Due to demographic change, age diversity is increasing in many organizations. We aimed to understand how organizations can use age diversity training to overcome the challenges and realize the benefits of an age-diverse workforce. We built on the two predominant theoretical perspectives in the diversity literature–social identity theory and the information/decision-making perspective–to advance a dual pathway model and to develop two age diversity training programs: An identity-oriented training that helps organizations to overcome the challenges of age diversity by “speaking to the heart” of age-diverse coworkers and a knowledge-oriented training that helps organizations to realize the benefits of age diversity by “speaking to the mind” of age-diverse coworkers. We tested both training programs in a randomized controlled field experiment with age-diverse coworker dyads. We found that the identity-oriented training facilitated contact quality as a socioemotional outcome through increased levels of coworker’s perceived similarity and also reduced stereotype threat. The knowledge-oriented training increased knowledge transfer as a sociocognitive outcome through increased levels of coworker’s perceived knowledge utility and transactive memory. In a pilot training integration study, we made a first attempt to develop and test an integrated training program. Our findings advance research on the evidence-based management of age diversity.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.5465/amle.2019.0348, hdl.handle.net/1765/128279
Journal Academy of Management Learning and Education
Note Pre-Press
Citation
Burmeister, A, Gerpott, F.H, Hirschi, A, Scheibe, S, Pak, K., & Kooij, D.T.A.M. (2020). Reaching the heart or the mind? Test of two theory-based training programs to improve interactions between age-diverse coworkers. Academy of Management Learning and Education. doi:10.5465/amle.2019.0348