Older workers from the viewpoint of their younger colleagues. Do organisations fail to harness the potential of an ageing workforce?


Objective: Scholars agree that due to an ageing workforce which is observable in many societies around the globe, organisations will face an employee base that is getting older and more age-diverse (Kunze et al., 2011). This development can be beneficial for organisations when its potential gets harnessed; however, it leaves us also with some concerns. Research studies found rather unpromising results for an ageing workforce in the organisation. This article sheds light on the perception of older employees from the perspective of their younger co-workers, where little is known about.

Research Design & Methods: It uses a qualitative study design through in-depth interviewing and metaphorical talk. In total, 27 interviews have been collected in Germany and Poland.

Findings: Respondents point out that their senior colleague possesses crucial human and social capital for the organisation. They further reveal obstacles which partially explain, why results from previous studies may vary.

Contribution & Value Added: The perception of younger employees offers valuable inside for employers and entrepreneurs alike. Employers have been found to have a somewhat negative attitudes towards the employability of senior-aged workers. Younger employees revealed that senior-aged workers are perceived to have a vital role in knowledge transfer by their younger colleagues.


ageing workforce; older workers; human resource management; personnel management; qualitative study

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Published : 2020-06-30

KosowskiT. (2020). Older workers from the viewpoint of their younger colleagues. Do organisations fail to harness the potential of an ageing workforce?. International Entrepreneurship Review, 6(2), 83-94. https://doi.org/10.15678/IER.2020.0602.06

Tanja Kosowski  tkosowski@kozminski.edu.pl
Kozminski University  Poland

Bachelor of Business Administration (DHBW Ravensburg, Germany); Bachelor of Business Administration (University of South Wales, UK); Master in International Relations (University of Lodz, Poland); PhD student Management (Kozminski University, Poland). His research interests include diversity management, human resource management, and ageism.

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