Age presents a significant problem within any workplace, in terms of diversity. Age can result in diverse skillsets, as well as diverse retention. There is a high prevalence of technology in the workplace today and as a result understanding the attitude of employees toward technology remains essential to the success of any business. The attitude that employees have toward technology are linked to important issues including successfully implementing technologies within the office, the employee intend to use such technology as well as the actual usage of the technology by employees. As a result of aging workforces, and due to the fact that age has been linked to rates of computer usage and computer comfort, it is imperative to examine what literature exists pertaining to the relationship between age and attitude toward technology. If one is to consider the variable of age as it relates to employees within and information technology sector, one must consider the attitude that such individuals would have based on their age toward the use of technology (Elias, Smith & Barney, 2012, p. 454).
One study examined the relationship between 612 employees. It used age as the moderator when reviewing their attitude toward technology in relation to intrinsic and extrinsic work motivation as well as overall satisfaction with their job (Elias, Smith & Barney, 2012, p. 453). Additionally, given the technological socialization of different generations, with the sample was comprised of two demographics, with first being Generation X and the second being baby boomers. A hierarchical multiple regression model was used, similar to that which will be used in this research. This research used age moderates to determine the relationship to an attitude and technology. In every instance the older employees exhibited the strongest relationships toward the outcome variables when they had a higher attitude about technology (Elias, Smith & Barney, 2012, p. 453). Older employees show the weaker relationships if they had a low attitude toward of Technology. Moderating the effect of age on an attitude toward technology is, as a result of this study, imperatives. Age in and of itself is not a direct factor correlated to an attitude toward technology or correlated to job motivation or job satisfaction. In fact, it is the individual attitude about technology that directly corresponds to job satisfaction and job motivation (Elias, Smith & Barney, 2012, p. 453).
Age differences in personalities is another area of research where advances have been made significant to this study. Research has focused on the impact that age differences has on personality traits, particularly the Big Five traits. In their research Soto, John, Gosling, & Potter (2011, p. 330) purported hypotheses pertaining to the mean-level age differences among the Big Five personalities, and 10 specific facet traits inherent to these big five personalities was tested by way of a cross-sectional sample of children, adolescents, and adults (N = 1,267,218). The ages tested ranged from 10 to 65. The results of their research supported that there were two key periods for personality traits and these were late childhood and adolescence. It was found that during these two key time periods the personality traits were particularly pronounced and the personalities were directionally different compared to the corresponding trends in adults.
Age differences of the related to emotional experience over the course of the adult life span has been explored in current literature with a focus on the intensity, consistency, complexity, and frequency of emotional experiences that one would face in everyday life. The study by Carstensen, et al. (2000, p. 644) found that age remained unrelated to the frequency of positive emotional experiences. A curvilinear relationship characterized be negative emotions. Negative emotion declined in their frequency until age 60 at which point the decline ceased. Some individual’s factor analyses were computers for the participants which revealed that age was associated with differentiated emotional experiences. In addition to this periods of highly of positive emotional experiences are more likely to remain among older individuals and periods of highly negative emotional experiences remained less stable (Carstensen, et al., 2000, p. 644).
Building on previous research, a newer study by Carstensen, et al. (2011, p. 21) suggests that emotional well-being statistically improves from the period of early adulthood to that of old age. The study focused on experience-sampling in order to research the development course that emotional experience provided in the representative sample of adults whose ages spanned from early adulthood to very late adulthood. The results indicated that aging is directly associated with more positive emotional well-being overall, as well as greater emotional stability, and more complexity in terms of emotions (something whereby participants would note the presence of both positive and negative emotions in the same time period). The findings were robust once variables related to the emotional experience were taken into account, the variables in this case being demographics, personality, verbal fluency, and physical health. This research found that emotional experience predicted mortality. It also found that this, when controlled for sex, age, and ethnicity, showed that people with more positive emotions in their everyday lives compared to negative emotions were more likely to survive for 13 years longer (Carstensen, et al., 2000, p. 644; Carstensen, et al., 2011, p. 21).
One study investigated how age influences the relationships had at work with colleagues and employers, as well as how age influences workers’ motivation on the job and their satisfaction with their jobs (Boumans, de Jong & Janssen, 2011, p. 332). Older employees required more intrinsic challenges in their jobs and looked for something more fulfilling in order to remain motivated. Additionally, this research found that there was a positive association between motivation and career opportunities at a statistically higher rate for younger workers who were given more opportunities within their career compared to older employees. From this, one can glean that careful career mentorship integrated into aging policies would contribute to the maintenance of workers regardless of age.
- Boumans, N. P., de Jong, A. H., & Janssen, S. M. (2011). Age-differences in work motivation and job satisfaction. The influence of age on the relationships between work characteristics and workers’ outcomes. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 73(4), 331-350.
- Carstensen, L. L., Turan, B., Scheibe, S., Ram, N., Ersner-Hershfield, H., Samanez-Larkin, G. R., … & Nesselroade, J. R. (2011). Emotional experience improves with age: evidence based on over 10 years of experience sampling. Psychology and aging, 26(1), 21.
- Elias, S. M., Smith, W. L., & Barney, C. E. (2012). Age as a moderator of attitude towards technology in the workplace: work motivation and overall job satisfaction. Behaviour & Information Technology, 31(5), 453-467.
- Soto, C. J., John, O. P., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2011). Age differences in personality traits from 10 to 65: Big Five domains and facets in a large cross-sectional sample. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100(2), 330.