Popular Age Stereotypes Depress Work Productivity

Study: The higher the organizational role, the greater the tendency to stereotype

Mar 03, 2011, 12:37 ET from AchieveGlobal

TAMPA, Fla., March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As recent graduates pour into a workplace brimming with older employees, cross-generational dynamics are rife with age stereotypes. But are these stereotypes scientifically valid? A new study by the international training and consulting firm AchieveGlobal found they are not.

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The study, "Age-Based Stereotypes: Silent Killer of Collaboration and Productivity," looked closely at four generations: Traditionalists (born 1925-1945), Baby-Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980) and Generation Y (1981-1999). AchieveGlobal found little solid science supporting the well-known age stereotypes. Instead, these stereotypes appear to be rooted in generalization from too few examples, biased research methods and widespread prejudice toward older and younger employees.

"Pervasive age stereotypes program employees to see their colleagues as caricatures," said Craig Perrin, AchieveGlobal's director of product development. "We recommend treating people as individuals, focusing on needs we all share. Regardless of their age, all employees seek respect, competence, connection and some degree of autonomy."

AchieveGlobal's study found that every age group, management level and global region endorses significant age stereotypes. Particularly alarming was this trend: the higher the organizational role, the more likely that someone will endorse the popular stereotypes.

"Our hope is that companies will find ways to remove these harmful blind spots," said AchieveGlobal CEO Sharon Daniels. "What that takes is awareness, first of all, followed by focused training and conscious application of the best practices we've identified."

The multiphased AchieveGlobal study evaluated generational research since 1985 and collected current data from leaders and employees through focus groups and an international survey. For more information and to access the complete study ("Age-Based Stereotypes: Silent Killer of Collaboration and Productivity"), visit www.agestereotypes.com.

About AchieveGlobal

AchieveGlobal is the world leader in providing exceptional interpersonal business skills, giving companies the workforce they need for business results. In the 21st century, the level of human skills will determine organization success. Located in more than 40 countries, AchieveGlobal offers multi-language, learning based solutions - globally, regionally and locally. For more information, see www.achieveglobal.com.

SOURCE AchieveGlobal