Organising Age

The Organising Age research aims to help employers enhance the capabilities of their age-diverse workforce and ensure all employees, regardless of age, feel included and valued. This page contains resources including research and executive summaries and self-learning tools.

Overview

This research was funded by the Australian Research Council (DP120100513) and led by Professor Cynthia Hardy from the University of Melbourne.

Other researchers included Associate Professor Susan Ainsworth (University of Melbourne), Associate Professor Leanne Cutcher (University of Sydney) and Professor Robyn Thomas (Cardiff University).

The purpose of this research is to help employers enhance the capabilities of their age-diverse workforce and to ensure that all employees, regardless of age, feel included and valued by the organisation.

The research was undertaken in a global engineering firm, a large Australian insurance company, a UK based insurance call centre, and a global telecommunications company which has its headquarters in the UK.  It included a mix of semi-structured interviews, focus groups, non-participant observation and document analysis.

The main finding is that the organisations are most successful when age doesn’t matter.

Research summaries

A summary of the organisational contexts for the research is available here.

An executive summary report is available here.

Media

Companies that use older workers are the most innovative - Sydney Morning Herald, April 2016

How will companies deal with a growing number of workers over 65 -  In the Black, June 2015

Tapping into the grey army why employing older workers is good for business - Smart Company, March 2015

Business must show the lead on intergenerational employment - The Conversation, February 2015

Self-learning tool

Read the case studies of two divisions in Tantalus, a global engineering company. You will see that the way people talk about age is quite different in the two divisions and this leads to differences in how older and younger employees are viewed in the organisation, and the extent to which they can contribute to it.

After reading the case study, use the diagnostic tool to assess the situation in your organisation. You can discuss your answers with colleagues to generate collective insights and, where appropriate, ideas for change.For more insights on age, see ‘What’s Age Got to Do With It? On the Critical Analysis of Age and Organizations’ co-edited by Robyn Thomas, Cynthia Hardy, Leanne Cutcher and Susan Ainsworth, Organization Studies, 2014, 35 (11), pp. 1569 - 1584 (16).