Monday, June 04, 2018

Rhodes (1983) concluded
that there was no consistent relationship between age and work performance.
She found that equal numbers of studies documented declines in
performance, stability in performance, and increase in performance. Her study
relied on a qualitative review. Since her review, however, a number of metaanalyses
have been conducted to more definitively address the issue.

Rhodes, S. R. (1983). Age-related differences in work attitudes and behavior: A review and
conceptual analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 93, 328–367.

and Avolio (1986) examined 40 studies on the age and performance relationship.
They found that the literature does not support a decline in performance
with age, but that the age–performance relationship varied with the type of
performance measure.

Waldman, D. A., & Avolio, B. J. (1986). A meta-analysis of age differences in job performance.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 71(1), 33–38

McEvoy and Cascio (1989), in a meta-analysis including over 30,000 people, reached the conclusion that the type of performance measure did not affect the conclusion that there is
a weak positive correlation with age.

effects of aging on managerial functioning has produced mixed results (Stagner,

Stagner, R. (1985). Aging in industry. In J. E. Birren & K. W. Schaie (Eds.), Handbook of the
psychology of aging (pp. 789–817). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Meyer (1970) reported performance decrements with age on an
in-basket task.

Meyer, H. H. (1970). The validity of the in-basket test as a measure of managerial performance.
Personnel Psychology, 23, 297–307.

Taylor (1975) found that older managers made slower decisions
but took greater advantage of available information by considering more
problem facts.

Taylor, R. N. (1975). Perception of problem constraints. Management Science, 22–29

In a study of age and management team performance by
Streufert, Pogash, Piasecki, and Post (1991), four-person, age-homogenous
groups were assessed by using a day-long, decision-making simulation. Older
subject groups (75 and older) demonstrated significantly different performances
and strategies from middle age (45–55) and young (28–35) subject
groups. Strategy differences included asking for less additional information,
having less breadth to their overview of the simulation, using fewer avenues
to effect changes, and planning which was less effective and less optimal.
Older subject groups performed more poorly in the simulation and their
planning was less complex than other groups. Motivational differences were
not found, leading to the conclusion that cognitive processes played a role
in the differences between the older and younger managers. It cannot be
determined if these differences are related to cohort differences such as education
or age. This is an area that requires further study

Streufert, S., Pogash, R., Piasecki, M., & Post, G. M. (1991). Age and management team
performance. Psychology and Aging, 5, 551–559

A recent review by Sterns and McDaniel (1994) reviewed several large
meta-analyses including McEvoy and Cascio (1989). The relationship between
age and job performance is weak (.06). The relationship remains weak
regardless of whether performance is measured by supervisory ratings or by
more objective measures. The relationship is more positive, but still weak for
nonprofessional occupations (r  .06), while age showed a slight negative
relationship with performance for professional occupations (r  0.08). The
largest moderator of the relationship between age and job performance appears
to be the age range of the sample. With younger samples in the mid-twenties,
there was a modest relationship (r  .16). Studies using higher mean ages
found a relationship closer to 0 (r  .04). Age may be more predictive of
performance for younger workers than for older workers. It could be that for
younger workers the association between age and job tenure is greater because
of the amount of job knowledge that must be accrued to achieve satisfactory
job performance.

Sterns, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (1994). Job performance and the older worker. In S. Rix
(Ed.), Older worker: How do they measure up? An overview of age differences in costs and
performances (pp. 27–51). Washington, DC: Public Policy Institute. American Association
of Retired Persons

Older workers may be perceived as harder to train, less
able to keep up with technological change, more accident prone, and less
motivated (Rosen & Jerdee, 1976; Stagner, 1985).

Rosen, B. L., & Jerdee, T. H. (1976). The nature of job-related stereotypes. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 61, 180–183

Stagner, R. (1985). Aging in industry. In J. E. Birren & K. W. Schaie (Eds.), Handbook of the
psychology of aging (pp. 789–817). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold

Job satisfaction shows consistently that work-related attitudes are more
positive with increasing age in surveys of employed adults (Rhodes, 1983).

Phillips, Barrett, and Rush (1978) found that older groups preferred more
responsibility, interesting work, and attention demands, whereas younger
workers preferred autonomy and social opportunities. Some studies have
shown that motivation measures predict performance more for older adults
than for younger adults. Younger workers may lack the knowledge to make
accurate judgments about likelihoods of efforts paying off. Older workers
report that job satisfaction is more closely related to intrinsic factors or internal
rewards of work.

Phillips, J. S., Barrett, G. V., & Rush, M. C. (1978). Job structure and age satisfaction. Aging
and Work, 1, 109–119

Gordon, R. A., & Arvey, R. D. (1986). Perceived and actual ages of workers. Journal of
Vocational Behavior, 28, 21–28.

Cleveland, J. N., & Hollmann, G. (1990). The effects of the age-type of tasks and incumbent
age composition on job perceptions. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 36, 181–194.

Sterns, H. L., & Patchett, M. (1984). Technology and the aging adult: Career development and
training. In P. R. Robinson & J. E. Birren (Eds.), Aging and technology (pp. 261–277).
New York: Plenum Press

Shearer, R., & Steger, J. (1975). Manpower obsolescence: A new definition and empirical investigation
of personal variables. Academy of Management Journal, 18(2), 263–275.

McEnrue, M. P. (1989). Self-development as a career management strategy. Journal of Vocational
Behavior, 34, 57–68.

Baltes, P. B., Reese, H. W., & Lipsitt, L. P. (1980). Lifespan developmental psychology. Annual
Review of Psyhology, 31, 65–110.

Super, D. F. (1980). A life span, life space approach to career development. Journal of Vocational
Behavior, 16, 282–298.

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