New measures of stereotypical beliefs about older workers' ability and desire for development

Todd J. Maurer (Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Frank G. Barbeite (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Elizabeth M. Weiss (Ohio State University, Newark, Ohio, USA)
Michael Lippstreu (APT, Inc. and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Publication date: 2 May 2008


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to introduce new measures of stereotypical beliefs about older workers' ability and desire for learning and development and test relationships with key antecedents and outcomes. Design/methodology/approach – In a sample of workers over 40 years of age from across the US workforce, a two‐wave survey study was unique in that it examined stereotypes held by aging workers themselves in relation to their own behavior. Findings – The psychometric qualities of the scales were positive and findings tied the stereotype measures to important outcome constructs involving retirement, interest in development, and self‐efficacy/concept for development. Relationships of the stereotype measures also existed with antecedent variables, including experience with the stereotyped behavior and general beliefs about changes with aging. Research limitations/implications – These are critical constructs for managerial psychology in the coming decades, and the findings and measures presented here can contribute to future research, not only on older workers themselves but also on younger workers' stereotypes and behavior toward older workers, which were not addressed here. Practical implications – The measures can be used as diagnostic tools and the findings offer potential ideas for organizational policy or interventions to target stereotypes. Originality/value – Because employee development is increasingly important and the workforce is rapidly aging, there is a need to understand development behavior by aging workers. While stereotypes can be a problem in this area, there is a lack of measures of these stereotypes and there is no research on the stereotypes by aging workers themselves.



Maurer, T., Barbeite, F., Weiss, E. and Lippstreu, M. (2008), "New measures of stereotypical beliefs about older workers' ability and desire for development", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 395-418.

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