Ageism in the workplace: Examining the influence of age conceptualization on the advancement opportunities of older workers

Veronica Wenette Averhart, Florida International University

Abstract

This study examined variables that may influence managers' perceptions of the need for and benefits of training and promoting older workers. Age conceptualization, worker gender, tender-mindedness, openness to values, and emotional intelligence were predicted to affect the relationship between worker age and the probability and perceived benefits of training and promoting older workers. Approximately 500 working professionals read one of four training and promotion vignettes and provided training probability ratings, training benefits ratings, promotion probability ratings, and promotion benefits ratings in order to test twenty-four hypotheses. Results provided evidence that both worker age and the way in which age was conceptualized affected the extent to which workers were recommended for training as well as the perceived benefits of training workers. It was also found that worker age and the way in which age was conceptualized affected the extent to which workers were recommended for promotions and the perceived benefits of doing so. Of the individual characteristics studied, openness to values was found to act as a moderator of the relationship between age conceptualization and the extent to which older workers were recommended for a promotion and the relationship between age conceptualization and the perceived benefits of promoting older workers. Findings from this study suggest that organizations that wish to protect older workers from discrimination should make decision-makers aware of the influence of age conceptualizations on the salience of older worker stereotypes. By being cognizant of individual raters' levels of the personality characteristics examined in this study, organizations can create decision-making teams that are not only representative in terms of demographic characteristics (i.e. race, gender, age, etc.) but also diverse in terms of personality composition. Additionally, organizations that wish to decrease discrimination against older workers should take care to create guidelines and procedures for training and promotion decisions that systematically reduce the opportunities for older worker stereotypes to influence outcomes. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, General|Psychology, Industrial

Recommended Citation

Veronica Wenette Averhart, "Ageism in the workplace: Examining the influence of age conceptualization on the advancement opportunities of older workers" (January 1, 2012). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI3516998.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3516998

Share

COinS