Does age diversity in teams affect organizational performance

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Management

Document 1

This in most cases is occasioned by the increase in older employees as they work towards their late midlife (Mitchelle et al 2015). This research therefore seeks to find out how age diversity in teams within a company affects the performance of that organization. As a result, the outcome of this study will be instrumental in helping organizations to shift focus towards managing the different workgroups that are diverse in terms of age, with the aim of improving organizational performance (De Meulenaere, Boon & Buyl 2016). DEFINITION OF THE CONSTRUCTS 2. Independent variable - Age diversity Diversity means the same as difference or a composition of different elements while age refers to the number of years a person has lived. Age diversity therefore denotes the differences in age among employees in a given organization (Boehm, Kunz & Brunch 2014). Used with reference to teams in a given organization, age diversity describes the array of age within workgroups in a company. A lot of studies on age and work discuss the aspect of age in the workface by referring to workers as younger, middle-aged and older (Brannen 2017). Dependent variable- Organizational Performance Organizational performance encompasses the real results of an organizational outcome compared with its intended targets. When an organization’s performance is being analyzed, its actual output is compared to the business goals and objectives so as to determine whether the company is accomplishing its set targets or not (Creswell & Creswell 2017). Three key outcomes that are evaluated in for-profit organizations include financial performance which comprises profits and returns on investments; market performance to gauge their share of the market and the level of acceptability of their product(s); as well as shareholder value performance (Brayman 2017).

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Many organizations analyze key factors that affect their performance key among them internal factors such as the influence of the age of employees on performance in order to improve their performance metrics. THEORY/UNDERLYING RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY Age diversity brings in other aspects of diversity which includes diversity in knowledge and diversity in terms of values. Because of age differences, employees have particular levels of knowledge and intellectual capabilities (Su Baird & Schoch 2015). While the younger generation may be adaptive to changes that occur in the workplace, and generally possess the inner ability to quickly integrate technology into their daily activities, the older more mature persons take their time to embrace new skills and tools. They opt instead to take their time to carefully study a scenario but offer well thought out solutions to given challenges, something that is a manifestation of their long acquired experience at the workplace and in general life (Boehm & Kunz 2015).

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Differences in age also bring in the aspect of diversity in terms of values. Because of their divergent experiences in terms of schooling and other social aspects of life, people of different ages possess distinct values which are manifested in their general outlook of life and work. What a person values also changes with age (Coccia 2016). While an older person appreciates the value of hard work, a young person may still put a lot of belief in friends and leisure activities at the expense of their jobs. Studies on diversity examine how differences in attributes among members of a given team affect the outcome of the tasks they are mandated to perform. Most studies on diversity at the workplace are normally centered on gender and organizational performance. Most studies on age diversity still focus on the age of the management, CEO or Board of Directors of a firm with indicating that the older they are the lower the performance of the organization.

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Increased living standards coupled with low death rates particularly in the developed countries mean that a lot of the ageing population stays longer working (Vasilescu, Serebranik & Fiklov 2015). The fall in birthrates has also led to decline in labor supply particularly in countries like Germany meaning organizations must work on managing age-mixed teams for optimum productivity. Age diversity vs. age polarization Enhancing cohesion among the different age groups within a team in a firm is dependent on the nature of age diversity distribution (Boxall, Guthire & Paauwe 2016). Age diversity, the varied nature of people of different ages as distributed in an organization, reaches its highest point when employees of the different age groups present in an organization are of equal number. This also goes with the different age cohorts within teams or different units of the organization.

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This reduces tensions based on values because no group feels outnumbered (Su, Baird & Schoch 2015). This has led different scholars in the recent past to study the diversified structure of age at the work environment. Past works on diversity only borrowed from social psychology theories to expound on the effects of age (Schneid 2016). These (past) works look at age diversity from social categorization point of view- having little effect on improving performance since attraction of people with similar values excludes others, leads to breakdowns in communication sue to distortion messages and generally slows down every aspect of organizational performance (De Menleneare, Boon & Buyl 2016). Recent studies leaning on information and decision-making theory however indicates positive effects of age diversity in the organization. With a good mix of various age groups, organizations enjoy variety in terms of experiences, outlook to issues, dynamism and problem solving capabilities.

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This research also makes the assumption that sex of the workers does not come into play when determining work performance based on age. This may not be true. It would be interesting to see the results were sex to be introduced as a variable (Homan et al 2017). This is because in daily life, a person’s gender plays an important role particularly among the different age groups. There could be some tasks that the older generation of particular gender may not perform so it would be interesting to find out how this plays into the age gap amongst different team members if it is introduced as a variable (Mitchell et al 2015). In matters of appraisal and motivation, the different age cohorts must be able to see fairness and to feel confidence in the processes that take place within the organization (Schneid et al 2016).

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They must also be able to have a feeling of job security. Young people should never feel harassed for lack of experience while the older generation must never feel out of place or have the thought that they are to be discarded because their time is up. In line with this, we therefore hypothesize thus: iii) Workers of diverse age groups feel motivated when they are all given fair opportunities at the workplace. RESEARCH DESIGN 6. This design works on the assumption that if X, then Y and if not X, then not Y. It is therefore the best choice in bringing out the causal effects in the hypothesis. That if groups of employees are mixed in terms of ages of the members then there is some impact on the organizational performance and if that is not the case then the results are different.

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Data collection For purposes of ensuring triangulation and to reinforce the validity and reliability of data this research will heavily rely on interviews and observation as methods of data collection (Brayman 2017). Primary data will be gathered through interviews by sending questions via email through the human resource departments of these firms. Springer, Cham. Boehm, S. A. Kunze, F. and Bruch, H.  Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research. Routledge. Bryman, A. Quantitative and qualitative research: further reflections on their integration. In Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research (pp. De Meulenaere, K. Boone, C. and Buyl, T. Unraveling the impact of workforce age diversity on labor productivity: The moderating role of firm size and job security.  Journal of Organizational Behavior, 37(2), pp. Guillaume, Y. R. Dawson, J. F. Otaye‐Ebede, L. A. van Ginkel, W.

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P. and Voelpel, S. C. Chiang, V. and Joyce, P. Managing inclusiveness and diversity in teams: How leader inclusiveness affects performance through status and team identity.  Human Resource Management, 54(2), pp. Ng, E. Shemla, M. Meyer, B. Greer, L. and Jehn, K. A. Vasilescu, B. Serebrenik, A. and Filkov, V. May. A data set for social diversity studies of GitHub teams.

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