Matthew Piszczek accepted for publication in Work, Aging and Retirement
Mike Ilitch School of Business Assistant Professor of Management Matthew Piszczek has been accepted for publication in Work, Aging and Retirement, which publishes research on worker aging and retirement with the goal of enhancing the understanding of these phenomena.
The publication, “Organizational response to workforce aging: Tensions in human capital perspectives,” was co-authored by Peter Berg (Michigan State University).
The proportion of older workers in the labor force is increasing. While much research over recent decades has suggested that this will create significant challenges for organizations, current evidence suggests that age-related human resource management practices are rare. Using a grounded theory approach, we examine why organizations are not adopting formal practices and what they are doing instead using data from 43 interviews and focus groups within eight German and U.S. manufacturing facilities in three organizations. We find significant tension between perceptions of aging’s impact by top managers and unit supervisors. Lacking top-level formal support for age-related initiatives, our evidence shows supervisors adopting more informal, unit-level responses that do not require significant reorganization of work, masking the impact of workforce aging to top leaders. We also develop a typology of practices used to respond to workforce aging based on their effects on human capital flows in and out of the organization. Finally, we find that while aging is assessed similarly in the U.S. and Germany, German firms have greater flexibility and more formal practice options in their response due to employee relations systems, working time arrangements, and human resource planning systems which pressure organizations more to adopt formal practices. Our results inform a human capital perspective of the organizational response to workforce aging.