having the attitudes of “want it all, and want it now” and being “disconnected between reward and performance. Managers find it hard to offer what Millennial employees expect, let alone to motivate them to contribute to the organization (e.g., Becton, Walker, & Jones-Farmer, 2014; Rosa & Hastings, 2018). Several large-scale survey studies in the West and China, however, have generated mixed findings and have thus failed to produce convincing evidence that Millennials (or post-90s Millennials in China) are more entitled than people of older generations. In this presentation, I will present two on-going research projects, which are aimed to address why it is so difficult to manage millennials in China and other nations. In the first project, we demonstrated that (1) younger employees in China are not necessarily more entitled than older employees; it depends how they were raised by their parents; and (2) directive-achieving style of leadership is effective in managing entitled employees. In the second project, we challenged the conventional view by showing that managers, who tend to be more entitled than employees, are likely to label millennials as more entitled. It’s the managers’ entitlement that breads the illusion of entitlement.


Professor Huang received his PhD from the University of Groningen (the Netherlands), MA from Lancaster University (UK), and Honors Diploma from Lingnan University (Hong Kong). Currently, he is the Associate Dean of the School of Business, Hong Kong Baptist University. He is also the Director of the MBA program and MSc Business Management Program of the School of Business. Since 2010, he has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Work, Organization and Wellbeing, Griffith University. He has also been appointed as a Visiting Professor in Shanghai University of Finance and Economics since 2012, and Visiting Professor in Xian Jiaotong University since 2019. He is the Consultant Editor of the Management and Organization Review, and a member of editorial board for Academy of Management Journal and Human Relations. Professor Huang is now serving as an Independent Director of the board of Giodano International Limited. 

Professor Huang's research interests include leadership, power, proactive and abnormal work behaviors, employee well-being, cross-cultural psychology, and management issues in China. He has published more than 70 papers in international journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of International Business Studies, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Management, Management and Organization Review, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Organizational and Occupational Psychology, Human Relations, Leadership Quarterly, and so forth.

Tags:business school Shanghai,mba programs in China