The purpose of this paper is to examine common stereotypes regarding old-age workers and the effect of these stereotypes on organizational productivity, as well as to suggest practical solutions for accommodating old-age workers and increasing productivity in all employees.
This three part paper will present a thorough review of relevant literature (1991-2014, with the exception of two studies from 1976) that were conducted on the topics of old-age stereotyping, the effect of old-age stereotyping on organizational productivity, and methods for adequately motivating and managing old-age workers. Studies concerning psychology theories are also examined in order to provide a framework for practical solutions, as well as demographic statistics on population age and employment trends.
This paper identifies a number of old-age stereotypes that have decreased organizational productivity in empirical studies, including reluctance to change, decreased learning ability, intelligence and memory, poor health and accidents, higher organizational costs, decreased motivation, and low innovation and productivity. Findings also suggest that old-age workers can positively affect productivity, and that low productivity is often a result of stereotyping.
The prevalence of old-age stereotyping and its impact on organizational productivity may differ by culture, industry, type of employment, education level, and other factors, and thus further research may be necessary. The literature reviewed may not adequately represent worldwide organizational trends, as the literature is largely comprised of studies performed in North America and Europe.
Solutions based on these findings are taken directly from the literature or derived from literature on psychology theories, which include self-determination theory, socio-emotional selectivity theory, and selective optimization and compensation theory. The practical solutions proposed address work environment, motivation, rewards, flexibility, and the loss and gain of resources in old-age workers.
The proportion of old-age workers is increasing and it is therefore necessary to determine ways to adequately integrate old-age workers in the workforce. Furthermore, this can raise productivity in all employees.
This paper demonstrates that old-age stereotyping is both prevalent and detrimental within an organizational context. These findings and solutions can potentially be used by organizations in order to increase individual and overall productivity.
Appelbaum, S., Wenger, R., Pachon Buitrago, C. and Kaur, R. (2016), "The effects of old-age stereotypes on organizational productivity (part one)", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 48 No. 4, pp. 181-188. https://doi.org/10.1108/ICT-02-2015-0015Download as .RIS
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