These research papers present interesting findings about how people feel about their ages and their effectiveness at work.
- Feeling out of place: Internalized age stereotypes are associated with older employees’ sense of belonging and social motivation
- The effect of age on daily positive emotions and work behaviors
- Age and context effects in daily emotion regulation and well-being at work
- It matters how old we feel in organizations: Testing a multilevel model of organizational subjective‐age diversity on employee
Feeling out of place: Internalized age stereotypes are associated with older employees’ sense of belonging and social motivation
Georg Rahn, Sarah E Martiny, Jana Nikitin. Feeling Out of Place: Internalized Age Stereotypes Are Associated With Older Employees’ Sense of Belonging and Social Motivation. Work, Aging and Retirement, Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 61–77.
Older employees are not only confronted with subtle negative stereotypes about cognitive decline, but they also tend to internalize these negative stereotypes (i.e., they agree with the idea that intellectual performance declines in old age and they feel affected by this decline). Previous research has shown that internalizing negative age stereotypes has detrimental effects on work-related outcomes. Little is known about how internalized negative stereotypes shape older employees’ social emotions and social motivation. In the present research, we argue that older adults who internalize negative age stereotypes feel insecure about their belongingness in the workplace and this has negative motivational consequences. Four out of five studies and an aggregate analysis with a total of N = 1,306 older employees (age 50–76 years) supported this hypothesis. Internalized age stereotypes were negatively related to social approach motivation toward coworkers through reduced sense of belonging in the workplace and low positive affect. In addition, internalized age stereotypes were positively related to social avoidance motivation. Investigations of the causality of these relationships revealed mixed results. We discuss these findings from the perspective of socioemotional aging and the need to belong. In sum, the present research adds to knowledge on the role of internalized negative stereotypes for older employees’ social lives and, potentially, their success in the work domain.
The effect of age on daily positive emotions and work behaviors
Silvia Dello Russo, Mirko Antino, Sara Zaniboni, Antonio Caetano, Donald Truxillo. The Effect of Age on Daily Positive Emotions and Work Behaviors. Work, Aging and Retirement. Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 9–19,
This study draws on socioemotional selectivity and person–job fit theories to investigate the emotional bases for age-related differences in daily task crafting and in-role performance. We tested a mediation model in which age is related to positive emotions that in turn predict task crafting and in-role performance. A total of 256 people working in multiple organizations participated in a 5-day diary study. Multilevel modelling showed that, at the person level of analysis, age is significantly and positively related to positive emotions and task crafting and, via crafting, to in-role performance. No significant mediation of high- and low-arousal positive emotions was found between age and task crafting. However, at the day level of analysis, high-arousal positive emotions are positively related to task crafting, and this in turn is positively related to in-role performance. These findings make important theoretical contributions to understanding within-person processes associated with employee age in addition to more traditional between-person factors. They also have implications for managing an age-diverse workforce by means of job crafting.
Age and context effects in daily emotion regulation and well-being at work
Susanne Scheibe, Darya Moghimi. Age and Context Effects in Daily Emotion Regulation and Well-Being at Work. Work, Aging and Retirement. Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 31–45.
With aging, emotion regulation competence is thought to improve, which benefits occupational well-being. Past research on aging and emotion regulation at work has mainly focused on one-time measurements of habitual strategy use. Yet, emotion regulation is a response to changing situational requirements. Using an event-based daily diary approach, we examined whether age moderates the extent to which three characteristics of negative work events (intensity, controllability, and interpersonal nature) predict the adoption of four emotion-regulation strategies (positive reappraisal, distraction, emotion acceptance, and expressive suppression) and subsequent well-being outcomes (job satisfaction and fatigue). Employees (N = 199) aged between 18 and 62 years and of diverse occupational backgrounds reported 1,321 daily negative work events and their emotion-regulatory responses. Results suggest that the emotion-regulation strategies that employees spontaneously use are a function of the intensity and interpersonal nature of events (less so of controllability) and that event characteristics have indirect effects on daily well-being through acceptance and suppression. Younger and older workers responded overall similarly to variations in event characteristics. However, we found age differences in the relationship between event intensity and strategy use. Contrary to predictions of stronger tailoring of strategies to context with age, older workers were more stable in strategy use at higher levels of event intensity, increasing less in suppression and decreasing less in acceptance. Indirect effects of event intensity on well-being point at the adaptive nature of these age-related shifts in strategy use. Findings shed light on adaptive emotion-regulation in daily work life and the role of employee age.
It matters how old we feel in organizations: Testing a multilevel model of organizational subjective‐age diversity on employee
Florian Kunze Stephan A. Boehm Heike Bruch. It matters how old we feel in organizations: Testing a multilevel model of organizational subjective‐age diversity on employee outcomes. J Organ Behav. 2021;1–16.
This study contributes to the emerging literature on age diversity effects at the organizational level of analysis by comparing the role of chronological‐age diversity versus subjective‐age diversity. We hypothesize a multilevel model in which organizational‐level subjective‐age diversity is negatively related to bonding social capital within organizations, which, in turn, contributes to heightened employee engagement and lowered turnover intentions. The assumed relationships are tested in a multilevel sample of 96 German small‐ and medium‐sized companies with 16,274 employees participating. We gathered data from four different sources to circumvent common source problems and received support for most of the proposed relationships. Given the potentially detrimental effects of high subjective‐age diversity in the workplace, the paper concludes with practical recommendations on how to manage subjective‐age diversity in companies proactively.