Recent research has shown that, in general, older professors are rated to have more passive-avoidant leadership styles than younger professors by their research assistants. The current study investigated professors' age-related work concerns and research assistants' favorable age stereotypes as possible explanations for this finding. Data came from 128 university professors paired to one research assistant each. Results show that professors' age-related work concerns (decreased enthusiasm for research, growing humanism, development of exiting consciousness and increased follower empowerment) did not explain the relationships between professor age and research assistant ratings of passive-avoidant and proactive leadership. However, research assistants' favorable age stereotypes influenced the relationships between professor age and research assistant ratings of leadership, such that older professors were rated as more passive-avoidant and less proactive than younger professors by research assistants with less favorable age stereotypes, but not by research assistants with more favorable age stereotypes.

age, age stereotypes, passive-avoidant and proactive leadership, work concerns
dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2011.557829, hdl.handle.net/1765/37534
Studies in Higher Education
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Zacher, H, & Bal, P.M. (2012). Professor age and research assistant ratings of passive-avoidant and proactive leadership: The role of age-related work concerns and age stereotypes. Studies in Higher Education, 37(7), 875–896. doi:10.1080/03075079.2011.557829