The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which negative age-based metastereotypes mediate the relationship between the representation of older workers and two forms of stereotype threat in the workplace: own-reputation and group-reputation. Adopting a social identity perspective, this paper also explores whether age diversity beliefs moderate the relationship between negative age-based metastereotypes and stereotype threats.
A cross-sectional design was adopted with bootstrapped mediation and moderation analyses. The data were collected from 567 older workers working in 15 manufacturing companies.
The analyses provide support for partial mediation and for a moderation effect of age diversity beliefs in the relationship between negative age-based metastereotypes and own-reputation threat. The results hold while controlling for age, objective organizational age diversity, and organizational tenure.
The limitations of this study include its cross-sectional nature and the need for further work regarding older workers’ metastereotypes about middle-aged workers.
For stereotype threat interventions to be effective they must identify beforehand the target and the source of the threat. Moreover, interventions should aim for the development of a sense of identity on the organization as it may pave the way for members of different age groups to build bonds and for intergenerational boundaries to be blurred.
This paper contributes to the literature by showing the importance of negative age-based metastereotypes in workplace age dynamics. It also provides further support for a multi-threat approach to the experience of age-based stereotype threats in the workplace.
Oliveira, E. and Cabral-Cardoso, C. (2017), "Older workers’ representation and age-based stereotype threats in the workplace", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 254-268. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-03-2016-0085Download as .RIS
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