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  • Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement, Volume 24, Issue 4
  • January 2005, pp. 353-366

Stereotyping Older Workers and Retirement: The Managers' Point of View*

  • Kène Henkens (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2010

This article presents the results of a study into stereotyping by managers of their older workers and the influence of these stereotypes on the inclination of managers to keep their older workers in employment. The data for the study were gathered among 796 managers. Through principal components analysis, 15 opinions about older workers were reduced to three dimensions of stereotypes. The first dimension deals with the productivity of older staff; the other two dimensions have to do with their reliability and their adaptability. These stereotypical ideas about older workers influence managers' attitudes toward the retirement of their employees. The analyses show that, besides organizational factors, psychological mechanisms also explain why people view older workers through stereotypes. Managers who are older and in more frequent contact with older employees tend to hold more positive views.


Cet article présente les résultants d'une étude à propos des différents stéréotypes des gestionnaires envers leurs employés plus âgés et sur l'influence de ces stéréotypes dans la propension des gestionnaires à garder des employés âgés en service. Les données ont été recueillies auprès d'un échantillon de 796 gestionnaires. Àtravers des composantes d'analyse principales, 15 opinions sur les employés âgés ont été réduites à trois dimensions de stéréotypes. La première dimension concerne la productivité de personnel âgé, les autres dimensions concernent leur fiabilité et leur adaptabilité. Les idées stéréotypées sur les employés âgés ont une influence sur les attitudes des gestionnaires envers la retraite de leurs employés. Les analyses montrent que malgré les facteurs organisationnels, les mécanismes psychologiques expliquent également pourquoi les gens utilisent des stéréotypes sur les employés âgés. Les gestionnaires qui sont eux-mêmes plus âgés et qui maintiennent plus de contact avec des employés âgés, ont tendance à avoir des avis davantage positifs.

Corresponding author
Requests for offprints should be sent to: / Les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être addressées à : K. Henkens (NIDI), P.O. Box 11650, 2502 AR The Hague. (
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Leo van Wissen was extremely helpful with statistical advice. Comments by Harry van Dalen, Rob Ranzijn, and Petra Visser are gratefully acknowledged.

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Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-on-aging-la-revue-canadienne-du-vieillissement
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