Effect of Workforce Age on Quantitative and Qualitative Organizational Performance: Conceptual Framework and Case Study Evidence

36 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2011

See all articles by Uschi Backes-Gellner

Uschi Backes-Gellner

University of Zurich - Institute for Business Administration; Swiss Leading House

Martin R. Schneider

University of Trier - Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union; University of Paderborn

Stephan Veen

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Date Written: February 28, 2011

Abstract

Field studies linking workforce age to performance tend to treat performance as one-dimensional and often focus on individual, not organizational performance. To analyze the effects of workforce age on organizational performance, we suggest treating performance as multidimensional with at least two output dimensions: quantity and quality. We provide a novel conceptual framework that borrows insights from multiple disciplines to better under-stand aging phenomena in organizations. In particular, we build on psychological and medical studies showing that individual age has different effects on different cognitive capabilities. As a result we argue that workforce aging may affect various performance dimensions, such as quantity and quality, in different, often opposite ways. In our empirical part we examine a unique dataset containing detailed court data over a time span of 19 years. We find that average workforce age is linked negatively to quantitative organizational performance but positively to qualitative organizational performance. Our findings suggest that future organizational studies should decompose performance at least along the quantity-quality dimension. Our theoretical framework helps to understand the different types of aging effects and to derive itemized implications for changes in organizational performance. It also helps to reconcile contradictory findings of previous studies and to derive important managerial implications for task assignments, career policies, and company strategies in view of upcoming demographic changes in many developed countries.

Keywords: ageing workforce, demographic change, organizational performance, age productivity effects

JEL Classification: J1, M51, J7

Suggested Citation

Backes-Gellner, Uschi and Schneider, Martin R. and Veen, Stephan, Effect of Workforce Age on Quantitative and Qualitative Organizational Performance: Conceptual Framework and Case Study Evidence (February 28, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1773023 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1773023

Uschi Backes-Gellner (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Institute for Business Administration ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
8032 Zurich
Switzerland
+41 44 6344281 (Phone)
+41 44 6344370 (Fax)

Swiss Leading House ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

Martin R. Schneider

University of Trier - Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union ( email )

Behringstraße 21, 7. Floor, Building H
54286 Trier, 54296
Germany
+49 651 9666-131 (Phone)

University of Paderborn ( email )

Warburger Str. 100
Paderborn, D-33098
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://wiwi.uni-paderborn.de/dep1/personalwirtschaft-prof-dr-schneider/

Stephan Veen

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW) ( email )

Hottingerstrasse 10
Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
178
Abstract Views
1,509
rank
238,436
PlumX Metrics