Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ageist Language Can Hurt the Workplace

According to research conducted by Bob McCann, an associate professor of management communication at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, even though demographic trends point to a more age-diverse workforce, ageist language is still to be found in many workplaces, and can have severe repercussions for both older workers and their employers.
"Our research has clearly shown links between ageist language and reported health outcomes as broad as reduced life satisfaction, lowered self-esteem, and even depression," said McCann. The workplace is a particularly fertile and problematic area for ageist communication, given that people derive so much of their identity from work.
McCann worked with Howard Giles of the University of California, Santa Barbara on studies showing ageist language playing a major role in age-discrimination lawsuits. Examples of just some of the hundreds of age-based comments that McCann and Giles report include: "the old woman," "that old goat," "too long on the job," "old and tired," "a sleepy kind of guy with no pizzazz," "he had bags under his eyes," and he is "an old fart."

Source: University of Southern California Marshall School of Business News Release (April 14, 2008)

No comments: