Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Shows Older Workers More Open to Change

11.03.2005


Stereotypes about older workers prevent companies from benefiting from their knowledge and experience, says LSU researcher



Workers are getting older and within five years 20 percent of the workforce will be more than 55, says the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those figures are likely to collide with deeply held stereotypes about older workers resisting change and not being able to learn new technologies and systems. Dr. Tracey Rizzuto, assistant professor of psychology at Louisiana State University, says stereotypes about aging employees are simply not true.

When the state of Pennsylvania three years ago upgraded its computer systems to streamline and standardize key business processes, Rizzuto wondered how older workers would fare in adapting to the new technology. Concentrating on the state’s purchasing agents’ willingness to learn the new systems as well as their motivation, commitment and satisfaction in accepting the changes, Rizzuto found plenty of reasons to dispel some of the myths about older workers. Of more than 360 people surveyed, nearly 60 percent were 46 or older and ll percent were over 55.


Contrary to common belief, Rizzuto found that older workers exhibited more willingness to learn the new technology than their younger counterparts. “That went against what I had expected,” she said, admitting that perhaps she held some stereotypes about older workers. “Sometimes the news is not in the expected, but lies in the unexpected.” Veteran employees were more “fired up” about the changes, Rizzuto observed, adding that most, though not all, were supportive of the new systems.

She will be presenting her findings at the 20th annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology April 15-17 in Los Angeles. “While there may be some isolated examples of an older worker being resistant to change, this study suggests that is not typical of most older workers surveyed,” she said. Older workers saw the value of the changes and felt an obligation and loyalty to their co-workers to learn and implement the new technology. “In fact, older workers are more inclined and interested in making changes to benefit the organization than younger workers,” she said.

Conventional wisdom says that technology is the province to the young and that older workers are negatively affected by constant changes in the computerization of business functions. “There is some research that shows older workers may not be as quick in learning new technology skills as younger people, but this study shows the commitment and willingness to learn is stronger among the older workers,” Rizzuto said. She suggested that companies provide specialized training programs for older workers to keep them current with new technological procedures. “It’s a small price to pay to retain a valuable segment of the workforce who are teachable and adaptable and who will greatly benefit the organization,” she added.

Another plus: older workers tend to feel more devoted to organizational initiatives and share similar values. Therefore, they are more likely to stay with the company rather than change careers as their younger counterparts are more prone to do.

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) is an international group of 6,000 industrial-organizational psychologists whose members study and apply scientific principles concerning people in the workplace. For more information about SIOP, including Media Resources, which lists nearly 2,000 experts in more than 100 topic areas, visit http://www.siop.org

From April 15-17, SIOP will be holding its annual meeting in Los Angeles, CA. More than 3,000 top workplace scientists and practitioners will attend and make some 800 presentations on emerging trends, developments and the way people function in the workplace.

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.siop.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>