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Knowledge management among the older workforce

Floor Slagter (Free University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 24 July 2007




The purpose of this paper is to draw the attention to the necessity of knowledge management (KM) among the older workforce and to provide guidelines for human resource (HR) managers on how to engage in this process.


First, characteristics of older employees, viewpoints of HR managers on the older workforce and critical success factors of KM are explored through a literature review and conversations in the field. Thereafter these findings are combined in order to arrive at those aspects that an ideal organizational culture for KM must entail among the older workforce. When a more proactive management style is incorporated in this culture, KM among older employees will be significantly facilitated.


The paper finds that there exist opportunities for synergy between a proactive management style towards older employees and effective KM among this group. HR managers need to review their point of view towards the older worker in order to facilitate knowledge sharing.

Research limitations/implications

This article's intention is to give general guidelines to HR managers on how they can facilitate KM among older workers. It is not extensively based on direct empirical findings; therefore further research is needed to verify, falsify, specify and complete the conclusions and recommendations made in this article.

Practical implications

This paper constitutes a real potential to develop a variety of new approaches in knowledge management, in particular towards older employees.


The paper brings together two topics, which have explicitly combined but received little attention from researchers. It provides HR management with practical suggestions on how to empower their older workforce and ensure knowledge sharing.



Slagter, F. (2007), "Knowledge management among the older workforce", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 82-96.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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