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Short‐ and long‐term consequences of age in work teams: An empirical exploration of ageing teams

Franz J. Gellert (Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Ben S. Kuipers (Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 28 March 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of age in work teams on short‐term team consequences, such as satisfaction, involvement, mutual learning, decision making and feedback, and long‐term team consequences, such as quality, sick leave and burnout, and to consider their implications for team management and human resource management (HRM) policies in team‐based organizations facing an ageing work force.

Design/methodology/approach

The study elaborates on the framework of Milliken and Martins, further examining the effects of both average age and age differences. The authors collected objective data as well as data through questionnaires among 150 work teams with more than 1,500 white‐collar and blue‐collar workers from an automotive company in Sweden. With these data the authors conducted correlation and step‐by‐step hierarchical regression analyses.

Findings

The analyses showed significant positive effects of average age on both short‐term and long‐term consequences. No significant effects of age differences were found.

Research limitations/implications

Conducting a longitudinal study in an automotive company in Sweden resulted in monocultural findings. The use of a sample from one organization may limit the generalization of our findings. Future research should pay more attention to effects of age in teams, compared to individual age effects in organizations and to explore more advanced models that help to understand the dynamic processes of age in teams.

Practical implications

The results have implications for management of teams and HRM policy in organizations relating to recruitment, early retirement, training developments and team composition in general.

Originality/value

The paper suggests positive effects of age in work teams and contributes to the literature about the ageing workforce working in teams.

Keywords

Citation

Gellert, F.J. and Kuipers, B.S. (2008), "Short‐ and long‐term consequences of age in work teams: An empirical exploration of ageing teams", Career Development International, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 132-149. https://doi.org/10.1108/13620430810860549

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited