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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2015

Debora Jeske and Christian Stamov Roßnagel

The authors contribute to the literature by contrasting the cognitive with a contextual view on learning and development to address preconceptions about aging in order to…

Abstract

Purpose

The authors contribute to the literature by contrasting the cognitive with a contextual view on learning and development to address preconceptions about aging in order to broaden employers’ views on learning and performance across the working life and careers of their employees. The authors furthermore identify a number of opportunities that exist to support and sustain learning capability and performance in older workers. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a selective literature search to identify literature that best exemplifies both the cognitive and contextual view.

Findings

Age-related declines in performance are observed on very specific and limited tasks, unlikely to be encountered in the workplace. Due to its focus on assessing limits and age differences, such studies will not normally take experience, job and personal resources into account – these are more likely to be present in the workplace. The authors find that much of the more applied evidence suggests older workers can perform at a similar level to their younger colleagues – when the workplace or training context does not restrain them from using their own strategies and resources to complete tasks.

Research limitations/implications

The current overview of research that is more representative of the more cognitive view outlines a number of issues regarding the transferability as well as generalisability of these well publicised findings. Many of the laboratory-based cognitive ageing research focuses on “testing the limits” of cognitive processing and efficiency. This paradigm is not compatible with the specific tasks and learning that takes place in the workplace, which led us to a more contextual view.

Practical implications

The authors provide several starting points for broader and more inclusive training and development, particularly the role of supervisory practices, climate, self-efficacy and learning competency, resources and strategies.

Originality/value

Taking a more contextual view may foster a re-evaluation of how inclusive current managerial practice, policies and current development initiatives are. Distinguishing job and personal resources can help in identifying the aspects that can be influenced by workers themselves and those aspects that are the primary responsibility of organisations and their managers.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 57 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2012

Christian Stamov‐Roßnagel and Torsten Biemann

The paper aims to establish the position that discrete work tasks, rather than entire jobs, are the most useful level of analysis of age differences in work motivation.

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to establish the position that discrete work tasks, rather than entire jobs, are the most useful level of analysis of age differences in work motivation.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 189 workers (aged 18‐65 years) from production and office jobs in the building industry completed a survey on personal and job resources, overall and task‐specific motivation, and job satisfaction.

Findings

Age was positively associated with motivation for generativity‐related, but not growth‐related tasks. Personal and job resources were positively and differentially related to task‐specific motivation.

Research limitations/implications

Building on the notion of age‐specific constellations of high and low‐motivation tasks, the findings inspire research into age‐related changes in work motivation. The authors studied only two task types; a more comprehensive task set will in future studies yield deeper insights into motivational regulation. Working with other industry sectors will enhance generalisability.

Practical implications

The results contribute to a theory‐based, empirically grounded platform to assess age‐related changes in work motivation, and to derive age‐differentiated motivational interventions.

Social implications

Supporting older workers' motivation in light of the demand for longer individual work lives is becoming an important agenda for employers and policy makers. This research contributes to developing tools for such motivation support.

Originality/value

The paper enhances the conceptual clarity of work motivation research by distinguishing global and task‐specific levels of motivation. The conceptualisation differentiates job design approaches by considering age‐related changes at multiple levels instead of focusing on major age effects only.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2010

Christian Stamov‐Roßnagel and Guido Hertel

The purpose of this paper is to establish a theory‐based and empirically grounded platform to assess age‐related changes in work motivation, and to derive motivational…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to establish a theory‐based and empirically grounded platform to assess age‐related changes in work motivation, and to derive motivational interventions in personnel management.

Design/methodology/approach

The general approach is one of conceptual transfer: to cast work psychological phenomena in lifespan psychological terms to generate the tenets.

Findings

Rather than declining uniformly, older workers' motivation develops in a multidirectional, multilevel way. Motivation decline in certain types of work tasks goes with stable motivation and even motivation gains in other tasks as a function of a variety of task characteristics. These age‐related changes may be captured in a worker's motivation profile, which is functional for positive affect regulation.

Practical implications

The conceptualisation suggests a more differentiated approach to job design and human resource management, considering age‐related changes at multiple levels simultaneously instead of focusing on major age effects only.

Originality/value

The conceptual clarity of work motivation research is enhanced by distinguishing global and task‐specific levels of motivation that may dissociate in older workers. By transferring up‐to‐date findings and concepts from Lifespan Psychology to Organisational Psychology, further research is stipulated in both fields.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 48 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2015

Thomas Zwick

Employees older than 55 years of age have a much lower share in training than other employees. The purpose of this paper is to propose that one of the reasons for this…

Abstract

Purpose

Employees older than 55 years of age have a much lower share in training than other employees. The purpose of this paper is to propose that one of the reasons for this phenomenon that has not been taken into account so far is that their training is less effective.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper shows that training of older employees indeed is less effective in the self-assessment of training participants. Training effectiveness is measured with respect to key dimensions such as career development, earnings, adoption of new skills, flexibility or job security. Besides age a broad range of explanatory variables is included as covariates in a large linked employer-employee data set.

Findings

The paper finds that main reason for the differences in training effectiveness during the life cycle is that firms do not take into account differences in training motivation. Older employees get higher returns from informal and directly relevant training and from training contents that can be mainly tackled by crystallised abilities. Training incidence in the more effective training forms is, however, not higher for older employees. Given that other decisive variables on self-assessed effectiveness such as training duration, financing and initiative are not sensitive to age, the wrong allocation of training contents and training forms therefore is the critical explanation for the lower effectiveness of training.

Originality/value

This paper therefore shows to human resource managers why old employees rate training effectiveness lower and indicates what can be done in order to improve training effectiveness of old employees. It uses a large and detailed data set entailing more than 6,000 employees from about 150 establishments.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 36 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 4 November 2013

Eva Maria Schulte, Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock and Simone Kauffeld

This paper aims to examine the effects of age on counteractive team meeting behaviors (e.g. complaining). Forgiveness is included as a potential buffer against these…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the effects of age on counteractive team meeting behaviors (e.g. complaining). Forgiveness is included as a potential buffer against these behaviors. A multilevel model is developed to test individual and team level age effects.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 313 employees nested in 54 teams completed a forgiveness questionnaire and were videotaped during regular team meetings.

Findings

Multilevel modeling revealed that both individual age and average team age predicted counteractive team meeting behavior. Team level age diversity was linked to decreased counteractive behavior. Forgiveness moderated the negative link between individual age (but not team average age) and counteractive behavior.

Research limitations/implications

This is the first study examining age effects in the context of counteractive meeting behavior. Although the authors' findings need to be substantiated in further research, they show that older team members engage in significantly more counteractive communication – forgiveness can help alleviate this effect.

Practical implications

Teams with older team members should be sensitized to avoid counteractive behavior. Moreover, team composition should target high age diversity. Managerial interventions should also aim to facilitate forgiveness in the work environment, especially among older team members.

Originality/value

Research on dysfunctional team meeting behavior is sparse, and the role of age effects has not been examined in this context. The authors identify a significant link between age and counteractive meeting behavior. This multilevel model shows differential effects of individual age, team average age, and age diversity on counteractive communication. Furthermore, a buffer against these dysfunctional behaviors is identified: forgiveness.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 28 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

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