IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Effect of Workforce Age on Quantitative and Qualitative Organizational Performance: Conceptual Framework and Case Study Evidence

Listed author(s):
  • Uschi Backes-Gellner


    (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)

  • Martin R. Schneider


    (Economic Department, University of Paderborn)

  • Stephan Veen


    (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)

Field studies linking workforce age to performance tend to treat performance as one-dimensional and often focus on individual, not organizational performance. To analyze the effects of workforce age on organizational performance, we suggest treating performance as multi-dimensional with at least two output dimensions: quantity and quality. We provide a novel conceptual framework that borrows insights from multiple disciplines to better understand ageing phenomena in organizations. In particular, we build on psychological and medical studies showing that individual age has different effects on different cognitive capabilities. As a result we argue that workforce ageing may affect various performance dimensions, such as quantity and quality, in different, often opposite ways. In our empirical part we examine a unique dataset containing detailed court data over a time span of 19 years. We find that average workforce age is linked negatively to quantitative organizational performance but positively to qualitative organizational performance. Our findings suggest that future organizational studies should decompose performance at least along the quantity-quality dimension. Our theoretical framework helps to understand the different types of ageing effects and to derive itemized implications for changes in organizational performance. It also helps to reconcile contradictory findings of previous studies and to derive important managerial implications for task assignments, career policies, and company strategies in view of upcoming demographic changes in many developed countries.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) in its series Working Papers with number 0143.

in new window

Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Handle: RePEc:iso:wpaper:0143
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Plattenstrasse 14, CH-8032 Zürich

Phone: ++41 1 634 29 27
Fax: ++41 1 634 43 48
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iso:wpaper:0143. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (IBW IT)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.