Comparisons of cognitive ability and job attitudes of older and younger workers

Brough, Paula, Johnson, Greer, Drummond, Suzie, Pennisi, Shannon, and Timms, Carolyn (2011) Comparisons of cognitive ability and job attitudes of older and younger workers. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, 30 (2). pp. 105-126.

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Purpose: Advancing knowledge about effectively managing the ageing workforce and ensuring economic sustainability for a growing retired cohort is a recognised priority for organisational health researchers, employers and governments. The purpose of this paper is to test social perceptions that older workers' cognitive performance and job attitudes compare adversely to their younger colleagues.

Design/methodology/approach: The research assessed samples of older and younger workers in objective tests of cognitive abilities and subjective job attitudes. An opportunity sampling method was employed to recruit a heterogeneous group of participants in Australia (n=172).

Findings: No significant differences in cognitive ability between the groups were identified; older workers were as cognitively skilled for their job as their younger colleagues. No significant group difference for perceptions of social support, job commitment, job satisfaction or turnover intentions was identified.

Research limitations/implications: The cross-sectional research design adopted by this research prevented a more detailed examination of the data in terms of causal relationships. While the cognitive testing provided objective rather than subjective data and, therefore, is not as susceptible to response biases such as common method variance, the small sample who undertook the cognitive testing is acknowledged as a research limitation.

Social implications: This research has implications for the reduction in unemployment of older workers and directly addresses the social issues of an ageing labour force.

Originality/value: The paper demonstrates that stereotypical assumptions concerning inadequate performance and low job commitment commonly attributed to older workers are not in fact indicative of all ageing employees.

Item ID: 31430
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2040-7149
Keywords: older workers, Australia, cognition, job satisfaction, employee turnover, comparative tests
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2014 23:42
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
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