Misconceptions and realities: The working relationships of older workers and younger managers
Tonks, GR and Dickenson, K and Nelson, LG, Misconceptions and realities: The working relationships of older workers and younger managers, Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 17, (2) pp. 36-54. ISSN 0218-5180 (2009) [Refereed Article]
As Australia’s workforce ages, the incidence of younger managers supervising the work of older employees is increasing. However, research into issues arising from this phenomenon is in its infancy. This study investigates the perceptions of younger managers and older workers regarding their interactions. Results suggest that certain factors, including aspects of stereotyping and attitudes are salient to these relationships. By revealing such perceptions and differences between the cohorts, a better understanding of intergenerational differences and their effects on working relationships can be achieved. This, in turn, provides a framework upon which human resource management (HRM) might develop policies and procedures to manage emergent issues. Using data from 36 informants, this inquiry discovered that younger managers and older workers hold widely divergent perceptions of their interactions in the workplace, and many elements of these interactions affect working relationships in both a negative and positive manner. The implications of these findings are considered, and avenues by which intergenerational issues might be addressed by HRM are explored.
Ageing workforce, intergenerational workforce, leader-member exchange, older workers, social identity theory, young managers, workplacediversity