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Negative age stereotypes, some of which are internalised, can lead to older workers feeling less of a sense of belonging to an organisation, according to new research.
Negative stereotypes about older workers can affect their motivation to work and their sense of belonging in an organisation, according to new research.
Psychologists from the University of Basel report in the journal “Work, Aging, and Retirement” that older people often internalise negative stereotypes about cognitive decline which can lead to feelings of being excluded from their workplace.
Although older people are generally happier and have better social relationships than younger people, the researchers show that older workers who have internalised negative age stereotypes are more likely to feel excluded and to withdraw socially, being less likely to seek social contacts in the workplace. This, in turn, can have negative consequences for their integration and can cause them to, for example, take early retirement.
Due to internalisation of negative stereotypes about older workers they may, for instance, agree with the idea that intellectual performance declines with age and that they themselves are affected by this decline. Previous research has shown that the internalisation of negative age stereotypes can have an impact on performance.
“Fewer negative age stereotypes would not only enable more older employees to maintain fulfilling social contacts in the workplace,” said project leader Professor Dr Jana Nikitin, but would help them to achieve their potential with knock-on business benefits.