Monday, March 14, 2005

Study Shows Older Workers More Open to Change

According to research conducted by Dr. Tracey Rizzuto, assistant professor of psychology at Louisiana State University, stereotypes about older workers prevent companies from benefiting from their knowledge and experience. In contrast to the deeply held stereotypes about older workers resisting change and not being able to learn new technologies and systems, her study of older workers when Pennsylvania upgraded its computer systems to streamline and standardize key business processes, found that older workers exhibited more willingness to learn the new technology than their younger counterparts. She will be presenting her findings at the 20th annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
“While there may be some isolated examples of an older worker being resistant to change, this study suggests that is not typical of most older workers surveyed,” she said. Older workers saw the value of the changes and felt an obligation and loyalty to their co-workers to learn and implement the new technology.

“In fact, older workers are more inclined and interested in making changes to benefit the organization than younger workers,” she said.

. . .

“There is some research that shows older workers may not be as quick in learning new technology skills as younger people, but this study shows the commitment and willingness to learn is stronger among the older workers,” Rizzuto said.
One specific suggestion that Rizzuto had for businesses is that they provide specialized training programs for older workers to keep them current with new technological procedures.

Source: News Release Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (March 10, 2005)

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